Dog Flotation Vest

Petite to Large Sizing Chart >

Float Doggy   Float Doggy   Float Doggy
Float Doggy   Float Doggy   Float Doggy
Float Doggy   Float Doggy  

All Sizes
Buy This Item >  
INSPIRED BY: A kayaker who lost his dog on a New Zealand river
Most dogs like to swim, and certain breeds are beautifully designed for the water. However, this instinct doesn’t make them invincible and providing flotation vests or ‘life jackets’ for your dog is as important as providing them for yourself or your children.  

Dog flotation vests are often called dog life jackets or dog flotation devices. Technically speaking in the human world a ‘life jacket’ has to be able to support you when you are unconscious. That generally means that it will need lots and lots of foam and not be that easy to move or swim in.  

However, a flotation vest or flotation device will be more like a kayaking PFD or water-ski/wakeboard vest that allows you to move more comfortably, be more active and still give you good support in the water if you are tired or injured. Given dogs need to move around in the water our dog flotation vest gives a balance of support and flexibility to allow for lots of doggy paddling action.

Here’s Four Good Reasons Why You Dog Needs A Dog Flotation Vest, Even If He’s A Great Swimmer

  • Dogs are sprinters, not stayers in the water
    They go in and out of the water, fetching or chasing, with short rest periods where they put their paws down and rest. If they have to swim even a modest distance they will exhaust quickly and once that happens, they sink.

  • Moving or cold water is extra tiring  
    Swimming even modest distances in cold, moving or deep water is challenging for even the most capable doggy paddler. Exhaustion and hypothermia both limit your dog’s natural swimming ability.

  • We Are Changing The Behaviour Of Our Dog To Suit Our Adventures  
    The on-water environment has some new challenges for your dog. Balancing on a SUP or kayak, different smells and sounds, the changing energy of the people around them as adrenalin rises and falls all affect your dog. Fitting a comfortable, well-designed and well-fitted dog flotation vest will help him swim more comfortably for longer, and give you a secure harness in which to lift him if he struggles.

  • Dog Overboard Rescues Are Easier
    Rescuing a struggling dog from the water can be difficult. Having some kind of secure, well-fitted lifting harness around your dog in the water makes it easier to hold and lift your dog. It reduces the risk of them swamping you, and makes the whole experience more comfortable for them. 
You'll Dig

Our dog flotation vest (life jacket) uses a unique enclosed design. Think of it as being more like your fitted, ergonomic whitewater PFD or water-ski/wakeboard vest rather than one of the bulky, one size fits most jackets you are issued on airplanes – you know, the ones that are bulky and square, you can’t swim in and that ride up around your ears. 

  • Harness construction cradles your dog in the jacket and removes pressure points.
  • Hinged foam segments allow free movement and a better fit.
  • Variable density foam complements natural buoyancy.
  • Chest panel keeps the head above water without pressuring the throat.
  • Tapered panels give a better fit on a range of doggy shapes.
  • Double strapping secures the jacket evenly and firmly.
  • Full length lifting handle and leash attachment for doggy overboard situations.
  • Harness construction for secure lifting, minimizes throat and elbow pressure.
  • Durable construction using Cordura® Nylon and waterproof reflective tapes.
  • No Velcro or awkward fastenings!
Get The Fit Right

Fitting a Float Doggy is mostly about the weight of your dog. Our Sizing Chart outlines each size, the weight range it covers and the breeds of dogs that indicate the best fit for that size.

Because the jacket is adjustable beneath the chest and at the waist, don’t worry too much about deep chests or narrow waists. Opt with the weight and recommendation for breed.

Please bear in mind that the fit will be snug, which is how it should be. Your dog will become accustomed to it being placed over his head and a close fit around the neck is best.

If you are unsure, please contact us at woof@d-fa.com and we will help you as best we can.

What to Look for

Like any buoyancy vest the most important things to look for in one for your dog are: 
  • An ergonomic fit - with sufficient flotation between the front legs to keep the head above water, and at the sides for balance.
  • Belly panels should cradle the dog with slightly less flotation than at the sides, but still enough to give support from below and avoid hanging the dog inside the jacket.
  • Look for jackets with tapered panels and good adjustment around the body to accommodate deep chests and narrow waists or other doggy proportions.
  • Ensure that the jacket does not impede the shoulders from moving through the paddle stroke or sag down under the belly where it may catch on the front legs of shorter legged breeds.
  • Finally, you will lift your dog in the jacket so ensure that lifting is safe and comfortable. Look for jackets that spread the lifting weight away from the throat and that fit closely to minimize the risk of slipping out.
Our Design Process and Philosophy for Float Doggy 

To learn more about our design process and philosophy for Float Doggy, click here.


This d-fa flotation jacket was formerly known as the D-FD or Dog Flotation Device. This upset someone who wanted to start an expensive fight over the name. Because we’re lovers, not fighters, and because we’d rather design great gear and get out and play with our dogs than argue over a name, we changed it to Float Doggy. Our appeal for new names from our loyal followers landed some great ideas for the new name including ‘Dog Togs’ (Togs are what we call swimming trunks in NZ) and the Captain Pupwash. But Float Doggy it is. Tell your friends.

What are they saying about the FLOAT-DOGGY?

"The new jacket works great for Taz . I'm not sure what's available in NZ but here in the States there are an awful lot of canine products that aren't all that well made or all that well thought out ... I think its design of others has more to do with production than good functionality. All the buckles were under the belly and the flotation under the chest and throat was provided by an uncomfortable "hoop" that stuck out from the shoulder area. The D-fa jacket provides better flotation under the chest without hitting Taz in the throat when he is stretched out swimming. In the two days that we went swimming this weekend Tracy and I quickly noticed that Taz's head was just a little higher in the water and we noticed he wasn't coughing or sputtering like he did in his old jacket. It's just a much better jacket for the dog and we really appreciate the well thought out design."

Tom Henderson, Taz and Peaches (USA)
"Believe me when I say I have tried them all.... D-FA life vests are the best on the planet and the safest. I got a size Large and love the vest."

Doug, on behalf of Dozer the Surfing Bulldog (San Diego, USA)