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Emotional Support Dog Vests - A Choice or Requirement?

Probably one of the most common questions from the ESA owners, is having a dog vest for my ESA is a requirement? No, it is not. It is a choice and, as ESA documentation experts, we would highly recommend having a good quality dog vest for your Emotional Support Animal. While there are no laws that compel you to have a vest to identify your animal as an ESA, having one will help people around you identify it as more than a pet. Your ESA is not just a pet, right? A dog vest will help you get the message through.

This identification is important when you are travelling and many airlines recommend having it around your Emotional Support Animal to help them identify it and make the needed arrangements.

Instead of a plain vest, it is better to put something on your animal that clearly says “Do Not Pet”, “Emotional Support Animal “, “Therapy Dog or Cat” or “Working Dog” because, mostly, people would treat it in the same way as any random pet. You don’t want people to pet your animal and hamper its ability to help you, isn't it?

A bright dog vest will tell your landlord, airlines and people around that your animal is not a pet but an emotional support for you, which also means that you are entitled to no additional charges by your landlord and airlines and the airline is supposed to provide suitable accommodation for your animal.

Are Emotional Support Dogs and Service Dogs the Same?

No, they are not. A service dog is specifically trained to perform a duty or service that his, or her owner could not do. People with vision and hearing problems, children with autism and people having limited mobility use them as medical alert dogs and to get help with their daily functions. Emotional support animals, or dogs, are not trained for any particular functions and are only used as a support for the owner. People with depression, anxiety and difficulties with social interaction use these animals as a solace and help to manage their symptoms better.

How to Measure your ESA and Service Dog for a Dog Harness?

Correct and perfect measurements are important to get a properly fitted dog vest. To take the measurements, take a tape, a flexible one preferably, and wrap it around the dog’s rib cage, the area between its fore and hind legs. Try to take the measurement as accurately as possible and measure it for at least a few times to make sure that the measurements are correct. A dog vest that is too small or too big for your dog will make it uncomfortable and it will not be able to focus on you.

Following is a guiding chart to help you get an idea:

  1. For 10 to 13 Inches: XS
  2. For 14 to 18 Inches: S
  3. For 19 to 23 Inches: M
  4. For 23 to 27 Inches: L
  5. For 28 to 32 Inches: XL
  6. For 33 to 42 Inches: XXL

How to Choose the Right Fabric?

When it comes to choosing the right fabric for your therapy dog’s vest, there are no regulations related to it. You can choose any fabric that is suitable for your dog, the weather and the area you live in. However, we highly recommend that you stay away from synthetic fabric and stick to breathable ones like cotton and mesh.

What Style to Choose for your Service Dog Harness?

Generally, there are four types and styles available for service dog vest. We have detailed them below to help you understand the benefits and suitability of each style.

  1. Padded Vests: Usually, it is a lightweight and cushioned vest that has a handle on them. These vests are perfect when you take your dog for outdoor walking and since it is quite light, your ESA will not have difficulties walking around with it.
  2. Lightweight Cotton Vests: These vests could be worn all through the year since they are lightweight and keeps your dog cool and comfortable. To increase the functionality, get the one with pockets to keep the ID.
  3. Mesh Vests: Mesh vests have an interlaced structure that allows for great passage of air and keeps your ESA cool. The structure is especially effective for the dogs and ESAs living in hot countries or climates.
  4. Backpack Vests: These vests are great if you are a student and needs a little help carrying your books around. However, make sure that you do not load it too much that your dog is unable to move freely and comfortably.

Get an ESA Letter for Greater Support

Once you are done with measuring and placing an order for your emotional therapy dog vest, it is time that you get your ESA letter. Do you know that with an ESA letter you can avail some great advantages? Having an emotional support recommendation letter from an accredited mental health practitioner is vital to travel and live with your ESA.

The letter must include that the person is emotionally unstable as stated in the DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition), and that an ESA is recommended to control and manage the symptoms.

Are you qualified for an ESA?

Luckily, to get an ESA, you don’t have to be in an intensive care of a psychiatrist or mental health practitioner. Mostly, people with chronic depression, anxiety, loneliness and restlessness apply and qualify for ESA holders. To know if you qualify, take our free pre-screening test and get your ESA letter within 24 hours.