Do service dogs need to wear a vest?

I have a dog that I would like to have registered as an SD and my doctor hass suggested I do this. Do SD's have to wear the vest? I've seen somewith a larger red & white tag on their collar. I'm concerned about her wearing the vest and how do I prove that she is an SD.

I'm new here so be nice.

Asked by Member 827490 on Apr 17th 2009 in Other Laws & Legislation
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If you live in the United States- it's not a legal requirement. But I would highly suggest that you purchase a vest. It makes public access so much easier. Because without a vest, people do not think that your dog is a service dog. You can also buy a card for your dog's collar, but I think these are a little less professional- but they go nicely if paired with a vest. Good luck!

Member 409208 answered on 4/19/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


I would talk to your local health department. Under the ADA you have rights, but only to sue if an ignorant person turns you away. It happens now and then. I have friends that have been turned away with a dog guide in harness with a copy of the state laws with them. The ADA is very liberal, but to avoid hassles, you may want to comply with your older state laws. Other types of service dogs are even more poorly recognized. While a service dog tag does give the dog rights, I am not sure they are required. A larger tag or a vest helps. My family has been fostering puppies for service dog schools since 1991. In most states, they have no rights, but may be allowed in. We do have a vest, and usually have little trouble with access. The vest is no problem. When I have my puppies outside in hot weather, i wet it down to keep the dog cool.

A great place to start is

Aster answered on 4/19/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


There are two sets of laws that you must follow. Federal law says that you do not need to carry any documentation or certification, and your dog need not wear any gear, let alone specifying the type of gear. However, your state may have certification or identification requirements. See for applicable statutes.

Your second questions is thornier because the law can be interpreted in different ways by different people. There are two questions that you can be asked in a challenge: 1) Are you disabled? (No one may ask you the nature of your disability.) and 2) Does your dog assist you with your disability?

Amazingly, people who have obvious physical disabilities are vehement about psychiatric service dog truly being "service dogs" unless they perform "tasks." Check out for help.

My dog wears either a vest or special tag. I carry copies of fed and state statute and applicable FAQ with me in case of challenge.

Pippin answered on 6/1/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer