Tips For Hiking with your dog using a backpack

dog with backpack and boots small

Hiking while your dog uses a backpack

For healthy dogs stick to 20% or less of the dog's body weight in the pack. For very fit dogs that have used a pack for some time, 25% max. For overweight dogs start with and empty pack and build from there.

For all types of dogs start off slow. Use an empty pack at first, give treats, put on and take off pack a few times. Let your dog get use to the backpack. Look for parts of the back pack that chafe. The backpack should be snug, not too tight, not too loose. Leave room for your dog to comfortably breathe but not let the back pack shift too much.

A back pack kind of doubles the dogs work out. A 30 minute walk now counts as 60 minutes of exertion. Start off with shorter walks and if the pack has removeable bags, take them off during rests.

If your dog is a healthy 100lbs, build up to that 20lb pack. For an over weight dog, wait till he/she is at a healthy weight before following the 20% rule. You do not want your dog struggling too much.

Check how your dog reacts to the backpack. Some dogs enjoy the work, but it is not for all dogs. It is not so much breed based, every dog has it's own personality. If he has trouble with a lower weight in the back pack

It is recomended not to start too early with the backpack. You do not want the extra weight to effect the growth of a puppy. As for older dogs, joint problems limit the amount of weight and length of hikes. Having athritis and wearing a pack will be even more strenous.