The Best Service Dog Vests in 2020

No Pull Dog Harnesses by Bolux Rose red 4Service dogs are rather common these days, but finding the right vest among the myriad options available can be a bit difficult. If you’re looking to make sure that your dog is easily recognizable for their function, as well as comfortable throughout the whole day.

They can be a bit tricky: there are a lot of different vests out there for different animals and should be matched with the needs of their owner as well as just being sized appropriately. Read on, and we’ll show you how to make sure that you’ve got the best service dog vest for you and your canine companion… without any hassle.

Our Top Pick

Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest

Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest Red 6You really don’t need to look much further if you want a comfortable service dog vest that’ll serve well for years to come. With an excellent handle, strong D-ring, and even included ADA cards for those who have questions about your service animal, this one is our favorite of those commonly available!

The 5 Top-Rated Service Dog Vest

Editor’s PicksBrandRating
Best Overall Service Dog VestIndustrial Puppy Service Dog Vest4.9
Runner UpNo Pull Dog Harnesses with Handle by Bolux4.7
Best Emotional Support Dog Harnessvoopet Service Dog Harness4.6
Best MOLLE Service Dog VestTactical Service Dog Vest Harness4.4
Best Minimalist Service Dog VestPLUTUS PET Service Dog Vest4.1

What Should I Look For?

At the very least, your dog’s vest should clearly show that they’re a service dog and not just a companion animal. Having your dog clearly labeled will immediately show that they have a right to be with you despite the usual public prohibitions against pets.

Other than that, you’ll want to look into the following.

Style

No Pull Dog Harnesses by Bolux Pink 4There are a few different styles of service dog vests available. You’ll most likely want to be careful here since there are minimalist styles that don’t necessarily declare your dog as a service animal apart from the color of the vest.

These minimalist harnesses are great if you’re only heading to places where those who know you have a service dog are present. If you’re regularly headed into unfamiliar places, however, then they may not be the best choice.

Larger vests with clear labels are the choice for most people. These are more likely to include some form of extras as well. Things like storage pouches can be rather helpful, depending on what you need throughout the day.

For those who don’t have a visible disability, it may be best to focus on making sure that the vest has multiple patches simply to avoid confrontation. Not everyone realizes just how frequently service dogs are in use.

The style used also affects your dogs comfort nearly as much as the material. A vest that fits like a padded harness for a leash is a great idea, while other dogs may simply need a more minimal attachment arrangement, which can just consist of straps with the vest surrounding the dog’s torso.

Leash Attachment Points

PLUTUS PET Service Dog Vest Red 3Pay close attention to where your leash attaches for the best end result. You’ll need to make sure that it’s in a good location. Some vests have multiple attachment points.

The basic idea behind any sort of dog vest or harness is to spread out the pressure on your dog rather than simply providing it to the neck. These help keep your dog safe, and most animals actually react much more quickly than they would to a standard leash and collar arrangement.

The ideal situation will have the attachment point behind the shoulder blades in the case of most vests.

Materials

voopet Service Dog Harness Pink 3Most vests are made with a variety of synthetic textile material, like nylon, and padding. The exterior material of the service dog vest determines how well it holds up for the most part. Materials like nylon are preferable, although they’re not always extremely breathable.

Just make sure it’s tough enough and has enough padding for your dog. Dogs with extremely low fat like boxers may need a bit more padding than those with tons of fur, for instance.

Customizability

Depending on the manufacturer, you may or may not be able to fit in some customization along with your vest.

In the best cases, you’ll be able to pick a color and be able to put your dog’s names on it. For the most part, your customizability is going to come in the form of extras, rather than cosmetic alterations.

Extras

Extras are nice with any sort of product, but with service dog vests, they can range from useful to necessary.

One of the most common is some way of attaching pouches or other storage to your dog’s vest. These can be simple hooks or as complex as MOLLE webbing like you’d see on military-style equipment.

What you need is up to you, so keep an eye out for some further distinctions between the vests other than simply the fit and the qualities outlined above.

Top 5 Service Dog Vests

There’s a vest out there for every dog. As long as you keep quality in mind, you’ll usually do pretty well. That said, let’s hop right in with five of the best service dog vests around, and then we’ll show you how to make sure you have the right fit every time.

Best Overall Service Dog Vest

Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest

Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest Red 4Simple, durable, and immediately identifiable as a service dog vest… this is exactly what you’re looking for in the end. It comes with both a couple of patches to readily label your dog as a service animal and fifty cards that contain your rights with a service animal.

It has a simple pull handle on the back as well. The location allows you to grab the handle without putting undue pressure on your dog’s torso, keeping it from doing things like restricting their breathing.

On top of that, it has a durable nylon exterior and breathable mesh padding. Add in a single buckle belly strap, and it’s a comfortable way to show when your dog is on the job. The patches themselves are removable for those dogs that aren’t always working in service capacity as well.

The only real problems are a rather stiff neck strap and the fact that sizing can be a bit off. If your dog is at the girth limit for one size, you may be best served by ordering a size up to avoid any problems.

Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest Red 6

4.8/5
Our Opinion:

Overall, however, this vest is incredibly durable, perfectly formed, and there’s a wide range of sizes available to cover the service canine in your life.

  • All sizes available
  • Detachable patches
  • Comes with ADA service animal cards
  • Extremely durable construction
  • The neck strap is rather stiff
  • Sizing doesn’t run 100% true

Runner Up

No Pull Dog Harnesses with Handle by Bolux

No Pull Dog Harnesses by Bolux Rose red 5Close to our favorite, this service dog harness from Bolux is an excellent way to keep people informed of your dog’s service for a bit cheaper, but it has a couple of disadvantages in comparison.

Overall this vest covers more of your dog and is made of durable nylon and mesh. There are a few buckles on it, located at the sides rather than the easier single belly buckle on our favorite. That said, it has a lower neck strap that retains padding and keeps your dog from being injured when they pull.

No Pull Dog Harnesses by Bolux Black 4Unfortunately, the handle here is only made of nylon rather than a full rubber tube grip. While it can still be used to control your dog in an emergency situation, it may be an issue for those with a lack of grip strength.

That said, it’s a bit cheaper and covers more area on the dog. The disadvantages are relatively minor, and we strongly recommend giving it a shot for the average person who needs to keep their service dog labeled. It’s also available in a wide variety of sizes.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

The trade-off is mostly in price here, but this is a great service dog harness that will help you keep your canine companion under control and safe from harm. Give it a shot if you want to save some money and still get a great vest.

  • Durable nylon and mesh construction
  • Lower neck strap for comfort
  • Many colors available
  • Reflective elements along all stitching
  • Handle on harness could be better
  • Twin buckles instead of a single one

Best Emotional Support Dog Harness

voopet Service Dog Harness

voopet Service Dog Harness Dark green 1Emotional support animals technically don’t have all of the same rights as “real” service dogs, but it’s still important to have them labeled so that people don’t approach them regularly. This vest from voopet makes an important distinction while also keeping your dog comfortable.

The construction is of oxford fabric and polyester. It’s not quite as durable as some of the others which can be found, but it’s more than enough to hold up to daily wear. On top of that, it comes with patches that clearly label your animal for its purpose.

This is a dual-buckle design that can be a bit of a pain to put on feisty animals but will also ensure that they’re not choked by a neck strap. It has a handle made of the same material as the vest attached and a standard dog harness leash attachment point.

voopet Service Dog Harness Peacock blue 5

The trade-off is mostly in the durability of the material. While it will last for some time, most of the heavy-duty vests out there are simply tougher overall. They come with both patches, but be sure to use the appropriate one for your animal as you can be put at legal risk in some jurisdictions if you use the wrong patch.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

For an emotional support dog, this is the harness to go with. It clearly identifies your dog's purpose, and the overall harness is of great quality without being too minimal to be of additional use.

  • Comes with patches for emotional support dogs
  • Great design overall
  • Easily adjustable
  • Many colors available
  • Material could be more durable
  • D-ring could be better placed

Best MOLLE Service Dog Vest

Tactical Service Dog Vest Harness by Hanshengday

Tactical Service Dog Vest Harness 01 Khaki 1When it comes to dogs that need to carry some extras, MOLLE vests are a great way to take advantage of existing technology. In addition, despite the tame colors, this vest is clearly meant for service dogs and has the patches to prove it.

While many just enjoy the military look, the MOLLE webbing is completely functional. As long as you keep your dog’s comfort in mind, you’ll be able to attach things that your dog may need to carry in MOLLE-compatible pouches.

Hanshengday Service Dog VestIt also comes with the patches necessary to identify your animal. The entire thing was the most durable of the vests that we took a look at as well, with high-grade buckles, a strong V-style leash attachment, and even cross-stitched backing.

Problems? The biggest one is the price. This was the most expensive of the various vests that we reviewed by a good margin. It’s also only available in tan or OD green coloration, which may not be immediately identifiable without larger patches.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

That said, this is an excellent choice for many service dogs. It’s a functional, durable vest that will last for years to come and has some extra utility.

  • MOLLE webbing
  • Highly durable
  • Rubberized handle for control
  • V buckle instead of D-ring
  • Expensive
  • Not as recognizable as brightly colored vests

Best Minimalist Service Dog Vest

PLUTUS PET Service Dog Vest

PLUTUS PET Service Dog Vest Red 41Not every service dog needs a wonder vest. In some cases, a relatively light and minimalistic dog vest may be just what you’re looking for, and PLUTUS Pets delivers on that front.

This is a cheap and lightweight vest that clips on simply. That’s pretty much what it has going for it as it lacks virtually all other features that you’ll find in the others on this list, including a handle. That really makes it suitable only for smaller dogs who you can easily keep under control with your leash alone.

PLUTUS PET Service Dog Vest Red 1The D-ring is well-attached, and the lightweight mesh sides also make it good for hotter climates. In colder climates, you should be able to fit a sweater under it with a little bit of adjustment as well.

The disadvantages aren’t big. It’s not super durable, and it’s simply not as advanced as most of the harnesses and vests which are on our list.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

For a simple, minimalist solution, there's nothing better, however. Just be aware that larger dogs generally need a better method of control just in case something happens.

  • Easily breathable
  • Super cheap
  • Minimalist design
  • Few features
  • Straps are a bit narrow

Sizing Your Service Dog Vest

No Pull Dog Harnesses by Bolux Turquoise 3Most of the negative reviews that you’ll come across for dog vests comes from one simple fact: many people don’t know how to appropriately size their dog.

An ill-fitting vest is more than poor looking: it can cause problems for your furry friend. Thankfully we’ve put together some easy guidelines for you to follow when you’re fitting your dog for a service vest or any kind of harness actually.

The two measurements you need to keep an eye on are the neck girth and the chest girth of your dog. A tailor’s tape or other flexible measuring method is the best way to go.

No Pull Dog Harnesses by Bolux Rose red 4Neck girth isn’t the same as measuring for a collar. Instead, you need to measure from the shoulder blades to the area just in front of your dog’s legs. This will give you the neck measurement for a harness, although you may need to adjust for styles that are different. Your best bet is to look where the front of the harness closes off if you think the measurement is off.

Chest girth is much more straightforward: measure around your dog’s chest at the widest point.

Keep in mind that harnesses are sometimes intended for a specific body type. Dogs with large differences from the normal body type like boxers may need something custom-fit or alterations made after the harness has been purchased.

Knowing Your Rights for Service Animals

Tan and White Short Coat Dog Laying Down in a Brown Wooden FloorService animals can be a touchy subject these days, especially once you begin to factor in emotional support animals. For a time, the regulations allowed for almost any animal to be declared a service animal, and the laws surrounding the whole animal occupation were rather strange.

Recent clarifications in the US have proven to make things a little bit simpler.

Please note that the same regulations that apply to service animals do not apply to emotional support animals. The latter may have special rights under state law, but there’s nothing protecting them underneath the Federal government.

In essence, your service dog is allowed anywhere public. The only exceptions to this are if the dog isn’t housebroken or if it is out of control and becoming a danger to others. In either of these cases, the dog may be asked to leave.

On the other hand, there are some areas where an animal can pose a greater threat, such as operating rooms or burn wards in hospitals. In that case, your dog can be refused entry.

The only questions which are allowed to be asked are the following two:

  • Is the dog a service animal?
  • What task does it perform for you?

You are not required to go into any further detail, and for the most part, a vest will keep anyone from bothering you the majority of times.

If you have more questions, check out the ADA FAQ concerning service dogs.

Service Dog Vest FAQ

Does wearing a vest make my animal a service animal?

No Pull Dog Harnesses by Bolux Dark Green 3No. The unethical practice of people claiming their dogs as service animals goes back some time, but these days it’s become relatively common for those who simply don’t want to leave their pets behind. In 23 states, this is actually a crime. It also harms service animals as a whole, causing more suspicion for legitimate service dogs.

Does my emotional support dog have any special rights?

Your ESA does have some special rights, but you’ll generally require a letter certifying the animal as an emotional support animal by a healthcare professional. Unfortunately, fraud is rampant with ESA, and many people have become suspicious of them. Check your local state regulations for more information.

My service dog vest is chafing my dog, what can I do?

Some cheaper vests, combined with odd proportions or long hours, can damage a pet’s fur or skin. The best route to go is to use an adjustable harness or vest and place a sweater or shirt underneath it to get around your animal being hurt.

Is there a required color for service dog vests?

No Pull Dog Harnesses by Bolux Purple 4Technically… you don’t even need a vest. They’re mostly used so people can tell at a glance that a dog is a service animal. Go wild if that’s your taste, but most people will immediately recognize blue or red vests as being different from a regular dog harness or vest.

Is anything extra required to buy a service dog vest?

There are no governing bodies for training service dogs. Indeed, it’s your right to train your own dog. Because of that, anyone can buy their own vest, although they’re also often supplied by those who train service dogs.

Get Your Service Animal a Great Vest!

voopet Service Dog Harness Peacock blue 4While you may not need to go all out, depending on what your canine does for you, a service dog vest will ensure that others know your animal is on the job. Make sure to pick a great one so that your helpful animal remains comfortable during the day, and you’ll be able to control them in case of problems, and you’re on the right track.

No need to wait, pick up the ideal service animal vest today!

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