Pitbulls love a good splish splash in the water!
Well…Pitbulls generally love spending time anywhere their humans are, including in the water!
But eagerness alone won’t make a Pitbull a good swimmer and the combination of a short nose, short limbs, and a muscular body doesn’t end up making them very strong swimmers.
That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy swimming with your Pitbull, but it does mean that a life jacket is generally a good idea if you’re spending time in anything deeper than a wading pool. Not only will a life jacket be safer for your Pitbull, but there’s also a good chance they’ll enjoy the water a bit more since they won’t have to work quite so hard at staying afloat.
We’re going to take a closer look at what makes a life jacket good for Pitties along with some of our favorite options but if you just want to skip ahead and see which jackets made the list you can check them out here:
- Best Overall: Outward Hound Dawson Life Jacket
- Runner Up: Vivaglory Dog Life Jackets
- Silliest Design: Queenmore Dog Life Jacket
- Best on a Budget: Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
- Best High Buoyancy for New Swimmers: EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device
Before we take a closer look at each of these jackets, let’s break down what you should look for in a great life jacket for your Pittie pup!
What To Look For In A Life Jacket For Your Pitbull?
While there are some standard features that you need to see in every life jacket, there are also quite a few that fall into the “nice to have” category. These are things like handles, d-rings for leashes, cute styles, and more.
Exactly what you go for, will depend on where you plan on taking your Pitbull swimming. If you’re hitting the dog-friendly pool for a few laps, then a silly shark-dog style life jacket will be all you need.
But if instead, you’re taking your Pittie paddle boarding, boating, or just enjoying some deeper water, you’re going to want to look for some extra features.
Our list includes great jackets for just about any situation, but just consider where you’ll be swimming as you check out our list.
D-Rings for Sturdy Leash Attachments
D-Rings, which are just the loops that leashes attach to, can be a very convenient add-on to any jacket!
In some cases, it will actually make more sense to drop the collar entirely and connect your leash directly up to the life jacket. Not only does that mean one less thing to carry around and keep track of but a life vest is typically going to be more secure than a collar alone.
Not every life jacket will have a D-ring and not all of them will be metal. If you’re planning on doing a combination of hiking and swimming, or just want extra control of your Pitbull, consider grabbing one with a solid D-ring.
Warmth and Comfort
Pitbulls have a short, single coat that offers very little warmth or water resistance. As a result, they can quickly lose body temperature and end up surprisingly cold. Not only can a life jacket keep your Pittie above the water, but it can also help offset some of that heat loss.
Of course, a life jacket needs to keep your Pitbull afloat, but it also needs to keep them right side up! While they’re a far cry from pugs (who probably shouldn’t be swimming at all) our Pitbulls do have shorter snouts that are hard to keep out of the water. It also doesn’t help that muscle sinks and Pitbulls are well known for their dense, muscular bodies!
So not only do we need a life jacket with plenty of floatation material but we also want it to be in the right spot and for Pitties that’s going to mean extra floating power on the front of the vest near the neck.
They need all the help they can get to keep their bulky heads above water!
Visibility and Style
Dog life jackets come in a wide range of styles and which one you pick will depend on where you’re going to swim. If you’re boating or hitting a lake then having some extra visibility can go a long way. Whether that’s via a bright color fabric or added reflective accents, you’ll want to make sure that people can see your Pitbull. This is especially true for darker colored Pitties that can blend into darker water.
But if you’re just hitting the pool in the backyard then visibility may not be as important- that means it’s probably time for the shark fin!
How To Find A Life Jacket That Fits Your Pitbull
Life jacket sizing usually takes two factors into consideration: chest circumference and weight. The circumference of the chest, sometimes called girth, is the more important measurement and in most cases, your Pitties weight should line up with their chest circumference.
However, a problem arises when you combine a Pitbull’s thick neck, large chest, and short body. Some dog accessories that were meant to fit like a vest can turn into a dress instead! That’s because our Pitties have the chest of a much bigger dog but not the torso length.
When it comes to life jackets, they typically run shorter than other dog accessories but the overall length is still something we need to pay attention to. I’ve made sure to avoid any extra-long life jackets on this list and they’re all Pittie approved!
Best Life Jackets for Pitbull
With the basics out of the way, let’s dive into the individual reviews starting with our pick for the best overall!
Best Overall: Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket
- SIZING BASED ON GIRTH: Dogs come in all shapes and sizes so whether your dog is short and stout or long...
- NOVICE-SWIMMER FRIENDLY: Made with high-quality neoprene side panels for comfortable buoyancy in water...
Our best overall pick features neoprene panels that will not only help your Pittie stay afloat but will also go a long way to helping them stay warm. Neoprene is the same material used in wet suits and as we’ve already discussed most Pitties need a little help staying warm in the water. While it’s a common material in human life jackets, Neoprene is a bit more rare in the world of dog life jackets.
For humans, neoprene life jackets are typically considered more comfortable than nylon or other materials. Which shouldn’t be surprising when you think about how soft and squishy the stuff is!
That also means Pitties will find it more comfortable than other materials. After all, it doesn’t matter how good a life jacket is if your pup is trying to take it off the entire time or can’t wear it for long periods.
There are also four very vibrant colors to choose from and each has reflective accents for even more visibility. The Dawson life jacket also has two sturdy handles to help your pup onto the boat or the deck of a pool. If you’re sticking to beaches or pools with stairs the handles might not mean much to you, but if you’re doing any kind of boating they’ll most certainly come in handy as Pitbulls can have a hard time getting their back end out of the water.
The only downside to this jacket is the lack of a D-ring. At the time of writing, the product page has some confusing information, and parts of it mention that there’s a D-ring while others don’t.
However, I can assure you that there is no D-ring on this jacket which means you’ll need to use your Pittie’s collar or get creative. If that’s a deal-breaker, then keep reading because we’ve plenty of other options with a D-ring.
Overall, the Outward Hound Dawson makes a great all-around jacket. It’s got floatation panels in the right spots, including upfront to support your Pittie’s big noggin, a clean design, and neoprene to make the jacket warm and comfortable.
It also helps that there’s a ton of positive reviews across the internet. You can read more reviews and check out today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: There’s a lot to love about this life jacket but the neoprene material is really what makes this one stand out.
What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see a D-ring added to this jacket and that’s probably the only thing it’s missing.
Runner Up: Vivaglory Dog Life Jackets
- Measure Before Purchase: before choosing a size, please measure your dog's ribcage at the DEEPEST part;...
- Safety: Upgraded with ripstop 600D cloth, our patented design dog life jacket is more durable than normal...
This life jacket from Vivaglory is our runner-up and makes another great option for Pitbulls. It’s made of 600D cloth, which is a type of heavy-duty polyester fabric and while it won’t keep your Pitbull warm like neoprene would it is easier on the budget.
There are also 10 different color options and each of them features reflective accents on key areas of the jacket. Unlike our best overall pick, you’ll also find a D-Ring on the front of the jacket where you can attach a leash.
However, the D-ring is made from plastic so if your Pittie is prone to pulling it’s probably not the best. But it’s easy enough to upgrade to a carabiner to make it more leash-friendly.
There’s also a nice balance of padding with an extra front floating to help your Pitbull’s snout stay out of the water. While the best overall pick is focused on floatation and warmth, this Vivaglory jacket is more of a general purpose jacket that’s ready for almost anything you can throw at it.
You can read more reviews and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: It’s got everything you need in a life jacket with tons of color options.
What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see a stronger metal D-ring instead of a plastic one.
Silliest Design: Queenmore Dog Life Jacket
- Waterproof & Secure Material: Make of high quality oxford cloth and polyethylene foam, an advanced...
- Features: Adjustable nylon straps, quick release buckles, heavy duty yet more comfortable magic sticker...
What’s that in the water?! It’s coming right for us…and now it’s licking us!
Yep, this life jacket will not only keep your Pittie floating but it will also turn them into a bonafide shark-dog with a dorsal fin. Or, if you’d prefer, you can add a mermaid tail!
But I’m definitely all about the shark-dog! Even if you don’t go for a silly design, it’s still worth checking out some of the Amazon reviews to see happy pups proudly wearing their life jackets!
However, this life jacket isn’t all about being silly- it also works!
It’s got a super sturdy handle centered at the top of the life jacket (in front of the dorsal fin of course) and a D-ring right behind your dog’s head. It is a plastic D-ring but it’s got a lot more reinforcement than the one we saw on the Vivaglory. It will hold up to some pulling but I wouldn’t count on it the same way you would a metal clip.
While it will keep your Pittie afloat, it’s missing some of the extra padding on the front that we’ve seen in some of our other options. That makes this a better choice for intermediate swimmers or shorter swimming trips.
There are also reflective accents to increase visibility but the overall color is gray so if visibility is a major concern I wouldn’t go with the shark design. However, the mermaid-style is quite bright so it’s a better bet for low visibility situations.
Overall, even though it’s a silly design, it’s still a functional life jacket. It’s probably best for shorter swimming trips and the D-ring will help you easily transition from swimming to walking and back again.
You can read more reviews and check out the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: Would you even believe me if I said anything other than the shark fin?
What I Wish It Had: It’s been an issue across several life jackets, but I’d still love to see this same design with a metal D-ring.
Best on a Budget: Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
If you want a great jacket without breaking the bank, this life jacket from Frisco is a great option. It’s a great all-around life jacket with bright colors, great buoyancy (including an extra head floaty), and even has a D-ring. You can also pick it up for a very budget-friendly price!
But is it really enough for you Pittie’s big noggin?
Here’s what one Chewy reviewer had to say, “This has completely changed my dog’s view of water!! I have a pit mix so she has a large head and muscley arms, so it’s hard for her to stay above water. This life jacket is perfect because it holds her head up to help her keep swimming. The handles on top are very sturdy and it fits perfectly!”
I’d say that’s a yes!
The only downside I can really point out with this jacket is the lack of color options. You’re left with orange and gray and while it’s a classic life jacket color combination, some folks may want some additional variety.
You really can’t go wrong with this jacket and it’s got all the basics at a budget-friendly price. Because Frisco is a Chewy-only brand, you can only pick up this life jacket from Chewy and you can click here to see the latest price.
What I Love About It: Everything you need at a budget-friendly price.
What I Wish It Had: More colors! While style isn’t the main thing we’re looking for here, I may have gotten spoiled from all the other color options we’ve seen in other life jackets!
Best High Buoyancy: EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device
- BEST HIGH-PERFORMANCE FLOTATION DEVICE DOG LIFE VEST JACKET: Combining advanced manufacturing techniques...
- ADJUSTABLE DESIGN WITH 50% MORE FLOATION MATERIAL: Adjustable neoprene straps form an ergonomic, secure...
The EzyDog life jacket (or as they say “doggy floatation device”) is one of the higher buoyancy options on the market which makes it a great option for new swimmers or Pitties that just need a little extra help.
But your Pitbull doesn’t have to be a remedial swimmer to enjoy this jacket and it’s a great option for more confident Pitbulls that are ready for longer swims, too!
The folks at EzyDog make the claim that this life jacket has 50% more floatation material than other life jackets. That claim may be a little tough to fully validate but it’s clear that there’s plenty of padding on this jacket with special attention paid to the head and chest region where a Pittie needs it most.
You’ve also got your standard handles and even a D-Ring towards the front of the jacket. I love that the belly straps are neoprene! While it’s not enough to make a major difference in your Pittie’s heat loss, the neoprene straps are more comfortable than nylon.
But I’m not the only one that’s happy with this life jacket and there are actually quite a few Amazon reviews from happy pit parents that you can check out here.
What I Love About It: There’s a ton of buoyancy boosting padding on this jacket, especially around the front to support big pitbull noggins!
What I Wish It Had: I love the colors but I’d love to see more. As it stands, there are only two choices.
Even though Pitbulls love water, they’re not always the best swimmers. A proper life jacket can make the experience more enjoyable for your Pittie but also less stressful for you!
In some cases, they can even make your pit the coolest in town as they sport their brand new dorsal fin!