Buyer’s Guide For Dog Vest

It is not just enough to own a dog, but as a dog owner, you have the responsibility of taking care of your dogs. One of the ways you can do that is to get your dog a good dog vest. Dog vests are great accessories for dogs, which is why we have researched and made this review on the buyer’s guide of dog vests. You should endeavor to read through, so you don’t make mistakes when getting a dog vest for your dogs.

Dog Vests

The vest is an essential Service Dog gear. Although Service Dogs aren’t legally required to wear one, vests do provide a level of authority and convenience. They are also a courtesy to bystanders by visually communicating that a dog is working in an official capacity.

The vest grants entry into an establishment or area where animals would be otherwise be prohibited. The American Disabilities Act allows Service Dogs into any spaces where their owner goes, and a vest alerts everyone that a dog is a Service Dog and must accompany its owner.

The most popular, and useful, style is the Cape Style Service Dog vest. It’s easy to place over the dog and provides enough areas with pockets. A vest should fit snugly around the dog, without restricting the dog’s movement. The vest should also be padded and made of a non-abrasive material to reduce friction and injury to the dog.

A patch can be placed on a Service Dog vest to provide further information to others. A “no petting” patch might also help deter people who don’t know that Service Dogs should not be petted while they are at work. Although not necessary, patches can communicate whatever a service dog owner thinks is necessary for others to know.

Why Do You Need Dog vests?

Anxiety dogs vests if they are worn the right way, apply gentle pressure, and this pressure can help in the release of chemicals namely endorphins which help with a sense of well-being. This is exactly why a dog feels better or calms down when you stroke him/her firmly and give them a pat on their head.

More and more people are choosing the dog vests above the collar and as a result, there is a vast range of sturdy, comfortable, and even beautiful vests types, but with so much choice how do you pick just one?

A very important point to consider is why exactly do you need a vest? Generally, people decide on a vest to ensure that when on a leash, lifted, pulling, or supported, the dog’s throat is not taking all of the weight.

What Will the Dog Be Doing?

What will your dog be doing when he wears the vest? It is vitally important to consider the planned activities when deciding what your dog wears at the time.

So, ask yourself, will your dog be swimming and potentially need some help to be lifted out of the water? If so he may require a specific vest built to not only be comfy but also dry quickly and hold the dog’s weight.

Maybe you will be taking your dog running and need a specific sporty vest designed for those that pull with permission. A Joring system-style vest will easily support this type of activity.

Perhaps you just need a daily walking vest to stop your dog from pulling on walks and give you a better sense of control? For this, a double loop point vest may be just what you need. Or maybe you would like a vest that will double up as seatbelt security in the car?

Have a really good think about what your dog will be doing in his vest and then you can make the right choice the first time.

Why Choose a Dog Vest Over a Leash

When on a leash, dogs that pull a lot run the risk of increasing blood pressure flowing to their eyes, straining or spraining their neck, and breaking their larynx and trachea, according to a 2006 study. Moreover, because owners have less control over the dog when using a leash, there’s an increased risk to both dogs and owners walking them, according to another study.

This is because a collar only provides a singular point of control, whereas a vest redistributes your dog’s pulling force and momentum more evenly and over multiple points of control. But even among vests, some types are better than others at delivering this result.

Dog vests are also less likely to break away or slip off when your dog is compelled to run. Less confident dogs can find comfort and security from the way that a vest wraps around their body. This increased confidence makes your dog more receptive to your commands and less fearful of new environments.

The bottom line is that a dog vest is generally safer and more comfortable for the dog and the owner than a regular dog leash.

What Type of Dog Vest Do You Need?

Besides the location of the leash clip attachment on the vest and the “regular” type of dog vests, there are also a few other, more unique types, and they serve a different purpose in terms of control of the dog.

  • The Mobility Vest

A mobility dog vest, also known as a dog sling vest, is a vest designed to assist a dog with limited mobility.

This type of vest can feature a hip-lift handle, a back handle, wraparound handles, or a strap that passes from the front to the back of the vest. All sling vests are made and designed to support a dog with hip dysplasia, joint degeneration, limited mobility, or joint injuries.

Mobility dog vests are best for:

  • Larger dogs with joint injuries
  • Dogs recovering from surgery
  • Older dogs with limited mobility

A 90-pound German Shepherd that has recently undergone a CCL repair surgery would be the perfect candidate for a mobility vest.

Mobility vests can be used with most breeds, but certain types of these vests are best suited to certain types of dogs.

For example, a sling vest with a strap from front to back is better suited for a small dog or dog with short stature, like a Beagle. The one with a hip lift and back handle is better for medium to large breeds with stiffness in all joints or injuries in hind legs.

A vest with a hip lift handle only is best for large breeds with difficulty in their hind legs. Those with wraparound handles are best for large female dogs with difficulty with all four legs or the hind legs only.

  • The Tightening Vest

A tightening dog vest is a vest that tightens and applies pressure to the dog when they pull or jump. This pressure discourages negative behaviors, such as jumping at people, by creating slight discomfort as it tightens (safely).

Tightening dog vests are best for:

  • Stubborn pullers
  • Regular jumpers

Tightening dog vests are not ideal for:

  • Timid dogs or dogs with a history of abuse
  • Dogs that do not respond well to corrective training

For example, a Poodle with a history of abuse would not do well on a tightening vest. Although minimal, the discomfort caused by the vest tightening can cause a formerly abused dog to regress or act out. Whereas, a Pit Bull that regularly jumps to greet strangers while on a walk might need the tightening vest type.

  • The Head Vest (controversial)

A head dog vest is often referred to as a “head collar”. Rather than fit around the body, this vest fits around the dog’s muzzle and head.

Like the tightening one, the head vest creates pressure to discourage negative behavior. This vest also provides more control over a dog’s direction by controlling head direction and movement, much like a horse’s bridle.

Similar to dog muzzles, there is some controversy over the potential of a head vest to cause damage to a dog’s neck. But also similar to muzzles, such a vest may be needed for certain dogs, especially if there are laws requiring them to wear it. Fortunately, when used correctly without force, a head vest can be effective and safe for training.

Head dog vests are best for:

  • Patient and experienced dog trainers
  • Persistent pullers
  • Dogs that are easily distracted

Head dog vests are not ideal for:

  • Owners who are quick to get frustrated
  • Dogs with respiratory difficulties
  • Dogs with short muzzles

For example, English Bulldogs are not suited for this type of vest because their small muzzle does not accommodate a head vest well. A Golden Doodle that consistently pulls and does not respond to a traditional tightening vest would do well with a head vest. The head muzzle creates more control and direction for a dog that lacks both.

  • The Step-In Vest

A step-in dog vest resembles a figure eight in design. The dog simply steps into the vest and it clips at the back.

Step-in dog vests are best for:

  • Smaller or lighter breed dogs
  • Older dog owners with less manual dexterity

Unfortunately, step-in vests are almost exclusively made for small breeds. They can be found for larger dogs, but there isn’t much of a selection.

  • The Roman Vest

A Roman dog vest has two straps – one that fits around the dog’s chest and one that fits around the shoulder blades. These two straps are joined along the back and under the chest.

Roman vests are best for the same dogs as the back-clip vest. Roman vests are not for owners that have difficulty with fine motor skills, arthritis, or confusion. The Roman vest proves more of a challenge to “untangle” and put onto a dog.

What should you consider when buying dog vests?

  • Size:

The vest needs to be snug and should fit your dog well. Usually, a dog’s weight is what is considered while getting the right size. So it would be best to get him/her weighed properly before purchasing an anxiety vest.

  • Material:

Dog vests are generally made out of cotton, nylon, or polyester. Vests made out of cotton are breathable and soft white nylon ones are the strongest. Polyester vests are a combination of both – soft like cotton as well as strong like nylon.

  • Extra Pockets

The pockets around a weighted vest for dogs create a considerable impact on their comfort and health. The secret is to establish what purpose the vest should serve. Weights carried in each pocket adds load onto your pet’s backs and bellies. Therefore, they should only be holding what they need.

Some trainers prefer more pockets for dogs that need to lose a lot of weight. Additional pockets are also used for canines that call for behavioral correction and anxiety management. It all boils down to the level of training or help a certain dog needs. If the physical or psychological matter is relatively minor, there is no reason to look for a dog weight vest with more pockets.

  • Closure method:

These vests are generally fastened with Velcro or buckles. The ones with buckles are preferred as they are secure and easy to fasten. Velcro ones are also quite convenient; however, they can come off easily.


Most of the dog vests that we have listed here are more or less the same. What you need to see is the right kind of fit, fabric, and quality for your furry friend so he/she is reassured and comfortable.