Service Animals

Are Service Animals Required to Wear a Vest, Patch, or Other Identifying Gear?

Service animals are commonly seen with vests, collars, patches, or other service animal ID on them. Typically, this gear is bright orange or other bright color to call attention to the fact that the animal is a service animal and hard at work. This helps people in public places understand the presence of the animal and also know not to disturb it. However, is service animal gear required?

Definition of a Service Animal

A service animal is defined by the American Disability Association (ADA) as a dog who is trained to perform a specific task related to their owner’s disability. Common examples are seeing eye dogs who are trained to lead their owners who are unable to see. People with mental disabilities also may have service dogs, which are called psychiatric service dogs.

Service Animal Privileges

Under the ADA, service dogs are to be treated as necessary medical equipment, meaning that they can be taken virtually anywhere with their owner. This includes public places, restaurants, stores, work, airports, and more. This means the service dog must also be trained to be calm and collected under a variety of conditions and circumstances.

Service Animal Gear

Often times, service dog owners use brightly colored gear to easily show that their dog is a service dog and allowed to accompany them in public places. However, service dogs are not required to wear this gear, according to the ADA guidelines.

Even though it is not required, it is commonly used to avoid invasive questions about why the animal is in a public place, and to prevent others from interrupting the service animal while it is at work. Additionally, service dogs sometimes need to wear harnesses if they are responsible for guiding someone, pulling a wheelchair, or other similar task.

If you are asked about your service animal, you are only required to inform individuals that it is a service animal trained to perform specific tasks in relation to a disability. You are not required to give any further information to anyone if you do not wish to do so.

In conclusion, owners are not required to put identifying gear on their service dogs if they do not want to. However, it is helpful to have in public places so that people can easily identify why you have an animal accompanying you. If you are interested in purchasing some service animal gear for your dog, visit United Support Animal’s online store, where you can find vests, collars, leashes, ID cards, and more.

Another great tool to have on you as a service animal owner is a service dog letter of certification. Work with one of our qualified experts at United Support Animals to get your letter of certification today.