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If you have a search and rescue (SAR) dog that works for a living, he needs the right gear that lets him dispense his duties with ease, safety, and convenience. A search and rescue harness offers these benefits and more.
For starters, search and rescue dog harness is a special type of harness worn mostly by service dogs. The main purpose of these types of harness is to identify the dogs as working dogs and to tell the people that he encounters that he is a search and rescue dog. In other words, when a stranger sees a dog wearing this type of harness, he or she will automatically know that the dog shouldn’t be pet or fed any treat without the permission of the owner or handler.
Most SAR harnesses are labeled as “Search and Rescue Dog” or simply “Service Dog”. However, some harnesses may have different labels depending on the situation. Some SAR harnesses come with pouches to help you keep doggie supplies. Others also feature backpacks.
Benefits of SAR Dog Harnesses
Apart from the identification patch which lets everyone know that the pup is a service animal, this unique harness is fitted with a ton of safety and convenience features to give you (the handler) complete control of the dog. Another reason to get your pup these types of dog harnesses is so that other people will understand that he is a SAR dog. As aforementioned, this may deter unwanted attention like people unnecessary petting or giving him treats. It is common knowledge that if a dog is wearing a SAR harness, he shouldn’t be disturbed. SAR harnesses also discourage unnecessary questions from restaurant, hotel, and store managers. Search and Rescue dogs are allowed where their handlers are allowed. Although some store/hotel managers may still ask a few questions, the harness should give them a clue that whatever you are doing is allowed and legal.
Best Search and Rescue Dog Harnesses
To help you choose the right product for your adorable canine, here is a quick review of our top 10 picks of the best search and rescue dog harnesses in the market today.
First up, we have the Doggie Stylz Search & Rescue Harness popular for its amazing features. With a good rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon, you bet this harness gives absolute value for money. It has a total of four reflective strips: two on the side, one on the chest strap, and the last one on the trim of the vest. No matter the visibility, you will always know where your SAR pup is at all times. To ensure protection against abrasions, the base of the harness is made of Neoprene that acts as a cushion. Also, thanks to the double adjustment straps and a snap release, getting a good fit takes seconds.
The Industrial Puppy Service Dog Vest is made with superior materials available in the market. If you are tired of buying low-quality harnesses with tattered seams and weak Hook and Loops, try this one. It comes with all the good stuff such as reflective patches to locate your pooch and identify him as a search and rescue dog, a decent handle for controlling him in busy areas, and two adjustable straps to safeguard the harness and identify a good fit. In case you’d like to transport dog essentials, you can purchase the backpack designed to work with the harness. The backpack is sold separately. To make your life easier as a parent of a service dog, the manufacturer of this product has added 50 ADA cards that explain the rules and regulations of service animals.
One of the things to look out for when shopping for a search and rescue harness is its weight. Ideally, anything too heavy for your working dog may not be ideal for him. This is why ALBCORP Service Dog Harness is loved by pet parents. It is sufficiently lightweight, so it doesn’t overburden your pup when he’s at work. Despite being lightweight, the harness is impressively durable. It is fabricated from nylon and polyester, both of which are long-lasting materials. The vest also utilizes a breathable mesh material to keep your SAR pup cool and padding for his comfort and safety. Both straps are entirely adjustable so you can find outthe perfect fit.
The Fairwin Service Vest Dog Harness is another outstanding product in the market right now. Its main selling point is the broad padded, adjustable straps that make sure your service pet is comfortable and safe. The padding on the inside prevents the strap from piercing into your pooch’s skin anytime corrections are made by the trainer. Speaking of corrections, the trainer can do that via the handle located at the top of the vest. The harnessis also fitted with a breathable mesh so that your SAR dog stays cool when temperatures soar. Other features include reflective strips to help classify your SAR dog, lightweight and robust construction, and the availability of a D-ring for the leash.
This practical and quality search and rescue harness from Dogline is available in 13 different colors. These range from blue to red, to cameo green to purple. The options will blow your mind. The vest is constructed with water-resistant and robust materials and reinforced with a breathable neoprene mesh to boost your dog’s comfort. Getting a snuggly fit is easy, thanks to the pair of completely adjustable straps. The quick-release buckle also goes a long way in making the process of putting on and off a breeze while the top handle offers you sufficient control of your pup.
The Doggie Stylz Service Dog Harness looks like a saddlebag and is a perfect accessory for a search and rescue dog. The two saddlebags fitted on the harness are completely detachable. The trainer can get rid of them when the situation demands. They both have interchangeable identifying panels. Together with 2 reflective patches on either side, identifying your service dog in crowded or poor light areas is easy. Like many other items on this list, this harness comes with 2 fully adjustable straps for a comfortable fit and a neoprene underside to protect your pup from abrasions. The saddlebags are also fitted with convenient pouches for storing dog essentials.
This service dog vest from ALBCORP is made to give you and your search and rescue pup a safe and effective time outdoors. With a wide fluorescent trim, it beats most products in the market when it comes to reflectivity. The reflective taping is all over the vest. The reflective taping is also wide. No matter the time of day, you will easily locate your service pup. The harness is fabricated from rugged nylon and polyester webbing and tightly woven to last for years to come. The easy snap buckles are also extra strong while the secure neoprene handle makes training very convenient. Finally, this harness comes with a metal D-ring for your leash and a pair of Hook and Loop panels for safeguarding the patches.
Made with high-quality sturdy materials, this Service Dog Harness from Voopet is another best-seller. It is not only durable but stands well against aggressive chewers. Inside is a breathable mesh to ensure your pup doesn’t overheat in hot climatic conditions. We absolutely love the design of the handle at the rear of the vest. It is pull and choke-free, so no matter how hard it is pulled, the traction pressure is uniformly distributed across the dog’s body thus preventing choking. Meanwhile, the soft sponge pad boosts comfort during intense working conditions. Finally, this harness utilizes reflective straps for identification purposes and quick snaps alongside safety locks for convenience and added protection.
If you own a small or medium SAR dog, this is certainly one of the best search and rescue harnesses for him. It is a lightweight yet sturdy construction that will last for an impressive amount of time. Some of its amazing features include quick-release buckles, breathable mesh lining, adjustable straps, and the presence of a sturdy steel D-ring both at the anterior and at the posterior of the harness.
Hangshengday Tactical Dog Vest is the last entry on our list but it is still as amazing as other products here. The backpack is delightfully lightweight and thus perfect for an agile and busy search and rescue dog. It is a 1000D nylon construction, which means it is sturdy and durable. The nylon material also gives it an eye-catching smooth polish. The vest comes with two removable water bags, MOLLE pouches, and Velcro stickers. With the 4 quick-release buckles, putting it on the dog and removing it is the epitome of convenience. You have the top handle to control your pooch and a steel D-ring at the front for his leash.
Doggie Stylz Search and Rescue patches isa good product for all pet owners with service dogs. You can make use of the patches with a number of other harnesses. Basically, this package includes two SAR identification patches both fitted with a reflective material to help you know where your pup is at night. Each one has a Hook material at the backside and is perfect for vests that come with Loop material. It is not embroidered meaning you don’t have to deal with loose threads.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Search and Rescue Dog Harness
The most important factors to keep in mind when looking for a SAR dog harness include:
When buying a search and rescue harness for your dog, ensure that you get a size that is most suitable for your dog in terms of size or fit. You should ensure that the product you choose is not too tight that it precludes easy trotting, sitting, lying down, etc or too loose that it will slip off when your dog is working. Most manufacturers include dog sizing charts with their products. Make use of these charts to choose the right harness for your pup. But keep in mind that different harnesses need different measurements depending on how you want them to sit on your SAR dog.
Considering that your SAR dog will be wearing his harness around the clock, choose a product that will be comfortable to wear for long periods. Look for a harness that comes with comfort features like breathable mesh lining, paddle straps, and any other feature that will help your canine buddy stay comfortable during his long hours on the job. Your pup’s shoulders should move freely, so avoid harnesses that have straps across the shoulders or chest. Harnesses that rub against your pup’s armpits are also a no-go.
SAR dogs that need a harness for control are powerful animals and most of them have strong prey drive. So, there are high chances that they are going to pull the harness vigorously at times. If the handle or any part of the harness breaks free in such situations, either the dog or the handler may get hurt. A good SAR harness should, therefore, be constructed with strong and durable materials. It should also feature quality, double stitching for added strength.
4. Quality Handle
A SAR dog needs to be under control at all times. Accordingly, the handle should be sturdy enough that the dog won’t separate it from the rest of the harness just by pulling. Look for a handle that’s made of a tough material like nylon as well as one that feature double stitching. You should also go for something that you can grip easily. Go for rubberized handles as they offer excellent grip.
A good SAR dog harness must include reflective or glow-in-the-dark feature to keep your canine friend in low-light environments or when he is walking on sidewalks or bike paths. We also recommend going for harnesses with quick-release feature to ensure that there is an easy way of removing your pup’s collar fast if he gets caught on an object.
6. MOLLE System
MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment and it a system that is integrated in most tactical dog harnesses to create a modular system that can allow for individual components like pockets to be added or removed as needed. If you need your SAR dog to carry some of his supplies or yours while he is working, then you need a harness with MOLLE system or some sort of storage.
A search and rescue dog harness is a priceless item to have if you own a service dog. It lets the world know your dog’s line of work and saves you the constant worry about your pup’s safety. Plus, it is convenient for both you and him among other benefits. As you can see from our list, there are some great SAR dog harnesses out there; all you need to do is sort not-so-good products from excellent ones. We hope that we’ve helped you accomplished that mission and given you an idea of how you can accessorize your SAR harness. If you’ve been postponing getting your service dog a high-grade SAR harness because you didn’t know the best options in the market, now you don’t have an excuse. But whatever product you settle for, ensure it is up to standards.