Police K9s are incredible animals that take on so many tasks that humans just can’t do. They have the ability to detect explosive devices, narcotics, weapons, track fugitives and locate missing persons. These tasks often put the dogs in dangerous and potentially life threatening situations. In fact, the police K9s typically face a greater risk than their human counterparts since they are often sent in ahead to investigate dangerous situations. However, unlike the human officers, these K9s are not issued bulletproof vests.
The police departments are dependent on fundraisers and donations to help them purchase protective gear for their canine members. In this article, we’ll discuss why the vests are important, what features to look for when selecting a vest and what you can do to help keep our K9s safe.
The Need for K9 Ballistic Vests
The police K9s are often faced with potentially life-threatening situations in the line of duty. Having access to ballistic vests can make a difference between life and death for these dogs.
Do police dogs wear bulletproof vests?
Unfortunately, unlike their human counterparts, not every police dog is issued a K9 bulletproof vest as standard. Most K-9 units are self-funded and the law enforcement agencies do not have the budget to purchase these life-saving vests for their canine members.
Why do police dogs need ballistic vests?
The police dogs are often required to perform potentially dangerous tasks in the line of duty. Wearing a bulletproof vest can protect the K9s from gunshots, explosives, stab wounds, and blunt force trauma such as being kicked or beaten with a heavy object.
In the year 2020, 22 K9 officers lost their lives in the line of duty in the United States. The access to a vest can potentially make a difference in saving the life of a police k9.
How much do K9 bullet proof vests cost?
The K9 ballistic vests can be quite expensive and typically cost around $1000, but customized vests can run up to $3000. Not all vests are made equal and the price depends on a range of factors including the material used and the level of protection it offers.
K9 vest donations could save a dog's life
Sadly, most law enforcement agencies don’t have the funds to purchase protective gear for their canine members. Smaller police departments can barely afford their K9 officers, let alone bulletproof vests for each of them. In fact, most agencies are prohibited from allocating funds for purchase of equipment that is not for human use.
The law enforcement agencies are heavily reliant on external sources of financing such as grants, fundraisers and donations for the purchase of K9 gear. Several non-profit organizations are making it their mission to vest as many K9s as possible. We, at Brady’s K9 Fund pride ourselves for being one such organization that is prioritizing the safety of the police dogs. All the funds we raise go directly towards vesting a K9. To learn more about us and how you can help us donate a K9 vest, head over to our donation page.
Dog Bulletproof Vests: How to Select the Right One?
Not all ballistic vests are created equal. The quality of a vest can make a huge difference in the level of protection it offers. Also, bulky vests can negatively impact the performance of the dog due to excessive heat and weight. So here are some of the top features you should look out for in a vest.
Older K9 ballistic vests were often bulky and made it difficult for the dogs to move around freely. Companies such as LOF Defence are making vests that are streamlined and extremely lightweight allowing K9s to have more freedom of movement.
If you live in a hot state or country, it is essential that you select a vest that has some cooling technology. The K9 Streetfighter Vest has an inner layer of Outlast Thermal Management Systems™ fabric that prevents excessive heat soaking and helps regulate the K9’s body temperature keeping them cool. These vests can be particularly great for breeds such as German Shepherds that have a lot of fur and tend to overheat quickly.
Ease of use
When the K9 is on duty, things can get quite unpredictable. Sometimes, situations unfold rapidly where the K9 might have to be deployed immediately. In those situations, the handler might not have much time to vest the animal. That is why it is imperative to select a vest that is quick and easy to don & doff.
If you have excess funds, custom-fit K9 vests are definitely the way to go for added comfort and ease of movement. Unfortunately, these vests are quite pricey and can range anywhere between $2000 to $4000!
Best Bullet Proof Vest for Dogs
Because of the dangerous and unpredictable nature of their job, it is essential to us that the K9 officers are protected for the entire duration of their shift. That is why we only donate the LOF Defence K9 StreetFighter vest. This vest is specifically designed so the K-9 can wear it for an extended period of time without fatigue or any restriction in movement.
Here are some of the other features of this vest:
Protecting Our K9s: How You can Help
In 2018, our founder- Brady Snakovsky was only 8 years old when learned that ballistic vests were not automatically issued to the police dogs. Thereafter, Brady made it a mission to raise funds to protect the K9s and make sure that they come home safely at the end of their shift. Our donation program is available to police K9s not just in the United States but around the world.
So far we have vested 376 K9 officers. But our mission is far from complete. We still have several dogs on our waitlist, hoping to receive a vest from us. This is why we need your help. You can make a difference and help a police K9 stay safe by contributing to our fund. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, so all contributions are tax deductible.
If you would like to donate, please go to our donations page or click on the button below. We greatly appreciate every little contribution that is made.