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Weighted Vests for Dogs: What They Are, Uses, Benefits, and FAQ
Dog owners want the very best for their canine companions, especially when it comes to their health and well-being. Dogs need exercise to stay happy and healthy both mentally and physically, but how do we know we’re providing them with sufficient exercise? What can we do to enhance exercise safely? Never fear, for weighted vests for dogs are here.
It’s probably safe to say that not all dog owners have heard of weighted vests for dogs. For those who haven’t heard of this canine gear, let’s dive into what they are, their uses, the benefits for your dog, and FAQS.
What Are Weighted Vests For Dogs?
What the heck are they, anyway? A weighted dog vest improves your dog’s muscle tone, helps to build strength, improves cardiovascular health, combat obesity, relieves anxiety, and more.
They look much like a backpack for a dog. The vest fits snugly around the dog’s body with straps that fasten at the chest and below the abdomen. It’s designed to move with your dog’s natural movement so that it won’t interfere with playtime and exercise. There are pockets on either side for weight bags. Be sure you don’t put in too much weight for your particular sized dog for safety. Weighted dog vests come in all different sizes suitable for all breeds, and a size chart will help you purchase the right one for your canine to avoid any possible injury.
The Uses And Benefits For Weights Vests
Improve Cardio And Muscle
You can use weight vests for an added boost to your dog’s exercise routine. Do you like to play Frisbee with your dog? Go ahead and fasten a weighted vest on your pal for a little more intense exercise session. The vest will help to build endurance and increase muscle tone. It will also enhance your dog’s cardiovascular health because it makes your dog work harder as opposed to not wearing the vest.
Does your dog need to shed a little weight instead of hair? A weighted vest helps your dog burn more calories during exercise and helps combat obesity. Obesity in dogs can lead to a whole slew of health problems, but with daily exercise with a weighted vest, your dog will stay lean and healthy.
Some dogs have a hard time with thunderstorms, traveling, pet visits, and even car rides. A weighted vest might be a good option if your dog has anxiety. The vest’s snug fit helps them feel safe by applying slight pressure to the torso. Weighted vests work much in the same way as anxiety vests, but the bonus with a weighted vest is it enhances your dog’s overall health when exercising.
It Can Be Used For Training Purposes
For dog trainers, a weighted vest is a prominent part of training equipment. As mentioned for anxiety, the vest helps keep the dog calm, so if you’re training your dog because of behavioral problems, the vest will help decrease aggression or hyperactivity.
To Carry Items For You On A Walk Or Hike
The pockets on weighted vests can be used for extra weight during exercise and to hold valuables when on a walk or hike with your dog. You can put your keys, phone, poop bags, and any other small items you don’t want to carry yourself. Just be sure to not have weight bags in at the same time and nothing too heavy.
Now that we’ve covered the uses and benefits of weighted vests for dogs, let’s take a look at some FAQS to help you in your decision of purchasing one, and most importantly if it’s right for your canine.
Are they safe to use?
Weighted vests are safe to use as long as you use them properly. For example, if your dog has joint issues or any other health problem, always consult with your veterinarian to determine if it’s safe. It’s important to know if your dog can handle it. Making sure you have the right size is also important for your dog’s safety. Always follow the guidelines for sizing the vest for a proper fit.
At what age can dogs wear weighted vests?
Your dog needs to have reached maturity before exposing them to weighted vests. It takes up to 24 months (maybe even a bit longer for large breeds) for a dog’s growth plates to fully fuse. Putting a weighted vest on your dog too early can damage the joints.
How much weight should I put in the vest?
The rule of thumb is not to exceed 10% to 20% of your dog’s weight in the vest, so knowing their actual weight is crucial. If you have no idea what your dog weighs, you can always make a trip to the vet to get the exact number.
What do I fill the weight bags with?
While many vests available online or at the pet store will come with weights already included in the vest, you can use sand as well as copper BBs if you need to add more. Make sure you know how much weight is in the bags before putting them in the vest’s pockets.
Are weighted vests worth the expense?
The answer to this question is entirely up to you. As we’ve mentioned, do not use the vests if your dog has joint problems or other health issues, and if you’re not sure, consult with your vet. Weighted vests have plenty of benefits for the right situation: to relieve anxiety, to shed some weight, build and enhance muscle, and cardio health. When in doubt, always check with your vet for guidance.
If you’ve ever wondered what weighted vests for dogs are, hopefully, you now have an understanding of the uses and benefits. You know your dog the best, and if you think it’ll benefit from any of the uses mentioned above, then go for it. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt, always consult with your veterinarian to determine if a weighted dog vest is suitable for your canine pal.
Featured Image Credit: Rionegro, Shutterstock
Oliver (Ollie) Jones – A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master’s degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.