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People with different disabilities find it easier to live with the aid of a service dog. They help with everyday activities and generally make lives richer and more enjoyable.
Service dogs are essentially working dogs, which is why we see them wearing certain vests and harnesses. This type of gear lets the public know that the dog isn’t just a pet but a helping hand.
These pups are allowed in areas that pet dogs usually aren’t such as airplanes, restaurants, libraries, doctor’s offices, etc. However, you’re going to need a vest or a harness that states your pup is a service dog.
Though service gear resembles regular vests and harnesses, there’s a specific difference. They’re usually made of stronger materials, brighter colors and have several more features that can aid both the canine and you.
We’ve reviewed several different service vests and harnesses for both small and large breeds. Continue reading to learn all about these pieces as well as how to choose the right one for your pet.
Service Dog Vests & Harnesses
It has two removable Service Dog patches that are easily noticeable. Those make it easy to spot the pup though you can remove them at any time for washing.
The vest is woven of tough nylon and polyester for durability and longevity. It has a sturdy handle you can use to lift the dog and help it out of a car or over a puddle.
It’s comfortable and lightweight, allowing the pup to move freely. It won’t leave any marks or scratches on your dog’s skin thanks to the non-chafe cushioning. The vest also features a durable D-ring for a leash or ID tag.
- Adjustable belly strap
- Securely attached Service Dog patches
- Comfortable cushioning
- Padding is too warm for summer
Chai’s Choice features high-elasticity sponge padding on the inner layer. It has reflective 3M Scotchlite piping and webbing, so your pup is always visible. These reflective features are located on its adjustable straps for enhanced visibility during nighttime.
The outer layer is made of durable scratch-resistant polyester. It features a nylon handle and a lightweight aluminum D-ring for leash attachment.
This one comes with two removable and interchangeable reflective Service Dog patches with hook and loop. It also has comfortable chest padding that you can remove if the weather too warm.
The best thing is that Chai’s Choice is easy to put on and remove. It’s an innovative and lightweight design that’s ideal for pups in training that don’t have as much experience with wearing harnesses.
- Large capacity buckle
- Removable padding
- Reflective and removable Service Dog patches
- The company name is also on the patches
Pawshoppie Real Reflective
The vest comes with four free patches stating “service dog” and “emotional support”. The patches are removable since they attach with hook and loop allowing you to change them anytime.
It’s super-comfortable, featuring neoprene inner lining along with non-chafe padding. These components reduce abrasion and chafing.
Its straps are adjustable so even if the size isn’t completely fitting, you can customize it to some extent. The stainless steel D-ring is for leash attachment or an ID tag to make your pet even more recognizable. The front strap features a reflective strip making the canine visible during nighttime.
- Four patches included
- Stainless steel D-ring
- Comfortable padding
- It’s a little bulky
The Petdogree vest comes only in red though there are several sizes you can choose from depending on how big your pup is. This is one of the best choices for clearly identifying a service dog at any time. It’s especially useful for service pups that shouldn’t be pet.
The best thing is that you can adjust the vest in order to customize the size a bit. There’s a plastic tab you should pull away from the vest while straightening the strap.
Though it lacks color choices, the red it comes in is highly durable and long-lasting. It makes the pup easy to spot and tell apart from pets so it’s unlikely you’d confuse people. On top of that, it features reflective lining, making it stand out that much more, especially in low-light conditions.
- Bright red color
- Runs small
It’s easy to put on and take off, so it’s ideal for those pups that don’t really behave as well. There’s no discomfort, pulling, chaffing, or anything that could create a stressful environment for the animal.
The vest is made of high-quality materials, so it’s durable and long-lasting. It’s suitable for everyday wearing as it won’t show any signs of tear any time soon.
It’s also stylish, quite lightweight, and has a safety button on the buckle. This allows you to adjust the size a bit, so it fits snuggly to your pet’s body. Also, there’s an ergonomically designed handle for you to assist and control the pup when needed.
- Reflective thread straps
- Adjustable size
- Easy to put on and take off
- It runs big
Industrial Puppy Service Dog Harness
This one is most suitable for small breeds such as Chihuahuas, Poodles, German Shepherds, and other similar pups. It’s an ideal choice for everyone who’s looking for a lightweight design that’s easy to use.
It’s made of strong materials, so it’s bound to last a long time. As such, the vest is great for everyday use since it won’t show signs of wearing and fraying.
The great thing about the design is that it accommodates backpacks and saddle bags though these are sold separately. This allows you to pack bowls, food, medication, and all the extra gear you require.
It has an easy-to-use belly buckle that makes it easy to put the vest on and take it off. On top of that, it comes with a neoprene handle and reflective silk-screen Service Dog tag for better identification.
- Service Dog leash included
- Hassle-free belly buckle
- Made of durable materials
- Not the best for large breeds
Service Dog Vests & Harnesses for Large Dogs
If you have a larger breed, you might want to consider this Fairwin vest harness. It has padded back and neck straps for added safety and comfort during long walks. Breathable mesh lining makes it suitable for warm weather.
The harness is made of nylon and is quite sturdy and strong. It comes with a removable Service Dog patch and a stainless steel D-ring for leash attachments or ID tags. It also has an upgraded standing handle allowing better control and assistance in different situations.
Though it comes in several sizes, they fit larger dogs the best. Still, make sure to carefully measure your dog around the rib cage to figure out which size would fit the best. In most cases, it’s best to go a size up.
- Breathable and durable materials
- Removable patch
- Comfortable for everyday use
- Slightly bulky
This one also comes in several sizes, but because it’s best for large breeds, you should carefully measure your dog. Use a soft measuring tape and write down the chest and neck girth of your pup. If the animal falls on the maximum end of the size, opt for the next size up.
The vest has a soft neck and back straps that are padded and comfortable. These feature mesh lining and are easy to adjust for the best fit and comfortable experience. The adjustable straps help with hassle-free use regardless of how well-trained the pup is.
It’s made from a strong but lightweight oxford material with reflective removable Service Dog patches. It also has a stainless steel D-ring for ID tags or leash attachment. The vest has a top-mounted handle allowing you to have better control over the animal.
- Reflective features
- Strong and resistant construction
- Adjustable straps
- It’s somewhat tight
Service Dog Vests With Pockets
Haoyueer is a backpack harness that’s lightweight and washable for more convenience and comfort. Its back and chest are adjustable, but make sure to carefully measure the pup in order to achieve the best fit.
The vest has removable saddle bags and an interchangeable Service Dog patches. There’s a pocket on each side which allows you to bring treats, toys and anything else you think the pup might need.
It features adjustable straps, which means you can customize the fit to some extent. This helps you find the right tightness, so your pet is still comfortable while the harness stays in place.
It also has a handle on top along with a D-ring for leash or ID tag attachment. The vest comes in several bright colors, which help with spotting and identifying your dog even easier.
- Removable bags
- Adjustable straps
- Reflective features
- Sizes run big
It’s made of 500D nylon that makes for durable construction. It’s resistant to dirt, dust, abrasion, and water so you can walk your canine in different weather conditions.
It’s an eye-catching design with large panels for different patches such as Service Dog, Do Not Pet, Working Dog, In Training, etc. It also has a detachable ID window allowing you to carry different pup info.
This one has a strong D-ring and reinforced stitching on stress points. It also has a removable neck strap featuring cotton padding, so there’s no discomfort even after hours of use. Its pockets are hidden on both sides.
- Adjustable straps
- Reinforced stitching
- Large, hidden pockets
- It looks bulky on smaller dogs
If you have several breeds and would like them to have matching vests, you should consider this Petjoy model. It’s available in different sizes fitting for dogs as small as 8 pounds and as big as up to 115 pounds.
It’s made in the USA and available in three colors. All the options are bright and easily noticeable, which is especially important for service dogs.
It comes with five service dog information cards you should put in its clear pockets. The info helps reduce confusion around these working animals and help people understand the laws about them.
The entire design is easy to put on and take off at any time, even if you have an impatient and playful dog. It has adjustable girth and chest straps along with quick-release buckles for easier use.
- Easier identifying
- Comes with five info patches
- Several sizes and colors
- It’s a little stiff
Service Vests With Handle
Tactical Service Dog Vest Harness
This one has four quick-release buckles for easier adjustment. These also make it easier to put on and take off at any time since all you have to do is just click them for release.
At the top, the harness features a handle you can use for added control and assistance whenever you need it. There’s also one V-ring for leash attachment.
Comfortable mesh padding and two MOLE straps add comfort to the design allowing the pup to wear it for hours at the time. It features hook and loop panels for ID and Service Dog patches.
- High-grade nylon
- Durable and strong handle
- Adjustable fit
- Not for hot temperatures
There are four adjustment points on the chest and shoulder area. This allows you to customize the fit a little bit, but it only works if you got the right size. The harness comes in several sizes as well as color choices.
It features a no-pull leash attachment point and a durable handle. Both are quite resistant and allow you to control the pup with ease and at any time.
It’s a tactical model with two MOLLE strips for additional gear. This makes it easier to carry different daily items you or your pup might need during your walking adventures.
- Strong carrying handle
- Four adjustment points
- Durable construction and materials
- It’s somewhat heavy
This type of vest and harness is only meant for service dogs, and not regular pets. Since the term refers to dogs trained to help people with disability, it’s quite crucial for them to be able to stand out.
It’s crucial to understand that no law states these animals must be identifiable as service dogs. Identifying them as such is entirely optional though often highly recommended.
By stating Service Dog on its vest, you reduce the chances of unnecessary questions and sticky situations. For example, some people might want to pet your hound, and that could disrupt its training in several ways. By putting a “Do Not Pet” patch, you make sure that doesn’t happen.
There are several ways of identifying these animals, and it’s by vests, harnesses, bandanas, labeled leashes, etc. This type of gear is meant for service dogs only and is usually in bright colors.
Do You Need a Vest For a Service Dog?
As we mentioned, it’s not required by law for a service dog to wear an identification vest. However, it’s always best for both you and the canine to identify and state it’s a working dog.
These vests are specially designed to let people know it’s a working dog and not just a regular pet. What this does is help you get access into areas that are typically restricted to pets. Places like some restaurants must let your service dog inside while that might not be the case with regular pets.
This also prevents the general public from being upset about a dog in a restaurant. An appropriate vest or harness alert people that this isn’t just a pet but a working dog that’s there to help you.
More so, these dogs shouldn’t be spoken or approached to without the consent of the handler. Because the hound must be on duty, any distraction could cause harm to the individual in need. For this reason, you should label your pup this way as it helps you, the dog, as well as the public.
Is it Illegal to Put a Service Vest on a Dog?
Though service dogs aren’t required to wear identification vests and harnesses, other pets aren’t allowed to wear them either.
People started buying these harnesses for pets that aren’t service and working dogs. For this reason, there are penalties for this in most countries. In other words, it’s illegal to falsely present your pet as a service animal if that’s not actually the case.
Penalties are different, and it mostly depends on the country you live in. For example, in California, this is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in prison and/or a $1000 fine.
The situation is similar in most other US countries. Some charge higher fees than others and might punish a person with longer jail time or even community service.
If for whatever reason, you want something more subtle and discreet, service dog vests might not be the best option for you. If you don’t like the general idea, you might want to consider other options for dog harnesses. These alternatives might not state that yours is a service dog, but they’re equally as durable and reliable.
No pull harnesses are specially designed for canines that tend to pull on their leashes. It’s a good option for when the pup is in training.
If you and your service pup enjoy long walks and hikes, you might want to opt for a hiking harness. It’s specially designed for long-hour walks and physically demanding hikes.
Running harnesses and vests are ideal for people who take their dogs running and jogging. These are designed for such physical activities, so they’re durable and comfortable.
Are there custom service vests available online?
Custom service vests are a great choice if you want something more fun than regular models. The best thing is that you can design these in any way you want.
Still, these aren’t so easy to find. You can find them on Etsy, which is by far the most reliable and convenient option.
Can I buy one at Petsmart?
Sadly, service dog harnesses aren’t available at Petsmart. Though Petsmart sells all kinds of pet equipment, these vests and harnesses aren’t a part of what the store offers.
For this reason, the best way to buy these is online with a vast choice of different models you can choose from.
Service dogs are great friends that are always there to help. They help people with disabilities and different illnesses, so it’s important that those animals have access everywhere along with their owners.
For this reason, you should make sure that the general public is aware that your dog isn’t just a pet. With a service vest and harness, your canine will have access to restaurants, libraries, and other locations where they wouldn’t allow animals.
The models we’ve reviewed are the best on the market, and we also tried to make our list versatile. Choose between these models depending on the breed you have, as well as the overall needs and preferences.
Of course, you can always come back to our Buyer’s Guide. All the information there can help you choose between these many models with ease.