Choosing the right vest for your service dog is essential to ensure their success. Having a vest not only allows others to recognize a pet as a working dog, but also allows those with disabilities to go about their daily business without being questioned about their dog or disability. Though there are no official regulations about which gear a service animal must wear, many owners prefer vests and patches to signify their dog as a service animal. To find the right vest for your dog, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Keep reading to learn about the most important considerations for your dog's vest.
First and foremost, you must ensure that the vest fits your dog correctly. If it is too small, it can dig into your dog's skin and be uncomfortable. If it's too big, your pup will be able to slip right out of it. To find the right size vest for your dog, you will need to measure them first. Typically, vest sellers post a size chart with the product description of the vest. They may also base the size of the vest on the dog's weight, so be sure to have an accurate measurement of that too. If the sizing is based on measurements, you will need to measure your dog's chest, neck, and the length of your dog.
To measure the chest, wrap the measuring tape around their body directly behind their front legs. Measure the neck around where their collar would be, adding an extra inch or two for more comfort. The length or top line of your dog is measured from the nape of their neck to the base of their tail. Keep in mind that the straps on the vests are usually adjustable, so you will be able to get a better fit for your dog if they don't fit squarely into one category.
Next, consider the special features that the service dog vest offers. First, you should choose a vest that is easy for you to put on and take off, since you will be doing this often. You should also find a vest that is easy for you to attach a leash to. You may need a certain type of handle if the dog will be supporting you while you walk or pulling your wheelchair. You may also need a D-ring to make it easier for you to attach the leash. No matter what, make sure your needs are met so you can securely attach your dog to their leash when you are out.
There are also specific features to look for that will make the vest more comfortable for your dog to wear for long hours. Try to find special features like breathable mesh lining, padded straps, and more. Some vests have even more advanced design features. These include Velcro straps, pockets to hold supplies, reflective elements, handles to help with mobility, and special patches.
Contact us (866) 737-3930 at the National Service Animal Registry to find the best vest for your service dog.