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Service Dog Vests: Compulsory or Not?

April 26, 2022

Most people get excited when they see a service dog wearing their vest. It’s fascinating to watch a service dog at work. Have you ever wondered if the owner put the vest on them because the law requires it? Read on and find out more about service dog vests and whether they’re compulsory.

Service Dog or Emotional Support?

With the increase in people who need dogs for assistance or emotional support, sometimes it’s difficult to identify whether a dog is truly a service animal. Many dog owners feel their dogs do aid, especially in the area of emotional support. That doesn’t necessarily mean they can be classified as a service animal. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as a dog trained to do work for a person with a disability. It’s important to know the difference between a service animal and one that provides emotional support. Both provide comfort and support to their owners. Only a service dog is considered a working animal. Service dogs receive a variety of legal protections. They’re allowed in just about any public place. Emotional support dogs, on the other hand, are not allowed the same protections or access.

Service Dog Attire

You’ve likely seen dogs wearing sweaters, dresses, and even vests. Dog owners love dressing their four-legged friends. There’s a distinct difference between a dog sweater and service dog vest. The vest a service dog wears normally has a patch designating the dog as a service animal. Many vests worn by service dogs have a message embroidered on the vest letting people know not to pet the animal. You can easily tell the difference between a cute sweater and working dog’s attire. The vest of a working dog isn’t usually frilly or cute. They look business like and not like they’re dressed in a costume.

To Wear or Not to Wear a Vest

While they may look official, those dogs you see wearing service vests can get away without wearing anything at all. That’s because the ADA doesn’t require service dogs to wear a vest. They’re also not required to have any identification proving they’re a service animal. Even though currently, wearing a vest isn’t compulsory, there are a few advantages of making sure your service animal does wear a vest in public. First, if you plan on entering a hotel or restaurant with your dog and they aren’t wearing a vest, you’ll likely be asked to leave. You’re less likely to be questioned if the dog has one on when you visit these types of places.

The Benefits of Service Vests for Dogs

If you’ve ever seen a service dog vest for sale, you’ve probably wondered if there are any benefits to your dog wearing one. Even though they’re not compulsory, other than the advantages we discussed above, there are two other benefits. When people see a service vest on a dog, they immediately become aware of the dog’s presence. In turn, they also notice you. When people are alerted to a person with a disability, they often make room on the sidewalk or street. This helps keep you safe. When someone sees a dog and its owner approaching and the dog isn’t on a leash or easily identified as a service animal, they often become worried. The vest acts as accreditation for dog and comforts strangers knowing the dog is trained and won’t be aggressive.

While there are no laws yet that make wearing a service vest compulsory, it’s still an excellent idea to have your dog wear one in public. Whether you have a service dog or emotional support dog, let National Service Animal Registry help you find the best harness or vest.

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