Emotional Support Dog Vest

Are Emotional Support Dog Vests Required for ESAs?

Emotional Support Dog Vest

We get asked this question quite frequently and the answer is no, but it is very helpful.

There are no laws or regulations which state that you must clearly identify your ESA as an assistance animal, and although it is not required for your animal to wear an Emotional Support Dog Vest, it is highly recommended.

Click Here To Get A Vest!

We recommend that your assistance animal be readily and easily distinguishable as being more than just a pet, particularly when flying.

Many airlines suggest the same.

Having your animal wear a brightly-colored ESA vest can help assist airline personnel, landlords, and everyone else that your ESA is more than just a pet.

Additionally, we recommend putting something on your animal’s ESA vest which says “do not pet” or “working dog” because most people simply do not know better.

Having random people constantly come up to pet your animal, can be distracting for your ESA and can lessen its ability to mitigate the symptoms of your disability.

Measuring your Emotional Support Dog for a Vest

The first thing you need to do is accurately measure your dog. The following chart was made by our friends at Companion Animals is an aid for you to make sure that you order the correct size dog vest.

To properly measure your dog for an emotional support vest, take a flexible tape measure and place it around his girth – that is just behind the front legs and around his body, making sure you going underneath him or her at the widest part of its rib cage. Once you measure the dog for the first time, do it again to make the size is the correct one for your dog.

Emotional Support Dog Vest Sizing Chart

Click Here To Get A Vest!

Fabric Choice

Vests come in many fabrics and there are no regulations governing them. For dogs working in hot and humid climates, it is a good idea to choose a mesh vest. For other areas of the country use a vest made of cotton or another breathable fabric – avoid synthetics as they may be less comfortable for you dog.


The four most popular styles of vest are;

Padded vests – these vests usually have a handle on them for outdoors walking. Their weight approximates that of a light weight winter jacket for people.

Light-weight cotton vests – perfect for your emotional support dog to wear throughout the year. Some come with pockets or an ID holder.

Mesh vests – great for dogs outdoors in warm weather

Backpack vests – good for someone like a student who has lots of books to carry about.

What do you need in addition to the vest?

Now that you have measured your furry friend are ready to buy a vest, just remember that a person who is assisted by an emotional support animal must have a emotional support animal recommendation letter from a licensed mental health professional.

The ESA letter must state that the animal’s handler has an emotional or mental disability identified in the DSM V, and that the animal helps mitigate specific symptoms of the handler’s disability.

Click Here To Get A Vest!

Do you qualify for an ESA?

You can take our online screening to see if you qualify for an emotional support animal.

The survey only takes a few minutes and is 100% free.

Take My Free 5-Minute Screening


Comments 36

  1. You can also look into training her as phyc dog. Most pet places have training for about a year. It’s not as expensive as a service dog, but she would be under the protection of the ada

  2. ESAs are NOT allowed in hotels or stores. Only a service animal is because ESAs are not covered under the uhm Americans with disabilities act or something like that.

  3. I deal w PTSD I haven’t called the VA yet to find out if they issue an accepted letter for ESA.

    I’ve also noted all your comments regarding ” housing” is focused on apartments, and nothing is/was mentioned about hotel/motels.

    Can you comment on these issues, thank you

  4. In Oklahoma if you have an ESA letter from a mental/behavioral health professional, you can bring a pet that is your ESA animal(regardless of species) as long as it is under control at all times IE leash carrier (rodents, birds,reptiles,etc). A harness or vest with patches and all necessary tags(rabies/civil registrations) and it is not inside a restaurant and/or fast food place. My letter covers all situations

  5. Does an apartment complex have the right to refuse a doctors not from a mental healthcare provider about my ESA and make the doctor fill out a specisfic form just for the apartments ? Or is the doctors not all they need and should accept ?

  6. Does an apartment complex have the right to refuse a doctors not from a mental healthcare provider about my ESA and make the doctor fill out a specisfic form just for the apartments ? Or is the doctors not all they need and should accept ?

  7. I own a restaurant and last Sunday we had a woman bring a what she claims was an ESA dog in to the building. She was told that dogs were allowed on our back patio. When she went to the back patio she discovered two other dogs who barked at her dog so she wanted to go to our front patio. Other restaurants in town have been written up by the Health Department for allowing dogs. I would like to know if I am required to allow ESA on my patio or in my restaurant. I’m caught between her and the Health Department.

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      1. Actually, ESA are protected under the ADA, but they do not have the same privileges as a service dog. They are protected by law for air travel and housing, but they are not protected by law to enter restaurants, stores, etc.

  8. All depends on the store and the mgr, and most IMPORTANT the area where you live. Here in NYC, well behaved pets are allowed almost everywhere..Walgreenes, BestBuy, Boarders, Kmart,Macys, Duane Read to name a few. It seems that if the store is located in a classy upper class neighborhood the better the chance for him to be allowed inside. However i always put him in a doggie stroller, that way there are no issues, sometimes i even close the zipper to go inside a fast food joint for a few minutes. I suffer from anxiety in public places and i also have a very bad fear of flying that is unbearable at times, having him w me calms me down because i concentrate on his wellbeing and put my issues in the back of my head…so i think having him by my side distracts me from my own issues??? Whatever it is, it helps.

  9. My doctor wrote me a letter I shrunk it down a bit and laminated it. But he said bringing my dog into public stores and venues is ultimately up to a manager also concerning having the letter. Is this right?

  10. I’m the caretaker for a property that is private property. It has a ballfield. A playground, trails, and a venue for outdoor concerts and a building for indoor entertainment ( plays ) etc.
    by law do we have to allow emotional support animals on the property. And what am I allowed to ask for when checking them. It seems like all of a sudden everyone claims that they have one. We do have a rule that no dogs are allowed on the property and it’s posted at the entrance in the parking areas and on the building but people ignore it.
    Would appreciate your advice on this

    1. Only “Service Dogs” are allowed full public access.
      Emotional Support animals are not covered under the ADA. If it is a private property, then you do not have to adhere to either unless you are offering public service/accessibility.

      By law, you are only allowed to ask someone with a “Service Dog” what tasks the dog performs to assist them.
      If a dog is acting in a dangerous, unstable, reactive or aggressive manner, you are allowed to ask them to leave.

    2. Emotional support Support dogs aren’t service dogs, they only cover housing and airlines.

      You can still deny them access. And since it is a private property they are trespassing.

  11. I will be flying on United. Their website states that once their Accessibility Department receives the ESA letter, they will call the provider to verify the validity of the documentation. How does Certapet handle this? Will the airline representative be able to speak to the licensed provider of the letter or someone at Certapet and verify the documentation for my ESA?

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    2. I just flew from Texas to Illinois with my dog before my letter came in from my mental healthcare professional. United was incredible easy to work with. All I had to do was make a reservation for her over the phone. They want you to do this before you get to the airport. They allow 5 pets/animals on each flight and you would get priority with having a ESA. The only downside was that I did have to pay an extra baggage fee since I didn’t have my letter yet. They were very helpful though, and gave me directions to the service animal pet relief area (fake grass room with fire hydrate).

  12. Question about the letter, would I need one specifically stating he needs to be with me for travel or does the letter my therapist wrote for my apartments work? I’m traveling southwest if that helps.

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  13. Is any one working on changing ADA rules to INCLUDE ESA animals so that they too can be included in being allowed to enter restaurants or food markets like service animals can? I think they should be alloud as long as they are well behaved And not causing a disturbance. If they do, management team has a right to ask them to leave!

  14. I have a esa dog she’s got her vests and things I have a letter from a psych doctor saying she is needed to be by me to alert and protect me which she has done 2 time saved my life is she allowed with me where I need to go with my depression and and anxiety I’ve tried to commit suicide and I get so worked up and she stands on her back legs licks me and warns me to calm down otherwise I’ll black out and pass our or do something dumb is she allowed with me places? Otherwise I’m scared something will happen Shes well behaved and listens to me on a leash

    1. If you want to take her to public places like work or the mall, you’ll have to register her as a service animal, which will require training. ESA’s are not allowed in public spaces other than parks that allow pets and pet stores.

  15. I have a letter from my family doctor who is a general practioner. Does it need to be mental health doctor or is my doctors letter good enough?

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  16. Service Dogs can be bought in a resturant you can’t bring a Emotional Support Animal inside a resturant. But to bring the Emotional Support Animal in the food market or drug store you will need to bring your letter that a licensed mental health professional wrote for you stated why you need to have your pet at times in public. That’s what I’ve to do when I need to take my Emotional Support Animal.

    1. That is because the ADA does not acknowledge an emotional service animal as a service animal. Only service animals are legally allowed to have additional rights, such as being protected in public places.

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        You are correct. Service Animals and Emotional Support Animal are different. Service Animals are afforded protection under the ADA, ESAs are not.

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