Working with a service dog is an experience which constitutes the three D’s, namely, dedication, development and duty. The third D, duty consists of high level of compassion and this can be expressed by ensuring the comfort and safety of the service dog. Owning a service dog vest is pre requisite to working with a dog. This will help others recognize the dog as a worker and also protect it during difficult situations.
Things To Consider When Choosing Your Service Dog Vest
Temperature: Different weather conditions require varying kinds of treatments for the dog. Take into consideration the climate changes in your area and choose the appropriate vest. For summers, make sure the vest is lightweight and made of material that allows proper air ventilation and avoids suffocation. For cold weather, find a vest which is made of water proof fabric and has a coating of light fleece material. Verify the quality of the fleece by referring and checking the brand of fleece used.
Duration of Wear: There are different types of service dogs and depending on the amount of time the dog is going to wear the vest during his/her work, choose the appropriate fabric. Guide dogs and mobility dogs will require a hard and strong vest, which will prepare them for rough field trips. Seizure Alert, Autism Alert and Medical Response Dog can work with less coated vest or no coats, if they are working within premises.
Comfort of the dog: Take the vest on a test drive with your dog! Evaluate the vest on the basis of the following: Is the movement of your dog restrained? If s/he comfortable with the vest while walking? Is the dog carrying the items in the pocket appropriately while on the move? When s/he sits, does the vest avoid obstruction in the bottoms? Are the handlers rightly adjusted, allowing you to lead your dog properly? If your answer is yes to all these questions, then you might just have found the right service dog gear.
Additional Things To Consider For Your Dog Vest
Patches: There are ready-to-wear service vests that consist of a tag ‘Working Dog’ generally with other labels. You can choose others which put forth the right designation for your dog like ‘In Training’, ‘On the field’, ‘I am working!’ and others. One of the best ways to ensure the safety of your dog will be to buy a vest that consists of an identity card pocket. Service dog patches can be added to the vests, through customizations at the store.
Pockets: In case your dog has medical complications or you require carrying any legal documents when you are on the move, use the pockets present in his/her vest. The number of pockets you require will depend on amount of carry-with items you have. Do not burden your dog with items might get drenched or fall on the way, if not properly fixed.
Padding: One of the best kinds of padding in a dog vest will consist of weather resistant cloth with black nylon and extra padding, if required, for the convenience of your dog. The padding will also depend upon the weather in your area. However, one must remember that quality of the pad can also vary according to dog breeds. For instance, breeds like Whippet, Paraoh Hound are not suited for cold weathers while Boston Terriers, Boxers and other breeds which have a flat nose with a broad face are highly intolerant towards hot weather.
Measuring Your Dog
Lastly, learn to take precise measurement of your dog to buy the service dog vest of the right size. You will need a flexible tape measure for this purpose. While calculating your dog’s girth, you will need to bind the tape behind the front leg of your dog and then, around his body. Confirm that you are covering the widest part of your dog’s rib cage. The number on your tape is your dog’s girth. You can replace the flexible tape with a tape measure and a string. If you get a smaller vest, your dog can become a victim of poor blood circulation, constricted movement and restrained breathing. In case the vest is too wobbly, your dog might stumble due to his/her legs being obstructed by the vest.
Get your dog a great service dog vest as a symbol of affection and pride!