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September 9, 2022  |  Pets

How to choose the perfect service dog vest

While the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't require service dogs to wear vests, they can help stop passersby from interacting with them in ways that interfere with their jobs. Choosing the perfect service dog vest is important to keep you and your dog safe and comfortable.

It's essential that the vest fits your dog well and doesn't rub. Bright colors are good to make the vest stand out, while reflective strips make you and your canine companion more visible in low light. 

In this article: Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest, Cymiler Service Dog Harness and Plutus Pet Service Dog Vest

Who can wear a service dog vest? 

Just as the ADA doesn't require service dogs to wear vests, there are no laws about which dogs can wear service dog vests. While you can legally put a service dog vest on any dog, it doesn't make them a service dog or mean you can take them anywhere. 

To be classed as a service animal, a dog must be trained to perform tasks for or assist a person with disabilities, and the tasks that dog performs must be directly related to the person's disabilities. 

If your dog doesn't meet these criteria, it may be a therapy dog or emotional support animal but not a service dog. Therefore, you don't have the same legal rights to bring your dog anywhere and everywhere with you. 

How to choose a service dog vest

Size

It's vital that you find the right size vest for your dog so that it fits comfortably and doesn't pinch or chafe. Almost all manufacturers have a sizing chart that you can refer to to get the correct fit. It's a good idea to measure your dog as directed to find the right size rather than simply estimating which size will fit. 

Color

Although you can find vests in muted colors, such as black or khaki, bright colors make your dog more easily recognizable as a service dog. If you want to draw attention to your dog so that people don't disturb its work, you'll have more luck with a bright color than a more subdued hue. 

Reflective strips

Since service dogs are often with their people every time they leave the house, it's more than likely that you'll end up out and about in low light conditions. Reflective strips, stitching and service dog patches help make you more visible. 

Removable patches

On many vests, the patches that say "service dog" fix on with a hook and loop fastening and are removable. This is handy if your dog isn't always on duty — you can easily peel them off when your dog is no longer doing its job. 

Handle

You'll often find a large handle on the top of a service dog vest. If you occasionally need physical support from your dog, it's a helpful addition. However, it also lets you get closer control of your dog in busy areas if needed. 

Padding

Look for a vest that's well-padded, as this is more comfortable for your dog and helps prevent rubbing or chafing. That said, an overly padded vest may feel too warm on hot days. 

Best service dog vests

Best Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest

Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest

This durable vest harness is well-padded with a mesh interior for your dog's comfort. It comes in eight sizes to fit most dogs and five colors, including blue, red and hot pink. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Cymiler Service Dog Harness

Cymiler Service Dog Harness

Rugged yet comfortable to wear, this is a perfect service dog vest-style harness for most dogs. It comes in a wide range of colors and prints, including camouflage, purple and rose red, with reflective detailing for visibility. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Plutus Pet Service Dog Vest

Plutus Pet Service Dog Vest

While it's primarily a vest rather than a harness, it does have a D-ring onto which you can attach a leash, though it's only suited for dogs who reliably walk with a loose leash. It's bright red with clear service dog patches to easily identify your dog as one that's doing a job. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Demigreat Service Dog Harness

Demigreat Service Dog Harness

Not only does this vest have removable service dog patches, they can also be switched out with ones that say "in training" if your pup is still learning. You can choose from a range of solid colors and patterns, including solid orange, red check and blue camo.  

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Fairwin Service Vest Dog Harness

Fairwin Service Vest Dog Harness

The rugged handle on this harness is perfect for when you need closer control or support from your dog. The service dog patches on each side are large and clearly visible. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Mumupet Service Dog Harness

Mumupet Service Dog Harness

With six sizes from X-small to 2X-large, you can find an option to fit almost any dog. The mesh interior is breathable, so your dog won't feel too hot, even when working in warm weather. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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