The Best Hunting Life Jacket For Dogs

By Charles •  Updated: 12/26/20 •  11 min read
As an Amazon Associate, Alpha and Omega Outdoors may earn from qualifying purchases.

Your hunting dog is likely your best hunting partner. They rely on you to take care of them and keep them safe no matter what. To that end, you should make sure you are doing everything you can to protect them if something goes wrong. Maybe the best thing you can do to ensure their safety around water is to get the best hunting life jacket for dogs.

A Brief List Of The Best Hunting Life Jackets For Dogs

In case you want to skip all the explanations and reviews, I thought I would give you the list up front.

Why Should I Use a Hunting Life Jacket for My Dogs?

Even if your dog is a wonderful swimmer, wearing a life jacket can help make your dog more visible. Reflective tapes and fabrics as well a nice hunter orange will help to increase visibility if your boat or canoe tips and you are separated on the water. In cold water or water with strong currents, a few seconds might make the difference in guaranteeing your dog’s safety.

Does My Hunting Dog Need a Life Jacket If It Is a Strong Swimmer?

Your hunting dog could easily panic if something such as a boat accident happens all the sudden.  Maybe he or she just falls overboard. The panic of the moment, undertows, currents, waves, or the cold temperatures of hunting season can quickly overwhelm even the strongest swimmers.

Even if your dog is just retrieving from shore, they can suffer from fatigue in open water. This is especially true on cold mornings. A good life jacket can help keep a hunting dog’s head above water in emergencies. In addition, using a life jacket for your dog will allow them to use less energy while retrieving all of the ducks and geese you bring down.

When Does My Dog Need A Hunting Life Jacket?

Without a doubt whenever your dog is on a boat. Studies have shown that 80% of human boating fatalities are caused by drowning, and in 83% of those cases, the victim was not wearing a life jacket. If it is a good Idea for humans to be safer, why not you best hunting partner.  After all, you dog is just a susceptible to hypothermia, fatigue, currents, or being struck with floating items as a human.

How Do I Know If a Hunting Life Jacket Will Fit My Dog?

Just like for yourself, you should make sure that you dog’s life jacket fits correctly. Otherwise, it will not do much good. There are a few steps you should take before ordering a hunting life jacket for your dogs to make sure it fits.

How To Check The Fit Of The Hunting Life Jacket For A Dog After Receiving It

  1. Unclip and loosen all buckles and straps on the life jacket.
  2. Place the life jacket on your dog.
  3. Connect the neck clip and tighten it until snug.  You will want to leave enough freedom for your dog to still move.
  4. Next you will connect and tighten all the chest straps. You want to make sure you dog can still breathe easily and has freedom of movement.

Do not just throw your dog in the water at this point. Let them run around for a while, maybe try some fetch.  You want to make sure the life jacket stays where it belongs and that your dog is comfortable during this time. After this, if all is well, let your dog go for a swim to see how they react and the life jacket holds up.

Features A Hunting Dog Life Jacket Should Have

Most life jackets for hunting dogs look similar and choosing one can be overwhelming. Therefore, I have made a short list of features that you should be looking for when shopping for the best hunting life jacket for dogs.

My Choices For The Best Hunting Life Jackets For Dogs

Upgrade Choice: Hurtta Life Savior PFD

The Hurtta Life Savior PFD is my Upgrade Choice for the best hunting life jacket for dogs. The upgrade choice is for those of us that are willing to pay a higher price for the absolute best quality. You may be paying a higher price but you are getting a higher quality product that should last for years to come.

The Hurtta Life Savior is a high-quality vest that is light and functional for your hunting dog in the water and on the land.

  • This vest will work well with all types of fur.
  • The Hurtta Life Savior is built to last. This life jacket is designed and built better than anything else on the market.
  • Every seam, every strap, every inch of the jacket is well researched, well made, and high functioning.
  • Leash ring allows you to attach a leash or a strobe light.
  • All of the straps are infinite loops. This means no extra strap hanging loose to get stuck on things.
  • The design of the back padding allows your dog to remain upright and in swimming position, while extra padding across the chest will keeps your hunting dog’s head out of the water.
  • The material of the jacket is thick yet flexible and is sure to hold up to years of use and abuse.
Best Hunting Life Jacket For Dogs Upgrade Review Pick

The Hurtta Life Savior Features:

Pros:

  • This hunting dog life vest has a low-profile and is flexible. This means it allows your dog to run, swim, and retrieve your duck much easier.
  • The orange color of this vest provides an alternative to all of the camouflage vests on the market. When hunting in a group this is a nice benefit to provide safety for your dog.
  • Reflective material and straps can help to locate your dog in the dark.

Cons:

  • When a dog is on the larger size, of one of the size classes, the enclosure and Velcro straps are a little short.

Editors Choice: NRS Dog Life Jacket

The NRS Dog Life Jacket is my Editor’s Choice for the best hunting life jacket for dogs. The editor’s choice provides the perfect mix of quality and price. You will not be disappointed in the quality of this vest. In addition, the price is still within reason and will not break the bank.

NRS is leader in the rafting and kayaking world. Since 1972, they have been making high quality gear for river guides and backcountry river expeditions. They gave this hunting life jacket for dogs the same attention to detail and craftmanship that they put into their human vests.

  • The NRS Dog Life Jacket is constructed from 1000-denier Cordura shell to be tough and take a beating if needed.
  • Plastic buckles secure the life jacket with three adjustment straps at the waist and neck for comfort and great fit.
  • Grab handle makes getting your dog back into the boat easy.
  • Rugged leash ring allows you to attach a leash or a strobe light.
  • Reflective safety tape added to the back for extra visibility.
  • Zippered pocket stows your leash, dog snacks or other accessories.
  • Available in 5 different sizes from X-small to X-large.
Best Hunting Life Jacket For Dogs Editors Choice Review Pick

Pros:

  • This vest is less bulky than most of the other options out there allowing more freedom of movement.
  • The flotation material is on the back instead of the sides. This seemed to give my dog more stability in the water and greater freedom when swimming.
  • I love the included pocket. This gave me a place to keep a leash and some other items stored without having to carry them myself.
  • The D-ring is it a great place to attach a leash or a strobe light.

Cons:

  • I found this life jacket a little harder to adjust than some of the others I tried.  However, once you have it figured out, you should not have any problems.
  • Red is the only color option. I would prefer a brighter orange or camo for a hunting life jacket for dogs. Again, this is not the end of the world since red is still pretty visible.
  • Not as much reflective tape as other options.

Best Value: Camo Dog Life Jacket

The Camo Dog Life Jacket is my best value pick for the best hunting life jacket for dogs. This simply means that I feel this life jacket is still of sufficient quality to be a good buy while having a lower price than our other choices. This item will get the job done or I would not recommend it at all.

If you are looking for a camouflage hunting life jacket for your dog, then the Camo Dog Life Jacket is perfect.   

  • This hunting life jacket for your dog is well constructed with soft polyester oxford core, a middle layer of flexible nylon fabric and a breathable mesh outer layer.
  • The vest offers foam neoprene side panels. These panels offer extra buoyancy and insulating qualities to help keep dogs warm in the water.
  • Durable Velcro straps and adjustable quick release buckles.
  • Available in 5 different sizes: XS – XL
  • Reflective accents have been added along the straps. This will help to keep your dog visible at night, dusk, and dawn.
  • Top handle will allow you to easily maneuver your hunting dog out of the water and back into the boat.
Best Hunting Life Jacket For Dogs Best Value Review Product

Pros:

  • This hunting dog life jacket has a low-profile and is flexible. This means it allows your dog to run, swim, and retrieve your duck much easier.
  • Lightweight mesh fiber is comfortable and dries quickly
  • Reflective material and straps can help to locate your dog in the dark.
  • The D-ring is it a great place to attach a leash or a strobe light.

Cons:

  • When a dog is on the larger size of one of these life jackets size categories, the enclosure and Velcro straps are a little short.
  • May run a little small. Get a size up if you believe you dog will be towards the upper limit of a size range.
  • I found that sometimes the Velcro would stick to the carpet in my boat. This irritated my lab a little.

Feature Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Charles

Charles is a man who loves the outdoors. He moved to Wyoming specifically to spend more time in the mountains and wilderness. A hunter and fisherman, Charles knows how to enjoy nature and all that it has to offer. He is an outdoorsman through and through, and he wouldn't have it any other way. Charles is the President of Absaroka Enterprises, an company focuse on outdoor entertainment and endeavours. He's also an Editor for Alpha and Omega Outdoors, an online hunting, fishing, camping, trapping, and all around outdoors blog.