When beach season finally arrives, it’s only natural that we don’t want to leave our pets out of the fun. Just like us, our pups love to splash in the water, jump in the puddles and splash each other on a hot summer day. But even though we can finally let loose and relax, it’s still worth keeping an eye on our dogs’ safety and put a dog life jacket on him. After all, the devil never sleeps.
How to choose the best dog life jacket: practical tips
While some dog breeds are born to swim, others are rather born to sink. However, even the best swimmers can be surprised when out in the open water, so it’s a good idea to dress your four-legged friend in a dog life jacket when spending the day near water. This is especially true for French Bulldogs, who are particularly bad swimmers due to their body shape. In this article, we’ve put together some of the considerations you should take into account when choosing the right dog life jacket, as well as the products we’ve found to be the most suitable.
If you’re planning a holiday, the question of buying a dog life jacket has probably come up. The range is almost limitless, but choosing the right life jacket is a key task.
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First of all, we would like to mention the size. It’s best to visit a shop where you can put the dog life jacket on your pet. A few things to look out for when choosing the right size: the jacket should fit your dog’s body snugly, but the straps should not be too tight to avoid chafing or cutting the skin. Choose a jacket in which your dog can move comfortably on land, such as sitting or walking. A French Bulldog might need a jacket that has a chin float to help keep the head above water.
All life jackets have handles on the back. This will help you to easily lift your dog out of the water in case of trouble. For small dog breeds, one handle is sufficient, but for larger dogs, make sure you choose a jacket with two handles for a safe rescue. A proper dog life jacket also has a support panel or thick straps under the belly to help lift a dog out of the water.
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Today you can find almost any color and pattern of dog life jacket on the market. However, it’s best to choose a life jacket in a color that is completely different from the water color, as this will make it easier to spot your doggy in the water. So don’t choose a white, blue, navy, green, gray, or black vest. We vote for the classic neon orange! Even better if it has reflective accents.
The best small and medium dog life jackets
This life jacket comes in all sizes, and your French Bulldog would need either a Small or a Medium size, depending on his chest measurements. This jacket leaves enough room for the dog to feel comfortable to take a nap. It’s also less hot to wear due to its open sides. However, as its name suggests, this is a sport life jacket, meaning that it’s designed for skilled swimmer dogs, and it only assists swimming, but doesn’t really float. Therefore, if you are looking for a life jacket for a Frenchie, we would suggest you look for one with a high level of buoyancy.
This dog life jacket has a high strength D-buckle anchor point on the back in case you’d want to attach a leash to it. Its grab handle is convenient, and the jacket is made of heavy duty polyester that comes in highly visible colors (red and yellow) with some reflective piping on the sides. It’s easy to put on, and is safe for even large breeds too. Our only concern is the lack of chin float. Otherwise, it’s a great choice for new swimmers!
Here comes our number one choice when it comes to Frenchie swimming! This jacket comes in a highly visible orange color with reflective pipes, and two safety handles in case your pooch has grown too heavy to pick up with one hand. Its outstanding flotation makes swimming and playing in the water a super fun activity even if your Frenchie hasn’t learned to swim at all!
The best life jackets for large dogs
We are aware that many of you own multiple dogs, even large size breeds besides your Frenchie. So we’ve collected the best life jackets for your larger dogs too!
This lightweight neoprene life jacket allows your pet to move comfortably in the water. It has four reflective accents and a bright color that offers increased visibility so you can always spot your pet in and out of the water. The front panel has a flotation flap that helps support your dog’s head and keep it above water. The side panels contain additional neoprene for extra buoyancy and warmth. The three adjustable straps with side-release buckles help you get the perfect fit for comfort and safety. The grab handles on top let you quickly and easily pull your pet out of the water in the case of an emergency. For dry land, a D-ring on the back allows you to attach a leash when necessary. According to buyers, its size runs a little bigger than usual, therefore we’d suggest you to order one size smaller than usually you’d! We consider this item as the best dog life jacket for xl dogs.
Here comes another neoprene life jacket for large breeds. This life jacket features foam neoprene side panels for maximum buoyancy and thermal insulation. The front float fits under your dog’s neck to support her head and keep it above water. Its quick-release snaps with adjustable straps on the belly and neck ensure a secure and comfortable fit. However, it’s not a well designed product, according to some owners. It straps around the neck and chest, but has no straps over the stomach area. Much of the flotation is toward the back end of the jacket, and absent a strap to hold it tight, the vest merely floats above the dog’s hind end, without floating the dog with it. The straps are not made for heavy use, and start ripping after a few months.
This life jacket seems to be the perfect fit if you own a large dog! It has everything we talked about: sleek design, reflective accents, bright color, three adjustable straps with side-release buckles, two grab handles, D-ring and 20mm thick foam panels for maximal buoyancy. This type comes in all sizes too. However, small breeds cannot easily move around as it’s too bulky for them. If you consider purchasing this item, be aware that the sizing chart reflects large breeds’ sizes! This is the best life jacket for xxl dogs.
+1 shark dog life jacket
Shark dog life jackets are not just fun-looking, but are actually really helpful when it comes to spotting your doggy in and out the water! The optional fin attached with button snaps offer increased visibility. This life jacket is designed with a 20mm foam panel for buoyancy. The front panel has a flotation flap that supports your dog’s head and keeps it above water. Perfect and fun choice for Frenchies, if you go swimming in a pool. Due to its color, we wouldn’t recommend using it in open water.
Be cautious with mermaid dog life jackets
We love dressing up our Frenchies, and a mermaid dog life jacket could be tempting when going to the beach. They look super cute indeed, but that’s all. In fact, mermaid life jackets are pretty dangerous! They do not float well, and your puppy could lose balance and roll over in the water. Most of them are made of cheap materials and shred at the first time you’re trying to use it. We do not recommend them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best dog life jacket?
The best dog life jackets are designed with four qualities in mind: buoyancy, visibility, handles, and floatation.
How to measure a dog for a life jacket?
Measure your dog’s chest and neck perimeter.
How should a dog life jacket fit?
A nicely fitting dog life jacket should fit your dog’s body snugly, but the straps should not be too tight to avoid chafing or cutting the skin.
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What life jacket should I choose for my Frenchie?
We strongly recommend you the Outward Hound Granby RipStop Dog Life Jacket, which you can purchase through our website. If you decide to buy this item, we will receive a small commission from Chewy.com that we spend on developing our breeder’s program.
Our TomKings Frenchie Family members have also shared their experiences about the topic, if you’d like to read these, feel free to join our Facebook group!
The article is based on the expert knowledge of the TomKings Puppies team who have been breeding French Bulldogs for 10 years on their farm. If you have any questions or comments, let us know below the article!