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9 Best Service Vests for Every Dog Size

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The varying responsibilities of different types of service dogs and the need to be identified from other dogs necessitates the best quality and most efficient service vests and harnesses.

Service dogs can provide lifesaving assistance for those who need it. Making sure service dogs have the best gear to provide support to individuals who require help should be a top priority.

Service dogs, as a general category, are dogs that are specifically trained to help individuals with disabilities to live a more independent life. There is a range of disabilities that service dogs can provide assistance with, and some dogs are better suited to becoming service dogs than others.

No matter the breed of service dog, we want to make sure that they are best prepared to assist with their owner’s particular needs. Finding the most appropriate service vest or harness for every service dog is our goal.

What Is a Service Dog?

A service dog is a dog that is specially trained to assist individuals with a disability. The goal of a service dog is to help their owner live a more independent lifestyle. Service dogs can assist with both physical and mental impairments.

Service dogs can be trained by professionals or by their owners. However, service dogs and their owners must obey state and federal requirements regarding the service dog’s training requirements and actions. Service dogs are trained for a specific set of tasks that prepare them to assist their owner’s specific needs. See the examples below for specific tasks that dogs can be trained to perform.

Service Dog Tasks 

Guide Dogs 

For the blind or visually impaired, guide dogs are able to help their owner avoid or move around obstacles, alert their owner to stairs and other elevation changes when walking, find various objects around a location, and bring necessary objects to their owner. These dogs are trained to find exits when their owner cannot, follow specified individuals like waiters to a table, and to refuse a command if it endangers their owner.

Hearing Dogs

When their owner is hard of hearing or deaf, hearing dogs can help indicate the presence of other people to their owner, find and give objects that were dropped, carry written messages in their mouth, and indicate any moving vehicles or objects their owner may not notice visually.

General Service Dogs

General service dogs have extensive training to perform a wide variety of different tasks. These dogs can open and close doors, turn lights on or off, assist with dressing their owners, help their owners sit up properly and safely, and aid with a wheelchair set up. They can also pull wheelchairs as necessary.

They can keep their owner stable and upright, calling 911, if necessary, bark loudly and find assistance in other ways without leaving their owner. They can alert their owner to signs of low or high blood sugar and the possibility of an imminent seizure. 

Service dogs can help people with PTSD or other mental health issues by waking them from nightmares and interrupting flashbacks or self-harm tactics during anxiety attacks. They can also help their owner remember to take medications at specific times.

service dog opening a door for a man in a wheelchair

Types of Assistance Provided

In addition to guide dogs and hearing dogs, other specifically trained types of dogs are legally considered to be service dogs and are allowed in public places, regardless of the pet policy. It is important to note that while emotional support dogs can be extraordinarily helpful to their owner, the emotional support dog is generally not considered a legal service dog. Only psychiatric dogs are considered service dogs.

The General Service Dog

As mentioned above, there are different types of service dogs. General service dogs are trained to be helpful for a variety of specific tasks required by their owner’s individual needs. The range of tasks mentioned above are the results of general service dog training. Within the category of service dogs are the following specific areas: guide dogs, hearing dogs, psychiatric dogs or dogs that have been specifically trained to sense and mitigate oncoming anxiety attacks, dogs for those who are physically impaired, autism assistance dogs, and dogs to assist individuals with seizures.

The Working Dog

Working dogs are generally employed to do larger tasks than regular day-to-day activities. The following dogs are known to be working dogs: the police dog, the military dog, the fire department dog, or dogs that are meant to detect medical conditions. To name a few specific tasks that working dogs are employed to do, there is search and rescue, explosives detection, and cancer and allergy alert tasks.

Each task has a specific dog breed or two that are best for that specific duty. There will be more on specific dog breeds below.

Therapy Dog

Therapy dogs are unlike the other dogs on this list, as they are not assigned to live with a particular individual to assist them with their daily life. These dogs travel with a human teammate, most of the time it is their owner, and they go to various locations where they have been trained to provide comfort and support. These locations are often hospitals, doctor’s offices, and mental health institutions.

Best Breeds for Service Dogs

The dog breed that is best suited to your particular needs as a service or working dog owner depends on the characteristics of the breed and your particular needs.

For working dogs, the specific tasks require different specialties in a dog. Bloodhounds are often used for search and rescue due to their keen sense of smell, thus an ability to find missing persons. In terms of explosive detection and law enforcement tasks, German Shepherds are the breed most often used by police departments. Beagles have been found to be better detectors of cancers than some medical tests. Hypoallergenic dogs like poodles are known to be excellent allergen alert dogs.

General service dogs can come in a wide variety of breeds. Dogs that are best for the service dog area are from a dog breed that is known to be friendly, calm, loving, caring, dependable, intelligent, and hardworking. The following dog breeds are popular dog breeds for service dogs: the Labrador retriever, golden retriever, poodle, German Shepherd, Burmese mountain dog, and Great Dane.

Vests and Harnesses

Dogs of all kinds, and dog owners, are often stopped on the street with requests to pet the dog. Sometimes there’s no request but simply an attempt to pet the dog. While this is dangerous in any situation, it is particularly dangerous for service dogs who need to be undistracted and alert to assist their owners as needed.

Distractions should be kept to a minimum and a vest or harness is a great way to alert people to the fact that your dog is a service dog. A vest that identifies a dog as a service dog is often enough to deter strangers from trying to let the dog and interfere with its responsibilities. Additionally, vests and harnesses make it easier for employees at public places to be aware that a person may have a disability and to make appropriate accommodations.

Another reason vests and harnesses can be great for your service dog is that, similar to a uniform for human workers, when a dog is wearing their service dog vest or harness it can increase the focus on tasks at hand. When you take the vest off of the dog, this can be a physical cue for the dog that it is more of a playtime. Having a good work-life balance is good for canines, too!

How to Size a Dog for Vest or Harness

To size a dog for a vest or harness, you will need to measure the chest girth of the dog. This measurement is the measurement around the dog’s rib cage, generally right behind its front legs.

First, make sure you have a flexible or soft tape measure. You do not want to use the type of measuring tape you would use for construction. That may give an inaccurate measurement and be potentially harmful for your dog.

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Next, you will want to start the end of the soft measuring tape on your dog’s back. Wrap the rest of the tape measure around the rib cage until you make a full circle around the dog’s rib cage. Make sure that your tape measure is  around the broadest part of your dog’s chest.

Also, to make sure that you are taking the right measurement, put two fingers between the soft measuring tape that you are using and your dog. You want to ensure that the vest or harness will not be too tight and irritate your dog’s skin.

If the dog is in between sizes you should order the size above. Dog shoulder position is important to observe upon receiving the vest or harness to ensure that it fits properly. The shoulder position should not be awkward and the dog should have ease of mobility in the shoulders.

9 Best Service Vests for Every Dog Size

1. Industrial Puppy – Service Dog Vest

This Service Dog Vest, produced and sold by Industrial Puppy, is a service dog vest with a welded D ring on the vest for extra strength in the leash attachment point. It also features a reflective stripe for visibility, and a belly buckle that is quick and easy to buckle and to remove. This Industrial Puppy vest is the only vest to accommodate a backpack for medications and other essential items.

With 8 different sizes, this tactical dog vest can fit both a small dog, like a Yorkshire terrier, or a large dog, like a golden retriever. This is one of the best, most sturdy, service dog vests for any service animal. The vest is available in multiple colors: red, blue, black, hot pink, teal, and purple.

2. Cymiler – Dog Harness

Cymiler’s Dog Harness has a handle at the top and is made of breathable and durable nylon material, making it exceptionally sturdy for any situation. The harness has a metal D-ring for safer dog walks and is perfect to stop your dog from pulling without choking. The harness has wear-resistant and adjustable buckles to make this secure for any dog size. It also has reflective trim.

The tactical dog harness is sold in 6 different sizes from XXS – XXL, measuring 14in – 49in for the dog’s chest girth measurements. Again, this is a very durable harness for your service dog. The colors sold are as follows: red, black, pink, teal, blue, magenta, purple, various forms of camouflage, gray, green, and orange.

3. MUMUPET – Service Dog Harness

The MUMUPET Service Dog Harness is a wonderful no-pull harness for any service dog. This harness has a durable nylon handle, a D-ring made of stainless steel at the leash attachment point, and reflective trim on a breathable material. The breathable material is also skin-friendly for dogs. It  has an upgraded anti-chafing design for maximum comfort when worn for extended periods of time.

The dog harness is sold in sizes 15in – 46in, slightly less of a range than that of the above harness, and in the following colors: red, pink, purple, gray, black, and blue. Overall, this is a notable value-for-money type of harness for your service dog.

4. Demigreat – Service Dog Vest Harness

Another great, or in this case, Demigreat, Service Dog Harness is at your service. This reflective dog vest harness is an excellent choice for your service animal. There are three loops located in the back and chest areas that can prevent pulling and choking. The harness is buckled on the side, so you don’t have to worry about going over your dog’s head. The harness has everything you might want, from built-in breathable mesh to a D-ring leash clip, and everything in between.

The vest harness is great for the medium or small dog, with a size range of 14in – 38in, less beneficial for the large dog that measures in the 40in range. On the color side of things, there is an interesting variety of colors. The harness is sold in the colors of khaki, black, brick red, grey grid, grey, light brown grid, orange, pink, purple, red, red grid, turquoise, yellow grid, blue camo, and rose red.

FAIRWIN Service Vest Dog Harness - Adjustable Nylon with Removable Reflective Patches for Service Dogs Large Medium Small Sizes
$20.99
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10/03/2022 07:33 pm GMT

5. FAIRWIN – Service Vest Dog Harness

FAIRWIN has released their Service Vest Dog Harness for dogs both in small and large. This service vest harness has a padded mesh liner, velcro and buckles for easy adjustability, and a durable handle for training and emergency purposes. A stainless steel D-ring leash attachment point and fast-drying fabric complete this vest dog harness.

This service vest dog harness is made for sizes 15in – 46in with XS – XXL vests. The color options are limited for this service vest dog harness with only blue and black as the available colors. This vest harness for dogs is known for its stability, durability, and comfort for your service dog.

ALBCORP Service Dog Vest Harness - Reflective - Woven Polyester & Nylon, Comfy Mesh Padding, RED / Black
$20.95
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10/03/2022 07:33 am GMT

6. ALBCORP – Service Dog Vest Harness

Our second Service Dog Vest Harness is produced by ALBCORP. This dog vest harness is made of woven polyester and nylon, with comfy mesh padding to keep your service animal comfortable and cool while working. The vest harness has reflective trim and even has a locker for extra security when buckling in your dog. It has a D-ring for ID and leash attachment purposes.

This service dog vest harness is produced for dogs with a chest girth of 15in – 44in and is sold in the following colors: red, black, green camo, red camo, and maroon. This is a noteworthy addition to our 9 best service vests for every dog size list.

7. Chai’s Choice – Premium Service Dog Vest

The Premium Service Dog Vest, produced by Chai’s Choice, is the choice for those looking for a tactical vest that is both high-quality and with an ergonomic design. Chai’s Choice is a Navy veteran-operated company in Florida that is known for producing high quality pet products. This reflective vest for your service dog has an aluminum D-ring for a sturdy leash attachment point, a durable nylon handle, and a lightweight duraflex buckle for securing your service animal.

Chai’s Choice service dog vest is sold in a size range from 17in – 45in measured around your dog’s chest. It is sold in a variety of colors including lemon lime, black, blue, fuschia, orange, purple, red, and royal blue. This is a great way to support quality products made in the United States, by a United States veteran to boot!

8. Industrial Puppy – Service Dog In Training Vest

The second Industrial Puppy product that we have on our list is the Service Dog In Training Vest. Just like its counterpart above, it is made to be compatible with small backpacks for medications and other necessities. The vest has reflective patches and a mesh design. The D-ring is the leash attachment point and it is welded to the vest for security. This vest is known to be comfortable and useful for your service dog. All straps on the vest are adjustable for the best fit for every dog.

This vest is produced for dogs measuring 15in – 43in around the chest and is sold in red and hot pink colors. This vest is excellent for service dogs in training and has “in training” written in reflective lettering on the side of the vest.

Dihapet Dog Harness, Service Dog Vest, No Pull No Choke Dog Vest for Training Walking Jogging
$18.99
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10/03/2022 01:23 pm GMT

9. Dihapet – Service Dog Vest

Dihapet’s Service Dog Vest is our last nomination for the 9 best service vests for every dog size. This no-pull, no-choke dog vest is great for training, jogging, and walking! It has buckles that are easy to secure and undo, and is superb for quick changes and other emergencies. The vest has a soft, padded inner lining and an Oxford scratch-resistant surface. A welded D-ring is for the leash and ID attachment on the rear of the vest, behind the security handle.

This vest is suitable for dogs between 17in and 46in measured around the chest and is sold in several fun colors and patterns, including colorful shapes, color grid, red camo, blue camo, black, and green mixed. The durability of the nylon webbing and the brightness of the reflective trim make this service dog vest stand out from the pack.

Final Thoughts

Vests and harnesses are essential for service dogs. While they are not mandatory, they provide awareness and recognition of services for the dog and owner involved, as well as for the general public. When looking for a service dog vest, you will need one that is sturdy, durable, and useful. Understand what kind of tasks your service dog is performing and find a vest or harness that best fits their needs and size.

Do service dogs a service by purchasing one of our 9 best service vests for every dog size!