Before heading to the lake or the beach with your Alpena, MI, dog, make sure you have a personal flotation device to keep him safe. Many people assume that dogs have more stamina than regular people and underestimate that their furry friend cannot stay afloat much longer than we can.

So, whether it’s for recreational swimming at the beach, canine rehabilitation, or aquatic rescue, ensure Fido’s safety in any lake, ocean, or swimming pool environment by fitting him with a sturdy dog life jacket before he jumps into the water. Their interior foam layers are designed to provide plenty of buoyancy, while also remaining flexible enough for unrestricted movement on land.

A dog life jacket operates on the same principles as a personal flotation device does for humans, being that it is a simple piece of wearable equipment that gives the dog buoyancy in the water, while protecting the animal from swimming fatigue, possible water intoxication, or drowning.

The Different Types of Personal Flotation Devices

Two types of PFDs for dogs include life jackets and life vests. The life jacket normally covers a dog’s entire body and is designed for use on a boat or at the beach. Should a pet fall off a boat or be carried by an ocean current, the jacket will help to keep the dog afloat for quick rescue. These types of jackets are often sold in bright colors, which make the animal easy to spot. They are also equipped with grabbing handles on the back to assist in hoisting a dog out of the water during retrieval.

The life jacket is important in situations when constant monitoring of a dog proves difficult. However, it’s never a good idea to leave a pet unsupervised in the water for any length of time. The life vest is designed more for recreational swimming in a pool and for exercise than it is for ocean swimming.

Similar to flotation devices designed for humans, dog life jackets are often constructed from closed cell foam due to its low weight, high density, and ability to comfortably wrap around a dog’s torso and neck to keep the animal’s head above water. Dog life jackets come in a variety of sizes and most have adjustable straps for accommodating any range of breeds from small to large.

Automatic, inflatable life jackets provide additional buoyancy, while remaining less bulky than their traditional passive counterparts, but they are less common and typically more expensive than conventional life jackets.

It’s easy to assume that a pet has amazing stamina to overcome the difficulties of the elements better than a human could. This might make a person wonder whether their dog would even need a life jacket in the first place. The fact is that while a dog does have strength, he is just as vulnerable to fatigue, confusion, and accidents as people are. For that reason, the dog life jacket serves many benefits. Some breeds have considerably less body fat than others, making it more difficult to stay afloat. The life jacket provides the extra buoyancy needed to ensure a pet’s safety.

For puppies and older dogs with less stamina, the jacket offers additional assurance that they can remain afloat if they get too tired. Dogs are also preprogrammed with certain primal instincts, whether it’s hunting, chasing, or jumping. If the pet is on a boat and sees a duck in the water, his instinct takes over. It may seem like he’s possessed to go after the water fowl. In such an unanticipated circumstance, the dog may forget about his own muscles, the temperature of the water, or the fact that he’s getting tired, leading to a potentially dangerous outcome. If he’s at least covered with a flotation device like a life jacket, it’s easy enough to retrieve him.

What to Look for in a Life Jacket

There are tons of dog life vests on the market so it can sometimes be overwhelming to sort through them all. Here are a few tips on what to look for in a dog life jacket:


Naturally you’ll want a dog life jacket with enough buoyancy to keep your pet afloat in the water. Top-notch dog life vests have flotation sections under the belly, as well as the surrounding back and sides. And the very best vests also have flotation sections in the neck area to help keep your dog’s head above water.

Bright Color

Brightly colored vests help your dog stay visible in the water and prevent collisions with boaters and jet skiers. Many vests also feature reflective tape or material for even more visibility.


If you’ll be needing to pull your dog out of the water, you’ll want strong handles on the dog life jacket. This lifting ability means that in some ways, a dog vest can double as a dog lift harness, but if you have a senior dog who is mobility impaired, it’s best to opt for a harness designed specifically for lifting. Pay attention to the location of a jacket’s straps and buckles. While safety is important, your dog should also be comfortable and not have its mobility restricted when out of the water.

Size and Fit

Make sure you’re purchasing a dog life vest that is the proper size for your dog. Make sure that while your dog is wearing it he remains comfortable, can sit and lie down easily, and won’t have trouble relieving himself. For the best fit, make sure to measure your dog’s girth and torso and choose a matching size.

Dog Life Jackets for Alpena, MI, Pets are Worth It

Just keep in mind that since your dog is your best friend, you want to keep him safe. While it might cost a little bit to invest in a dog life jacket, if it saves his life, it is well worth the trouble and effort.

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