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The Best Emotional Support Dog Vests

The Best Emotional Support Dog Vests

Emotional support dog vests are a great way to help the public know that your furry friend is more than just a pet. Read on to learn the difference between an Emotional Support Animal and a Service Animal and the best place to buy vests for them.


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Jump to:
  1. What Is an Emotional Support Dog?
  2. Emotional Support vs Service Animals
  3. Rights of Emotional Support Animals
  4. Why Use an Emotional Support Dog Vest?
  5. Best Emotional Support Dog Vests

What Is an Emotional Support Dog?

Man putting his arm around his support dog for a piece on best esa vests

Aleksey Boyko/Shutterstock

In order to be legally considered an emotional support dog, your pet needs to be prescribed by a licensed medical professional. While all dogs can offer an emotional connection with their human, ESAs are for people with mental illness and issues.

These conditions include depression, PTSD, or Autism. For example, a mental health professional may suggest an emotional support dog for a patient suffering from anxiety.

ESA vs Service Animal

Emotional support dogs don’t require any special training. They provide support through companionship and help relieve anxiety, phobias, and other disorders.

Service dogs are working dogs who are trained to guide the seeing or hearing impaired, detect a psychiatric episode, help those in wheelchairs who are physically limited, or recognize seizures. Police dogs are also considered service animals.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals are allowed anywhere the public is allowed with proper qualification. Typically, these animals will wear a service dog vest. ESAs are not always allowed in public places, although these rules vary by state and locality.

Additionally, service animals are always dogs. Emotional support animals can be any domestic pets including dogs, cats, and even ferrets.

Rights of Emotional Support Dogs

For a piece on emotional support dog vests, an animal sits next to seats with a passport and suitcase

Javier Brosch/Shutterstock

Even though they aren’t service dogs, emotional support dogs enjoy certain rights. The Air Carrier Access Act allows ESAs to be with their owner in an aircraft cabin. Check with the airline ahead of time, as they may require certain paperwork or an emotional support dog vest to allow you pooch to fly.

Additionally, the Fair Housing Act includes support dogs under assistance animals. This means these dogs (and therefore, their owners) cannot be discriminated against due to a disability.

Additionally, they cannot be charged a pet deposit for their ESA to live with them. That said, ESAs must be relatively well behaved and cannot be a danger to others.

Why Use an Emotional Support Dog Vest?

ESA vests are not required, but they are highly recommended. While ESAs may not have stated rights to entering certain public places, an ESA vest can only help. Your mental health professional can provide necessary paperwork, but the vest may eliminate the need to present it in some cases.

Plus, a therapy dog vest lets others know your dog isn’t just out for a fun walk. The vest can help keep others from petting your dog. It can also help make your animal more visible if you are traveling at night.

Best Emotional Support Animal Vests

There are many emotional support vests available online, but we’ve narrowed down our favorites. These ESA dog vests are both affordable and professional looking. After all, your pooch is providing a service.

OneTigris Tactical Service Vest Dog Harness

Easily Customizable
OneTigris Tactical Dog Harness With Front Clip
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This durable, versatile harness is safe and comfortable for your pet. It features a wide variety of MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) pouches so your canine can carry his or her own supplies. The heavy-duty nylon shells has soft interior padding that is lightweight and water resistant.

Customize the harness to fit your dog’s style and personality, as well as any services you’d like to convey by adding removable patches and badges. Attach varying dog patches like “do not pet” or “service animal” with removable velcro.

Industrial Puppy Support Dog Vest Harness

Best Industrial Vest
Industrial Puppy Emotional Support Dog Vest Harness with Reflective Straps
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This bestseller on Amazon has everything your hard-working pooch needs. High quality materials like waterproof polyester make for a durable vest that can be worn all day long. Two removable identification patches can be swapped for work and play.

A sturdy D-ring attaches to your leash, and the reflective chest strap adds safety. The vest features a quick-release and adjustable padded belly strap. Plus, every purchase comes with a matching leash with comfort padded handle.

Petage Tactical Dog Harness

Best for Walking
PETAGE Tactical Service Dog Harness No Pull, Reflective Military Dog Harness
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Durable materials and a reflective coating make this versatile service dog vest harness great for dogs who pull when walking. There is also an easy-grab handle for added control and safety. The product is intended for companion animals or service dogs working in compliance with ADA and federal law.

Working Service Dog Premium Emotional Support Dog ESA Mesh Vest

Best for Small Dogs
Premium Small Dog ESA Mesh Vest
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This cool, lightweight vest is perfect for small dogs. There are many large service vests available, but this versatile vest ranges from XS to XXL. To determine the size, measure your dog’s girth by wrapping a flexible tape measure around his body at the widest part of his rib cage.

Adjustable straps make it easy to adjust the sizing from there. The harness has a built-in leash attachment and mesh sides to keep your dog cool. The oversized metallic patch reads “Emotional Support Animal E.S.A.”

Bring Your Emotional Support Dog Along

Emotional support animals may not be service dogs, but they do enjoy an array of rights. For example, you can bring your ESA with you on a plane. You also cannot be discriminated against for living with an ESA.

While an emotional support vest isn’t required, it can help your dog be recognized for its role as a therapy dog. Be sure to look into your region’s laws concerning therapy dogs and ESAs to know where you can and cannot bring your pet.

Check first if your dog is certified as a service animal, meaning they are trained to assist you in day-to-day life. Along with the ESA vest, bring the applicable paperwork along with you.

This is provided by your mental health professional showing that you are prescribed an emotional support dog. Then get ready for all the face kisses and pets at any altitude.

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