spaniels wearing service dog vests

The Best Service Dog Harness Vest – Also for Therapy & Emotional Support Dogs

Do you have a service dog, therapy dog, or emotional support dog? Are you looking for where to get a service dog vest or harness? This guide will give you the information you need to find the best service dog harness vest for your individual needs.

This review of service dog vests and harnesses will answer your questions about how to find the right vest, who qualifies for a service dog patch, and which models offer the most versatility.

Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa | Doctor Of Veterinary Medicine


Sara is Wileypup’s Veterinarian Adviser and helped compose this article to ensure the information is up to date and accurate. For more information on Sara click here



Service Dog Harnesses - Overview

IMAGE

PRODUCT

FEATURES

Chai's Choice Service Dog Vest Harness

Chai's Choice Service Dog Vest Harness

  • All over padding
  • Wide webbing
  • Ergonomic handle
Industrial Puppy Service Dog Harness

Industrial Puppy Service Dog Harness

  • Lightweight design
  • Wide webbing
  • Wide range of color options
Doggie Stylz Emotional Support Dog Harness

Doggie Stylz Emotional Support Dog Harness

  • Excellent pricing for bargain hunters
  • Wide straps for comfort
  • Comfort grip control handle

What is the Difference Between a Service Dog Vest and Harness?

Both a service dog harness and vest refer to the same thing. Most service dogs these days are trained to work with a harness that also doubles as a vest. That means they do not also need a collar as the vest serves as both a place to attach a leash as well as a place to add special pouches to carry items and place a patch to indicate which type of service or support dog you have.


What Kinds of Service Dogs Qualify for A Service Dog Vest?

English Mastiff Dog Wearing Service Vest

Service animals are actually defined by law in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Although there is no agency charged with regulating service animals, they have to meet certain legal definitions. Both dogs and miniature horses can qualify as service animals if they are trained to assist with specific tasks to help a person who has a disability.

Here are some examples of service dog duties that qualify a canine for the service dog vest:

  • A guide dog for a blind person who helps that person to navigate the world safely.
  • A guide dog for a deaf person who is trained to hear alarms and listen for other warning sounds and alert their charge. 
  • A dog who is trained to keep an autistic person from leaving a given area where they can be supervised.
  • A dog who is trained to alert an epileptic person of an impending seizure.

Can Therapy Dogs or Emotional Support Dogs Wear A Service Dog Vest?

Although therapy dogs, emotional support dogs, and other working dogs may use a vest with special patches, it is important that only official service dogs trained to perform specific tasks for a person with a disability wear the service dog patch.

To learn more about the difference between these types of working dogs, and the legal privileges that service dogs enjoy, please read The Ultimate Guide to Service, Emotional Support & Therapy Dogs.

puppy wearing an emotional support harness

What Service and Support Patches Are Available for A Service Dog Harness Vest?

When you purchase a service dog jacket or harness that has Velcro on the side, you can choose patches that accurately reflect your dog’s status whether they are an official service dog, an emotional support dog, a service dog in training, or a therapy dog.

Using the right patches on your harness will help the public know that they should not interfere with the duties of your working dog while he or she is on duty. In addition, if you have an official service dog, it will alert business owners and staff that your dog has the special and legally protected privilege of accompanying you in any business establishment.

To make things easier for our readers, we have included information on the patches available with each brand we recommended so that you can quickly find the right patch for your dog.


How to Measure and Fit a Service Dog Harness

Before you purchase a harness for your service or emotional support dog, be sure to get the proper measurements. We have put together a few guides so that you can learn more about how to get accurate measurements as well as ensuring a proper fit:


Review of the Best Service Dog Vests and Harnesses

  • All over padding for extreme comfort
  • Wide webbing
  • Ergonomic handle
  • High quality materials
  • Wide size range

Our top choice for a service dog harness or vest is this one by Chai’s Choice. The thoughtful design of this service dog gear has all the features you could want and also comes in a wide range of colors and sizes so that working dogs of any breed from large to toy can find a good fit.

First of all, this vest is built to last. Extremely durable materials that are scratch and wear resistant will stand up to even extremely active working dogs of all kinds. The heavy duty quick snap Duraflex buckle makes getting this harness on as easy as a single click once it has been properly adjusted for fit.

Because service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support dogs have to wear their harness for such long periods of time, it is critical to find one that will offer comfort and prevent chaffing. This selection by Chai’s Choice checks that box by offering thick padding on the chest piece, wide webbing on the straps to evenly distribute weight, and a breathable mesh lining to help wick away heat and moisture on warm days.

In terms of perks for the human, this vest has you covered as well. The handle along the back includes an ergonomically designed guard so that if you have to keep your dog close, you can do so in comfort. And, 3M reflective piping on this harness gives you piece of mind with added visibility in low light conditions.

Finally, with one of the largest selections of colors and sizes on the market, this vest gives you the most options in terms of style and fit for dogs from small to giant.

One thing to be aware of when you purchase this harness is that it comes with SERVICE DOG patches only and the manufacturer does not offer other types of patches. However, the patches attach with Velcro so patches sold by other brands will still work. (Read on to learn more about other patches available.)

Pros
Cons
  • All over padding for extreme comfort for long days
  • A little bulkier than our other picks making it less ideal for hot climates
  • Wide webbing to evenly distribute weight
  • Only the Service Dog patch is offered by this brand, although other Velcro patches will work with this vest
  • Ergonomic handle for comfort and control
Cell
  • High quality materials and thoughtful design
Cell
  • 8 bright colors to choose from
Cell
  • Wide size range to fit small to large breeds
Cell
  • Reflective piping built in for high visibility in low light
Cell
  • Lightweight design
  • Wide webbing
  • Wide range of color options
  • Control handle
  • Reflective stitching and strips

Another excellent option for an assistant dog harness is this choice by Industrial Puppy. It offers a slightly simpler design than our first choice with a simply across front strap. Because it is a bit more lightweight, it may be a better choice for working dogs in very warm climates. However, it does loose a bit of functionality in terms of control…and if your dog is still in training, it may not be the best option.

With an XXX-small size doing down to a chest measurement between 12.25” it may be the best service dog vest for small dogs and toy breeds.

This service dog harness with handle has wide webbing for all-day comfort for your dog. A quick release buckle makes it a cinch to get on and off with ease.

Wide reflective strips and stitching makes this harness for service dogs easy to spot in low light conditions as well. Plus, if you are looking for a service dog vest with pockets, this model has attachable pouches designed to work with this vest (purchase separately).

This harness includes two service dog patches as well as 50 small pamphlets that cover the legal protections afforded to service dogs according to the ADA to hand out as needed to help people understand why your service dog can accompany you anywhere.

If you need a different kind of patch to accurately reflect your dog’s status, Industrial Puppy offers the following reflective patches to choose from (purchase separately):

Pros
Cons
  • Lightweight design is comfortable even in warm climates
  • Control handle is not padded so not ideal for those that use the control handle regularly
  • Wide webbing for all day wear without chaffing
Cell
  • Wide variety of patches to choose from (sold separately)
Cell
  • Sizes for dogs large to even tiny toy breeds
Cell
  • Wide range of color options
Cell
  • Control handle
Cell
  • Reflective stitching and strips for good visibility
Cell
  • Easy to get on and off with a single buckle clip
Cell
  • Comes with 50 small brochures explaining the legal rights of those with service animals
Cell
  • Excellent pricing for bargain hunters
  • Wide straps for comfort
  • Comfort grip control handle
  • Reflective stripping, patches, and stitching
  • Wide size range

Our final pick is the Doggie Styles vest for emotional support dogs. This harness offers one of the best prices on the market for a basic service vest for dogs that will meet most people’s needs without breaking the bank.

The simple design is functional with a single buckle for easy on and off. The padded top piece goes over the back making it a comfy fit for your canine helper. The reflective webbing and stitching add to nighttime visibility as well.

The optional saddle bags give you the option to use this service dog harness with pockets. One of the nice features of these added storage pouches is that you can add your patches to them so that your working dog will be recognizable to the public even when they are carrying a little extra load.

This Emotional Support harness and vest includes the EMOTIONAL SUPPORT patch with purchase. However, for a separate charge you can also get the following reflective patches custom made to work with this gear:

Pros
Cons
  • Excellent pricing for bargain hunters
  • Limited color choices with just purple, red, and black choices
  • Wide straps for comfort
Cell
  • Easy on and off with a single snap closure
Cell
  • Comfort grip control handle
Cell
  • Reflective stripping, patches, and stitching for strong visibility at night
Cell
  • Wide size range to fit dogs of all sizes
Cell
  • Many options for different patches
Cell

Other Dog Harness Guides:

You may be interested to learn more about other types of dog harnesses that are available. If so, please check out our other comprehensive guides below:


Conclusion: Best Service Dog Harness and Vest

We hope this guide has helped you chose the right vest for your service dog, therapy dog, or emotional support dog.

Do you have experience using one of these brands for your canine companion? Share your stories in the comments below!

Sharon Elber (M.S. in Science & Technology) - Professional Dog Trainer

Sharon is a professional dog trainer with over 10 years experience. She is also a professional writer that received her M.S. in Science & Technology Studies from Virginia Tech.

For more info on Sharon click here

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