Red Original dog lifejacket review: Can this buoyancy aid please a picky pooch?

Does your dog hate wearing lifejackets? Maybe this could be the answer - we put the Red Original dog lifejacket to the test with the help of Editor Hugo’s working cocker spaniel Maya

My dog, Maya, is not a fan of dog lifejackets, perhaps because she’s learnt to associate wearing one with being chucked into the water so that a certain magazine editor can assess how well it performs – it is, literally, a dog’s life.

However, I also blame some of her reluctance on the poor fit and lack of underbody support provided by most of the ones she has tried thus far, especially when it comes to being lifted out of the water.

Given that she’s a pretty competent swimmer, it is this ability to grab her dog lifejacket with a boat hook and pluck her out of the water one-handed more than the additional buoyancy it provides which I find crucial on a boat.

So when I spotted that Red had launched a new dog buoyancy aid (technically, there is no such thing as a dog lifejacket), I thought I’d take a closer look.

Red is best known for its range of premium inflatable paddleboards but it also makes a number of watersports accessories, which from past experience tend to exhibit the same attention to detail and quality build as its paddleboards.

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Having checked Maya’s measurements against Red’s size chart (she’s a relatively tall but slim working cocker spaniel), I ordered the small from a range that runs from XS to XL.

It fits her perfectly – tight enough to support her in the right places but with generous enough cut outs for her neck and forelegs to ensure she can still swim and run unimpeded.


Usually a reluctant lifejacket wearer, Maya seemed perfectly content in Red’s design

As hoped, it’s a really well thought out, well made piece of kit. The Cordura material is soft but durable, the two main grab handles are sturdy but comfortable for the lifter and the dog, there’s a metal loop for attaching a lead, and the five adjustable straps and clips are positioned in such a way that you can’t pinch the dog while putting it on.

It’s also more stylish than other dog lifejackets she’s tried. I know that shouldn’t matter but as my wife will confirm, I take more notice of Maya’s appearance than my own!

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  • Wide range of sizes
  • Sturdy and comfortable grab handles
  • Pinch-proof straps


  • Far from the cheapest option on the market

Price as reviewed:



At £64.95 it’s not the cheapest dog buoyancy aid on the market but it is the best I have come across so far. Even Maya seems to have taken quite a shine to it.


MBY rating: 5/5
Value: 4/5

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