If you are an avid hunter, then you probably like to take your dog with you. After all, dogs are perfect hunting companions – they can help you in different areas of hunting but they also provide company in an otherwise solitary venture.
But before you bring your dog on a hunt with you, make sure they're safe and comfortable in the field. Hunting vests for dogs is one of the essential items for hunters. Below, I'll explain what a hunting dog vest is for, what features to consider when you shop for one and review some of the best dog hunting vest brands on the market.
What's a Dog Hunting Vest and When You Need It
Dog hunting vests are basically vests that come in different styles for a few different hunting purposes. Regardless of the things your pooch does on a hunting trip, they need a vest for multiple reasons.
Protection from Injuries
Hunting dogs are commonly required to run through dense and potentially harmful vegetation, running into things like poison ivy. This can lead to cuts punctures and abrasions, despite their thick fur. A well-designed dog hunting vest can protect your dog’s abdomen or chest from these types of injuries.
In addition to the below mentioned materials, these vests may commonly include some type of plastic materials in them. It will be durable and is specifically to protect your pooch from thorns and sharp sticks.
To Be More Visible
You need to know your dog’s location and have them be clearly visible at all times when you're on a hunt in a field. Otherwise, you may accidentally shoot your pooch if you don’t see them. While GPS dog collars are best for location, one way to make your dog more visible in forests or tall grass is with a reflective hunting vest.
These vests are usually bright in color, orange or green in most cases. They are most suitable for upland bird dogs since they are allowed to fun freely, often in close proximity to the prey. These vests are also good for tracking dogs, and they work perfectly well both during the day, sunrise, sunset and nighttime hunting.
To Stay Warm
Keeping your pooch warm in cold weather is essential. And even though the majority of hunting dogs have thick coats suitable for low temperatures, some of them may need a bit of help to stay warm in fall and winter, particularly retrievers working with waterfowl since they have to jump in the cold water multiple times a day.
Good hunting dog vests will be designed for this purpose. They're commonly made from neoprene since this material can keep your dog warm even when they're wet. On the other hand, dog hunting vests that are supposed to be used on the ground and in dry conditions are often made of synthetic materials or wool.
We've taken these requirements as well as the below mentioned essential features into account for the below best hunting dog vest reviews list, and ranked six of them:
|Browning Camo Neoprene Dog Vest | Realtree MAX-5 |...||115 Reviews||$26.54||Buy on Amazon|
|Camo Pet Life Preserver Jacket,Camouflage Dog Life...||110 Reviews||$23.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Avery Hunting Gear Boater's Dog Parka-Max5-XL||44 Reviews||$49.95||Buy on Amazon|
|Dog Reflective Vest, Sizes to Fit Dogs 14 lbs to...||643 Reviews||$15.95||Buy on Amazon|
|Mendota Pet Skid Plate Dog Chest Protector,...||75 Reviews||$31.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Petflect Reflective Dog Vest, Small||748 Reviews||$10.89||Buy on Amazon|
What Makes the Best Dog Hunting Vest?
Dog hunting vests can vary a lot when it comes to comfort, durability, efficiency, and features. With that in mind, there are a few important design options you must take into account when you make your buying decision.
1. Size and Fit
First of all, you need to find a vest that fits your pooch perfectly. Your dog needs to feel comfortable when he wears it, or he may struggle to move and perform his hunting duties properly. Here's a guide on how to measure your dog for a vest before you buy one.
In addition to this, look for dog hunting vests that come with adjustable straps. They often include Velcro straps or plastic sliders, and allow you to adjust the vest to make it fit better for your specific pet.
One of the most important things to consider when you buy a dog hunting vest is the quality of the materials. It is imperative to choose high-quality, durable materials so you can rest assured that your dog is well-protected from any potential injuries.
The most common quality materials include neoprene, canvas and thick nylon. Stay away from thin and flimsy materials that may rip easily. These are often China-made vests for a suspiciously low price point, and there's nothing more than a simply t-shirt for the dog that's unlike to provide any warmth, protection or reflection at sunset.
3. Additional Features
The dog vest you buy should have a built-in access for your dog’s collar or leash. Without it, you would have to remove your dog’s vest whenever you want to attach their collar.
If your canine is trained to retrieve waterfowl, choose dog hunting vests that are made of well-reviewed waterproof material and will keep the pet warm when they're wet. In addition to this, there are good dog hunting vests that can increase your dog’s buoyancy (like a life-jacket) because they contain flotation aid.
Design and colors also matter. For example, depending on the type of dog vest you are looking for and its intention, you can either choose camouflaged vests to keep your dog hidden from the prey, or go with reflective vests that allow your pooch to stay visible (to you) in low-light conditions.
Depending on the style of the dog hunting vest and any additional features, the price may vary significantly. While this is not the most important factor to consider, you need to take it into account as well. The below list of best dog hunting vest choices that we're reviewing has several different types of pet vests, but we've taken price and cost-to-value ratio into account when ranking them.
The Best Dog Hunting Vest Choices
1 Browning Camo Neoprene Dog Vests
This neoprene dog hunting vest is made by a well-known and reliable manufacturer – Browning is a well-known brand among hunters with dogs – which is a solid guarantee of the product’s quality. The vest is made from neoprene fabric and you can choose the thickness yourself from 3-millimeter or 5-millimeter options. The vest has an adjustable design to suit most dog breeds, thanks to the special making process and multiple Velcro strips.
- BROWNING | Since 1878,...
- QUALITY MATERIALS | 3mm...
- TRIM-TO-FIT | Vests are...
- ADJUSTABLE | Straps across the...
- SIZE | Small Vests fit best on...
You can get this best hunting dog vest in five sizes and three different color patterns. This way, you can find the appropriate pattern to match the habitat and keep your dog camouflaged. The vest also has a built-in chest plate for additional protection. It also includes a handle on the back so you can control your pooch when necessary.
I've used Browning vests for years, and haven't had issues, but when looking through other dog hunting vest reviews, I've seen some dog owners report sizing issues and complained that the vest runs big. There were also some reports of the vest getting ripped after a couple of uses where dog owners particularly complained about the weak stitching.
PROS: Available in 5 Sizes and 3 Color Patterns, Adjustable, Provides Camouflage, Includes a Chest Plate, Includes a Back Handle
CONS: Not Reflective, Reports of Sizing Problems, Reports of Vest Getting Ripped at the Seams
2 Camo Pet Life Preserver Jacket
Here's something a little different. The Camo Pet Life dog hunting vest is predominantly designed to increase your pet's buoyancy and keep him safe when he goes into the water to retrieve birds. In addition to this, it is also designed in three different patterns to suit your specific needs since one of them is meant to be visible, while the other two are meant to provide camouflage.
- COOL CAMO PRINT - The...
- ADJUSTABLE DESIGN - To ensure...
- REFLECTIVE DETAILS - Our...
- FITTED W/ TOP HANDLE - Each...
- BREATHABLE & COMFY - With a...
This second best hunting dog vest is available in 5 different sizes and includes three padded straps that ensure that the vest is kept firmly in place to provide appropriate protection. In addition to this, the vest is made from polyester and nylon on the inside, and mesh on the outer layer to keep the dog comfortable and allow for quick drying.
This product includes quick-release connectors to allow you to put it on your pooch and take it off easily. It also includes a handle on the back and a D-ring on the top to let you attach a leash. Despite my own liking of this product and many positive reviews from other hunters, some dog owners did in fact complained about the sizing chart and said that the vest is too small (this is a common issue with dog clothes). There were also a few reports of parts of the vest falling apart after a few times it was used.
PROS: Affordable, Available in 5 Sizes and 3 Color Patterns, Reflective/Provides Camouflage, Includes a Back Handle, Easy Leash Access
CONS: Some Reports of Sizing Problems, Some Reports of Parts Falling Apart
3 Avery Boater’s Dog Parka
Avery Boater's dog hunting vest comes in many different sizes and five different color patterns. That means that it is suitable for all dog breeds and provides camouflage at all types of terrains and habitats. It is especially good for waterfowl retrievers since it is can keep your dog dry and warm even after swimming in cold water.
- 3mm neoprene
- Sewn-in webbing harness
- Grab handles
- Tough durastretch outer fabric
- Tapered cut for maximum body...
Made out of neoprene material, our third ranked best hunting dog vest is as durable as they come, and as durable as my top two options. The dog vest also comes with a heavy-duty zipper to ensure that it lasts even longer. There are a couple of handles included on the back so you can get control over your dog when necessary.
While I've only used this dog vest briefly and had a positive experience, I want to point out that it's not as popular among hunters. In addition, after looking through other online dog hunting vest reviews of this brand, I noticed some hunters say that the vest runs a size smaller than presented on the sizing chart (again, like I said, it's a very common issue with dog clothes and it's not reserved for this brand or hunting dog vests in general). On the bright side, most reviewers were generally pleased with sizing, especially compared to most other vests on our list.
PROS: Available in Many Sizes and Color Patterns, Durable, Water-Resistant, Strong Zipper, Includes Back Handles, Provides Camouflage, Easy Leash Access
CONS: Not Many Reviews, Some Reports of Sizing Problems
4 SafetyPUP XD Dog Reflective Vest
Now, if you are looking for a reflective dog vest only that comes in different colors, this is another great and affordable choice and probably the best dog reflective vest on the market. It won't make your dog look as cool as the above camo dog vests, nor does it provide many of those features, but it does the job it was intended for very well. This vest is available in 5 bright and reflective colors, as well as 5 different sizes to ensure a proper fit for any dog breed.
- SIZING - Large Vest Fits Dogs...
- BRIGHT AND VISIBLE, DAY OR...
- TOUGH ENOUGH TO USE EVERY DAY...
- UTILITY STRAP INCLUDED – For...
- NO RISK GUARANTEE – If you...
The reflective dog vest is made from a unique Oxford Weave fabric. Unlike many other reflective vests, this fabric is durable and rip-resistant (though not as durable as the above three best dog hunting vests I've mentioned), which makes it suitable for rough terrains as well. This vest includes a Velcro belly strap to ensure that the vest stays in place at all times.
In addition to high-quality and other features, this is one of the most affordable dog hunting vests on Amazon or anywhere else. Like the other reflect vest I'll mention below, I've used this one for a few years but rarely, mostly going out in the evening with my two dogs. However, note that some other hunters reported that the stitching on the edges is not that durable, while others reported sizing problems.
PROS: Very Affordable, Available in 5 Different Sizes and Colors, Reflective, Adjustable Straps, Durable, Easy to Clean
CONS: Some Reports of Sizing Problems, Some Reports of Stitching on Edges Being Weak
5 Mendota Products Skid Plate
Next up on the list is another different design which I personally like. It's a very durable and comfortable dog vest, made from specific nylon that makes it water-resistant as well. It comes in four different sizes but it is only available in orange because it is meant to be visible and reflective.
- Two layers of water resistant...
- Adjustable strap system made...
- Slide adjusters and steel...
- Skid Plate protects your dog's...
- Offers high visibility, total...
This fifth best dog hunting vest includes quick-release buckles to allow you to put it on or take it off with ease. It also has adjustable sliders so you can make it fit on your dog’s body properly and ensure that the protective parts of the vest are in place, particularly the chest plate.
To avoid only praising this product, I've read through other dog hunting vest reviews and some people reported that the material feels a bit rough, although this wasn't an issue for us and it shouldn’t present a problem to your pooch. There were also some reports of sizing problems (notice a pattern yet?), especially with the width since some users found the vest unable to cover the dog’s whole chest. People have to measure properly before buying!
PROS: Affordable, Available in 4 Sizes, Reflective, Adjustable, Breathable, Lightweight, Includes a Chest Plate, Water-Resistant
CONS: Only Available in One Color, Reports of Sizing Problems, May Not Be Wide Enough, Material a Bit Rough
6 Petflect Reflective Dog Vest
Finally, while I wouldn't necessarily call this a “hunting vest” per se, the company seems to market it that way. The Petflect dog hunting vest is not available in large size, so it’s not suitable for larger breeds. It's a perfect dog vest for dog owners with small to medium hunting dogs. This product has the main purpose of keeping your pooch visible at all times, having a bright orange design with a reflective blue paw print, visible from distances up to 500 feet.
- Features a decorative...
- Fully adjustable Velcro...
- Visible from more than 500...
This faux hunting dog vest is made out of breathable, lightweight nylon material and serves a very specific purpose that's different from the first three best hunting dog vest choices. It doesn’t offer as much protection from thorns and sticks when compared to those other vests (which are also more expensive) because it lacks a chest plate, so it may be better suited for terrains with less vegetation.
You can adjust the vest to fit your pooch thanks to the Velcro straps. I've never used this vest for hunting itself but only for going scouting with my dogs at sunset and in low light, which it's perfect for. However – once again – some dog owners reported problems with the sizing chart since they found the vest to be bigger than expected. Also, some users said that the Velcro straps come off easily.
PROS: Affordable, Reflective, Adjustable, Breathable, Lightweight
CONS: Only Available in Two Sizes and One Color, Not Suitable for Rough Terrains, Reports of Sizing Problems, Repots of Velcro Straps Not Working
When you take your dog hunting, you need to ensure that they're safe and comfortable. You also want to give them all the tools that makes their assistance with your hunts as effective as possible. One proven way to do this is with the best hunting dog vest. The above list has some of the most well-reviewed brands from myself and other hunters, but make sure you do your research before you buy one to use long-term on your hunts.
READ NEXT: Top 5 Best Hunting Dog Collars