When you are out walking your dog, you may have noticed that there are more dogs with a backpack on then ever before. The general idea with backpacks on a dog, was always thought of as just for very active and super dogs’ if you will.
Well that is not the case anymore. Dogs wearing backpacks has become far more popular then say 10 years ago. But why do people put backpacks on their dog.
Are there specific benefits to putting a pack on your dog when you go out to hike or exercise. Keep reading to find out the answer to that question and more great info about dog backpacks.
Why put a pack on your dog
As I said at the beginning of this post, dogs’ have been wearing packs for a long time. Typically, though you would only see working dog breeds that have a super sturdy frame and that need to have a job to do wear backpacks. Then there is also the dogs’ that have very active parents. Big time hikers or adventure seekers.
That is not the case anymore. Putting a pack on an everyday dog is now something that is become very popular. There are so pretty huge benefits to using a pack. Some of them are:
- Your dog will get more exercise
- Tire your dog out faster
- Mentally challenging
- A way of giving your dog a job to do
- Can be used to carry your dogs’ gear himself
- Your dog will not pull on the leash as much
- Convienent way to carry your gear
- Protects your dogs’ from the outdoor elements
- More prepared to go on longer trips with all their gear
Looking at this list, you can see that there are a ton of positive reasons to consider putting a backpack on your dog. One of the key benefits on the list is tiring out your dog. Have you ever noticed that you always get tired long before your dog does. Well by putting a backpack with some weight in the side pockets your dog will actually get tired much faster.
When it comes to how much weight and what kind of weight, there are few different options. You could use stuff from around the house like soup cans, or get a bit more rugged and do small bags of sand. Usually you want to keep the weight to no more than 10 % of your dogs’ overall weight. Putting too much weight in can actually cause an injury to your dogs’ back. Also remember to start with a small amount of weight and slowly build up to a higher weight.
What should I look for in a pack
Now that we know why we would want to use a pack on our dog, let’s look at what we should look for in a good backpack.
#1. SIZING – Like any type of gear that we buy for our dog that they are going to wear, we want to make sure that we get the right size and fit. Gear doesn’t work properly if it doesn’t fit properly. It’s important to know your dogs’ weight, chest size and circumference measurements before purchasing anything for them.
#2. COMFORT – A backpack is obviously worn on our dogs’ back, so making sure the attaching straps are padded to avoid cutting into your dogs’ body.and for overall comfort. A good fit is if you can fit 2 fingers underneath.
#3. FABRIC – Making sure that the pack is made of good breathable fabric and is waterproof helps ensure your dog doesn’t get wet or overheat.
#4. STORAGE SPACE – Seeing as the pack is a very functional and easy way to store your dogs’ stuff, you want to be sure the pack you choose has enough space for everything.
#5. SAFETY – If your dog is going to be out walking with their pack at night, getting a pack with a reflective safety decaling is important. Being able to see your dog if he gets away, is also another bonus.
#6. STYLISH – When buying our dogs’ gear, making sure it is cool and stylish is just part of being a good parent. Don’t we always want our dogs’ to look their best. LOL!
Getting your dog to wear a pack
Once you decide on what the pack for your dog, how do I actually get dog to want to wear the pack. Sometimes dogs’ are a tough challenge to get to wear and pack while others it is much easier. Absolutely every dog is different.
A dog that is a bit more hesitant, the best way to start with getting your dog used to wear a pack, is to start slow. Introducing new gear to our dogs’ is successful if you are patient and do so in baby steps.
The first step is to put the pack on your dog without straps while you are in the house. Leave it on for just a few minutes, using treats as a reward for him as he is wearing it. Then work your way to your backyard or fenced in area and try fastening it, slowly extend the time they are wearing it. The goal here is to make your dog feel comfortable wearing the pack in their own surroundings.
Once your dog is comfortable wearing the pack at home, start heading outside for short walks. At this point I suggest not putting any weight in the pack. Adding weight in after a few trial runs is a better time to start, and again build that up slowly.
If you think that your dog is going to have no trouble with wearing a backpack, then you maybe able to skip a few of these slower steps and advance ahead. Every dogs’ personality is unique, and the way they adapt to change will vary. You know your dog best, so follow past practices that has worked for you.
Outward Hound DayPak
Designed for short day trips around town. This pack offers 2 side-saddle bags, and has an extremely breathable mesh body that makes this an ideal summer choice. Zippered pockets make it easy to carry all your gear and keep it stored away. With lightweight fabric and easily adjustable straps this is easy to manage not to mention the easy carry handle on the top.
This Approach backpack is a durable and very rugged backpack is great for those longer hikes. Made with a single piece of construction where the straps are sewn right into the body of the pack. Everything about this pack is rugged, from the straps to straps and the buckles. Equipped with 2 awesome side packs that will even hold a 2 liter jug of water.
Adjustable padded straps that make it easier to get a nice tight fit across your dogs’ midsection and chest. One of the nice things about this pack is the strap joints are covered with a layer of fabric to avoid any chaffing or rubbing. A nice soft under side that is extremely breathable makes this a wonderful choice for your longer excursions.
This lifetime equipped Kurgo pack is one of the top packs on the market. Lightweight, full adjustable with 8 different adjustment points. Equipped with ergonomic spine support and great balance for perfect weight distribution. Even having a curved design for a night fit over your dogs’ back very nicely.
With 2 side bags that will handle a large amount of gear, and 2 smaller ones for the little tings. With reflective trim and an easy front clip makes this a well-rounded pack that is easy to put on as well as providing nighttime protection.
Dogs wearing backpacks is a great tool that can be used for many positive benefits for our dogs’.
I know for me personally, my boy FERGUS is already 60 lbs at 6 1/2 months old and can be a force on a walk. I already know that unlike my previous dog FINNEGAN who was also a Labradoodle, would never have needed to wear a pack. Where FERGUS is definitely a backpack dog.
My point here is that not every dog needs to wear a backpack, but for some dogs’ that are bigger, have more energy and ultimately need a mental job to help burn some energy, they can be a god send.
Remember dog parents, introducing dogs’ to wearing a backpack and wanted to can be successful takes patience and consistency. Best of luck.