The idea to protect our canine companions on a security mission is not new. But, fastening body armor for dogs is not as easy and there are issues with armor for quadrupeds. This armor needs to be light and allows the dog to breathe while staying firmly while it moves and jumps.There are three common security situations where body armor for dogs becomes needed:
But, because any armor on the K9 will be cumbersome and tire it faster, attaching such equipment when not needed is not recommended. For search and investigation purposes, such as narcotics, a softcover with name tags will be more than enough.Thankfully, new types of armor that are not as heavy are available for canines and they are even modular, allowing the stomach and torso of the hound to move separately from the neck and head.Those in the market to buy body armor for dogs will have several options for sale, depending on the breed and size, as well as the type of mission you are planning to take with the animals.All canine armor is soft and goes up to NIJ Level IIIa. Due to the severe reduction in mobility, hard plates on dogs are never recommended.
When do You Need Canine Body Armor?
Although mine deactivation is traditionally something where dogs were heavily involved, with the invention of RC robots that can do the same job much faster and much safer, they are being phased out. Nobody wants to risk the dog unnecessarily.Still, if there is a bomb to be sniffed out, having a trained hound that can smell the chemicals used is a great help. But, if something goes wrong, you want the dog to be protected by body armor.In modern situations, the biggest threats for your canine are not explosives, because their use in the open battlefield has somewhat diminished in favor of robots. Humans, and especially in domestic situations, are the biggest threat.High-risk manhunts often end up with the violent perpetrator shooting at the dog. And because the dog is trained to subdue and not kill the perp they have a disadvantage.A similar case is with crowd control, especially when there is violent rioting and malicious intent. Mostly due to fear, police dogs are often a target of gunfire.
Shrapnel and Blast Protection
Soft armor on the canine is perfectly able to stop any type of shrapnel from penetrating. And because of the properties of the skin and fur of the dog, there also won't be any injuries beneath the part that was hit.Regretfully, the head and face of the dog can’t be reasonably protected. Because they need them to sniff and attack, dogs need their head free of restrictions.This is why the collar of body armor for dogs is higher and covers almost up to the jaw.
While it is hard to believe that some people would shoot a dog, and a service dog at that which is known not to be lethal, that is something that happens more often than you think. Due to the correlation between psychopaths and criminals, the lives of police and security K9s are often on the line.Thankfully, most perpetrators of such crimes will use a handgun or shotgun. The toughest canine armor, NIJ IIIa, is easy to stop such shots.And, the dog behind the armor won’t be bruised or risk their ribs or spine.
The best body armor for dogs should also have options for increase utility. Letting your dog carry surveillance gear or med-packs can be very useful, especially in situations where you need to move quickly.Depending on the size and breed of the dog, they can carry several pounds while not diminishing their mobility in the slightest. This is why having PALS loops for modular gear is so beneficial.
We need to remember that body armor or tactical vest for dogs is situational and that your service dog, even if expertly bred and trained, isn't meant to be armored at all times. Medical concerns for the paws and legs become common after repeated prolonged use.Ideally, you want modular armor that you can quickly put on the dog when it is needed and remove once the mission is over.