Best Dog Life Jacket Canada: Whatever Floats Your… Dog?

31 Minute Read
Updated May 31, 2022

Most dogs are decent swimmers, but even skilled water dogs can get tired or swept up in a current. Choosing the best dog life jacket can be a matter of life and death, so make sure that you know what to look for to keep your dog safe.

They may seem silly, but dog life jackets are an essential accessory for dogs who love swimming. Whether they are in your pool or at the lake, keeping your dog safe on any dog adventure should be your top priority. To help you find the best dog life jacket, we asked some of our favourite water dogs to test out some dog life jackets and let us know their thoughts!

Before we get to the reviews, let's talk about water safety. 


Can All Dogs Swim?

pet life jackets canada

We often assume that if you chuck your dog in the lake, he's going to float, but that might not always be the case. Most dogs can instinctually swim, but that doesn't mean that every dog will be able to safely navigate open water.

In reality, all dogs can learn to swim, but not all of them are good at it. Knowing which dogs are built for swimming and those that are really not will help you decide how or if you should take your dog swimming and whether or not dog floaties are needed to keep them safe. 


Benefits of Swimming with Dogs

Whether your dog is a natural-born swimmer or new to the water, swimming is a great way to add extra exercise to your dog's routine. Not sure if swimming is the right activity for your pooch? Take a look at some of the top benefits of taking your dog swimming:

Joint-Friendly Dog Exercise

While swimming is a good workout for any dog, dogs with limited mobility due to hip or joint problems can benefit most from swimming. Even though the exercise from swimming is still tiring, it reduces stress on weight-bearing joints, allowing for more movement and less pain. 

Depending on the level of pain or mobility limitations, you can start off in shallow water allowing your dog to walk in the water. This will make them lighter on their joints while letting them move against the water and work the muscles surrounding those joints. 

Cool Down Your Dog

When the sweltering summer sun gets to be too much for your dog's normal outdoor activities, swimming is a great way to help them cool off. Dog cooling gear and sun protection are excellent tools for keeping your dog safe on a hot day, but nothing beats the cooling effects of letting your dog go for a cool dip. 

Not only will the cool water provide immediate relief from the heat, but as they dry, more heat will be pulled from their body and as moisture from their coat evaporates. 

Build Your Dog's Stamina

For dogs that struggle to maintain a healthy weight, swimming might be just the activity they need to boost activity. Swimming is a fun full-body workout that will help a chunky or lazy pooch build endurance. Swimming is also ideal for senior dogs that just don't have as much energy as they used to. 

Even short swimming sessions can help boost your dog's exercise routine and contribute to a healthy weight and more appropriate muscle growth. This additional exercise can also help to strengthen and support heart health.


Swimming is something you can do with your dog. You get the same benefits that they do, so why not dip your toes in the water and splash around with your dog.

This is a good idea if your dog is still a novice swimmer. Swimming with them will give them confidence if they are nervous about getting in the water and they will learn quicker if you are there to guide them. 


How to Teach a Dog to Swim in 6 Steps

Before you take your dog to the lake for their first swim, you should be prepared because they might need some training or gear to keep them safe in the water. Here are some easy steps to teach your dog to swim safely. 

1. Make sure they are comfortable getting wet

Some dogs love the water. They'll run through the sprinkler or roll in any puddle they pass. But some dogs are less comfortable getting soaked. Help your dog get comfortable by starting with a kiddie pool and some floating toys, a quick run through the sprinkler, or even taking a quick soak in the tub.

2. Coax them into the water with you

The first time you take them to a large body of water, whether it's a pool or a lake, it's important that you go in with them. This will show them that it's safe to get in the water, and you can make the experience a fun game. 

If they are hesitant to follow you, then grab a toy or some tasty treats to further coax them into the water. Measure your dog may take some practice steps before getting all the way in. 

3. Start with short swimming sessions

Swimming is an excellent workout but can be tiring for dogs that are not used to this activity. Keep your sessions short and give them breaks out of the water to relax. Like any workout, short reps are recommended to help improve stamina. 

4. Stick to controlled environments

If your pup is overconfident, they may swim further out into deeper water but may be too exhausted to make it back on their own. Stick to areas of water that you can control, or be prepared to swim faster than your dog. 

5. Safe Escape Route

How to safely get in the water is just as important as getting out. Beaches are pretty straightforward, but if your boating with your dog, jumping off of raised docks, or even taking a dip in your own pool, teaching your dog the safe way to use ramps, stairs, or ladders will ensure they can get out of the water when they need to. 

6. Practice good recall

Teaching your dog good recall will help prevent them from swimming out too far and putting themselves in danger. Keeping them close enough to you that you can swim out to them quickly to provide assistance if necessary is important, so make sure your dog knows to come back when he's called. 

If you've always wanted a swimming companion, but you're not sure which breeds are the strongest swimmers, then this next section will introduce you to some of the best and worst doggy swimmers. 


10 Best Water Dog Breeds

best pet life jackets

Some dogs were literally bred for swimming. If you are looking for a pal to join you at the lake, then here are 10 of the best dog swimmers that would love to join you on your next dip. 

1. Labrador Retrievers

Probably the most well-known breed on our list, and one of the most popular dog breeds in Canada, the Labrador Retriever is a natural-born swimmer. Originally bred to work alongside fishermen, this large breed is is no stranger to the water. 

Labs have both the stamina and energy to keep up with you and probably swim circles around you. Floating toys are a great way to get the most out of your do's swimming adventures. 

2. Poodles

Though many poodles are known for being show dogs, don't let their fancy haircuts fool you. Poodles are very comfortable in the water thanks to their heritage of helping hunters retrieve waterfowl.

Their long legs and slender physique make them excellent swimmers, and they are a high-energy breed, so swimming is the perfect activity to burn some extra energy.

If you are looking for dogs that swim and don't shed, then poodles are the dog for you. Learn more about this non-shedding breed in Dogs That Don't Shed: 23 Best Hypoallergenic Dogs.

3. Irish Water Spaniels

With water right there in the name, it's a no-brainer that these dogs would be strong swimmers. You can't keep Irish Water Spaniels out of the water even if you tried. 

This large breed may look like a giant teddy bear, but they are full of energy and stamina, making them great adventure companions. Whether you are hiking, camping, or just going to your local beach or lake, the Irish Water Spaniel will be happy to tag along.

4. Portuguese Water Dogs

A close relative of the poodle, the Portuguese Water Dog is another of our favourite half dog half fish. This water dog was used to help herd fish into nets for fishermen so they know how to thrive in open water. 

They make great boat dogs and would actually prefer to spend their summers at the lake where they can swim to their heart's content. This high-energy breed won't be easily tuckered out either, so plan for lots of time in the water. 

5. Newfoundlands

You might be surprised to see this burly breed on the list, but Newfies are actually excellent swimmers. Despite their large size and dense coat, Newfoundlands love the water and were originally bred as work dogs for fishermen. 

They are a working breed, so even though they aren't high-energy dogs, they have tons of stamina, making them well-suited to longer swimming sessions. Plus, a cool dip in the summer is just what this long-haired breed ordered. 

6. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

One guess as to what this breed was bred for. If you guessed for rabbit hunting season, then you're Elmer Fudd. Duck Tolling Retrievers were hunting companions for duck and fowl hunters. They would go for a swim and retrieve ducks for hunters. 

They love the water and can deal with cooler temperatures, so don't be surprised if your dog heads for the river in early spring and fall. Their slick coats make them aerodynamic in the water and keep them from getting water-logged. 

7. Golden Retrievers

Another skilled retriever, the golden retriever, is a much more common breed in Canada. They are a jovial and playful breed, and they love to do whatever their humans do, so if you are going for a swim, they'd gladly join you. 

Their flat coat allows them to repel water, keeping them from getting weighed down, and their long muscular legs make them great swimmers. They have lots of stamina and love high-energy activities with their friends, both doggy and human. 

8. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

Tired of retrievers yet? Us neither! The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is one of the more unique-looking retriever breeds. They look a bit like a lab, but with a unique;y textured and dense coat that keeps them warm in colder water. 

They are another hunting companion, accustomed to retrieving prey from the water, so they are natural swimmers. Chessies, as they are colloquially known, are always up for a good time, especially if it involves swimming. 

9. English Setters

This gorgeous lanky breed is a good all-around outdoor dog, but they don't shy away from water. Though they were originally bred for landing hunting, their build makes them dynamic and capable swimmers. 

As one of the highest energy breeds on our list of good swimmers, English Setters can play till they drop and are ideal hiking companions because they can easily participate in a variety of activities in a day. 

10. Spanish Water Dog

As one of the most effective herding breeds, Spanish Water Dogs are built for stamina. They love any outdoor activities that keep them active, especially if their family is involved. They can be nervous around strangers, so make sure they are well-socialized before taking them to a crowded beach. 

They have a denser curly coat that helps protect them from heat, humidity, and cold, so they are comfortable in most mild to hot climates. They have tons of energy, so make sure you have a floating dog toy to help tucker them out. Otherwise, you'll never get them back on land. 

Even the best doggy swimmers can have trouble in the water. Safety gear like pet life vests should always be used to keep your dog safe. 


10 Dogs Breeds That Probably Can't Swim

pet life jackets canada

Not all dogs that love the water can swim. Some breeds just aren't aquatically inclined. This doesn't mean they can't swim at all, but they won't always be strong swimmers and are better sticking to the shallow end of the pool. Here are the top 10 breeds that may not be great swimmers:

Brachycephalic Breeds

Dogs with short snouts are not well-designed for swimming. Their congested nasal passage makes them susceptible to shortness of breath. The short length of the snout also makes it more difficult to keep their airways above water. Here are three brachycephalic breeds that are notoriously bad swimmers:

1. Pugs

Pugs are even more disadvantaged at swimming than most brachycephalic breeds. Their thick bodies ad short legs also hinder their ability to tread water gracefully. Though some pugs may love water play, they will definitely be safest to wear a dog life jacket to keep them from sinking like a rock. 

2. Boxers

Though their long legs might give the impression that swimming is a breeze, many boxers share the same struggles that lots of short-snouted dogs do. In addition, their deep, barrel chests make them very top-heavy, which means they need to kick even harder to keep their heads above the waterline. While boxers are better swimmers than other brachycephalic breeds, they still may struggle, especially in moving bodies of water, like lakes. 

3. Bulldogs

Much like the pug, bulldogs had short noses and stubby legs. Furthermore, they have keg-shaped bodies that allow limited movement of their limbs, making swimming a challenge. Such a dense-bodied breed is better off running along the shoreline or splashing around in a kiddie pool. 

4. Shih Tzus

The smallest brachycephalic breed on our list, Shih Tzu's are not only short-nosed but their long, dense coat can easily waterlog their small bodies. Their small stature and slender frame also make them more likely to catch a chill in cooler water, or if they aren't dried off properly after a swim.  

5. Chow Chows

This giant ball of fluff may look like he'd appreciate a cool dip on a hot day, but be cautious of letting them swim without strict supervision. Their short snouts and dense bodies put them at a high risk of struggling in deep water. Their extremely dense coat will be easily weighed down in the water, making it difficult for them to stay afloat safely. 

Short-Legged Breeds

Dogs will comically short legs are also not great swimmers. Those little paddles are fine for shallow waters but aren't going to be much help if they swim too far out or are treading moving water. They often lack the dexterity and physical stamina to swim well. 

6. Corgis

This stocky breed is at a significant disadvantage in the water due to their odd shape and ridiculously tiny legs. While they may have the energy and drive for swimming, you'd be wise to keep them close to you and use the right safety gear. They can tire easily and may need assistance to keep their heads above water. 

7. Basset Hounds

This extra long scent hound has the gift of an exceptional sense of smell and loves adventure, but he definitely rolled a one on dexterity, making him a notoriously poor swimmer. They have thick, stocky, and short legs that limit their ability to paddle in the water. Keep them in very shallow water or saddle him with a dog life jacket to keep him afloat. 

8. Dachshunds

This small pooch with a silly nickname is one breed that needs a dog life jacket if you want to take him for a swim. Dachshunds are 90% torso and about 2% legs, so the doggy paddle is more of a doggy wiggle, which is not an effective way to tread water. 

9. Shar Pei

This giant ball of wrinkles has the disadvantage of having a stocky body and short legs, making them terrible swimmers. Additionally, Shar Pei's are prone to skin issues, like yeast and dandruff, so swimming in bacteria-ridden open waters could worsen their itchy skin issues. 

Muscular Breeds

This one might be surprising. You'd think a dog with lower body fat than Michael Phelps would be a great swimmer, but that dense, heavy muscle can be a hindrance. Not all muscular dogs struggle with swimming, but we know of one very swol breed that might not thrive in the water. 

10. Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Staffies are like little tanks. They can vary in size, but they are all typically stocky and insanely muscular. They have a medium-length snout and medium-length legs, but their dense core makes it difficult for them to stay afloat for too long. They aren't the worst swimmers on our list, but they are far from natural water dogs. 


All Dogs Can Swim

best pet life jackets

Of course, any of the dogs on our aquatically challenged list can learn to swim, but lots of practice, appropriate supervision, and the correct safety gear should be considered to keep your dog above water. Here are a few tips to consider before letting your dog take the plunge, no matter how experienced a swimmer they may be: 

10 Water Safety Tips for Dogs

Before you take your dog for a dip, you should always keep their safety in mind. Here are a few things you should do to prepare your dog for a fun and safe swim:

1. Check the Temp

Even if the weather feels warm, that doesn't mean the water is. Check the water temp before letting your dog dive in. Not all dogs are built for cold water activities, and if they stay in too long could end up with a nasty case of hypothermia. 

2. Current

Whenever your dog has access to open water, you must consider currents and undertows. Even slow-moving water can have its dangers. Keep your dog close to you, and avoid bodies of water that have unpredictable currents. 

3. Depth

The depth of the water can be a factor too. Having a shallower section of water where your dog can touch the ground when he's feeling tired is always a safe bet. Encourage your dog to stay within a certain distance of the shallower water. 

4. Wildlife

Dogs will naturally be curious about wildlife, so fish, birds, and other creatures that dwell in or near open water could catch your dog's attention. 

5. Water Quality

Dogs don't particularly mind a romp in some muddy water, but dirt isn't the only consideration. Stagnant water, like ponds, can harbour some dangerous bacteria, like Blue-Green Algae or cyanobacteria.

Be cautious of the quality of the water you allow your dog to swim or play in. Stream and lakes can have toxins and pollutants in them, too, so try to stick to cleaner waters that are safe for people to swim in too. 

Swimming pools seem like a safer option due to the limited space, temperature, and depth, but chlorine and other chemicals used in swimming pools aren't great for your dog's skin, nor are they meant to be ingested. 

6. Water Toxicity

Unlike humans who avoid getting lake water in our mouths at all costs, your dog is not as picky. He will likely end up swallowing several gulps of water during his swim. In some cases, dogs consume too much water, leading to water toxicity. This is common in dogs that don't swim all that well and struggle to keep their mouth out of the water while swimming. Check out this article to learn more about water toxicity.

7. Debris

Lakes, ponds, and other bodies of water can have dangerous debris floating in them. This could be something as common as seaweed or logs or trash. To your dog, this debris might look like food or a toy that could tempt your dog to chase it further out than it's safe for them to swim. Alternatively, they could ingest this debris, which could be a choking hazard or toxic. 

8. Sun Exposure

Most doggy swimming activities happen in the summer when the water is warm enough for you to participate. This means your dog could be spending prolonged periods under the hot sun. Limiting sun exposure will prevent sunburns and overheating. 

9. Floating Dog Toys

A good game of fetch in the water is an excellent and high aerobic activity for dogs. To keep this activity safe, stick to toys that float. While some dogs can handle short dives for sinking toys, it's safest to encourage your dog to stay above water. Toys that don't absorb water will also reduce the amount of water your dog ingests while swimming. 

Check out some of our favourite floating toys in 50 Best Dog Toys.

10. Life Jackets

Even strong swimmers should have safety gear. A life jacket is always better to have and not need than the other way around. A high-quality dog life jacket could be the difference between life and death in a dangerous situation. 


Do Dogs Need Life Jackets?

We want our pets to have fun and find new activities, but safety should always be a priority. Having the best dog harness, the right dog collars, and top rate dog life vest will keep your dog safe no matter where your dog-friendly adventures take you. 

Canine life jackets save lives, whether your dog is diving into open water or just splashing around in your pool. It's called a life preserver for a reason, after all. 

So do dogs need life jackets? Yes, they do. Even if your dog is a natural-born swimmer, undertows, currents and waves can quickly turn a fun swimming session into a dangerous activity.

Never leave your dog unattended in the water, and always put on their life jacket. Safety and fun are not mutually exclusive, so don't take any chances with your dog's life. 

Here are a few dog life jacket and dog swimming FAQ's to keep your dog safe:

How Should a Dog Life Jacket Fit?

Make sure your dog's life jacket is appropriately sized and fits your dog securely. The better the fit, the safer the dog life vest is. A loose dog life jacket can twist and slide, making it less effective as your dog moves. If you need to pick up your dog, an ill-fitting life vest can slide right off your dog at a crucial moment. 

Like a harness, a life jacket should fit snuggly against their torso, sitting right behind the front legs and the neckline up to where your dog's collar sits. Girth is more important than length, so don't worry if the life vest looks like a belly shirt. The point is to keep your dogs head above water, not his bum. 

Check out How to Measure Your Dog to learn how and where to measure your dog for all types of outdoor dog gear

Do Dogs Have to Wear Life Jackets on Boats

If your favourite summer activities involve a boat or water vessel, you might wonder if dogs are required to wear life jackets on boats. In Canada, dogs are not required to wear a pet life vest, but that doesn't mean it's not highly recommended. 

In still and shallow water, you may not feel your dog needs this safety equipment, but in deep and open water, moving water like a lake, river, or ocean, and on a moving boat, a dog life jacket is necessary. Even the best-trained dogs can impulsively jump into the water. 

A dog floaties or pet life vest could save your pet's life if they get fatigued or scared in the water. Waves, strong currents and undertows can catch your dog off guard just like they could for you. Even though they are not required by law, if you take your dog on a boat or in any open waters, get them a top rated dog life vest to keep them safe. 

Can Dogs Swim in Salt Water?

Lakes, rivers, and ponds are common swimming holes for dogs, but you might have access to a saltwater body of water like an ocean if you live on a coast. Can dogs safely swim in saltwater? While swimming in saltwater is safe under the right conditions and with the right tools and supervision, saltwater does pose a threat that freshwater does not. 

When dogs swim, they often consume some of the water. Bacteria and pollutants are a big concern if the water your dog is swimming in isn't clean, but if your dog consumes enough saltwater, they can quickly get dehydrated. Even small amounts of salt water can lead to an upset puppy tummy. 

Using a life jacket will keep your dog's head above water and reduce the amount of saltwater your dog can consume. If you see your dog purposely drinking salt water, or any body of water that is meant for swimming, remove them from the area and give them some fresh, clean drinking water instead. 

Can Dogs Swim Underwater?

Most dogs will be satisfied staying at surface level, but dogs can dive underwater. They will likely be comfortable dunking their heads underwater to retrieve a sunken toy or chase a fish. When swimming in open waters, your dog may be more than capable of navigating underwater, but this could put him at risk of getting caught in a current or undertow. 

A pet life jackets Canada will prevent your dog from diving, but it will also prevent him from drowning. Stick to floating dog toys so that your dog is not encouraged to swim underwater. 


Best Dog Life Jackets

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Whether your dog is just dipping his toes in the water or if they are ready to take on a high dive, it's always safest to put on a floatation device. Even the best swimmers get tired or can get caught in a current. 

A good dog life jacket should do more than just keep your dog from going under. You'll want to find the style that best suits your dog's size and needs. The right life vest for your dog should be comfortable, secure, and able to support your dog no matter how vigorous their favourite swimming activities are. 

To help you find the best pet life jacket Canada, we asked some adventure dogs with the help of their dog owners to review some of our favourites and let us know how they held up against their dog's adventures. 

These are some of the top rated dog life vests available in Canada, so let's see if they live up to all the hype!


1. Ruffwear Float Coat

Jasper – Mini Australian Shepherd. 28 lbs. – Wears the Ruffwear Float Coat size Small.

Jasper loves the water! She spends the hot Okanagan summers at the beach and in the water! She loves playing fetch at the dog beach and going out on the paddleboard. She is a much more confident swimmer with her Ruffwear float coat (dog life jacket) on. Whenever I grab the lifejacket out of the closet, Jasper knows she’s going for a swim.

best pet life jacketsPhoto Credit: Jasper (@heyjasper_)


The Ruffwear Float Coat is available in three bright colours, making it easy to see in the water (and to match your paddleboard!). This will help you keep your pet close by and follow him as he explores the water.

The comfortable hourglass-shaped handle on the back of the Ruffwear life jacket makes it easy to lift your dog out of the water. Additionally, the chest and neck material is very supportive, making lifting comfortable for the dog too.

Handle close to head, making it easy to reach when she swims up to me. The ring is hidden beneath the handle for clipping on your leash or tags etc. The loop on the back of the Ruffwear Float Coat is designed to attach Ruffwear Beacon for additional visibility in low light.


Dog Life jackets are bulky by nature, but this one is very lightweight with appropriate thickness making it more comfortable for dogs of all sizes. 

The woven fabric on the exterior is strong and has held up well to Jasper rolling in the sand and rubbing up on rocks (she’s strange). It also has a handle stitched on from the front to the back of this jacket; very strong yet minimalistic in looks.

Hauling around your own gear is already a hassle, so choosing gear for your dog that is compactable and light will make your adventures much easier. The Ruffwear Float Coat folds up easily for storage and transportation, making it the ideal coat if you are planning a variety of outdoor activities. 


The most expensive of all the life jackets (if I’m not mistaken) at just over $120, but it is built tough and won’t need to be replaced for years to come. Amazing quality and craftsmanship. Super comfortable. This is one of the best small dog life jacket. 


Jasper has so much confidence in the water with this life jacket. With it on she will swim after a ball thrown far into the lake and will jump off the paddleboard to swim to a friend or chase some ducks without hesitation.

The handle placement and structure make it easy to grab and lift her out of the water onto the board even while moving. It's built to endure summer after summer of fun in the water. 

Ruffwear Brand Page


2. Hurtta Life Savior

Meet Khali! Like many bully breeds, Khali the Miniature Bull Terrier just can’t swim. She is often around rivers, lakes, and ponds, even more when hiking, kayaking or enjoying the cottage on the weekends. It is very important that Khali is safe around the water. When Kahli was just 10 weeks old she tried out a generic life jacket that didn’t even keep her afloat, so we asked her to review the Hurtta Life Saviour.

pet life jackets canadaPhoto Credit: Khali (@bulliesgonewild)


Of all the life jackets we have owned for Kahli, the Hurtta Life Saviour is by far my favourite. You have a few excellent colour choices to choose from, the sizes are super adjustable, and I was overall impressed with the function and quality of this life jacket.

The chest piece on this life jacket kept Kahli’s head comfortably above the water. Overall, she seemed most confident swimming in this life jacket. Kahli was also very comfortable with us lifting her in this jacket.

We were able to lift her out of the water and onto the boat, back into the water, and even just carry her around without any discomfort. The belly band is very supportive, which is very important if you Kayak or do any water sports that involve lifting.


The Hurtta Life Savior is a bit bulky but by far the most buoyant out of the jackets we tried for Homes Alive Pets. Everything on this jacket feels like it was made to last your dog’s entire life. This makes is a great large dog life jacket. 

There is even an identification tag on the side so you can label the jacket with your pup’s name. The handle feels thick and strong, so I was comfortable relying on that to hoist Kahli into my kayak. While this jacket was thick, it was also super lightweight. Kahli was able to run and play on land without having her movement restricted.


The Hurtta Life Saviour will run you $79.99 - $90.99 depending on the size you require for your pup. I truly believe you are getting every nickel worth out of this one – the quality is superb. Everything about this life jacket feels durable! Plus, Hurtta backs their products 100%.


Khali's top choice is the Hurtta Life Saviour to purchase, personally. There is nothing about this life jacket that even slightly disappoints me and I trust that it will keep Kahli safe for years to come.

Kahli and I felt most confident when she was wearing the Hurtta Life Jacket out of the others we tried. I also like the colour options, of course. Bright colours are not only fun - but definitely help with visibility as well.

Hurtta Adventure Gear


3. Kurgo Surf N Turf Life Jacket

Khali's back for another review! Her lack of swimming prowess doesn't stop her from loving the water. We asked Khali to try out another dog life jacket to find out what she thought!

best pet life jacketsPhoto Credit: Khali (@bulliesgonewild)


Overall, the Kurgo Surf N Turf Life Jacket does the job and a little moreover. It kept Kahli above the water and didn’t restrict her movement when it came to swimming. The fit of this jacket is pretty awesome! It is slim and fits sleek to your dog.

I also like that the flotation layer can zip out, which makes the jacket double as a water barrier for rain or snow days. My only complaint would be the belly strap design. If you’re looking to lift your dog in and out of the water or in and out of a boat/kayak, then this one may not be the right fit for you.

The belly straps do not have any padding like some of the other life jackets out there, and the nylon straps were irritating Kahli’s stomach area within a few lifts. Otherwise, this jacket had a really nice fit and was not very bulky, especially for a small dog.


The Kurgo Surf N Turf Life Jacket was fast drying. I also really like that there are multiple D rings (and two handles), so you can get creative with hanging onto your dog.

As mentioned before, I do wish there was some sort of padding or webbing on the belly straps to prevent chafing. I like that the adjustable straps can be tucked in to keep them out of the way when your dog is swimming, though.

BONUS! – this one comes in with a bottle opener on the back (not even kidding).


The Kurgo Surf N Turf Life Jacket is regularly $47.99 - $72.99 at Homes Alive Pets (dependent on your size requirement) and doubles as a waterproof shell, so you can use it all year round.


There are plenty of pros when it comes to the Kurgo Life Jacket, but a few cons as well that I find hard to get over. If you don’t lift your dog out of the water at all, and you want a superb fit, then this is a great option.

This jacket would be particularly amazing for those dogs that don’t like the cumbersome feeling of wearing a bulky lifejacket.


Shop All Kurgo Gear



Those were some of our top reviewed best pet life jackets, but if none of them seem like they are the perfect fit for your dog, check out some of our newest dog life jackets styles:


Best Floating Dog Toys for Summer

Floating dog toys are a great way to encourage your dog to be active in the water. Make sure that you bring along a floating dog toy to make swimming a fun and rewarding game. Fetch in the water encourages more physical activity and can help tucker your dog out even more than a walk. 

Look for toys that are light and aerodynamic so that you can really give your dog a work out. Consider the shape and design too. The toy should be easy to grab so that you dog can quickly and safely bring the toy back to land.

Here are some of our favourite floating dog toys:

Ruffwear Lunker Floating Throw Toy

pet life jackets canadaIf your dog is a true water dog, then the Ruffwear Lunker is the toy for you. The soft throw toy used 100% recyclable foam to keep it afloat. The durable polyester fabric makes it lightweight and easy to pick up but durable enough for dogs that play hard.

West Paw Design Sailz Dog Toy

best pet life jacketsFrisbees make great water toys, but the West Paw Design Sailz Frisbee is our favourite. Made from recyclable Zogoflex material and recycled ocean-bound plastic, called Seaflex, this disc is lightweight, flexible, durable, and it floats! The unique, disc golf inspired design makes it easy for your dog to grab in the water.

Chuckit! Launcher and Chuckit! Ultra Balls

pet life jackets canadaFor dogs with lots of energy, the Chuckit! Launcher is just what you need to bring to the beach. This classic launcher not only lets you throw the ball farther, but you never have to touch the soaked and slimy ball with your hands. Chuckit! Ultra Balls float too, so you'll never lose a ball in the water again!

Kurgo Skipping Stones

best pet life jacketsThese floating skipping stones are an excellent toy to take to the lake. Kurgo Skipping Stones are shaped like real stones and they are fun for both you and your pooch. They come in three bright colours, making them easy to spot in the water.


Safety First

First and foremost, you want to keep your pets safe, but that doesn't mean that we need to deprive them of fun. If your dog is a natural water dog, then, by all means, let them swim, but do your due diligence by making sure they know how to swim, don the appropriate safety gear, and stick to bodies of water that you are familiar with. 

Never, ever leave your dog unattended in the water, even if it's a spot they are familiar with. With the right tools and tips, you can make swimming a regular part of your dog's summer activities. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise for chunky pups and an excellent way to keep your dog cool on a hot summer day. 

Is your dog a good swimmer, or does he sink like a rock? Let us know in the comments how you keep your doggo safe in the water!

Written by

Krystn Janisse

Krystn is a passionate pet nutrition enthusiast. She has worked in the pet industry for over a decade and loves to share her passion for animal welfare with others. She loves all animals but is currently channeling some crazy cat lady vibes with her four lovable, but rebellious cats.


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