Service or therapy dog vest working qualifications

A therapy dog vest is for a pet who completes a Canine Good Citizen or otherwise known as CGC program. This proves your dog can offer emotional support to you who is disabled. All this proves is that your dog has good manners, has no irritating habits and is well-behaved. Sometimes you’ll hear of a Therapy Dog termed as an Emotional Support Dog. They literally provide comfort, companionship, affection etc to a person who is suffering with ill health.

How to choose a therapy dog vest

Therapy dogs do not have to wear any specific color vest. However, if you’re connected to an organisation, then they may use specific therapy dog vest colors. These organisations should provide your dog with the appropriate attire. Though, wherever your dog has been CGC trained, they should provide details of what you need and where you can buy them.

A therapy dog vest can be bought from anywhere, but if you’re stuck as to what to buy or where to buy your dogs attire then feel free to click on the image or follow this link HERE.

At present, there is no specific color for a therapy dog vest, you generally buy whatever color suits your dog. However, it might be worth checking if your country’s state prefers a particular color.

Sometimes writing will be imprinted onto your dogs vests so it is worth while mentioning that you MUST NOT buy a service vest when your dog has only passed the CGC program. It is illegal to misrepresent your pet.

When buying a therapy dog vest opt for fluorescent strips, especially if you walk a lot during the night when it’s dark. To find the right fitting, measure your dog’s chest (girth) at his widest point using a fabric measuring tape, this will help you determine if you need to buy a XS,S,M,L or XL size.

If you buy a service or therapy dog vest without writing on it, you can buy alert symbols to sew onto the garment. Symbols can often say ‘Ask To Pet Me’ or ‘Pet Me’ etc, including the obvious ‘Service Dog’ or ‘Therapy Dog’.

Often dog owners are able to match up the vest with collars and leads, but that is additional and a personal preference; it is by no means necessary.

The legal blight on service and therapy dogs


A service animal is trained to a higher level than therapy dogs. Service dogs offer assistance with guiding the blind or deaf, alerting or protecting specific mental illnesses, signaling a disabled person, pulling wheel chairs and other specific mobility impairment tasks.

Therapy dogs are considered as a pet, but service animals are not trained to be pets. A therapy dog is by no means a service dog and just because your dog wears a vest doesn’t make him a service dog. Service dogs have to endure a lot more training, and so they have more public access than therapy dogs. The CGC training program lasts 8 weeks whereas service dog training takes 18 – to 24 months to complete.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are permitted to go wherever their owner goes and should not be charged a fee. Should any establishment or taxi cab refuse a service dog, then they will be breaking the law.

Sometimes you may come across various public places who may charge damages if you or your dog breaks furniture etc. Furthermore, should a service dog become aggressive, growl, bark excessively or become a sheer nuisance, then establishments have the right to exclude your dog. Most people consider that charging for damages or excluding disruptive service dogs is a reasonable act.

For further reading check out Beginners guide to dog therapy.

About the author

Jennifer Pitts

Jennifer Pitts

I love pets and I love animals. I have 2 dogs and 3 cats and it's not enough for me.

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