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What Do the Vest Colors Mean for Service Dogs?

There is no official standard for service dog vest colours, but the colours serve as a visual cue to help identify the dog’s function. For example, a blue vest may indicate that the dog is a service dog for someone with psychiatric disabilities, while a green vest may suggest that the dog is a therapy dog that provides comfort to others.

Other colours, such as red, orange, or yellow, can signify that the dog is a medical alert dog, indicating that the dog is trained to alert their owner of an oncoming medical emergency. In contrast, a white vest with patches may suggest that the dog is training to become a service dog.

It’s important to note that the vest’s colour does not always indicate the specific service the dog provides. In many cases, vests may also feature patches or wording to further identify the dog’s function.

Overall, the colour of a service dog vest serves as a visual cue to help identify the dog’s function and let others know that the dog is there to do a job, not just as a pet.

Identify your service dog.

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Service dog vest colours do not indicate what task a dog can perform, as it is a matter of preference. However, a pocket vest can be a convenient place to keep your dog’s identification or other relevant documentation. Patches on the vest, such as “diabetes alert dog” or “hearing dog”, can also provide the necessary information and alert medical personnel to potential conditions.

Business owners may ask only two questions per the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division if they question a dog’s presence: whether it is a service animal required because of a disability and what specific task it has been trained to perform. Service animals must be prepared to perform specific tasks related to the owner’s disability, such as guiding the blind or protecting a person having a seizure.

Psychiatric service animals may also be trained to perform tasks such as checking out a room before a person with PTSD enters to ensure it is safe or calming them during an anxiety attack. Emotional support dogs are not considered service animals by the ADA, as they do not perform specific tasks but provide comfort through their mere presence.

Select a colour

When choosing a colour for your service dog vest, it’s essential to consider your preferences and your dog’s breed. For small dogs like Chihuahuas, bright colours such as yellow, neon pink, or purple can make them more visible, especially in places where people don’t typically encounter service dogs. It’s also important to note that the U.S. Department of Justice prohibits discrimination against dog breeds, so you can’t be kicked out of a community or establishment based on your dog’s breed. However, to enhance goodwill toward your dog, choosing a vest in cheerful, non-threatening colours like orange, yellow, or pink may be beneficial instead of darker colours like black or military camouflage.