Do Emotional Support Dogs Need a Vest?

Any emotional support animal owner can attest to the unbridled joy and love they receive from their furry four-legged companion. 

While you understand these animals’ therapeutic benefits and value, others may not. That’s where a vest comes in. 

A vest lets the public know that your dog is a working animal, which can be beneficial in restaurants, airlines, housing, or even offices. 

In this guide, we’ll help to decide whether your pup needs a vest or not. 

What Is an Emotional Support Dog Vest?

An emotional dog vest lets the public know your pet is a working dog. They work similarly to a regular harness and may include a message such as “therapy dog.”

This lets others know that pets are for medical purposes and helpful in places with a no-pet policy, such as restaurants or housing opportunities

Vests can vary in identification and color, so choose one that specifics the purpose of your emotional support animal. 

Are Vests Required for Emotional Support Dogs?

Currently, your emotional support animal isn’t required to wear vests.

We recommend one for easy identification, reducing stress and confusion when traveling or entering certain public places. 

Without a harness indicating your dog’s status, you may receive resistance when trying to make your way through with your furry companion. With an ESA, everyone will know that your pooch is an emotional support animal. 

How To Ensure You Choose the Right Vest for Your Emotional Support Dog

A well-fitted vest with the right markers will allow your pet to feel comfortable while allowing others to identify that they’re a working animal quickly. 

We’ve outlined several factors to consider when buying a vest for your emotional support animal. 


Your dog vest must be well-fitted snugly but not too tight, allowing your animal companion to move freely and comfortably. A poorly-fitted vest could restrict movement, cause discomfort, or chafe your dog’s skin. 

Start by using a flexible measuring tape to measure your dog. Wrap it around the widest portion of his or her rib cage. Most vests, like the one made by Montana Supply Company, come in many sizes. Use the sizing chart and measurement provided by the manufacturer to see which size is best suited for your pup. 


Your emotional support animal should feel comfortable wearing their vest for long periods. 

The material should be breathable, soft, and non-irritating to their skin. 

In hot and humid areas, look for a more breathable mesh vest. Some harnesses are even waterproof, ensuring they can handle outdoor environments. 

Like any harness, it should withstand light pulling and regular use without fraying. 


The most common types of dog vests for emotional support animals are: 

  • Mesh vests: This material allows air to flow through the vest preventing your ESA from overheating. Its lightweight characteristics also ensure your dog doesn’t feel weighed down. 
  • Backpack vests: Backpack vests are harnesses that strap onto the front of your body. It offers the benefits of a backpack allowing you to carry essential small items while carrying your ESA. If you’re traveling and have much to carry, backpack vests are ideal. 
  • Padded vests: These vests are thicker and provide insulation for added warmth for your ESA during winter months. 
  • Lightweight cotton vests: This vest is suitable for all temperatures and won’t make them feel too hot or cold. They also come with features like ID tag holders and pockets. 


Every vest should have a patch or marker that helps others easily recognize that your dog supports your emotional well-being. Ideally, your patch should denote whether it’s an emotional support or service animal. Also, you may want to add something on the vest that says “working dog” or “do not pet.” 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re still curious about vests for emotional support dogs, we’ve put together a FAQ section for your reference. 

What Color Vests Do Emotional Support Dogs Wear?

An ESA owner can pick a vest color of their choice. Some owners like coordinating the vest color with the dog’s identification or accessories. Typically, red, blue, and green are the most popular colors. 

Get Your ESA Vest Today!

While emotional support animals aren’t legally obligated to wear identifying clothes, there are undeniable benefits to outfitting them with one. 

The right ESA vest will help the public understand that your animal is necessary for your well-being, saving you plenty of time and confusion. 

A vest is a valuable tool to help them feel comfortable while allowing them to smoothly navigate public spaces. 

Your furry companion deserves the best, and that’s where ESA Registration can help. We offer the best ESA dog harness with two velcro animal patches, waterproof protection, and a reflective design for easy identification.

Shop ESA Registration to find all the accessories you need for your emotional support animal.