Animal handling gloves are a staple in any vet or animal control officer’s tool kit, but no two types of animal handling gloves are quite the same. Some gloves are stronger and thicker, some are lighter but more flexible, and others have specialized purposes that excel at one task, but lack in others. For some vets this may raise the question – which animal handling glove is right for which task?
In this guide, we’ll answer just that. We’ll go over the key features one can find in a pair of animal gloves, the types or “duties” of animal gloves, and the tradeoffs one type of pair offers versus the others.
How Do I Decide Which Pair of Animal Gloves to Use?
Animal handling gloves are, naturally, built with protection from animal bites in mind. In order to reinforce the build of the glove, manufacturers strengthen their gloves with things like hard plastics, tightly-woven fabric, or even inserts of military-grade armor. While you might assume that more protection is always better, that may not be the case for every animal-handling scenario.
While it’s true that more armor helps defend against bigger bites and scratches, all that armor greatly increases the glove’s bulk and weight. With this larger mass, heavily-armored gloves become less and less dextrous – they become more difficult to work and handle animals with.
While this is acceptable for some animal-handling jobs, other jobs call for a more delicate approach, meaning a good vet or animal control expert needs a lineup of animal gloves to be truly prepared for anything. Let’s go over the main types of animal gloves, and which jobs they’d each be best cut out for.
The Types of Animal Handling Gloves
Often only slightly heavier than standard exam gloves, these gloves offer the gentlest touch and greatest dexterity, at the cost of the least amount of protection.
Specializing in treating very young and/or small animals, like stray puppies or kittens for example, the lighter-duty gloves in a vet’s arsenal are for jobs where the patients have smaller bites and need loving care. See our orphan gloves page for more information on light-duty gloves.
Built for everyday use in an animal-centric environment, these gloves are built with protection, comfort, and dexterity in mind. Striking a balance between all three, working gloves, or duty gloves, keep the wearer safe from a wide variety of bites and scratches while allowing them to go about their daily duties on the job.
Working gloves offer the highest amount of protection possible without compromising on freedom of movement in the hands. They are lined with protective material, but may not suffice when dealing with especially aggressive and/or strong animals, nor when dealing with high-risk animals of unknown origin or medical history.
For the biggest animals and toughest jobs, only heavy-duty gloves will suffice. While they sacrifice dexterity, the pack far more protection per square inch than any other type of animal handling glove. This makes them perfect for large, known, suspected feral, or highly aggressive animals. Heavy-duty gloves value wearer protection over everything else, making them the best for safety from both piercing and high-pressure bites.