ESA dog wearing vest

An emotional support animal can be a great help for people who suffer from a variety of health conditions. ESAs have proven time and again that they are beneficial for people with mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression, as well as other mental disorders such as OCD, borderline personality disorder, and insomnia disorder.

While you may see your ESA as a working animal, others may not, because there are technically no differences in your ESA and another person’s pet (besides their ESA registration). The good news is that there is something you can do to make sure that the world knows your dog is an emotional support animal without having to tell everyone yourself. Here’s why a vest for your ESA dog can be a great choice.

Do ESAs have to wear a vest?

While emotional support animals do have to be registered to legally qualify for ESA status, there is no law that states that they have to wear a vest. Without that law, no one can force your ESA into a vest if you or they don’t want them to wear one. However, just because there is no law doesn’t mean that having a vest for your ESA dog isn’t a great idea.

dog wearing vest harness
Image by Dana Ward on Unsplash: Do emotional support dogs need a vest?

What type of vests are available for ESAs?

There are many types of vests available to choose from when you’re looking for the perfect one for your ESA. They can include:

  • Backpack vest: This is a great vest for traveling because it helps keep all the supplies you need for your pet in one place.
  • Mesh vest: A mesh vest helps to keep your ESA comfy in hot weather because it’s so breathable. It’s great for ESA dogs that have thick or double-coated fur.
  • Cotton vest: Cotton vests are typically the standard and come with pockets and an ID holder. They are lightweight and easy to carry, so they’re best for daily use.
  • Padded vests: When the weather gets too cold, a padded vest is the best choice for keeping your ESA warm when you both have to brave the elements.
  • Cape vest: If you have a small dog as your ESA, this vest is perfectly suited for their stature.
  • Alpha harness vest: Although this vest is a little on the costly side, it does have a lot of features designed to keep your ESA dog comfortable during all types of outings.

How much does an ESA vest cost?

Emotional support animal vests can range drastically in price depending on the type you’re looking for, the size of your ESA, and any features you want. The simplest of vests can cost less than $20, while some of the more high-end versions can be closer to $100. How much you’re willing to spend will depend entirely on you and what your ESA needs.

What factors should you consider when getting a vest for ESA dog?

When you’re getting your ESA a vest, you’ll want to take certain factors into consideration. The first and most important is the patch identifying that your animal is in fact an emotional support animal. Patches you can choose include:

  • Emotional Support Animal
  • Therapy Animal
  • Do Not Pet
  • Working Dog

You can choose whichever one you feel is the best for your ESA. You’ll also want to look into specific fabrics. Fabric is important for the comfort of your ESA, depending on where you live. For example, putting your ESA into a thick padded vest when it’s over 100 degrees out probably isn’t the best choice. 

boy hugging esa dog
Image by Alicia Jones on Unsplash: Your ESA is there to comfort and calm you, and a vest can help them do just that.

Why should you get an emotional support dog vest for your ESA?

1. Distinguishing your ESA

Without a vest, your emotional support animal looks like any other pet. The problem with this is that your ESA is not just a regular pet; they are a working pet. A vest will give other people the clear message that they’re doing a job, and may help you avoid confrontations when you take your ESA places other pets aren’t allowed to go.

2. Can help if your ESA is lost

If your ESA happens to run off or get lost somehow, having an ESA vest will help to identify them better. This can make it much easier to locate them.

3. It will keep people from wanting to interact with your ESA

Your emotional support animal is there to help you get through situations that you may have difficulty with. If your adorable ESA is petted by every stranger on the street, they become distracted – and when they’re distracted, they’re less able to keep you calm and stress-free. The vest will alert other people that your ESA is not there for them to pet or play with, which will keep stranger interaction to a minimum.

4. It will save you time

Having your ESA wear a vest will also give you more time, in the sense that it will keep you from having to explain yourself to people while you’re out of the house. For people with social anxiety, talking to strangers can be difficult, and having to explain the status of your ESA or why you’re bringing your pet into a store can be excruciating. An ESA vest does the talking for you.

Although ESA dogs do not legally have to wear an ESA vest, it can benefit you and your pet greatly.

Featured image by thebeebesknees on Pixabay