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December 08, 2022 15 min read

Best Camo Life Jackets For Dogs Reviewed

Dog wearing a GILI camo life jacket

Paddle boarding with dogs is an absolute dream come true. There is no better feeling than cruising along the water with your four-legged best friend for company. So, let’s discuss safety and style for aquatic canines!

As they look out from the nose of your SUP, it is our job to ensure their safekeeping. We are taking them out of their depth (literally!), so we need to prepare them for every eventuality with a doggie life jacket. From the largest breeds to the small dogs, you will be able to find a suitable PFD to fit your pooch. 

But what about when it comes to camo dog life vests? There is more to these jackets than a fashion statement and pup paddle board accessory! In this article, we will explore the why and what about camo dog life jackets. We will help you find the best camo dog life jackets for your dog as we compare different PFD and camo life vests to find the best overall.

Why Use A Camo Dog Life Vest

The purpose of a dog life jacket is fairly simple – they provide buoyancy and aid to your furry friend in waters that are too deep to touch the bottom. 

Perhaps you are an angler or enjoy hunting. A PFD keeps your four-legged friend safe on your SUP or if they are chasing downed waterfowl. So, what are the benefits of a camo dog life vest? 

  • Camouflage design. Yes, this one is obvious but still needs stating. If you are fishing, hunting, or simply do not want to disturb the wildlife, having your dog wearing camouflage will help by reducing the visibility. Or, you may simply just love camo!
  • Level of buoyancy. Float is a factor but not the sole purpose of a camo dog life vest, but they do help in emergencies.
  • Grab handles. A dog life jacket doubles up as a harness, so you can hoist your pooch out of the water and back on board the stand-up paddle board, or simply quickly get hold of them. 
  • Warmth layer. Days spent out on the water fishing can be long and you don’t want your pup getting cold. A neoprene layer can really help keep them warm.

What To Look For In Camo Dog Life Vests

Women helping her dog wear a Camo life jacket

When searching for the best dog life jackets, there are some key features you need to bear in mind. From practical function to aesthetics and style, considering the following aspects will help you find the best camo life jacket for your water-loving dogs.

Buoyancy

Buoyancy levels do vary depending on what type of dog life jacket you go for. Similar to PFDs that we wear, dog life jackets use foam panels to provide float. Most offer a general, all-round level of buoyancy. Some focus on the neck to keep the dog’s head above water. 

Even the best paddlers tire easily if caught in strong currents. Just having a basic amount of float in the life jacket can provide enough assistance to your dog to get them to safety.

Visibility

Typically, high visibility in bright colors and reflective panels are recommended so you can spot your dog in the water easily. However, camouflage patterns have a slightly different goal. The main feature of the camo material is to blend into the surroundings and not be bright. 

Most of the best camo dog life vests do also include reflective piping to help your dog stay visible without being too vibrant. 

Determining how visible you want the dog's PFD depends on your intended use or activity. If it is more for style then you can get away with a bold camo design.

Warmth

Long days out on the water can get cold, even for our furry friends. It is surprising how much a layer of neoprene can do to help keep dogs from getting a chill. 

If you are planning on taking your dog paddle boarding in the colder Fall months, or even Winter, then they will appreciate a good quality material on their backs. 

Size and Fit

Most importantly, you need to ensure that your dog is comfortable in whichever life jacket you choose. That is where size and fit come in. 

Choosing the correct size will ensure your dog is comfortable and has full movement in the life jacket. You do not want them restrained or restricted while keeping the dog afloat.

GILI’s Top Picks

Best Camo Dog Life Vest
GILI dog life jacket flotation device
GILI Dog Life Jacket PFD

Durable and buoyant with the most stylish camo print going! This doggy PFD not only looks good, but it also does a great job at the same time. The broad sizing range ensures your pooch will be comfortable for extended periods of time. Reflective piping helps keep a degree of visibility while the grab handles allow a decent grip on your good-boy! Overall, there is no beating this camo dog life jacket.

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Best Budget
Yoyoung camo pet life preserver jacket
YoYoung Camo Pet Life Preserver Jacket

Carefully designed with comfort in mind, this canine life vest from YoYoung is a great budget option. The mesh panels allow ventilation, breathability, and water to pass through while your dog is swimming. The camo is a great design and all straps are fully adjustable.

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Most Fun
Dogcheer shark dog life jacket
Dogcheer Shark Dog Life Jacket

Have a bit of fun while keeping your dog safe with this awesome camo PFD with shark fin feature. The camo is bold and bright, which will draw plenty of attention on the beach! Sure, it defeats the point of ‘camo’, but it is super stylish and your pooch will look too cute poses as Jaws!

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The Best Camo Dog Life Vest

Best Overall: GILI Dog Life Jacket PFD

The GILI Dog Life Jacket PFD is the best overall life jacket for aquatic canines. The thick side panels provide excellent buoyancy and comfort for your furry best friend. Made with the same care and build quality as the GILI SUPs, you can expect top durability and enjoy the life jacket for many years. 

The design is ergonomic and non-restrictive for dogs both on land and in the water. And of course, the camouflage design gets top marks for style too!

GILI dog life jacket flotation device

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • 6 sizes
  • Reflective piping
  • Reinforced stitching
  • Grab handle
  • Leash D-Ring

What we like:

  • Ultimate comfort for dogs both on land and on a SUP
  • Zip rear pocket for your dog's ID tags
  • Reinforced grab handle to help pull your dog out of the water if necessary
  • Excellent camo design or teal blue option

What we don't like:

  • Nothing! This is an epic dog life jacket!

As far as camo dog life jackets go, this canine PFD from GILI is unbeatable! The adjustable belly and neck straps allow you to fit the jacket perfectly to your dog. This ensures maximum comfort and mobility.

YoYoung Camo Pet Life Preserver Jacket

YoYoung’s Camo Pet Life Preserver Jacket is a budget-friendly option to keep your dog safe while out and about near water. It is made using ripstop Oxford nylon materials, giving it great durability. Mesh fiber is on the underbelly to provide proper drainage, ventilation, and quick drying.

While there are five sizes to choose from, reviews show they tend to come up on the small side. So it is probably a good idea to size up to make sure your pooch is more comfortable and not restricted.

Yoyoung camo pet life preserver jacket

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • 5 sizes
  • Reflective strips
  • Top handle
  • D-ring for leash attachment
  • Mesh-fiber layer

What we like:

  • Easy rescue and restraint with the top handle
  • Unique camo pattern
  • Breathable mesh for fast drying

What we don't like:

  • Sizes come up small, so order a size up

Overall, the YoYoung Camo Pet Life Preserver Jacket is a good option for outdoor lovers. The camo design is one of the more unique patterns out there, so your dog will stand out from the crowd, so to speak!

Outward Hound Granby Splash Camo Dog Life Jacket

Are you looking for something super fun? The Outward Hound Granby Splash Camo Dog Life Jacket could be the one for you and your pup! With excellent buoyancy and a fun camo design, all eyes will be on your dog. So, it may be counteracting the traditional camouflage design purpose, but we can ignore that detail for this cute dog life vest.

The Granby PFD model is designed for floatation. Foam fills the side panels and is paired with additional neck support. This helps keep the head of nervous or inexperienced swimmers above water.

Outward hound dog life jacket

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • 5 sizes
  • High-viz piping and color
  • Dual grab handle
  • Neck support panel
  • Adjustable girth straps

What we like:

  • Bright and fun design
  • Adjustable straps allow for a close fit to every dog
  • Perfect for novice swimmers

What we don't like:

  • Other models of PFDs from Outward Hound do not come in the camo pattern

Outward Hound’s doggy life jacket is a good option for everyday and general use. The polyester ripstop and neoprene materials are of good quality, but you should always check the condition of the PFD before using it.

LETSQK Dog Life Jacket

With swimming, boating, and hunting in mind, this Dog Life Jacket from LETSQK has nailed durability and camo design. The main body is half dark camo pattern and half breathable mesh to allow water drainage and air circulation. 

This PFD is fitted with fully adjustable straps around the belly, neck, and shoulders, allowing you to find the best fit for your pup. There is also plenty of buoyancy to help even the largest of dogs stay afloat in the water.

LETSQK dog life jacket

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • 6 sizes
  • Reflection straps across the back
  • Mesh and polyethylene foam material
  • Durable handle
  • Adjustable straps

What we like:

  • The handle has been fitted with a good grip
  • Good range of sizes available
  • Fully adjustable to get a great fit

What we don't like:

  • Feedback shows the stitching on some seams to be unreliable

Overall, this is a good option to consider for those looking for a dog life jacket on a tighter budget. Having the six sizes to choose from is also a great feature and is often hard to find for larger (or tiny) dog breeds.

Coodeo Dog Hunting Vest

The Coodeo Dog Hunting Vest is a great piece of gear for any canines that are joining you out on the field, or even just on the paddle board! It is a reversible vest that can be worn with a camo design or a bright orange, depending on what you need. 

It is made from high-quality, 4.5mm neoprene that provides warmth as well as a small amount of buoyancy. Because it is neoprene, it is an excellent waterproof layer, so is perfect for days out on the SUP or simply going for walkies in the rain.

Coodeo dog hunting vest

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • 3 sizes
  • Reflective strip on the reverse hi-viz side
  • Made from durable neoprene
  • Grab handle
  • D-ring for leash attachment

What we like:

  • Wear this either as camo or high-visibility with a reversible design
  • Provides warmth as well as slight buoyancy
  • Made from good quality materials

What we don't like:

  • Only comes in medium, large, and extra-large

Despite the sizing limitations, and the low amount of buoyancy, we still think this dog vest from Coodeo is pretty cool. The reversible design makes it a 2-in-1 piece and is a nice close fit for larger dogs. 

LUCOLOVE Dog Cooling Vest

LUCOLOVE’s Dog Cooling Vest is designed for cooling dogs down on the hottest of days. The dual-layer, lightweight jacket comes in a choice of three fun colorful camouflage designs. They’re perfect for day-to-day use and hitting the water for a SUP session.

This jacket is simple to use. You just need to soak it with water, then put it on your dog to instantly bring down their temperature. The cooling effect comes from the moisture held within the dual-layer material. You can even pack it in a cool box for hikes or days down on the beach to give your furry friend a cool off halfway through your adventure.

Lucolove dog cooling vest

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • 6 sizes
  • 3 color camo choices
  • Breathable and moisture-wicking material
  • Sun protection design
  • Machine washable

What we like:

  • Great range of sizes and fit for all dogs
  • Fantastic gear to help keep your dog cool on hot summer days
  • Three great color choices all in the camo design

What we don't like:

  • Doesn’t provide a great amount of buoyancy

This is a dog jacket with a purpose besides providing flotation. We are super impressed with this design and concept, it definitely will serve pooches well in the paddleboarding world!

Dogcheer Shark Dog Life Jacket

If you are looking for something to draw attention despite being a camouflage option, then look no further than the Dogcheer Shark Dog Life Jacket. The shark fin feature is fun and will make everyone look as you paddle by with your dog on board. 

This dog PFD is made from high-quality and durable 600D ripstop oxford cloth that is designed to keep up with your pup’s biggest adventures. The buoyancy is of a good level to provide assistance to a tired dog in deep water.

Dogcheer shark dog life jacket

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • 5 sizes
  • Reflective strips
  • Shark fin feature
  • Grab rescue handle
  • Large range of color choices

What we like:

  • A super fun design that is sure to bring you plenty of attention
  • High buoyancy with ergonomic front neck float
  • Durable buckle fastening paired with velcro

What we don't like:

  • Nothing! This is too cute!

The camouflage print is bold and vibrant. Pair this with the shark fin feature and you are definitely going to stand out. Sure, this defeats the point of camo gear, but who cares when you’re having this much fun?

QBLEEV Dog Life Jacket

QBLEEV’s Dog Life Jacket is a good affordable option for anyone with a novice swimmer in their pack. The high-quality foam provides excellent buoyancy, keeping your dog afloat if they get tired swimming. 

The camo pattern is different from others available, featuring greys and oranges. The reflective trim is super beneficial when you are out and about after dusk.

QBLeev dog life jacket

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • 4 sizes
  • Reflective trim
  • Made from heavy-duty nylon
  • High-density foam for buoyancy
  • Breathable lining

What we like:

  • Unique and abstract camouflage pattern
  • Adjustable straps with quick-release buckles
  • Solid metal D-ring attachment for a leash

What we don't like:

  • Not a full range of sizes

We like this dog PFD for several reasons, but the affordable price makes it a great option to consider. Also, the pattern is unique so you are unlikely to come across another one similar.

Thundershirt Polo Dog Anxiety Jacket

While this isn’t strictly a PFD, we thought it would still be worth a mention. Thundershirt’s Polo Dog Anxiety Jacket is just the item you need if your dog is nervous about thunder, fireworks, or struggles with separation anxiety. 

The jacket applies consistent pressure on the dog to achieve a calming effect. So it is kind of like a constant hug for your pup! And of course, it comes in a stylish camo design.

Thundershirt polo dog anxiety jacket

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • 7 sizes
  • Recommended by vets for nervous dogs
  • Helps to calm in over 80% of cases
  • Made from a mix of polyester, rayon, and spandex
  • Camo pattern 

What we like:

  • Does a great job in calming nervous dogs
  • Good size range to get a close match regarding fit
  • Comfortable for dogs to wear for long periods of time

What we don't like:

  • Doesn’t provide warmth

While this isn’t a typical ‘pfd’ for a dog, it is a fantastic jacket that does a great job of calming your fur baby when most needed. The camo design is next level and looks great at the same time!

Measuring For A Dog Life Jacket

Dog life jackets are sized according to the chest and neck measurements of the dog. Measuring your dog to get the right fit is super easy! All you need is a measuring tape and your pooch.

Chest: measure behind your dog’s front legs, around the broadest part of the ribcage.

Neck: measure at the lowest part of your dog’s neck, closest to the shoulders.

Some jackets may also give you back length and weight guidelines – this is important when it comes to buoyancy. A dog’s back length is measured from the base of the neck to about 2 inches above the base of the tail, this will give a comfortable fit and not cause any issues with wagging!

Tops Tips For Using A Dog Life Jacket While Paddle Boarding

Dog wearing a camo life jacket riding a paddle board

We highly recommend using a dog life jacket with a decent amount of float in it when taking your four-pawed friend out on a paddle board. Even if your pooch is an excellent swimmer, a PFD just gives them that safety net in case they get caught in some trouble. Swimming in strong currents is extremely tiring for dogs and it is our responsibility to ensure they are as safe as they can possibly be!

Here are some top tips to bear in mind when using a doggie life jacket while on a SUP:

  1. Always make sure the life jacket fits your dog properly. If they are in between sizes, go for the bigger option so it’s not restrictive.
  2. Always make sure straps are correctly fastened and no velcro is rubbing on your dog's skin.
  3. Make it a positive experience for your dog to wear the canine life vest and use treats the first few times.
  4. Make use of the grab handles if your dog falls in and needs help getting back on the SUP.
  5. Wash and dry the life vest after each use to make sure it stays clean and comfortable for your dog to wear.

Which Breeds Are Considered “Hunting Dogs”?

There are several dog breeds that are used within the hunting and working world, all with different jobs to assist the handlers. These dogs also make great pets and additions to the household! Some of the most recognized hunting dog breeds include:

  • Labrador
  • Golden Retriever
  • Spaniel
  • Setter
  • Pointer
  • Vizsla
  • Beagle

How To Paddle Board With Your Dog

Man paddle boarding with his dog on a lake

Introducing your furry best friend to your paddle board opens up a whole new world of fun. It really is the dream to cruise along a picturesque lake with your dog up front as a co-pilot! 

First thing, make sure your paddle board size is suitable for your dog. It needs to be stable and large enough for them to sit/stand comfortably on the deck. You then need to fit them properly with a life jacket, just as a precaution we strongly recommend.

Introduce your dog to the SUP on land first and use treats to reaffirm they are doing the correct thing standing on the board. Once they are happy, take to the water and start gently before building it up to your normal paddle boarding sessions. The most important thing is to make the experience fun for your dog so they want to do it again with you next time!

FAQ’S

🏆 Do dogs really need life jackets?

Using a dog life jacket is highly recommended for several situations. If you are taking them out on a SUP, in a kayak, or are near a body of water (ie. lake or swimming pool), a life jacket could save their life if they get caught in trouble, even for the most active water dogs. Life jackets assist and aid the dog’s natural swimming stroke and position while keeping the head above water. 


👍 Why should I consider using a camo life jacket for my dog?

In our opinion, camo is simply one of the coolest patterns you can put your dog in! It gives them ultimate style points. There are some more practical reasons to use a camo life jacket for your dog as well. If you need your dog to blend into the woodland, then these PFDs are the obvious choice. 


🏝️ What size life vest does my dog need?

Life vests for dogs come in a range of sizes. You need to measure your dog around the neck and chest to find out what size they need, also taking into account their weight. Most jackets have adjustable straps to go around the dog’s belly and chest so you can get the fit just right!


❓ Do dogs need life jackets when swimming in a pool?

Novice swimmers will benefit from wearing a life jacket in a swimming pool. Pet owners with pools in their yards should also consider using a PFD for their dogs as the norm just in case they fall in the water and are unsupervised. There have been far too many dog deaths with this happening. 


📦 Do dog life jackets work?

Dog life jackets, just like human ones, really do work! They provide enough float to assist the dog while keeping the head above the water. It is invaluable for any situation where your dog may get tired or panic in deep water. Most life jackets also have a grab handle on the back to help you haul them out of the water if necessary. 


📦 How long do dog life vests last?

With proper care and maintenance, a dog life jacket should last for several years. It is important to rinse off any salt water and give them a decent clean every now and then to maintain the quality of the foam and materials. Always ensure it is fully dry before storing.


📦 Which dogs are most likely to need a life jacket?

Any type of dog can benefit from wearing a life jacket when around water. If you are often taking your dog on a SUP or near deep water, then it’s a good idea to fit your dog with a life jacket.


📦 Does my dog still need a life jacket if it’s a strong swimmer?

Even strong swimming canines could make use of a life jacket. If the dog gets caught in a current then a life jacket will just be that safety net to help them out. Some jackets also provide a layer of warmth which will be greatly appreciated if your dog is in the water for extended periods of time.


📦 Why won’t my dog move with a life jacket on?

If your dog is refusing to move with the life jacket on then it may be too tight or small for them. Make sure you can fit your fingers easily between the jacket and your dog's body. Use the adjustable straps to get the best fit for your dog or go for the next size up if they are in between sizes. 


📦 How do I clean and maintain my dog’s life jacket?

To clean your dog's life jacket, rinse thoroughly with clean water. You don’t want to leave any saltwater on the material as this will destroy seams and the foam over time. Ensure it dry thoroughly before storing.

Jay Regan
Jay Regan


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