What Type Of Dog Vest Do Therapy Dogs And Service Dogs Use?

You are welcome to this review on ‘what type of dog vest do Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs use’ service dogs are quite different from therapy dogs, hence there is a difference in the type of dog vest they use.

Service dogs

By the Americans with Disabilities Act, only dogs and miniature horses can be service animals.  Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities.  Service dogs perform a job and require special training to work with individuals who have a disability.

“Disability” is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including people with a history of such an impairment, and people perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.

Under The Americans With Disabilities Act, service dogs must be under control and require harnesses or leashes unless they interfere with the work they are required to perform and in that case, must be controlled by voice or signal commands.

Service dogs are allowed to go anywhere the general public goes including restaurants, hospitals, schools and the animal and individual with the disability must not be treated any differently.  When it is unclear if it is a service animal and individual can ask two questions:

  • “Is the service animal required because of a disability?”
  • “What work is the animal trained to perform?”

There are only two circumstances when a service animal can be asked to leave where the general public is allowed to go, and they are:

  • The service animal is out of control, and the individual with the disability does not do enough to take control of the service animal.
  • The service animal is not housebroken.

Some of the jobs that service animals provide include seeing for the blind, hearing for the deaf, help individuals with limited mobility perform tasks, and alert individuals of medical conditions like seizures and changes in blood pressure.  While some individuals prefer to have their service animal wear a vest, it is not required.

Is A Dog in a Vest a Service Dog?

Although some service dogs may wear vests, special harnesses, collars, or tags, the ADA does not require service dogs to wear vests or display identification.  Conversely, many dogs that do wear ID vests or tags specifically are not actual service dogs.

For example, emotional support animals (ESAs) are animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. But, because these dogs are not trained to perform a specific job or task for a person with a disability, they do not qualify as service dogs under the ADA.

The ADA makes a distinction between psychiatric service dogs and emotional support animals. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, “If the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal. However, if the dog’s mere presence provides comfort, that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA.”

Therapy Dogs:

A therapy dog is defined as a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, people with learning difficulties, and stressful situations, such as disaster areas. Therapy dogs come in all sizes and breeds.

The most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament. A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, confident, gentle, and at ease in all situations.

Therapy dogs must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted and handled, sometimes clumsily. A therapy dog’s primary job is to allow unfamiliar people to make physical contact with it and to enjoy that contact. Children, in particular, enjoy hugging animals; adults usually enjoy simply petting the dog. The dog might need to be lifted onto, or climb onto, an individual’s lap or bed and sit or lie comfortably there.

Therapy Dogs must be on-leash obedience trained and remain under control while presenting excellent behavior. They need to have the ability to work around other dogs while remaining free of aggression. Therapy dogs are social, interacting with people in a positive manner.

They enjoy being touched, petted, and held if appropriate. Therapy Dogs present a stable temperament and do not display aggression or fear. They also have the ability to stay calm in situations that are new and may involve a number of distractions.

Therapy Dogs come from a variety of breeds; there is no, ‘perfect,’ breed or a mix of breeds that make the best Therapy Dogs. The dog must healthy, one-year of age, well-mannered, and enjoy interacting with people. If the dog fits these requirements, it might make a good Therapy Dog.

Therapy Dogs:

  • A Therapy Dog is one with a temperament that is friendly, patient, and outstanding overall.
  • A Therapy Dog has a desire to visit with people, loves children, and interacts with other animals well.
  • Therapy Dogs also interact with other dogs they encounter in positive ways.

The Value of Therapy Dog Visits

Therapy Dog and Handler teams are all unique and provide people with exceptional opportunities for therapeutic contact. Only dogs that are registered with an organization are considered to be Therapy Dogs. Coyotes, Wolves, coyote hybrids, or wolf hybrids are not permitted to become Therapy Dogs becomes they cannot be verified as immune to rabies.

Therapy Dogs are not required to know any tricks, although a number of Handlers have taught their Dogs some such as how to wave or shake hands as a way to start conversations with the people they are there to serve; or to make them smile.

Routines that teach Dogs obedience may also be used to start conversations, with well-trained Dogs excelling at say, standing still while a person either pets them or brushes them. Each Therapy Dog and Handler team is familiar with their means of interacting with others and provides unique and wonderful therapeutic contact.

Recognition of the value of using animals in the healing process has been around for a very long time. In a variety of types of health care facilities, visits from Therapy Dogs have demonstrated an increase in the calmness, happiness, and overall emotional well-being of people who have come in contact with them.

Studies have been pursued that have demonstrated a decrease in both the stress levels and blood pressure of people during visits by Therapy Dogs. These Dogs give residents, staff members, and visitors a break from regular daily routines, loneliness, and illness.

Do Therapy Dogs Wear Vests?

While some Therapy Dogs do wear vests identifying them, many of these Dogs do not. Some Therapy Dogs wear vests while they are in hallways; for example, but take them off in rooms while they interact with people. Therapy Dogs are dogs that are meant to be petted and a vest can cut down on the area of the Dog’s coat that is exposed.

Therapy Dogs might also wear a Bandanna identifying them as a Dog used for therapeutic purposes, or an identification tag. They may have a flat buckle collar or a form of a simple harness. A Therapy Dog Handler might carry an identification card for the Dog.

From a health safety perspective, Therapy Dogs must have a checkup with their veterinarian each year, as well as mandatory rabies vaccinations. Each Therapy Dog needs to have received an initial series of Hepatitis, Distemper, and Parvovirus vaccinations as well. They need to have a negative fecal examination each year.

All Therapy Dogs must have a negative Heartworm test every year if they are not on a preventative medication. Even if they are on a preventative Heartworm medication, the Dog must have a negative Heartworm test every-other-year.

There are a number of organizations that certify Therapy Dogs. Many of these organizations are available on a State-by-State basis. Therapy Dogs are not required to be ADAA certified and provide incredibly valuable services to People with Disabilities, Seniors, Children, and Veterans.

Selecting Working Dog Vests: Service Animal Vests Vs. Therapy Dog Vests

Service dog vest emblems | Ultimate Pet NutritionThere’s typically a substantial difference between the type of dog vest a service animal will wear versus what a therapy dog would wear.

A service dog, for instance, will usually have a vest that states clearly what the dog does (such as being a guide dog for a visually impaired person). That makes it easy for the manager of a restaurant, for example, to distinguish between dogs that will and won’t be allowed into the establishment.

A therapy dog, on the other hand, usually doesn’t need that type of dog vest. Therapy animals may just wear something like a bandana or a vest that identifies the organization that supplied them to the hospital, nursing home, or another facility.

When getting a dog vest, Consider Sizing, Girth, And Wearing With A Leash

Whether you have a service dog, a therapy dog, or anything in between, you want to always think about the comfort of your companion when choosing the right type of gear. Whether you’re buying a dog harness, a dog vest, or anything else, you’ll want to make sure the dog will be able to wear it without any sort of problems.

The size of the dog is super important when it comes to choosing a service dog vest. You may want to measure the chest and neck to ensure the best possible fit. If you’re buying a dog vest online, it will probably include a size chart that can help you make the right decision.

There are also certain qualities and other features you’ll want to consider, whether the pooch will be on a leash or a dog harness. Look for padded straps and a breathable lining so the dog doesn’t get too hot if you’re outside. Durability is also important. A dog vest made of fabric containing 1000D nylon is very resistant to tearing.


Take time and do some research before purchasing a vested dog. Your dog deserves to do its job while wearing the most comfortable gear possible. With the guide above, you have an idea of what to look out for.