Service dogs are great at providing support, especially to people with special needs. It’s essential that they wear a service dog vest so people know that it’s not just a pet. Service dogs are allowed in areas that pet dogs are not and a special vest helps the dog stand out from the rest. With plenty of options available in the market, here are the best service dog vests in 2021.
How To Find The Best Service Dog Vest For Your Dog
Buying Guide for Service Dog Vests
Dogs are one of the best companions humans can have at home. They are very lovable, loyal, and considered part of our families. They can be both adorable and feral at the same time, ready to guard you and scare the bad guys away. What makes them more of a blessing is that you can trust them to help you when you are in need of their loyal service.
Service dogs are specifically trained to aid or accomplish tasks of people with disabilities, or to at least help mitigate them. Some characteristics of service dogs include good temperament, discipline, and trainability. You usually see service dogs wearing vests—which are used for carrying the equipment with them that are necessary for their handlers.
What Exactly is a Service Dog Vest?
Service dogs wear a vest to alert the public that they are not an ordinary pet dog and that they serve a specific purpose to their owner or handler. These vests are not a mere fashion statement—some are made with pockets or compartments to carry small to medium-sized items essential to their owner. In places where pets are not allowed, a service dog vest will let people know that it is necessary to bring your dog in with you.
How to Find the Best Service Dog Vest
This is just like picking the right size for you when you buy your clothes. You should know how big or how small your service dog is, though usually, most service dog vests are made for medium to large sizes of dogs, so it will be a little hard to find one for small breeds.
Measure your dog around his middle, his neck, and the base of his tail. Then the length from the base of the tail to his neck, and you will have the right measurements to look for the perfect fit. When shopping online or in a physical pet store, take note of measurements in inches.
When looking for the best service dog vest, you may want to know if it is durable, water-proof, or will stand the test of time. The materials used to make the vest will play the biggest role in determining those features. Make sure that the kind of material will not irritate your pooch or cause discomfort to him.
Blended fabrics are used by some to make the vest sturdy. Nylon is one of the most popular choices for vest materials.
Additional compartments are necessary whenever you bring your medicine or other personal items with you. Pockets attached to the service dog vest can also be an I.D. holder—which is an extremely important thing if something happens to you. That way, your service dog can let other people know who you are and what kind of assistance you may need.
Paddings are for added comfort so that the material of the vest is not digging too hard on your dog’s body. One thing that you have to consider on a service dog vest with paddings is the type of climate you live in. Some vests were designed with paddings that can be taken in and out—effective for accommodating the hot and cold weather.
Ease of Movement
Service dogs should always be able to move around without too many restrictions. This is for them to help their handlers reach a wider range of areas for movement. The vest must not be too tight to avoid hindering the motion of their limbs and affect their flexibility and agility.
Easy to Put On/Take Off
Persons with disabilities may find it hard to get the vest on and off, especially with the harness and/or velcro straps that hold it together. It is highly recommended to choose one that can be arranged in a couple of steps to avoid inconvenience or unwanted accidents on your part.
Built-in Top Handle
This one should be sturdy enough because top handles are necessary when your service dog becomes too rowdy to control him easily. Another thing is when you fall down, you can always clutch onto the top handle for support.
Sitting down to consider what kind of service dog vest will work best is a favor for both the handler and the service dog. As you ensure your trusted service dog’s safety and comfort, you are also making sure that the vest is properly doing its rightful purpose to aid you. Numerous designs and styles are already out in the market, so all you have to do is to make sure you’re buying a functional and practical vest. Look through them according to your needs—how it can actually help you live your life a little better—but never forget that your service dog’s comfort should not be neglected no matter how fashionable the vest looks.
By Destin Benoit
Destin has experience working with dogs in the most high stress environments on earth. He currently is a canine handler as a security contractor, helping to keep US diplomats safe in some of the most dangerous regions of the world.