Here are the best service dog vest we’ll be covering:
- Carhartt Pet Vests
- Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest
- Pawshoppie Service Dog Vest Harness
- Cymiler Dog Harness
- ActiveDogs No Pull Service Dog Harness
Navigating daily life with your trained service dog is already enough of an undertaking on its own. Having the best vest will help both you and your dog feel far more confident and comfortable no matter where you go!
While the best service dog vest may vary based on your specific needs as well as those of your dog, most of the best vests have a few major factors in common. Some of those more common factors include issues like:
- Comfortable fit: Make sure your dog’s vest steers clear of common pressure points (typically around the joints or around major arteries). The vest shouldn’t be so tight as to restrict movement, but it also shouldn’t be loose enough that your dog can easily wriggle free.
- Ease and practicality: Look for a vest that’s easy to put on and take off, as well as one that’s durable enough to stand up to the wear and tear of your busy schedule.
- Quality construction: In addition to being durable and dependable, look for a vest that’s breathable and lightweight. Especially if your dog wears their vest for long periods of time, you’ll want to make sure that they’re as comfortable as possible.
- Safety: If you live in an area with lots of vehicle traffic or limited visibility, make sure your dog’s vest has reflective material along the vest to help keep the both of you that much safer.
- Applicability: You’ve probably already taken this factor into consideration, but make sure your dog’s vest is designed with your dog’s specific area of service in mind. No matter what category or subcategory of service they fall into, you should be able to find a vest that was designed for exactly that purpose.
Our recommendation for the best service dog vest
Again, the best service dog vest is one that works for you, your dog, and your lifestyle. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite service vests that should work across a wide range of all three, along with the pros and cons of each product.
No matter which vest you ultimately choose, the important thing is that it works well and that you and your dog are comfortable. Beyond that, the product itself doesn’t matter nearly as much as the results that it provides.
Made of durable polyester with multiple attachment points and handholds, the Carhartt Pet Vest is a tough, no-nonsense way of making sure that everyone knows your dog has a job to do. It’s also got adjustable straps around the neck and chest for a perfect fit.
Pros: solid construction, multiple attachment points for leads, d-ring closure for a secure fit, adjustable to grow with young dogs, front leash attachment discourages pulling on the leash, sturdy handles for helping your dog past obstacles, padded material for a comfortable fit.
Cons: if your dog likes to chew on their collar or leash, you may want to keep an eye on them while wearing this harness, as the front strap may break down if your dog gets into the habit of chewing on it.
Perfect for: larger dogs, dogs who like to pull, emotional support animals or therapy animals, dogs who are still growing.
Perfect for smaller dogs or dogs who are just starting to learn the ropes, the Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest is sturdy enough to grow with your pup. At the same time, it’s padded for comfort in order to avoid any pinching or irritation.
Pros: bright red, black, and white design, clearly labeled to avoid any confusion, adjustable chest and neck straps, durable construction, single clip for easy removal, top-mounted handle for better control over your dog, padded lining for comfortable fit, removable patches for greater ease of access.
Cons: make sure you adjust the buckle so that the strap on the belly allows a little space, as the hard buckle may chafe or cut your dog’s stomach if it’s cinched on too tightly.
Perfect for: small dogs, dogs who are still in training, puppies, dogs with sensitive coats, owners who want a clearly marked harness for their service animal.
The Pawshoppie Real Reflective Service Dog Vest Harness is a great choice for when you want to be out and about in busy pedestrian areas. It’s also clearly labeled to avoid any confusion over your dog’s level of access to public spaces or housing areas.
Pros: fits dogs of all sizes, super-sturdy handle for greater control over your dog, reflective paneling along the front strap for improved visibility, padded lining along straps and inside of harness, lifetime guarantee from the manufacturer, removable side panels allow you do clearly indicate what line of service your dog supports.
Cons: make sure you measure your dog’s size closely before ordering this harness, as the sizes tend to skew a little bit small.
Perfect for: owners who don’t want to deal with a lot of extra straps and buckles, dogs who live in low-visibility areas, dogs of all sizes, dogs who wear through harnesses quickly.
Especially if you’re still training your service dog to wear their harness, the Cymiler Dog Harness provides a greater level of control, which results in a safer experience for you and your dog. The front attachment prevents pulling without relying on a choke style collar.
Pros: super easy to put on and take off, reflective straps for greater visibility and safety, durable handle, no-pull attachment stops dogs from pulling by turning their energy back towards you, choke-free neck design, durable and breathable nylon material, very difficult to destroy.
Cons: the nylon straps around the front of this harness are not padded, so your dog may notice some irritation if they’re particularly active while walking.
Perfect for: dogs who pull on their leashes, dogs who struggle with a choke style of collar, owners with a busy schedule, dogs who like to chew, dogs and owners who live in low-visibility areas.
Similar to the previous entry, the ActiveDogs No Pull Service Dog Harness lets you maintain control over your dog at all times. The clear ID window on the back also helps you and your dog provide clear and immediate answers to any questions over access.
Pros: tough build that still allows plenty of airflow, padded back and chest for added comfort on long walks, easy to put on and take off, front attachment to prevent pulling, fitted design makes for a more secure hold, molded handle for greater control over your dog.
Cons: the fit on this vest tends to run a little large, so expect some sizing issues.
Perfect for: large dogs, dogs who pull or lunge on the leash, owners who want a clear service indicator, dogs who dislike the traditional “step in” style of harness, dogs and owners who live in warmer areas.
If you’re considering getting a service dog or are just looking to brush up on your understanding for a friend who needs a service animal, it’s perfectly normal to still have some lingering questions. There are plenty of resources available online for further education, but some of the biggest questions are pretty simple to answer.
For more information about service dogs, training, and accommodations available to people with service animals, we suggest heading over to the ADA Network‘s official website. There you’ll be able to find answers to any questions that are more in-depth than the ones we’ve covered here.
What Are the Different Types of Service Dog?
Right off the bat, it’s important to know that there are several different types of service animal, and each category and its subcategories come with a different set of rules, accommodations, and requirements.
Service Dog: The service dog is the oldest iteration of the support animal and has both the highest amount of privileges and the highest amount of responsibilities. Service dogs include guide dogs, hearing dogs, seizure alert dogs, diabetic alert dogs, mobility assistance dogs, or psychiatric service dogs.
Service dogs are highly trained for years in order to provide the necessary level of support and aid to their owners. It’s important to remember that service dogs are not pets. Instead, they have a very important job to do, and their sole focus should be on carrying out that job.
Because their jobs are so crucial, service animals tend to have the highest level of “rights” when it comes to housing, travel, or public access. Under the American with Disabilities Act, it is illegal to deny access to a public place or housing unit for an individual with their service dog.
Emotional Support Dog: Emotional support dogs are dogs whose main job is to help improve their owner’s quality of life. More specifically, unlike therapy dogs and service dogs, emotional support dogs receive no training and are not often considered to be “doing a job” in the same way those other dogs are.
Because they require no qualification or certification to become registered emotional support animals, emotional support dogs do not have the same level of accommodation as other service animals do. They do not have full access to public places and often require permission to enter new housing units.
Therapy Dog: The main difference between therapy dogs and emotional support dogs is that therapy dogs have undergone extensive training in order to be able to better help their owners.
Therapy dogs are typically used or seen in therapy settings, working with patients in a physical or mental healthcare facility in order to help improve recovery and patient outlooks. As is true for other service animals, therapy dogs are not pets and should not be treated like pets or approached at all when they’re “on duty”.
Because they tend to be limited to healthcare environments, therapy dogs do not have the same level of access that service dogs do, but they are still more likely to gain admission to public areas, simply because they’re usually better trained.
Does it really matter?
This may seem like a fairly obvious answer, but it bears repeating: it absolutely matters what type of animal your service animal is. As mentioned above, emotional support animals do not receive the same level of training as other service dogs, and a poorly behaved ESA may make business owners or travel facilities less likely to welcome traditional service animals.
For this reason, it is absolutely vital that you not misrepresent your dog’s area of service. If your dog is an emotional support animal, they’re still performing a vital role and helping you and others around you! However, many states in the US are pushing legislation to make willfully misrepresenting an emotional support animal as a service animal illegal.
If you want to call your dog a service animal, make sure they’ve had the proper training and the certification. Otherwise, you and your emotional support dog can still enjoy your time together, but without some of the perks that other dogs may enjoy.
No matter what kind of service your dog provides, having a vest that helps them do their job will help you and your dog alike feel more confident as you navigate the ins and outs of your daily routine. Hopefully, our list will give you the tools you need to make the right decision moving forward!