A Guide for Picking the Right Dog Hiking Backpack –
You may have been in a park and notice some dogs wearing backpacks. You may find it strange at first. But as soon as you realize it offers a lot of benefits for your pup, you probably like to run to a store to buy one.
There are several important features that you have to think through in choosing the best dog hiking backpack.
Typically, dog owners have different motivations depending on their primary intend of using this product. You may plan to use it as exercise gadget for your pet or you may want to correct some dog behavior problems. Either way you will want your doggie backpack to be perfect for him.
Read on and learn our simple guideline in choosing your best dog hiking backpack:
The well being of your pup should be on the top of your priorities.
Make sure to choose a dog hiking backpack that is specifically designed for canines. It should have proper padding and a snug fit so it will not move when your pup jumps and runs around.
Look for “Y” designed chest straps to balance the extra weight. Keep in mind that with an extra load, there is also added pressure on your dog’s chest and neck.
- Fit and Comfort
Ensuring that the backpack fits snug on your pet would also mean that it is guaranteed that he will be safe and comfortable too.
Always check the straps in the chest area of your dog to ensure your dog’s comfort.
To make sure you get the right measurement, measure around your pup’s chest to get the perfect fit. Use a cloth tape measure around the deepest part of your dog’s chest. Look for fully adjustable 5 point chest and girth straps to ensure it fits comfortably on your pup.
Try to pick a backpack with removable saddlebags. Shorter dogs will need also a shorter saddlebag; they should reach no further down than 1 inch above the elbow of the pup.
You may also consider the climate in choosing your dog hiking backpack. Choose a backpack for your pet that can withstand the elements such as water, rain, snow, and the extreme heat. Look for a dog hiking backpack that is made with water-resistant material. During summertime, look for a dog hiking backpack that has breathable materials, mesh harness or water bladders to dissipate the heat.
If your pup has shorter fur, choose a dog backpack with some padding. Some products rub on their skin and can irritate them.
Here you can find some great examples of Dog Hiking Backpacks with 4-5 Star Ratings besides the Dog Weight Vest.
The Dog Weight Vest is an alternative to a dog backpack but you cannot include any personal items.
There are backpacks for dogs that have reflective tape. The bright colors improve visibility for both you and your pet for motorist especially during rainy days and low light conditions.
Do not depend solely on the weight of your pooch when buying a doggie backpack.
Your pup should never carry more than 25% of his proper body weight. Don’t add more just because he is overweight. For most dogs, 10% to 12% of their body weight is a good starting point. For instance, a 6-pound backpack for a 50-lb dog would be fine.
The right weight would also depend on a number of factors such as your dog’s breed, physical fitness, and energy level. Some dogs can handle a heavier load or about 30% of their weight like pit bulls. Their body is already formed to be able to carry more weight.
The weights in the backpack do not always have to be metal plates. Your dog can carry their own food, water or waste bags. Larger dogs can haul chilled bottles of water. This can help cool them down too.
The dog backpack must be loaded with even weights. Otherwise, it will sack to the over-weighted side and your pup may have trouble walking comfortably.
Another important feature of a good doggie backpack is that it should be durable so your pup can use it for a longer period of time.
If your pooch will use the backpack in hiking areas with sharp rocks, buy a dog backpack that is made of tough nylon material or has a rip stop to avoid tearing of the material.
How to Train your Pooch wearing a Dog Hiking Backpack
Now that you choose a dog hiking backpack for your beloved pup, you cannot expect him to jump into the pack immediately. You have to train him how to wear it.
There are great reasons to train your pup how to wear a doggie backpack. Having a dog; which knows how to carry a dog hiking backpack can be useful for both of you since he can keep water bottles and other items for you. Besides that it helps the pup to stay in shape due to the extra weight he carries.
Now get familiar with the training steps you need to apply so your pet learns how to wear and enjoys walking with a dog backpack. Here’s how to get started.
Know if your pooch is ready for the dog hiking backpack.
Keep in mind that they are like humans. They should not carry more than what they can, or otherwise they will be hurt.
If you put a weighted dog backpack on a pup especially those that are too young, you are risking serious health issues. Smaller and medium-sized dogs are usually fully grown at about one year old, but larger breeds are sometimes not fully grown until they have reached 18 months or two years old. Check out this article “when do dogs stop growing” as a general guideline. You can ask your vet if your dog is grown enough to carry any weight. You would not want to put your dog in any unnecessary strain if he is not fully grown.
Once your pet is ready, you may now introduce the backpack.
Many dogs find the gadget strange at first and may try to get it off. If there is resistance from your pup, don’t give up easily.
Begin by letting your dog smell the pack all they want. Then place it on his back like a blanket but not attaching it. You can associate the doggie backpack with feeding time or treats. You can establish a routine like taking the pack off, give a treat, put the pack on, give a treat. Keep this up until your dog could care less about the pack. This might take one or several sessions to really calm your canine especially if he is always full of energy.
When your pup has been familiar with his new product, you can now put the backpack on without anything in the pockets. Again, let your dog get used to it. Go for 2-4 walks with the backpack empty.
Keep the experience short and positive. When your pooch becomes used to the new tool, he may even become eager to put it on.
If your pet is already ignoring the pack after 2-4 walks, begin incorporating some weight little by little. Be sure you have even weight distribution on each side of the backpack.
Make sure that most of the weight is also equally balanced on the dog’s shoulders. Avoid putting weight on the loin area of the dog. The dog hiking backpack should not put stress beyond that point on the spine or the loin area.
Go for 2-4 walks with little weight on both sides before adding more. Again, keep the first walk with the new heavier weight brief. Do not try a two-mile hike if you have just added the weight.
Do not add more than 10% of your dog’s own weight to the backpacks. For instance, for a 25-lb dog, do not add more than two and a half pounds total. A pound and a quarter on each side of the backpack is enough.
Give your dog enough time to adjust to the new weight and build the muscles needed to handle the new challenge.
Generally, a 15-minute walk with a weighted backpack is equal to a 30-minute walk without. Keep this in mind when starting your new routine. It is going to be ok eventually to do longer walks but you have to introduce it gradually.
Water bottles are great weight option. You may gradually add water bottles to the bag so you can control the load acceleration in the backpack. Some dog owners use dry beans or rice to add weight to their dogs’ backpack. By using beans or rice you also have good control over exactly how much weight you add, and can add more in small increments.
Once your pooch is conditioned to carry a dog hiking backpack, you are ready to hit the trail.
Don’t forget to observe your dog for any signs that the backpack is causing him discomfort. These are warnings that you may need to carry the backpack for the rest of your walk.
Finally, it is highly recommended to consult your vet before training your dog to wear a dog hiking backpack. It is also advised to have the approval from your vet when adding extra load to the backpack. This is particularly important if your pet is senior or has existing health issues.
Are you ready to check out some of the best dog hiking backpack products and dog weight vests? Click here for more information.