Every dog parent knows that dog control and fitness can be quite challenging, especially if you’re often absent or busy with work. And it is for this reason, most of them invest in the best dog weight vests. These vests help manage your pet’s weight and assist them in staying active and healthy even in your absence.
Also, dog weight vests are a popular choice for dog owners who want to increase the strength and endurance of their pets. These specially designed vests have pockets on them that distribute weight evenly across a dog’s body, the result of which is a much-improved workout that helps build muscle and burn fat. They also help protect joints from injury or inflammation that may come with high-impact exercise. Despite the multifunctionality and roles of dog weight vests in canine growth, it’s important to note that not all of them are created equal. Here, you’ll find out some tips on how to pick the right dog weight vest for your pup so you can both enjoy life.
What are the factors to consider when buying a dog weight vest?
Buying a dog weight vest can be a daunting task courtesy of the wide variety of brands, models, and prices to choose from. In addition to this, other factors unknown to you are vital in selecting the ideal dog weight vest. To help your cause, we’ll be discussing all these factors and more below. Have a good read.
Your dog’s age determines its eligibility to start using a weight vest. It is believed that the first two years of a dog’s life are its formative years, and as such, using a weight vest may distort growth in that period. In other words, you might want to hold off on buying a weight vest for your dog till he’s over two years old. And even when your dog finally becomes of age, it is advisable to start with low weights to ease him into the idea. Dogs tend to reject heavy weights in the early stages of introduction, thereby taking longer to get acquainted.
The best dog weight vests are made of cotton, nylon, or polyester. Cotton weight vests are soft, breathable, and flexible; nylon types are strong and rigid, while polyester vests offer the best of both worlds. Polyester seems the ideal choice, but it’s best to go with what your dog feels most comfortable in. You might also want to seek recommendations from your veterinary doctor before choosing in this regard.
Dog weight vests are often categorized by size into small, medium, and large. All you have to do is select the one that fits your dog. To determine your dog’s size, simply measure the girth around the broadest region of his chest. Ensure that you leave some chest room so that your choice will remain comfy even when your dog grows in size.
Here’s another tip for selecting the best dog weight vest: It must not apply any pressure on the pup’s spine or mid-section.
Getting a water-resistant dog weight vest is a no-brainer. It keeps parts of your dog dry and warm if it decides to run into the rain or a pool. A waterproof dog weight vest is also ideal for hiking, hunting, or camping trips, as it’ll protect your pup from the elements.
The best dog weight vests feature leash attachments or clips for maximum dog control and security. These accessories will help train and walk your dog better, which is something every dog parent wants. You can check for this feature in the product description, or better still, ask the salesman or manufacturer for confirmation.
Velcro straps and buckles are the best closure systems in weight vests. However, choosing between either comes down to your discretion and what your dog is comfortable with. Buckles are strong, so they secure dogs better. Velcro straps, on the other hand, are soft and easier to remove. Simply choose what’s best for your pup, and you’re good to go.
When it comes to dog vests, color isn’t just an aesthetic feature, but a functional one too. For example, if you will be going hunting, camping, or hiking with your dog on a mountain, forest, or a secluded area, it’s best to select dull colors like brown and grey for camouflage. However, for walks in the night, at dawn, or other low-light conditions, a bright-colored weight vest is best. That way, you’ll be able to easily spot your dog if it runs off in the dark. Alternatively, you can go for dog weight vests with reflective material. Such vests also make it possible to find runaway dogs in low-light conditions.
The comfort of your pup in its vest, especially during early trials, should be a priority when making a selection. Many factors affect the comfort levels of a dog weighted vest, with padding taking pole position. So, if you want your dog to show less resistance to a weight vest due to discomfort, go for one with ample padding. It’ll make your dog feel secure and cozy, and no dog would reject that. In addition to comfort, padding will also protect your furry buddy from torso injuries.
Front-shoulder weight placement
This is a unique feature that most brands of dog weight vests exclude from their designs. What it does in simple terms is build front leg muscle and bones. So, if more muscular legs and sharp takeoff are what you want for your pup, go for dog vests with front-shoulder weight placements.
Number and position of detachable pouches
Some dog weight vests come with as many as six pouches, but the ideal number of pockets to go for is totally based on discretion. On the other hand, the ideal position of the pouches is not a choice but a necessity as it determines your dog’s comfort level in a vest. In light of this, it is advisable to choose dog vests with evenly distributed pockets on all sides for optimal canine comfortability.
The BARKBAY Tactical Dog Harness is one of the best dog safety and training accessories the market can offer. Its unique design makes it perfect for police, military, hunting, and other outdoor activities for pups.
This ergonomic weight vest is also adjustable and doesn’t hinder dog movement. Plus, it’s made of rigid nylon material and solid buckles that make it highly durable, even for hyperactive pups.
The BARKBAY Tactical Dog Harness features a reflective trim design that makes it easy to spot runaway pups in low-light conditions.
It comes with leash attachments, making it easy to control dogs during walks.
It features an ID panel display area on the chest for easy dog identification.
This dog vest comes with an escape-proof design for enhanced safety.
It’s not suitable for small dog breeds
Some dog owners find it a little bit wide at the necks for their pups.
Looking for weight vest options for healthy muscle, speed, and strength development for your dog? The XDOG Weight and Fitness Vest is your best bet. It features a solid design that not only makes it durable but also a super safe option for your furry buddy.
It is also super comfy, lightweight, and highly adjustable, making it perfect for any dog breed.
The XDOG Weight and Fitness Vest is waterproof, which eliminates susceptibility to water damage.
It is a perfect fit, meaning it won’t hinder natural dog movements.
It features a front shoulder weight placement for building front leg muscles.
The alligator clips and velcro straps on this weight vest make it a highly secure option.
Some dog parents have reservations about its bulky design.
It may apply some negative force on a pup’s lower neck, which could lead to choking.
The Cesar Millan Dog Backpack is a superb option for dogs and dog parents.
When it comes to dog training, there’s none better than this weight vest, thanks to its muscle-building potential.
It is durable, breathable, and highly elastic, making it a comfy choice for all pups. It is also ideal for hiking and easing anxious dogs.
It features a waterproof design.
It is padded and lined with breathable and mesh material to eliminate overheating.
The Cesar Millan Dog Backpack also features a reflective trim design for safety in low-light conditions.
Part of its design is a saddlebag that makes it perfect for hiking.
It might be easily susceptible to wear and tear, especially on hyperactive dogs.
The package doesn’t come with instructions.
Best Dog Weight Vests FAQs
Q: Are there weight vests for puppies?
A: Yes, some weight vests are custom-designed for puppies, and you can find them at dog stores around you. However, it is a general rule of thumb to only use weight vests on dogs above two years of age to avoid causing irreparable muscle and bone damage or stunted growth in young pups.
Q: How much weight can you put on a dog weight vest?
A: The ideal amount of weight to be placed on a dog weight vest depends on the dog's weight. It's best to start by adding only 5% of the dog's weight. Then, of course, you can scale up with time. However, note that the maximum weight limit for a dog weight vest is 20%. Anything higher may cause the vest to tear, impede your dog's movement, or cause injury.
Q: Can I make a dog weight vest at home?
A: Yes. If you're feeling creative, you can design a homemade dog weight vest. All you need to do is choose a suitable material for your dog's skin and fur (cotton, nylon, or polyester), attach fitting and durable padding/fillers (preferably poly pellets) to go with, and of course, measure your dog's size.
Q: Can a weight vest help an overweight dog?
A: Yes. Dog weight vests help in burning excess fat by making exercise routines more efficient and keeping dogs active.
Q: What are the cons of dog weight vests?
A: Dog weight vests may prove dangerous to pup health if used on puppies or dogs below two years of age. Older dogs may also suffer muscle, bone, and spine issues if too much weight is placed on the vests.
Q: How much do weight vests cost?
A: For the level of comfort and parent-dog bonding weight vests offer, they're pretty cheap. Some low-cost weight vests go for about $11, while premium designs may cost as high as $80 or more.
Destin has experience working with dogs in the most high stress environments on earth. He currently is a canine handler as a security contractor, helping to keep US diplomats safe in some of the most dangerous regions of the world.