What Is the Best Service Dog Vest?

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A service dog vest is the quickest and best way to let people know that your dog is part of a protected group of animals.  These vests distinguish your animal as “on the job” and can save you the hassle of having to explain it to people in public.  For example, a friend of mine keeps a patch on his dog’s harness that says, “ASK TO PET”.

Service dog vests come in a large variety of designs and styles.  From simplistic and utilitarian to robust with many accessories, you can find a vest for your dog that will meet your needs.  Some are basic harnesses and quite spartan.  Others are more full-bodied and have space for pouches and patches.

You’ll want to make sure to pick the best one for you and your dog.  With all the options available, following a few simple steps can ensure product satisfaction.  First, select one that’s properly sized for your dog. Next, consider the ease of use for you and your dog.  Finally, find one that has the accessories and features you are looking for.

Product Reviews

Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest

Best Service Dog Vest

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This vest by Industrial Puppy is one of the products in their large line of service dog equipment.  They emphasize safety, durability, and comfortable functionality to limit distractions while in public.

When you purchase this vest, you will get 50 handouts that describe the different rules and specifics of service animals.  These are a quick and handy way to inform curious people about your service animal.  

Where can you keep these informative handouts?  Well, this vest is designed to accommodate pouches and backpacks.  These pair well with the Velcro that can hold your service dog patches.  

The vest is made with a top-mounted handle for total control.  The harness connects with a simple belly buckle for on-the-go activity.  The materials are some of the strongest on the market to eliminate frayed seams.

Pros

  • Welded D-ring for strong leash connection
  • Comes with removable service dog patches
  • Easy to put on and remove

Cons

  • Some have found they need to buy a size larger than the measurements indicated
  • Velcro chest strap can come loose.

Voopet Service Dog Harness

Best Service Dog Vest

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Voopet is committed to customer satisfaction.  If you aren’t in love with your Pet Vest Harness, Voopet will provide you the best solution.  They promise to solve any problem within 24 hours.

Your dog will appreciate the combination of breathable oxford soft mesh and soft padding.  The fabric is 100% polyester and scratch-resistant.  This makes it lightweight and durable, too.  Extra padding was added to areas with buckles to resist irritating rubbing.

The nylon is created for maximum visibility in low light conditions.  This is included in the fabric as well as the stitching threads.  You can take comfort from this when walking your dog in low-light conditions. 

The handle at the top of the harness is designed to be sturdy.  The thick nylon handle will give you plenty of control of your pup.

Pros

  • Comes with “emotional support” and “service dog” patches
  • Breathable, lightweight materials used
  • Side-mounted buckles designed to prevent the dog from slipping out

Cons

  • Not intended for rowdy dogs
  • Vest can become unadjusted through use.

ALBCORP Service Dog Vest Harness

Best Service Dog Vest

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ALBCORP’s polyester and nylon vest are made with maximum visibility and comfort in mind.  With five different sizing options and five different color schemes, you’ll find the perfect vest for your dog.

The vest comes with two reflective service dog patches to let people know your status.  There is also reflective tape around the vest.  To round out the visibility of this harness, even the stitching is made with reflective materials.  

The harness comes with a stainless-steel D-ring for ID tags or a leash.  The buckles have an additional locking feature to keep them from accidental release.  The belly and chest straps are extra-wide and adjustable for max comfort.

Beneath the sturdy wide handle at the top of the vest is the padding.  It is a breathable, lightweight woven nylon and mesh padding designed to reduce overheating in your pup.

Pros

  • Solid customer service
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Professional-looking design

Cons

  • Can be too bulky for smaller dogs
  • Long-haired dogs may have problems with the Velcro surfaces

Bolux Dog Harness

Best Service Dog Vest

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This dog harness by Bolux is one of the most popular on the market.  Bolux is committed to providing customers with quality products and great customer service.  They guarantee to resolve any issues within 24 hours.

The vest is designed to be extra comfortable.  Pressure from pulling is evenly distributed across an adjustable chest strap.  The strap design is kept in place with an easy-to-use buckle and Velcro.  

The vest is made with multiple features for a wide range of use.  Reflective straps ensure high visibility at night.  A leash can be connected to the D-ring for more versatility.  It’s a great vest for walking and running on streets and trails.

Options for this vest let you customize the perfect product for your canine friend.  It comes in over thirteen colors and patterns.  This will ensure a unique look for your dog.  The six size ranges mean a perfect fit, no matter the dog.

Pros

  • Good pressure distribution
  • Easy to put on
  • Good quality, sturdily built

Cons

  • Large dogs may be able to break out of it
  • Difficult to adjust once the harness is on dog

Front Range Dog Harness

Best Service Dog Vest

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Formed in 1994, Ruffwear has been designing and building gear for outdoor dogs and their owners.  The Front Range Dog Harness reflects this mindset with its simple, rugged, and utilitarian design.

Built around the concept of an all-day outdoor adventure, the vest is designed to be lightweight and durable.  There are two leash attachment points to increase flexibility and control.  The leash rings are aluminum for lightweight strength.  

The chest and belly straps are equipped with foam padding.  This helps provide load distribution and comfort during strenuous activities while providing comfort while resting.

To make sure you can get the perfect fit for your dog, the Front Range Harness features four points of adjustment.  It is fitted with reflective trim, an ID pocket, and a light loop for a safety light that’s sold separately.  

Pros

  • Four points of adjustment
  • Webbed design leaves plenty of breathabilities
  • Easy to take on and off
  • Twelve different colors to choose from

Cons

  • Leash ring attachment stitching can come loose
  • Escape artist dogs can back out of the harness

Tactical Dog Harness

Best Service Dog Vest

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ICEFANG is one of the leading manufacturers of tactical style dog vests.  This tactical dog harness has plenty of room for accessories.  It is your “tacti-cool” option for dog vests.

The buckles are all load tested to ensure strength and reliability.  The shoulder buckles are load tested to 1000 pounds while the belly buckles are tested to 250 pounds.  Attach points are sewn with the “X in the box” pattern for heavy load reliability.

The sides of the harness have Molle pattern attachments that allow you to attach weave-on style pouches and equipment.  Loop panels are sewn on to the sides and chest to accommodate many patches.

The materials used to put this harness together come from highly tested sources.  The body of the vest is made from 1050D nylon with a water-resistant coating.  The hardware is all alloy metal.  The webbing and thread are all 100% nylon.

Pros

  • Heavy duty construction
  • Simple to put on
  • Designed to carry stuff if needed

Cons

  • Stitches can be a point of failure on the buckles
  • Buckles can come undone through incidental rubbing

Service Dog Vest Harness

Best Service Dog Vest

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This service dog vest harness from Chai’s Choice uses top-selling ideas implemented into one package.  This vest offers great support and control for you and your dog while walking, standing, or climbing stairs.

The harness is made from a durable, scratch-resistant polyester layer.  It’s held together with lightweight duraflex buckles of a high load capacity.  This is intended to create strength and load dispersion.

It contains a high-elasticity sponge layer for padding.  Reflective piping from 3M Scotchlite keeps this vest visible in low light conditions.  For further visibility, two removable reflective Velcro “service dog” patches are included.  

Ease of use features include an aluminum D-ring leash attachment built into a strengthened nylon handle.  The buckles are created to be easy to remove and connect for simple vest removal and placement.

Pros

  • This stylish design comes in 8 different colors
  • Good chest padding
  • Built from quality materials

Cons

  • Straps may rub behind dog’s back legs
  • Front leash loop is attached by Velcro
  • “Service dog” patch can be hard to read in daylight; it’s white letters on reflective grey background

Tactical Dog Training Harness

Best Service Dog Vest

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FIVE WOODY has made available a Tactical Dog Training Harness.  The harness was created to improve your dog walking experience while training your dog.  It is ideal for jogging, running, hiking and camping.  

They have used military standard materials to make this vest durable.  Using 900D nylon and sturdy stitching means it can withstand strong pull loads.  Your dog is kept comfortable through these loads with well-padded pressure points throughout the vest.

This vest has added versatility through the addition of two strips of Molle sewn on both sides of the vest.  This allows you to add a variety of Molle compatible pouches or saddlebags.  These also contain Velcro for any patches you might want to add.

The vest allows for two different leash attachment points.  The front clip is designed for max control and dog training.  The back clip is designed for casual walks or jogging.  The clips are metal and very strong.

 Pros

  • Easily adjustable for sizing
  • Designed to accept pouches and patches
  • Breathable design

Cons

  • Not standard-sized Molle strips
  • Sizing chart seems inconsistent 

Service Vest Dog Harness

Best Service Dog Vest

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Fairwin, a company known primarily for its tactical belts for people, has transferred their expertise to dog vests.  This sleek service vest comes with a 20-month warranty and a 60-day hassle-free return policy.

Features for this service dog vest include high-quality nylon, and removable “service dog” and “in training” patches.  A stainless-steel D-ring allows the use of a dog leash and a place for ID tags.  

The vest comes fully adjustable at the neck and chest.  Sliding buckle straps allow for quick customizing from the neck to the shoulder blade.  The vest comes in sizes from extra-small to extra-extra-large.  

There is padding around the neck and chest.  Professionals that work with service dogs have praised the padding design as being very comfortable for their furry co-workers.  It contains a breathable mesh lining to allow for cooling.

Pros

  • Comfortable, lightweight vest
  • Highly reflective strips across the entirety of harness
  • 1000D high-quality nylon

Cons

  • No chest leash connection point
  • No assembly instructions included

Service Dog Vest Harness

Best Service Dog Vest

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This Service Dog Vest Harness by barkOutfitters is a no-nonsense durable service dog vest designed for trained dogs.  It is made for “at a glance” recognition of your pet as a service animal.  

By properly identifying your service animal you can avoid unwanted interactions with people in public.  This vest supports that through its professional look.  The “service dog” patches are made from rubber to allow quick and easy cleaning that will never fray.

It supports lots of activities like swimming by being fast drying.  The mesh lining will keep your dog cool during strenuous activities, too.  Even use at night is made safer through the addition of reflective trim.

It has a built-in padded handle on top to maintain great control of your dog.  For leash use, a metal D-ring has been added.  This is sewn into the nylon below the handle.

Pros

  • Accurate size chart
  • Easy identification for service dogs
  • Total weight is very low

Cons

  • May not have the durability for dogs that are still training
  • Overall vest size is small, not very prominent

How to Select the Right Service Dog Vest

Selecting the right service dog vest can seem overwhelming at first.  Between all the different styles, straps, pouches and buckles the job can seem daunting.  Follow a few guidelines to make your decision easier.

Measurement Phase

A vest that’s too loose or too tight can cause unwanted rubbing and sore spots.  Many manufacturers will provide a range of sizes that their product will work on.  Some provide specific measurements and weights.  If this is the case, you’ll need to measure your dog.

Chest measurement is taken behind the front legs and the measuring tape is then wrapped around the dog’s body.  A neck measurement is taken where the collar would sit.  Consider adding some length to this measurement for the dog’s comfort.  The dog’s length is measured from the collar to the base of the tail.  

Most vests will have adjustable areas so you can get the perfect fit once it’s on the dog.  The measurements, in this case, will just make sure you’re in the ballpark when selecting a vest.

Functionality Phase

During this step, you should decide what type of functionality your vest needs to have.  Start to consider the mechanics of the vest and how easy it is to take on and off.  

Some vests have features designed for walking or pulling a wheelchair.  Does it have a ring to connect a leash to?  Do you need it to?  Do the straps get pulled tight or are there buckles?  Take a look at your options and decide what are the most important.

Accessory Phase

Now you can look at all the bells and whistles.  Some vests have cooling features that keep your dog from overheating.  Some have a breathable mesh for the same reason.  

Others come in bright exciting colors and designs.  They may be made of nylon or other materials.  You can decide whether you want padded areas and where they should be.  If you’re interested in putting on patches and pouches look for a vest with a system for hanging things.

Advantages to Using a Service Dog Vest

So why use a vest in the first place?  A leash seems to be just as effective and probably easier to take on and off, right?  Well, depending on your needs, a service dog vest can offer you versatility and utility that a leash just can’t touch.

A dog vest will give you more control over the dog.  The nature of the vest means that there is more surface area contact with the dog, giving you more influence.  It distributes your physical commands over the entirety of the vest.  The same force applied to a leash and collar puts a lot of pressure on your dog’s neck.  This could cause injury or risk of breaking a collar.

For larger dogs, a vest gives you the ability to stop unwanted behavior.  The vest will stop the movement before your dog has built up any momentum.  They are useful for smaller dogs because they will prevent self-injury from pulling too hard on a leash and collar.  A bonus is that dogs that are good at slipping a collar won’t be able to wriggle out of a harness. 

A vest is also ideal for training your dog to walk with you.  Especially for puppies and small dogs, a vest will help you avoid having to untangle the leash.  If you have an older dog or one with hip problems, a harness will let you gently assist your dog in standing up.

Another advantage of a dog vest is the ability to carry things on your dog.  Obviously, your canine’s abilities will determine what and how much it can carry.  Some vests and harnesses allow you to attach pouches.  These pouches can carry snacks, medication, water, first aid kits, and much more.  

Types of Service Dog Vests

Service dog vests come in a variety of designs meant for various tasks.  Determine what you want your dog vest to do for you so you can make an informed choice.  Some people find using different vests for different activities is the best way to get what you are looking for.

Carry Capable Vests

If you are looking to load your canine up with required medication, snacks, water, or other equipment you’ll want to make sure you find a vest that is designed for carrying weight.  

A vest that’s good for this will contain multiple attachment points for different sized pouches or saddlebags.  This can include extra D-rings or Molle attachment strips.  

It’s always better to decide what you want to carry first, then find a harness that will support it.  There is a tendency to fill the space that you have available.  If your dog harness has four pouches, you will probably eventually fill all four pouches.  

Easy Identification Vests

These vests are designed to allow the public to quickly identify your dog as a service animal.  If you’ve been stopped by well-meaning (or not well-meaning) strangers before, you know the best interaction you can have is the one you’ve avoided.  

To this end, many vests are made to look “professional” and remove doubt about your dog’s purpose.  They probably include identifying patches, like “service animal”, “do not pet”, or “in training”.  

Functionality Focused Vests

Some vests are meant to serve a more functional purpose.  These might include vests designed for strenuous outdoor activities or training a dog.

Often, these vests are just webbed without room for patches or pouches.  These are designed to provide good pull load strength without adding weight or restricting airflow.  They should probably have a very strong top handle.

If you are looking for a harness to take your dog on trail runs or hikes, think about all the places you may need to help your dog.  Now think about how you would do it.  You would probably need to lift it by the handle or pull it from a chest leash.  These features should be high on your priority list.

Service Dog Vest FAQs

Can my dog wear a vest all day? 

It depends on your dog and how it reacts to vest wearing.  Your dog shouldn’t wear a vest 24-hours a day.  It may be fine to were throughout the day, though.  A dog with long hair may not be comfortable wearing a vest for extended periods of time.  The hair may become tangled in the vest and cause it discomfort.  If you are training a dog, refer to your training curriculum for best practices.  

Why does my dog keep getting out of its harness? 

This could be caused by a number of reasons.  Most likely, it’s a matter of an improperly sized vest.  Check your vest for adjustment straps.  Many let you make changes to the fitting.  

Can I put a vest on my puppy? 

Sure.  A puppy shouldn’t have any problems with a properly sized vest.  Starting your pup in a vest early means a strong foundation for follow on training. 

What’s the best vest to use for a dog that pulls on a leash? 

You’ll want a vest that has a chest ring for your leash.  This will help pull the dog’s body back inline instead of the head and neck.  You can cause injury to a dog by constantly yanking on a dog’s neck.

Will my dog get too hot in a harness? 

It could.  If you think overheating is an issue, try to find a vest that has a mesh liner.  A minimalist harness may only have webbing with no material connecting the empty space.  This should keep air flowing.  For long walks in hot environments stop frequently, keep your dog hydrated, and remove the harness when able.

Conclusion

A service dog vest is the best way to identify your dog as a service animal.  Professionals agree that it is also the best way to walk your dog safely.  

Service dog vests come in a variety of styles with many features.  Knowing what function you want your harness to perform will allow you to pick the best one for your needs.

It is in the best interests of you and your dog to start using a service dog vest.  Tell us which one you went with.  What features did it have?  Any considerations we didn’t cover?  Let us know what your favorite dog harness is in the comments below.

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