Some people find them sleek and majestic, while others see them as more of a scavenging nuisance, especially if they keep livestock—the coyote. Rampant in many rural areas, and seen in major cities more and more as of late, it's possible that your dog could run into one depending on where you live. If that's the case and you're worried about their safety, which is especially common among small dog and senior dog guardians, then a coyote vest may be a smart, safe purchase for both of you. Designed to protect your dog from coyote attacks, sometimes deterring them altogether, coyote vests come in a range of designs and prices to protect all dogs, big and small.
What to consider when purchasing coyote vests for dogs
Size: Coyote vests are generally made to be fairly lightweight for the most comfortable fit, but because many of them are fitted with spikes or padded with materials like neoprene, you'll want to make sure you have the right size to keep it on correctly. Most sellers have measurement guidelines for their items, which aren't all that different from sizing your dog for a regular harness but may account for the added weight of the deterrent materials.
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Cost: A quality coyote vest is not cheap, but if you live in an area with lots of roaming coyotes, or are just worried about your dog while camping, hiking, or roaming, it is well worth the cost. Coyote vests are designed to keep a coyote's teeth from puncturing through the material where they can make contact with vital veins, arteries, or organs that could leave your dog seriously injured. The namesake CoyoteVest is designed so that a coyote can't even fit their mouth around it, so if you live in a high-coyote area, it could really be worth the investment.
Prevention is the Best Protection: Even the best coyote vest in the world can't 100% guarantee that your canine pal will be safe from a coyote attack. The best way to ensure that your dog doesn't find themselves on the wrong end of a coyote fight is to practice preventative measures. Keeping your dog indoors around dusk and dawn can reduce their chance of crossing a coyote's path, and if they need to go out during those times, keep them supervised and nearby. Keeping your yard and surrounding area clear of trash can keep coyotes from approaching your home, and if you have livestock, make sure they're put away for the night to keep everyone safe.
1. CoyoteVest SpikeVest Dog Harness Vest
This is the most popular coyote vest and the namesake brand that put protective vests on the map. It works by creating a surface too large, and painful, for a coyote to get their mouth around, let alone sink their teeth into by using large chrome spikes made from tough plastic that is fitted around the side and top of the vest, as well as around the neck. This one is known as the SpikeVest and features removable spikes that are fitted around a Cordura fabric vest that's stab-resistant, and holds up to punctures from coyote teeth. It's sold in five sizes, from extra-extra-small to large, comes with an attached D-ring to hook your dog's leash onto, and is designed with reflective stripes for safe walking at night. We opted to include this one over the original CoyoteVest (which you can find here) because it's made with wider straps around the neck and chest for a bit of added protection and security.
2. CoyoteVest BullyVest
Another option from the same brand is the BullyVest, which is designed in the same style as the CoyoteVest, only without a protective ring of spikes around the neck. This one does not come with a built-in ring for clipping to a leash, so you will need to use it with your own harness or collar. One thing that does help this vest stand apart from the traditional design is that you can customize it with accessories, like CoyoteWhiskers, which are featured below. This vest is ideal for anyone worried about surprise attacks on their dog, but who doesn't necessarily need or want the added spiked collar attachment.
3. CoyoteVest CoyoteWhiskers
As we mentioned above, some people like to add the protection of CoyoteWhiskers to their vest, to make it even harder for coyotes or other predatory animals to get their mouths around their dog's most sensitive organs. The bristles are made of nylon and attach to CoytoteVests and SpikeVests using hook-and-loop fasteners. You can choose from eight different colors when shopping for these bristles, and each set comes with four sections that cover the length of a dog's back. It's important to note that these are only bristles and they work as an accessory item for vests—you must have a CoyoteVest in order to use this item.
4. OneTigris Tactical Vest Nylon Front Clip Dog Harness
If you're looking for protection without the spikes, bristles, and bright colors, a tactical vest might be a better choice for you. This harness is available in three colors and offers dogs a bit of protection with a tough nylon outer shell, as well as soft padding on the inside for some insulation and comfort. If you want, you can even use this harness to have your dog carry supplies on hikes, camping trips, or other outings—just fit your gear into any of the MOLLE webbed pouches around the vest for convenient and secure transporting. Like the standard CoyoteVest, this harness is water-resistant and is designed with adjustable neck and chest straps for a proper fit, however, it is not technically designed to protect dogs from coyote attacks. For this reason, this choice might be better left to large or athletic dogs, and not so much for small dogs, or dogs who live in areas where coyote sightings are constant.
5. ICEFANG Tactical Dog Operation Harness
If a tactical vest does seem like a good choice for your dog and their needs, this is another great option to consider that offers a bit more coverage around the sides than the previous vest. Sold in five sizes, this vest is designed to protect dogs from outdoor elements and threats while offering handlers exceptional control. It comes with two buckles, three leash clips, and various strips of reinforced MOLLE webbing for carrying items.
6. Berry Pet 2" Spiked Leather Dog Collar
Perhaps you only need a little bit of a coyote deterrent around one of the most sensitive areas of your dog's body—their neck. In this case, the option for a spiked collar like this one just might do the trick. This leather model is 2 inches wide and features sharp spikes. In fact, they're so sharp that you may want to use another collar when your dog is indoors. It's sold in five different colors: black with black spikes, black with red spikes, red with black spikes, blue with brass spikes, and tan with brass spikes. There are also six different adjustable sizes, ranging from 14-19 inches to 21-24 inches.
7. CoyoteVest CoyoteCollar
For a protective collar with more sizes to choose from and way larger spikes, this adjustable option from CoyoteVest comes in three sizes and six colors. It's made with thick nylon material that's waterproof and snaps together with a convenient buckle. While it looks menacing, the spikes are actually pretty lightweight and can be removed from the collar easily. This collar is a great option for not just dogs, but any animals that need a little extra protection from coyotes, canine teeth, and other threats, including birds of prey.
8. PawsitiveInnovations The Hawk Star Pet Protection Vest
We know this is a list of coyote vests, but we thought it would be worth including a vest specifically designed to keep small dogs safe from serious injury in the event of a bird attack as well, as these things tend to take place in the same areas. This lightweight pet vest will not protect your dog from the grips of talons or beaks, but instead, prevents the risk of attack from even happening by essentially rendering your dog invisible to birds of prey like hawks and owls. It's designed with reflective material to create a patented holographic surface that confuses and disorients birds, helping dogs not appear as prey to them. This vest is made for small dog breeds like chihuahuas, mini pinschers, and other dogs weighing less than 10 pounds.
9. Browning Camo Neoprene Dog Vest
Finally, if you're looking for something lightweight, spike-free, and that can offer your dog a bit of padded but flexible protection from wild animals, consider this neoprene dog vest. This harness is made with comfortable and warming neoprene material that's 5 millimeters thick and reinforced with heavy-duty nylon stitching for long-lasting wear. It's also fitted with a protective chest plate to keep your dog safe from injury in the event of an attack, fall, or other external stressors. It's available in sizes small through extra-extra-large.