DIY Therapy Dog Vests

Making your own therapy dog vests is quite easy.

You’ll need:

  • Some fabric
  • A piece of newspaper or butcher paper large enough to cover your dog
  • A black marker
  • Nylon straps and fastener from an old backpack or bag
  • Pins
  • Needle and thread or a sewing machine
  • Velcro or hooks
  • (Optional) Stencil with alphabetic letters 
A DIY therapy vest orange in color.

You can use the pattern shown below, or else come up with your own style to make one of these vests. 

In my opinion, there is no standard type vest that you have to use – as long as it says “Therapy Dog” on it, few people will know or care. 

How To Make Therapy Dog Vests

Cut the Pattern and Fabric

A fabric pattern showing how to make the dog vest.
  1. Fold a piece of paper in half and lay the crease along your dog’s spine. You may need someone to hold the dog still.
  2. Next mark one side of the paper according to the pattern shown below. It does not need to be exact.
  3. Now take the paper off your furry friend and lay it flat, folded.
  4. Pin it in a few places so that your two layers will match, then use scissors to cut along your markings.
  5. Open out the paper and try it on your dog. Make adjustments where needed.
  6. When you are satisfied with your pattern, put it on top of your piece of fabric and pin the layers together.
  7. Cut the fabric out around your pattern, leaving half an inch extra all around for seams

Add Seams and Velcro

  1. Fold over the edges of your vest and pin them.
  2. Sew the seams using thread that matches the color of your vest.
  3. Sew Velcro pieces to the front edge that will go underneath your dog’s neck: Sew one piece to the right side of the fabric using thread that matches the Velcro. Sew the other piece to the wrong side of the matching edge using thread that blends in with the fabric.

Add Lettering

A picture showing the letters being added to the dog therapy vest.
  • It is easiest, but not required, to use a stencil. 
  • Note that the vest shown was made for our Chiweenie, who is a small dog, so it made sense to put the letters across the back. 
  • With a larger dog vest, I suggest you add the writing along each side instead.
  1. Center the stencil letters on your fabric.
  2. If need be, use tape to hold them in place (I used double-sided tape on the backside)
  3. Fill in the letters with your black marker – avoid fuzzy looking edges by pressing down on each part of your stencil as you are coloring in that part of the letter.

Add Straps

  1. Put the vest on your dog and fasten the front.
  2. Take one of your straps and pin it underneath the fabric close to the bottom rear edge – you may have to put it at an angle. Be sure the sharp edge of the pin is away from the dog’s body.
  3. Remove the vest and match up the sides.
  4. Pin the other strap with the fastener to the opposite side at the same angle.
  5. Try it out on your dog – see if the vest lies properly when you cinch up the straps and make sure the fastener lies in a comfortable spot.
  6. Make adjustments where needed, then sew the straps in place.

Well, you’ve reached the end of the therapy dog vests project – congratulations!