The Frenchie’s body shape makes swimming difficult, which is why a life vest is an essential purchase. Here are three of the best French Bulldog life jackets, including tips for picking the right vest for your pet.
It’s fair to say that Frenchies aren’t brilliant swimmers though. Unlike broad-pawed Labrador’s or athletic Border collies, their body shape simply isn’t designed for spending time in water.
That’s why every French bulldog should wear a life jacket when near pools, ponds, lakes or the sea. To help you choose the right jacket for your pet, I’ve put together a list of the best options below.
Our #1 Pick: Ruffwear K9 Float Coat
Brilliant life jacket for Frenchies
My top pick for a French bulldog life jacket is the Ruffwear Float Coat. It’s a high-quality vest with lots of padding and flotation material. It also has an adjustable neck enclosure, which is great for getting a snug fit on your Frenchie.
Why Do Frenchies Need a Lift Jacket?
All dogs should wear a life jacket when spending time near water. Whether you’re boating, swimming in the sea or just playing in a pool, drowning is a real concern for any breed.
French bulldogs are at greater risk than most though. Frenchies are naturally poor swimmers, mainly due to their top heavy body and short legs. They also have flat snouts that make it difficult to stay above water.
The result is that many French bulldogs are more likely to sink than swim. While there are always exceptions, you should assume that all French bulldogs can drown in seconds – even in relatively shallow water.
To make matters worse, many French bulldogs love water. No-one seems to have told them they aren’t great swimmers!
For this reason, French Bulldogs should never be near water without a properly fitted life jacket. Even with a life vest, Frenchies require constant supervision when swimming, as their short snout can easily dip below small waves or currents.
Choosing the Right Life Jacket
Choosing a French bulldog life jacket is similar to any other breed – but there are a few small differences. Here are the main considerations:
- Buoyancy. The amount of flotation material is especially important for French bulldogs, who struggle to keep their head above water. Look for a life vest that has both side and belly panels, to keep your pet riding high in the water.
- Durable. Dog life jackets get snagged on bushes, soaked in salt water, and need regular cleaning. The best life jackets are strong, durable and designed to last. Materials such as neoprene and cordura are particularly tough.
- Comfortable. Taking your Frenchie swimming is meant to be fun, but your pet won’t enjoy it if he feels uncomfortable. While comfort is usually dependent on fitting, I recommend vests with underarm padding for a French bulldog.
- Adjustable Design. It’s important to get a snug fit without causing chafing. The more adjustable straps a vest has, the easier it is to match your dog’s unique body shape.
- Correct Size. All dog life jackets are available in multiple sizes. Make sure you read the sizing chart carefully and measure your dog to get the right fit. If the life jacket doesn’t fit properly, you can always exchange it for the correct size.
Tip: Looking for a harness for your Frenchie? Click here for my full guide.
3 Best Life Jackets for French Bulldogs
Listed below are three of the best life jackets for French bulldogs. While these aren’t the only life jackets that can keep a Frenchie safe, I believe they provide the best combination of safety and value for money. Make sure you read each mini-review carefully to choose the best option for your pet.
1. Ruffwear K9 Float CoatVIEW PRICE
My top recommendation for a French bulldog life vest is the excellent Ruffwear K9 Float Coat. It’s a strong and buoyant life jacket that helps your Frenchie stay above water without feeling restricted or uncomfortable. The only downside is the price.
The K9 Float Coat is a great choice for almost any breed, but it’s particularly well-suited to Frenchies. It has excellent flotation for counteracting a French bulldog’s muscular weight, while the adjustable neck closure and padded straps allow you to adjust it to your dog’s body shape. Many vests don’t include an adjustable neck size, which can be a problem for the French bulldog due to its large neck. A bonus is that the straps under the belly provide extra buoyancy.
Aside from keeping your Frenchie riding high in the water, the Float Coat is also abrasion-resistant and highly durable. The fabric exterior is strong and thick, so it resists snagging on bushes and other sharp items.
The buckles are also easy to use and remain firmly locked when in use. This is essential for a doggie life jacket – but is one area that cheaper vests often struggle. Other features include a reflective trim, handle (which can be useful in an emergency) and several colour options.
Are there any downsides though?
The Float Coat is a premium life jacket. It’s considerably more expensive than many other vests, but I think the quality materials and flotation panels justify the cost. It can also be fiddly to adjust the straps when you first use it, although you’ll probably only need to do this once.
If you’re looking for the best French bulldog life jacket, the K9 Float Coat is my top pick. It’s a comfortable and durable vest that’s easy to adjust to a Frenchie’s unique shape. Most importantly, it helps to keep your dog safely riding above the water level (always with supervision though.)
2. Outward Hound GranbyVIEW PRICE
If the K9 Float Coat is outside of your budget, the Outward Hound Granby is a brilliant alternative. It costs much less, yet has a built-in handle, multiple adjustment straps and a neck float to help keep your Frenchie’s head above water.
One of the best features of the Granby is how easy it is to adjust. There are three adjustable straps (one neck and two belly), so you can get a snug fit on almost any dog. The vest itself is also made from strong neoprene and cordura, so it’s warm and highly durable.
Unlike many inferior vests, the Outward Hound Granby has a dedicated neck float. While this won’t guarantee your dog’s head always stays above water, it definitely helps – especially for short-snouted breeds such as the French bulldog.
Other features include a strong handle for hauling your dog into a boat or pier, highly visible design and five size options. It also provides brilliant value for money.
There are a few downsides though. The underbelly provides less padding than the K9 Float Coat, so it’s not as buoyant and more uncomfortable for the dog to be lifted via the handle. There’s also no D-Ring leash attachment.
Considering the low price and great buoyancy, it’s still one of the best life jackets for French bulldogs though.
3. EzyDog Doggy Flotation DeviceVIEW PRICE
The EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device (DFD) is another great choice for Frenchies. It has an easy-to-adjust design, strong construction and plenty of flotation material to help your pet stay above water.
With up to 50% more flotation material than competing jackets, the EzyDog is one of the most buoyant life vests on the market. It’s also strong and durable, due to the neoprene straps and tough polyester exterior.
Like the K9 Float Coat, the DFD has two adjustable belly straps for getting a snug fit. Sadly, there’s no option to adjust the neck size, which is one of the reasons I recommend the Float Coat for French bulldogs. On the plus side, the EzyDog has a strong D-Ring attachment and padding around the neck.
A downside is that the EzyDog has a relatively small handle, which can make it difficult to grab. There’s also no belly padding, just two padded straps. If you’re planning to lift your dog using the handle, go for one of the other options on this list.
Even so, the EzyDog is a great life jacket that’s strong, buoyant and easy to adjust. If you don’t want to pay for the K9 Float Coat, it’s an option to consider.
French bulldogs are wonderful pets, but terrible swimmers. Their short legs, top-heavy body and short snout mean drowning is a serious risk in even shallow water.
A life jacket is a great way to protect your dog. You still need to supervise your pet – even small waves can make it difficult for a Frenchie to breathe – but a jacket lets your dog learn how to swim in relative safety.
My top recommendation for a French bulldog life jacket is the Ruffwear F9 Float Coat. It’s a premium life vest that fits a Frenchie’s body shape (if adjusted correctly) and provides excellent buoyancy.
Do you have any questions about choosing a life jacket for your French bulldog? Or is there a jacket I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below.