If you have a pool on your property, or you like to spend a lot of time in the water, chances are your pooch is usually along for the ride. Unfortunately, not all dogs can swim and some senior pups are no longer able to keep up with your doggie paddle.
If you have a dog that loves the water, but you need something to keep them safe, a dog float is going to be a lifesaver (no pun intended). Floatation devices that are built to last will help you and your pet enjoy some much-needed relaxation in the warm sun.s
The drawback, of course, is picking out the right one. Not to worry though, we have found the seven best floats for dogs on the market. In the article below, we will share durability, usability, and safety.
Plus, there is a handy buyer’s guide, as well. So, if you are ready to hit the beach, PAWS whatever you are doing, (pun definitely intended!) and check out our reviews.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Paws Aboard Raft||2 sizes||3.60/5|
The 7 Best Dog Floats – Reviews 2020
1. Kelsyus Floating Hammock — Best Overall
Our number one pick for the best dog float is the Kelsyus 6038886 Floating Hammock. This is a long, blow-up flotation device with a mesh middle that sits just below the water’s edge to keep your pup cool. Made of durable fabric, it features an inner spring around the edge that helps with your pet’s comfort and stability.
This is a great option to travel with as you can fold it down into three sections easily; plus, it comes with a convenient carrying case. Able to hold dogs up to 250 pounds, this is a great raft for any size pup. It measures 69”L x 35”W x 5.5”H.
To help keep your puppy safe, this flotation device also has side clips that you can use to tether it to the side of a pool or yourself. This will keep your pup from floating away on their own. A versatile option, it can be used at the lake, river, ocean, or in your pool.
Easy to inflate, the Kelsyus has a fabric-covered inflation port, so you will not lose any air. It also has a jet valve, making it easy to deflate and weighs 2.5 pounds. As a bonus, if your puppy is not in the mood for swimming, you can always take over and lay in this comfy water hammock yourself. Overall, this is our favorite product.
2. Intex Explorer 200 — Best Value
If you need something that is a little more price-friendly, the Intex 58330EP Explorer 200 is the best dog float for the money. This is a plastic boat designed to be used in your pool, in the ocean, or any other water entertainment venue. Made to hold up to 210 pounds of pooch, there is enough room in the 73”L x 37”W x 16”H for you and your pooch.
The Intex is made of durable plastic and has two convenient valves. It has an inflatable floor for comfort, plus it comes with repair patches in case of an emergency. What’s more, there is a grab rope available if your pup likes to float around on their own.
As you can use this option with or without your pup, you can also take advantage of the welded ore locks, and the bright color makes this a good flotation device for night use. The boat weighs 4.7 pounds, which is light for a product of this size, not to mention, it is a great option if you are on a budget. The only downside you should consider is that this boat is harder to blow up than the average option.
The Swimways 13705 Dog Pool Float is a long hammock option with paw prints on the inflatable outside edges. Available in two sizes, the small is great for pets up to 65 pound while the large will accommodate dogs up to 200 pounds. The plastic bottom of the float has slits that allow some water to seep through so your pop will be just below the water’s surface.
This hammock has inner springs making the bottom plastic liner more comfortable and also allows for more stability when your pooch moves around. It folds down easily for travel and is quick to inflate and deflate.
The Swimways weigh 2.3 pounds, plus it has a jet valve for convenient use. Furthermore, the raft is made of a reinforced durable fabric, which is claw-friendly and puncture-resistant. As our premium choice, the only drawback is that this model does not have any type of clip or rope to be used as a tether to keep your pet at your side.
4. Milliard Dog Pool Float
If you like a versatile option, the Milliard Dog Pool Float is right for you. This is a flotation device that is shaped like a blue paw print and can be flipped over and used as a drink holder when you have put your pup to bed for the night.
This raft comes in one size and can accommodate pups up to 110 pounds. It can be used in the pool, lake, or river, but it is not recommended for the ocean. In fact, you should note that the inflation and shape of the float is not quite as stable as other models. If you have a pet that likes to wiggle around, it is going to give them a dunk.
Beyond that, the Milliard float is made of durable fabric that is UV and puncture-resistant. The soft vinyl top will not stain, fade, rip, or mildew. Weighing 3.3 pounds, you can pick this up in the 50” x 40” x 7.5” size. There is also a durable air valve that lets it quickly inflate and deflate. Finally, we want to note that this option does not have a rope or clip for tethering ability.
5. Paws Aboard Doggy Lazy Raft
The Paws Abroad 6200 Doggy Lazy Raft is a yellow paw-shaped flotation device that comes in a large 50” x 40” or small 30” x 23” size. This is a vinyl/plastic raft that can only accommodate pups up to 90 pounds. That being said, we do not recommend large dogs for this model. Not only will they not fit comfortably, but the float itself is not as stable as we would like.
The fabric of the Paws Abroad float is puncture and UV-resistant, and will not stain, fade, or mildew over time. It is quick and easy to inflate and deflate and weighs 3.4 pounds. You should note that this raft has a small hole in the top to allow some air to be released. This lets your pup be more comfortable. Unfortunately, water can get into this hole, and it will eventually cause the raft to lag or sink.
Made for use in lakes, pools, and rivers, it is not recommended that you use this float in any swift-moving water like the oceans or high current rivers. Also, the bottom plastic of this option is not durable, however, it does have a tether loop to keep your pet secure.
6. Lazy Dog Loungers Rafts
The Lazy Dog Loungers Rafts is a long float that uses foam noodles in the sides to keep your pup above water. You can pick this up in a small or large size; however, the small is only meant to accommodate pups up to 25 pounds, while the large is recommended for pups up to 110 pounds. You also have the color options of blue, green, orange, or red.
Made of a vinyl/canvas material that is puncture-resistant, the raft will not fade due to the weather. It does not require any air to float and will not flip over, either. That being said, your pooch may have a more difficult time with this float as it can cave in while they are on it. Also, the noodles are removable from the outer material, and the zipper that encloses them is not durable. You will, unfortunately, spend some time stuffing the noodles back inside.
Made in the USA, you have a built-in attachment loop to keep your pet safe. This is also a semi-submersible option, so your furball will stay cool. You can use this in lakes, pools, rivers and the oceans, as well. Finally, be advised that this is an extremely pricey option for the drawbacks, and significantly more expensive than our premium option.
7. Midlee Dog Raft Pool Float
Our final option is the Midlee Dog Raft Pool Float. This is a dog bone shaped blow-up raft that comes in a white 59” x 38” x 29” size. This option is meant for pets that are 40 pounds or lighter. If you have a medium to smaller size dog, this is a decent option as it is comfortable and fairly stable. Unfortunately, if your dog is prone to move or is bigger than that this is not the best choice.
The material of the Midlee is made out of a non-durable vinyl that is easily punctured and ripped. Although it only weighs 3.2 pounds, it is also more difficult to blow up, as the air intake valve is very stiff. Also, as we mentioned, if you have a larger pup or a dog that likes to move around, this is not a stable raft. As the sides are narrower, your pet is more prone to slip or flip over.
This is also a float that is better suited for your pool as there are some safety concerns with your dog going overboard. Also, there is no tethering capability. Overall, this is our least favorite option for a dog float.
Important Things to Consider
When it comes to your dog, the water, and flotation devices, there are a few important things that you should know. Before you go out and purchase a raft for you and your furry friend to bring to the beach, you need to consider when, where, and when not to use these doggie floats. First, let’s look at when:
When to Use A Dog Float
Using a float for your dog is a great way to allow your senior pet to have fun on family outings if they are not able to keep up with the strenuous activity. They are also great for shorter and squatter dogs that do not have that swimmer’s body.
That being said, a dog that is used to the water will be able to handle a float more easily. If you are using a hammock-style float or boat, most waterlogged pets are going to be fine. If you are using a hammock or paw-shaped above the water option, you want to make sure that they will calmly lie on the raft.
Nevertheless, even if you do have a calm pooch that is happy to just laze about on a raft, you still do not want to leave them unattended. This is especially true if they are not strong swimmers or they have pre-existing conditions that could make it difficult for them to get to shore. This is even more crucial if you are in a pool. A lot of pets will not know how to exit the steep sides, which brings us to our next point…
Where to Use
There is something to be said for where your float will be used. For example, if you are using this in water that has a strong current or higher surf, you want to be extra careful. Beaches and rivers can be more difficult, especially if you have a dog that is not a strong swimmer. Pools, lakes, and ponds are usually preferable. Good doggie paddlers do not have as much difficulty with calm seas.
That being said, pools can also be dangerous. As we mentioned, a pool can be difficult to navigate for a pup that is not trained in how to exit the swimming area. Potentially, your pet could paddle around for hours trying to find their way out with the stairs right below them.
Another situation that you want to avoid is congested swimming areas. Unless you are in a boat with your canine, a lot of people and children splashing around and jumping in the water can make your dog nervous. They are more likely to get excited, tip over, or be pushed under by an exuberant bather.
Although we will talk about this later, a tether rope, or at the very least, clips that you can attach to a leash are a good idea. It will keep your pup where you want them and within your eyesight, but more on that later. First, let’s look at when not to use a raft…
When Not to Use A Dog Float
Unfortunately, some pet owners have been under the assumption that a dog raft is a good way to get their water-shy pet comfortable swimming. This is not true and can be dangerous for your pup. Dogs that are not inclined to swim or do not like the water are going to be very anxious if you try to put them on a float.
They are more apt to bark, wiggle, scratch, and potentially fall out of the float. If your pet is water-shy, you are better off getting them used to get their toes wet before trying to lure them into a raft.
On the other hand, many ankle-biters love the water but are just not able to swim for one reason or another. A good example of this is an older dog who may have some joint pain or arthritis. Although they once may have been great sea dogs, they no longer have the mobility to propel themselves through the water.
Whether you have a golden age pal or one that just doesn’t swim, flotation devices are a great option as long as the water is calm. Also, if you are taking your pup on a boat float, make sure it is with you and your pet only. Unfamiliar people can make your pup nervous.
Using a Dog Float
Okay, now that we have the when, where, and when not to use these floats down pat, we wanted to talk about the how. Depending on the type of raft you are using, some can be more difficult than others. However, if your pup is amicable to a lazy drift, you will be able to help them out with these texts.
First though, here are a few do’s and don’ts that you want to remember:
- Do remember to get your pet a life vest. Whether they are just relaxing, can’t swim, or have low mobility, you want to make sure they are safe in case of accidents.
- Do some practice runs with your raft. Whether it is a hammock or boat style, you do not want to paddle out to the middle of the lake only to have an issue.
- Don’t get suckered into bringing your dog out on a raft when you do not feel comfortable. If there are too many other people around, the surf is too bad, or they’re just feeling a little too excited, it is best that they are left on the shore.
- Don’t EVER tie your dog to their raft.
- Do you use a tethering rope to tie your pups float to the side of the pool, to an anchor, or your raft?
Now, let’s take a look at some tips on getting your pup on to the float as easy as possible:
- Getting Started: As you know, most dogs have a standard meet and greet policy for pretty much everything that comes into their life. That being said, you want to let them get acquainted with the raft. Let them smell it, lay on it, and what have you, and also let them see it in the water.
- Hoping On: How you are going to get your pet on the raft depends on the type of dog you have. For example, if you have a toy breed, you can pick them up and place them on it, case closed. If you have a larger size breed, however, it can be a little bit more difficult. Start by getting them to step onto the raft and lay down. This is easier if you are at a lake where you can put the raft in ankle-deep water. If you are in your pool, push the raft up to the edge by the stairs and have them step on it; this may take some coaxing.
- Test Drives: Once your pet has got the hang of getting onto the raft, they may be a bit wary at first of being on their own. It is best to talk to them in a calm voice well keeping the raft where it is and hold it steady.
- The Art of Floating: Once your dog is comfortable lying on the float in the water, you still want to keep them in the shallow end at, so they can get used to the stability of the raft. Once that is done, you can allow them to float in the water. Take them around and remain close at first. Again, this is a good time to implement a tether hook to the side of your pool or your beach chair.
Are you more of a snow person than a beach person? In that case, your pup made need snow boots more than they need a raft, check out our reviews on the best dog snow boots available, so you and your pup can enjoy the snow.
We hope you have enjoyed our reviews of the best dog floats. These fun in the sun helpers are great for letting your pooch relax and laze about to their heart’s content. As we know your pup’s safety is always forefront in your mind, we hope the information above has helped ease some of the stress of the decision.
If you are looking for the very best, however, go with the Kelsyus 6038886 Floating Hammock. It is paws down the best option. If you need something more affordable, go with the Intex 58330EP Explorer 200 that will let you and your pet cruise the lake together.
Featured Image: Dog Pool Float/Milliard, Amazon
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 7 Best Dog Floats – Reviews 2020
- Buyer’s Guide