- 1 Selection Of The Best Service Dog Vests
- 2 Best Service Dog Vest Buying Guide
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Sources
If your dog is not only your companion but a service animal, you will want to get the best service dog vest that you can find.
This vest will help your dog to stand out and ensure that other people know that your dog is a hard working animal.
Dogs are built for working. While some dogs are happy if they have dog food, a comfortable calming dog collar, and a dog retractable leash so they can go for a leisurely walk, most appreciate a good physical workout and exercising their brain.
The outdoors is a favorite place for many dogs. Fill up their dog backpack with the essentials; a dog raincoat for the rain, a dog water bottle so they can get a drink when they need it, and dog boots to keep their feet warm or cool. Don’t forget the dog poop bags, either!
Getting your dog ready for working hard can be a big deal. Grooming them with a dog dematting tool, brushing their teeth with a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste, and using their dog nail grinder can be really helpful options. They may be nervous – so keep a dog anxiety jacket or calming dog collar handy just in case.
But, it’s not all work for dogs. Play is important too. Many families have lots of fun things, like a dog plush toy, dog chew toy, or automatic dog ball launcher. They may take their dog on bike rides with a dog bike carrier or dog bike trailer, or they can go swimming with a dog life jacket to keep them safe.
If you have a special need of any sort, you may be looking to get the best service dog vest so that you can let people know that your dog is hard at work for you.
Selection Of The Best Service Dog Vests
Here are the best service dog vests for most people according to Outlinist:
Best Service Dog Vest Buying Guide
Why are you getting a support dog vest in the first place? Do you actually have a disability, or do you just want to try and get your dog into any space that you may be entering?
The only time that anyone should be getting any type of vest like this is if they are actually working with a service dog. That way, people that legitimately are in need of a service dog are able to get the help they need and keep their dog with them in any public area.
As you start looking at service or therapy dog vests, you want to be certain that you find one that is going to fit your dog well. They come in a lot of different styles and sizes, so you are apt to find something that is going to fit well.
Most vests are made for medium to large dogs, and it can take some extra research for you to be able to find smaller options. Measure your dog around their middle, their neck, and by the base of their tail. Then, measure the length from the base of the tail to the neck and you’ll have the size you’re looking for.
The service function that the dog is performing is important for people to know. There are a lot of different jobs that these dogs do, and people should be able to read any sort of identifier that is on your dog’s vest.
Whether you use patches or it just has their job inscribed on the fabric, you want “service dog” and other identifiers to be clear, large, and in a font that is simple to read. A quick glance should let someone know what your dog is doing and to leave them be.
These vests are great for carrying things around. In many cases, they will have a few pockets so that you can put their personal items and any medication or paperwork that you may need to bring with you during a typical day.
You may even want to find a service dog vest with id holder, because those are really handy if something happens to you. It lets them know who your dog is, who you are, and what assistance you may need.
When looking at service dog vest material, you want to know that it’s something that is durable, waterproof, and long-lasting. You also want to ensure that your dog isn’t going to feel uncomfortable and that the fabric isn’t going to cause your dog to get a rash or other irritation.
Nylon is one of the most common options available. You may also find vests that use blended fabrics so that they’re strong and sturdy. If there are additional pockets, those are likely made from plastic or other materials.
As with any harness or collar, you want to know that your dog is visible, even during times of the day where there may be low amounts of light. A service dog vest in orange, yellow, or bright green could be a great option.
You can also find dog vests that have some sort of reflectivity on them – whether it’s the whole thing or just in a few areas, that reflective material can help people to see your dog as well.
Sometimes, your dog is just your dog. They may not be on duty or working hard all of the time. Or, they may have different jobs depending on which family member that they’re with.
You can find a lot of service dog vests that use Velcro as an option for putting patches on and taking them off. That way, if you’re just taking them out to go to the bathroom or if they’re being used in a therapy dog capacity rather than as a service dog for a particular activity, you can switch it and make it clear what your dog’s doing.
D Ring for Leash
Instead of getting an entirely new harness or putting your dog on a leash with their collar, you may want to look for a service dog vest that has the D ring that is common in harnesses.
The D ring has become a standard on collars and harnesses of all types. It’s sturdy, it’s easy to hook a leash onto, and it doesn’t slip off as easily as standard “O” rings may. So, look for the vests that have the D ring and you’ll find it’s much easier to hook your dog onto a leash.
There are a lot of different service dog vest accessories, from saddle bags, to backpacks, and everything in between. These make it easier for them to do their job and for you to get the resources you need, when you need them.
What you get for accessories will depend on your particular needs. Do you need to have a special place where they can hold your medication? Then look for accessories that offer that. Do you want to be able to hang a dog tag on their harness? Look for a space where it can go.
How much padding is on the vest? Obviously, you don’t want it to be too bulky, but a little bit of padding can be really helpful to a dog that is wearing a service vest that doubles as a harness.
You want some sort of foam padding, but not enough that it’s going to make it awkward or too hot for your pet. If you live in an area that has all four seasons, you may want to get multiple vests or vests that allow you to remove the padding and put it back on/in as necessary.
The Americans with Disabilities Act actually recommends a number of different service dog vests for people who use a service dog in their day-to-day life. These vests usually meet a lot of requirements, like durability, visibility, ease of reading, and some of the other things we’ve talked about in this guide.
The most authentic service dog vest is going to be one that meets ADA approval in some form or fashion. These are usually among the best options that you can find if you want to have the best one for your working pal.
Built-In Top Handle
Top handles are a big part of your service dog’s vest. These are usually made from some sort of thick plastic, and they’re large enough for you to get a grip onto.
That grip is there for several reasons. First, in case you need to grab onto your dog and you don’t have their leash. Another reason is, if you’ve fallen down, you can use the grip in order to get back up or for your dog to gently lead you to safety.
Ease of Putting On / Taking Off
If you’re a person with a disability, you may have some difficulty getting the vest on or taking it off. It should be something that only takes a couple of steps to get onto your service animal.
There are even some vests that dogs can be trained to put on and take off themselves. If you struggle with the process, talk to your doctor, look through your options, and see what you can find.
Service dog vests have a lot of opportunities for personalization, since there’s often a lot of open space around your dog’s shoulders and near their tail.
If you want to get a custom service dog vest, be ready to pay a little more to get it done. Personalized vests can have all sorts of things, including your dog’s name, your name, additional pockets, or anything else that you may want to add on there.
Ease of Motion
As a working dog, your service dog needs to have their entire range of motion. It shouldn’t be difficult for them to move around. The vest should never be too bulky or restrict them from running, jumping, or lying down.
The best service dog vest will allow your dog to do their job well and ensure that you are well-taken care of.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can anyone use a service vest on their dog?
Technically, anyone is able to get a service dog vest. But, that doesn’t mean that just anyone should. They are intended for dogs that are performing specific working functions, such as seeing eye dogs or seizure alert dogs.
Talk with your doctor to see if a service dog of some sort is actually going to be able to help you. They can give you the proper documentation for making it happen and they can ensure that you go through the process properly, as well.
Is it legal to use a service dog vest on a dog that hasn’t been trained to be a service dog?
It is 100% legal for you to use a service dog vest harness on your pet because (technically) no one is supposed to be able to ask you why they are assisting you. Because more people than ever are claiming that their pets are service animals, however, some governments are proposing laws related to the use and misuse of these vests.
The other end of this is about ethics. Is it ethical for you to use a service dog vest on your pet that hasn’t been trained? That’s a question you need to ask yourself.
Can an emotional support animal wear a service dog vest?
Yes, you can get a service dog vest for an emotional support dog, but you want to be certain that you are honest about what the vest is for. Any patches on the vest should say “emotional support dog” or something of that sort so that they don’t get mistaken for a service animal.
Emotional support animals do not have the same protections as service dogs do; they are not allowed in every space and you can get asked to leave if you bring an emotional support animal somewhere that it doesn’t belong.
How do I get a service dog?
Service dogs are specially trained dogs that are meant to assist a person with some sort of disability or ailment. Sometimes, a household pet could turn into a service dog, but they need special training in order to be classified as such.
There are a number of organizations out there that will also help you to get connected with a service dog, based on a recommendation from a medical professional. These organizations train their dogs from puppyhood and ensure that they have the tools they need to assist their humans.
What about military service dogs?
If you have a military service dog, you can actually get a special service dog vest for PTSD sufferers. This has been a fuzzy line for a bit of time, but most establishments consider them to be service dogs because PTSD is considered to be a disability in this context.
The best service dog vest will make it clear what the service dog is doing and ensure that your dog is able to execute their job without any interference.
- Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA, U.S. Department of Justice, Jul 20, 2015
- Service dog vest, Cornhusker State Industries Nebraska
- How Are Service Dogs for Adults with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Integrated with Rehabilitation in Denmark? A Case Study, National Institutes of Health, May 7, 2017
- Training Service Dogs Helps Heal Service Members, U.S. Department of Defense, Nov 27, 2012
- Service dog, Wikipedia
- About service and assistance animals, Massachusetts State
- Would a Service Dog Be Beneficial for my Child?, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Apr 15, 2018
- Guidelines for Animals on Campus, Stetson University
- Service Dog Vest, eBay
- Service & Support Dog Harnesses & Vests, Chewy