Dachshunds aren’t the strongest swimmers, so a flotation device is essential. Here are three of the best Dachshund life jackets – along with tips for getting the right vest for your pet.
Some life vests are better suited to the dachshund’s unique body shape than others though. So it’s important to choose one that’s suitable for your pet.
In this article, I’ve listed three of the best life vests for dachshunds. But before we go any further, let’s talk about the doxie’s (lack of) swimming abilities…
Our #1 Pick: Outward Hound Granby
Excellent life vest for a great price
My top pick for a dachshund life jacket is the Outward Hound Granby. It’s a highly visible vest with a neck float, comfortable belly strap and adjustable design. It’s also surprisingly cheap for such a high-quality life jacket.
Should Dachshunds Swim At All?
There’s a myth that all dogs are good swimmers. While most dogs can swim, some breeds are more naturally suited to water.
The dachshund is a good example of a breed that isn’t a natural swimmer. Both full-size and miniature dachshunds have long torsos and short legs, so they tend to tire quicker. Sausage dogs are also prone to invertebral disc disease, which can be aggravated when struggling in water.
Being poor swimmers doesn’t mean dachshunds shouldn’t swim at all – many doxies love spending time in water. It’s important to either restrict your dog to water he can stand up in or use a life jacket though.
Keep in mind that any water deeper than your dog’s neck is potentially dangerous. And for dachshunds, that’s almost any water! Whether you’re going on a boating trip, visiting the beach or just have an unattended swimming pool, your dog should always wear a life jacket.
Always Supervise a Dog in Water
A life jacket increases the safety of a dachshund in water – but it doesn’t mean your pet can be left alone. An exhausted dog with a life jacket can still struggle to keep his head above water if left for a long time.
You should also provide a way for your dog to get out of water. Your pet can’t tell you when he’s had enough, so it can be distressing if he feels trapped in a pool or lake.
What Makes a Good Life Jacket for This Breed?
Many considerations when buying a doxie life jacket are the same for any breed – but there are a few important differences. Here’s an overview of what to look for:
- Support for a dachshund’s long spine. Life jackets vary in length. It’s important to buy one that supports as much of your dog’s spine as possible, as a short jacket could mean your dog still struggles to stay above water. Getting the right size is also essential. Take measurements of your dog’s girth, length and height, and make sure you consider the long torso when buying.
- Adjustment straps. Dachshunds have an unusual body shape. Even if you buy the “right” size, according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, the fit probably won’t be perfect. That’s why adjustable belly and neck straps are essential.
- Buoyant design. The most important feature of any dog life vest is a buoyant design. The vest should keep your pet above water even if he’s too tired to swim. It’s important to get a balance between lots of flotation material and a design that’s overly bulky though – especially when buying for a small dachshund.
- Unrestricted range of motion. Your dog will get tired if he’s forced to battle against the life jacket. A tight fit can also cause chafing and pain. Dachshunds are particularly vulnerable around the shoulders, so make sure you don’t over-tighten the jacket.
- Underbelly support. Most canine life jackets have underbelly straps so you can lift your dog out of the water. As dachshunds have a long spine, I prefer vests with a full neoprene covering rather than just padded straps. This ensures the dog’s belly has plenty of support.
- Durable design. Weak seams or handles could put your pet at risk. It’s worth paying extra for a high-quality and durable vest.
- Reflective strips. It can be difficult to see a small dog in water when the light starts to fade. Reflective strips and bright colors can make it easier to find a lost dog – especially if your boat has capsized unexpectedly.
- Handle – A strong handle can be useful for lifting your dog into a boat or out of a pool. Nearly all dog life vests have handles, but some are more durable and easier to grab.
The key is to get a jacket that properly fits your dachshund. This is easier with adjustable straps, but be prepared to send back a vest and get a different size if it’s too tight or loose.
Tip: Looking for a dachshund harness? Check out my guide to buying a harness for a dachshund.
Best Life Jackets for Dachshunds
Listed below are three of the best life jackets for Dachshunds. All of these vests are available in several sizes, so there should be an option that fits almost any full-size or miniature dachshund. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions closely to ensure the vest keeps your pet as safe as possible.
1. Outward Hound GranbyVIEW PRICE
My top pick for a dachshund life vest is the Outward Hound Granby. It’s an excellent vest that’s comfortable, has a built-in neck float, and is available in sizes small enough for doxies.
One of the advantages of the Granby is the bright and highly visible design. There are reflective strips on the handle, along with an orange color scheme that makes your dog easier to spot in low-light conditions. The exterior is also made with ripstop material to prevent tearing and increase longevity.
The Granby provides great buoyancy due to foam side panels and a front neck float. The neck float, in particular, is perfect for dachshunds who struggle to keep their head above water. There’s also two adjustable belly straps and a neck strap, so you can get a snug fit that doesn’t cause chafing or restricted movement.
Something to note is that larger sizes have two handles, but smaller options – which are probably the ones suitable for your dachshund – only have one. I don’t think this is a drawback in this case, as a single handle that’s parallel to a dachshund’s spine probably provides more support for the long torso.
There are a few other minor issues though. There’s no D-ring leash attachment, which seems a silly oversight considering how well thought-out the rest of the vest is. The neck float may also restrict movement when out of water.
Despite these small problems, the Granby is an excellent life jacket that’s a good choice for dachshunds. It’s affordable, durable and provides excellent flotation.
2. Paws Aboard Double Designer Doggy Life JacketVIEW PRICE
The Paws Aboard Designer Doggie Life Jacket is an affordable alternative to the Granby if you don’t want a neck float. It features reflective strips, a mesh underbelly and a single handle, along with an adjustable design for a snug fit.
The Paws Aboard is designed to be comfortable for almost any breed. There are seven sizes available, ranging from XX-Small to X-Large, so there’s almost certainly an option that fits your Dachshund. It has a mesh underbelly, which allows your pet to dry without overheating (a common problem in cheaper vests), along with a built-in handle for lifting. There’s also three adjustable nylon straps (one neck and two belly).
It’s important to note that this vest doesn’t have a neck float. While this might be good for dogs that don’t like being restricted out of water, it’s probably not the best option for dachshunds who struggle to keep their head up when swimming. In this case, go for the Granby.
Similarly, I don’t think it’s quite as durable as the Granby – although the low price partly makes up for this. The handle is also flimsy in comparison.
Even so, the Paws Aboard Double Designer is a buoyant and comfortable life vest that can fit both miniature and full-size Dachshunds. If you don’t want a neck float, it’s probably the best option.
The Paws Aboard Designer Life Vest is a good alternative to the Granby is you don’t want a neck float. It’s a comfortable vest with several adjustable buckles, mesh underbelly and an affordable price.
3. EzyDog Premium Doggy Flotation DeviceVIEW PRICE
If you’re looking for a highly durable flotation device, then the EzyDog Premium is an option to consider. It’s pricey, but has more flotation material than many vests, is made with heavy-duty polyester, and has several adjustable straps.
The key feature of the EzyDog DFD is the durable construction. EzyDog has built the DFD to be stronger than the average vest, with a tough polyester exterior. It also has a D-ring leash attachment, single handle, reflective trim and neoprene straps.
Despite the heavy-duty design, it shouldn’t restrict your dog when swimming – as long as it’s adjusted correctly.
There are some drawbacks, however, which is why I prefer the Outward Hound Granby. Firstly, the underbelly isn’t fully supportive with mesh or neoprene. Instead, there are just two padded straps. While this might not be an issue for most breeds, I prefer a dachshund’s torso to be fully supported when lifted.
The EzyDog also has less taper at the back than most other vests. This keeps a dog flatter when swimming, which could make it more difficult to keep his head above water. If your dog already has a hard time swimming, the Granby is probably the better option – especially as it’s much cheaper.
There’s no doubt the EzyDog is an excellent life vest though. If you’re not worried about the non-tapered design or underbelly support, it could still be a good option for a dachshund.
Dachshunds aren’t the strongest swimmers. Their short legs get tired quickly, which is why a flotation vest is an essential accessory when near water.
My top pick for a Dachshund life jacket is the Outward Hound Granby. It’s an excellent vest with supportive underbelly, buoyant design and neck flotation panel – plus it’s available for a great price.
Do you have any questions about choosing a life vest for your dachshund? Please let me know in the comments below – I’d love to help!