Body Armor for Dogs

Dogs have served and protected humans for hundreds of years, including out on the frontline of conflicts. Because dogs serve in combat roles, it only makes sense to protect them with armor as we do for soldiers. Dogs were wearing armor all the way back to ancient times, and the practice is still around today.

Is K-9 Armor a Real Thing?

Specialty armor for dogs is not only a real thing, but it plays a vital role in keeping military and police canines safe and protected while on duty. Unlike in ancient times, however, our modern dog armor has evolved and benefitted from technology and advancements. Today’s canine armor has different parts, all engineered to protect the dog while still giving it plenty of mobility.

Canine body armor is very similar to what a human would wear, only designed to fit the sleek and athletic build of a service dog. The same type of Kevlar is found in these vests, with plenty of other options to allow the armor to be versatile and allow different attachments depending on the job of the dog and its handler. Not all dog body armor is the same either. Some are capable of stopping bullets, while most police canines that you see wearing armor will be utilizing stabproof armor.

Threats That a Dog Faces While on Duty

So why do dogs need body armor anyways? Dogs face the same threats (if not more) than their human counterparts. The risk of injury for military and law enforcement canines is potentially life-threatening for the jobs they do, especially when they are sent in ahead to perform tasks or operations like finding armed combatants or detecting explosives before anyone else moves in.

A high-quality vest for a dog can mean the difference between life and death. This is even more important when you consider that dogs are extremely expensive to train, and everyone wants to protect them in the best way possible. In fact, on average it costs around $25,000 to $45,000 to fully train a military canine, while an explosive detection dog can cost upwards of over $150,000 to fully train. With that kind of investment, these agencies want to protect these dogs at all costs in order to allow them to do their jobs safely and for a long time.

There is no doubt about it, dog body armor saves lives. Think about your average police dog and what they may encounter. From taking down armed fugitives to detecting drugs, these dogs are constantly placed in the path of danger while they are at work. It only makes sense to get something as simple and cost-effective as body armor if it means it can better protect these amazing dogs. Dogs that are used in the military are open to many threats as well. In addition to being shot at, like grenades and IED explosions.

Do Dogs Need Helmets?

Dog body armor has been proven to be very effective in protecting service dogs, but do they need helmets as well? While ballistic helmets are made and available for dogs, they are not often used and not necessarily needed. This is usually for a number of reasons. These helmets can be big and bulky, resulting in nothing but restrictions for the dog and its movements. One of the benefits of dogs is their amazing speed and agility, and a heavy helmet can combat this. They can also be extremely hot and taxing on a dog. Dogs can easily overheat even in a vest, so a helmet will only make the situation worse in most cases. Of course, every job is different and every dog will usually be outfitted according to the job that they are going to be doing.

K-9 Vests for Protection Against Shrapnel

One of the biggest benefits that dog armor can provide is the protection that good vests give against shrapnel and other debris. Vests that are designed for dogs are positioned so that they protect the animal’s vital organs like the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and other organs in the torso. Even an extremely small piece of shrapnel from a grenade or IED can puncture a dog’s body and cause a lot of damage.

Even soft body armor (like what is used in dog body armor) can do a great job of protecting against shrapnel. This is a huge advantage to having a dog wear a canine vest while on the job, while still providing all of the other benefits that it could provide. Many vests have other uses such as cameras, harnesses, leashes, storage, and other unique features that make a canine vest very useful while providing adequate protection against potential shrapnel.

Final Thoughts

Many people are unaware that dog body armor even exists, let alone just how important it can be for protection. Dogs have cemented their place on the front lines in wars and on the streets serving and protecting humanity. Thankfully there have been a ton of great advancements in body armor, including those worn by canines. From bullet and stabproof vests to helmets and feet protection, it comes in a lot of different varieties. One thing remains the same, however, and that is the need for quality dog body armor. With how hard they work and how well they do their jobs, body armor only makes sense to help keep them safe and continue doing the work that they love.