If you, or someone you know, requires the assistance of a service dog, you'll be aware just how amazing those wonderful animals are. They can be trained to carry out a whole range of tasks and allow their owners to lead as normal a life as possible.
When out and about, a service dog should be easily identifiable and one of the best ways is for them to wear a service dog vest. Here we will review 5 of the top service dog vests currently available to help you pick the right one for your dog.
This service dog vest is designed to be lightweight for your dog, but at the same time durable enough to last. It has several size and color options and is completely adjustable so that your dog feels comfortable wearing it at all times.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Alcorp reflective service dog vest is the amount of cushioning that it has. Many service dogs get chaffed due to overheating and the rough materials used in their vest rubbing against their skin when they are wearing it. With this vest, your dog won't have that problem as not only are the materials breathable to keep them cooler, its padded material prevents rubbing and chaffing.
The vest can be purchased in one of six different sizes based on the girth or ribcage size of the dog which will be wearing it. These range from XXS for small dogs at 14 inches and go up to XL and 43 inches for larger dogs. To ensure your dog's comfort level is even higher, both the chest and neck straps are adjustable for a perfect fit. An easy-snap clasp to secure the buckle and straps makes putting on and taking off the vest very simple.
To walk your service dog on a leash, the vest has a sturdy stainless-steel D-ring which will keep the leash securely held. You can also control your service dog using the reinforced handle on the back of the vest, which also comes in useful when training your dog.
When you are out and about, highly reflective stitching and two bright patches with the words 'Service Dog' mean that anyone you encounter will know what your dog is and that they are able to enter public buildings with you. Should you be buying this vest for a working dog which is not classed as 'service,’ these patches can be replaced by your own depending on their role.
It is good to see a manufacturer of service vests take account of the fact that some service dogs are very large. The size ranges go all the way up to a girth of 43-inches, making this one of the largest options for service dog vests available.
Velcro is used in this product to secure the 'service dog' patches, which is not a negative, but it does have two potential issues. One is the noise it makes as your dog is walking which has been known to distract some dogs, especially when they are in the training stage, and the second is the Velcro eventually losing its grip in time, and the patches falling off.
If you are looking for a simple, but effective service dog vest then this one perfectly fits the bill, plus it has a special one-off bonus. It's lightweight, easy to use, comfortable, and thanks to its fast-drying material, you can even use it when it’s raining.
This service dog vest is a great combination of comfort features for your dog along with several features which make it easy for the dog's owner too. Starting from the top, you have a strong, welded D-ring for the leash hook which sits next to a built-in handle. This nylon handle allows you to control and train your dog.
Putting the vest on and off your dog is as simple as snapping together the plastic clasps or pressing them to release, depending on whether you are arriving home or going out. Obviously going out is when you are most likely to come across situations when you need people to know and understand the differences in the law with regards to allowing service dogs into certain buildings.
This is where the free bonus comes into play, as with this vest you receive 50 FREE ADA CARDS which you can present to anyone who attempts to deny you and your dog entry to any premises to which you are both entitled to enter. It also briefly explains what the law is and answers some questions which they may ask.
The vest's fabric is breathable to help keep your dog cool, and fast drying. This means if you have been out with your dog when it has been raining, it'll be dry and ready to be used again in no time. All the stitching around the main part of the vest is reflective, and there are also reflective bands on the chest strap too.
Speaking of the chest area, the vest has a padded chest plate which stops the vest from moving from side to side when in use. This helps to prevent the vest from rubbing, therefore, it is a lot more comfortable to wear for your dog. On the other hand, some dogs feel very restricted with a large piece of material on their chest so if your dog is one them, the chest plate is removable.
The ADA info cards bonus is a definite winner because it helps both the dog owner AND the person who may be unaware of the laws relating to service dogs. Rather than having to give a long explanation, you simply give them the card to read.
There is nowhere or no means to place other patches relating to your service dog, which is made more of a problem by the fact that the label can become a little bit loose.
With this service dog vest, there is everything both you and your dog would want... comfortable to wear, easy to use, made to last, and there's even a choice of 5 different colors so your dog can look their very best too.
Comfort is normally the first thing most service dog owners look for when considering a vest for their dog, and this one doesn't disappoint in that department. The vest material is breathable as you'd expect, and it is also fast drying so there no need to worry about it getting wet.
The straps are all adjustable, so whether you are fitting it across your dog's chest, or around their rib cage and underneath, you can make sure it is not too tight or too loose. When you have the straps all adjusted correctly, you can secure them easily using the easy-snap 'parachute' clips on the belly buckle.
Seeing that your dog is a service dog, should not be a problem for others thanks to the reflective safety band at the front of the vest, and the reflective 'Service Dog' patches on the sides. The patches are removable should you need to change them to an alternative.
For the medium and larger sizes, you can purchase separate backpacks which attach to the sides of the vest. These would be useful for carrying anything you might need while you are out, such as documents, medication or possibly some treats for you-know-who.
This is another vest where the manufacturer has some insight into some of the issues that those using service dogs might have with over-officious staff or those ignorant of the law relating to service dogs. The vest comes with 50 brightly colored cards which outline exactly what the rules are as laid down in the ADA Act of 1990 in relation to service dogs.
Speaking of colorful, you can choose the one that suits your dog, or their personality as this vest is available in pink, blue, black, teal or red. There's also a good range of sizes too, which go from 12 inches up to 39 inches, so you should be able to get the right fit for your dog.
This vest has one of the easiest strap systems available. One simply goes underneath and around your dog's rib cage, and the other goes horizontally across their chest. With some requiring paws and legs to fit through loops, this one seems so much easier, and less complicated.
The sizing on this product seems to err on the side of being a bit bigger than stated. You can adjust the straps, so it will fit, but it could be a problem for dogs which are at the smaller end of each size range and may need to go down a size.
This a padded, comfortable service dog vest which, thanks to its bright color, will certainly get your dog noticed. It comes in a range of sizes, including an XXL size which can fit dogs with a girth as big as 46 inches.
The first thing you will notice on this service dog vest is its very bright color, especially the pink one. Such is its distinctiveness, there will be no danger of your dog not being seen, as you both pass by. For those you who prefer things a bit more low-key, there is the red option, which although bright, is not quite as much of a head turner.
On to more practical matters, and the question of how easy the vest is to put on and take off. With this vest, you should have no difficulty as the clasp is the simple clip and release type that you find on most service dog vests. The padded straps are easily adjusted before you put the vest on; therefore it should feel comfortable for your dog whilst wearing it.
The fabric used for the main vest is lightweight and breathable, giving a further boost to the comfort of your dog. The material is designed to prevent any excess heat being created whilst the vest is being worn by your dog. The material is also elasticated so that it fits snuggly to your dog, therefore reducing any rubbing or chaffing.
As if any were needed, additional visibility is achieved thanks to a reflective band on the front of the vest, and removable 'Service Dog' side labels. As they are removable it means if your dog is used for medical, therapy or emotional support purposes the appropriate label can be used so that others are aware of your dog's function.
To attach your dog's leash, there is a stainless-steel D-ring which will keep it secure, and if you ever need to control your dog, or if you are training them, there is a handle on the back of the vest too. Please note the handle is not available on the XS sized vest, which is not such that big an issue given that very small dogs should not need a handle to control them anyway.
One of the issues with service dog vests is, if they move about a lot it can rub, cause chaffing and therefore be very uncomfortable for a dog. The elasticated fabric used in this vest, ensures that it fits neatly and comfortably on your dog, and thus minimizing the movement and rubbing just mentioned.
Sizing with this vest needs to be checked carefully especially if your dog's measurements are at the upper end of one the sizes. If so, or if you are in any doubt, purchase the size which is one up from your dog, to guarantee it fits properly.
The design of this service dog vest is based on Chai's Choice's bestselling 'Front Range Harness' which has thousands of positive reviews. Obviously, it has been adapted so it is suitable for service dogs, but all the popular features of their harness have been incorporated.
One of the main features of this service dog vest is the sponge-padded inner fabric, which is elasticated to make it is as comfortable as possible for the dog wearing it. With adjustable straps for both the front and underneath part of the vest, you can effectively custom fit it to your dog, depending on their size.
The outer layer vest is scratch resistant, which will be important if you and your dog go walking in woods or the countryside, and they are likely to be brushing against trees or bushes. Adding to the robustness of this vest is a secure D-ring for the leash hook and a sturdy handle for additional control or training.
This vest has one the largest side labels of any vest we have looked at, so there is no way anyone is not going to see the reflective letters spelling out ‘Service Dog' on the side. Should you need to swap this if your dog is used for another support function then you can do so, as the labels are removable.
Also helping ensure that visibility is maximized, the stitching and webbing used throughout the vest is reflective, so it can be seen easily, including at night. If you want as many options as possible in color and size combinations, then this service dog vest certainly gives you that.
Six different sizes and five different colors are available, so it should have a size to fit, and a color to suit any dog, including yours. Sizes range from XS which starts at 16 inches and go up to XXL at around 45 inches. As for colors, you can take your pick from fuchsia, blue, green, orange or black.
With most service vests you can never be 100% sure beforehand if they are going to be comfortable for your dog to wear, but with this vest, you can. Its design and the materials used are based on a proven product that is hugely popular with dog owners already with one of its main selling points being how comfortable it is for dogs to wear.
For very large dogs the chest strap may be a bit small, thus making it a little tight. Admittedly this is only for dogs around the same size as a Great Dane, but if that is yours then watch out for this.
A service dog vest not only serves more than one purpose, it is also a product that must be suitable for both its wearer (the dog) and the owner of the dog.
One of its most important purposes of the vest is to identify that the dog wearing it is a service dog so that anyone seeing it with you, knows that the dog is performing a function for you. In addition, you want people recognizing that, as a service dog, it can be taken into premises where dogs are not normally allowed. Service vests which come with bright reflective colors, stitching or are preferable, and any that you choose must should a bright 'Service Dog' label as a minimum.
You want your dog to be comfortable whilst wearing the service vest, so you need to ensure you first measure your dog's girth and then select the appropriate size vest. You should also consider the sort of fabric used, and any aids to comfort such as padding or breathable material.
Finally, think about yourself in terms of using the vest with your dog. Consider how easy it is to put it on, or take it off, and if there are other useful features such as a control handle, or optional extras such as backpacks which might be beneficial to you.
When you are out with your service dog it is going to be so much more convenient if anyone who you encounter can easily recognize that your dog isn't just a pet, and is, instead, assisting you in some capacity. To achieve this service vests will normally have one or more labels with the words 'Service Dog' printed in reflective letters.
With some vests, these labels will be removable so that other dog assistance services can be highlighted such as for emotional support dogs. In addition to this lettering, there may also be varying degrees of other reflective materials used in the vest such as the stitching or with the use of reflective bands in the front or the back of the vest.
This obviously relates to how comfortable the vest is for your service dog while wearing it, especially for long periods of time. This will be influenced mostly by the type of materials and fabrics used for the main body of the vest. Lightweight materials which are breathable are best as they allow heat to escape, thus avoiding your dog getting too hot.
Other features such as padding will obviously help, as will the use of elasticated fabric, which help make the vest fit more snuggly. By doing so, it stops the excessive movement of the vest which can cause chaffing to your dog's skin.
Vests which require the minimum amount of effort from yourself to get them on and off your service dog, are definitely the ones to go for. Look for those with simple clips which snap on and off easily by pressing them on either side. Anything more complicated than this is neither needed nor desirable.
Other features to look for are a sturdy D-ring to attach a dog leash and handle on the back of the vest, for additional control of your dog.
You will obviously need to measure your dog before ordering, and it will be more helpful if you look for vests which offer as wide a range of size options as possible. Most vests will come with adjustable straps which allow you to get your service dog's vest to fit them as neatly, and as comfortably as possible. The vest should have no excess movement, nor should it fit too tightly either.
Some vests can only be adjusted with one strap, but the better ones allow you to adjust both the strap around your dog's rib cage and the chest strap. This should give you the best chance of making the vest fit perfectly.
Some, though not all, vests come with pre-printed ADA cards which spell out what the law is with regards to allowing service dogs into commercial, government and other premises used by the public. These can be very useful in explaining to those who are either ignorant of the law, or worse, refuse to follow the law regarding service dogs.
Some dog owners might feel nervous about discussing with someone the law as it relates to their service dog, so by having a simple card to show the other person it can resolve the issue quickly and without the need for an unwelcome argument.
Most service vests are sized in relation to a dog's girth which is the circumference of a dog's rib cage. To get the measurement, place one end of a measuring tape on your dog's back, at the widest point of their rib cage.
This is normally a couple of inches behind their front legs. Hold it there with one thumb and take the tape around and underneath them just behind their front legs. Bring the tape up and around and note the number of inches where the two ends of the tape meet. This is the measurement you use.
No. Just as with any other federal law, you should not have to prove it exists for it to be enforceable. For example, a bank does not need to have the law against bank robbery posted on its front door for someone robbing the bank to be guilty of the crime.
With regards to the law about service dogs and them being allowed to enter certain buildings there are many people who are either unaware of the law, or sadly, chose to ignore it. The cards are a useful tool as they explain the law to both these types of people, so that they are aware that it is a federal offense for them to refuse entry to your service dog.
Only if you buy a poorly made vest or one made from the wrong sorts of material, but if you are wise and follow our guidance this won't happen.
The vests we have reviewed are all made from quality materials which have various features to help prevent any overheating for your dog. Most use quality materials which are breathable and therefore allow any heat to be released. It also lets the air circulate around your dog's body when they are wearing their vest to keep them cool.
It is impossible for us to know how much you rely on your service dog, but whatever level it is at, we're sure they make a hugely positive contribution to your life. Therefore, when reviewing and selecting the best service dog vest, we looked at all the ways in which these vests could benefit your dog's ability to do the brilliant work which they do. After looking at all the good, and the bad of each, our winner and #1 service dog vest is the Chai's Choice Service Dog Vest.
This is a very unique vest compared to the others, especially with respect to its design. The reason for this is that its design was inspired by one of the manufacturer's other dog products, namely the Chai's Choice Front Range Harness which is already hugely popular and received thousands of positive reviews.
The benefit of these is that they could see what worked well in the harness and incorporate those ideas into making this service dog vest. The result is a vest that is extremely comfortable for your dog to wear thanks to the padded materials used, and the mesh inner which helps keep your dog cool.
The vest has a tougher and more durable outer layer than the others, which is enhanced further by the scratch resistant material which has been used. The chest padding can be removed if that makes your dog feel more comfortable, plus both the chest and belly straps can be adjusted to make the fit as perfect as it can be.
There will certainly be no doubt when people see your dog when you are out that they are a service dog. The large reflective lettering on the label will take care of that, plus the reflective stitching and beading on other parts of the vest make the visibility the best we have seen.
Finally, there are the options you have, both in terms of the sizes, which you'd expect, but also in the range of colors that are available. This means that it is almost certain there will a Chai's Choice Service Dog Vest, that both fits your dog's size, their character... and maybe yours too.