Have you considered getting a weighted dog vest for your dog? Weighted dog vests have so many benefits that you’d get to know soon if you take out time to read through this guide. Do not hesitate to read through, the information you’d get from this guide could come in handy someday. This guide is aimed at showing the steps to take when you want to how to acquire a dog weight vest.
Dog lovers and trainers are probably familiar with weighted vests used in training dogs but it might be a novelty for someone who has never thought of workout sessions for their dog.
What is a weighted dog vest?
A weighted dog vest is simply a vest that is weighted and designed for your dog to wear. It is designed to help the home build muscle strength and, in some cases, as an anxiety treatment to release energy and reduce stress.
While being very helpful in maintaining a robust stature of dogs, a weight vest for dog training can also have some bad effects that must be acknowledged in order to be removed. Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of dog weight vests.
Before putting a weighted dog vest on your pup, be sure to discuss the benefits and any possible risks with your veterinarian. For example, a dog under two should not wear a weighted vest since it is still developing.
And the weight and fit, and length of time it is worn all need to be carefully considered. The weight should not exceed 20% of the dog’s weight or be work for too long. Your vet will help you assess all of these factors.
People also wear weighted vests while walking, running, or lifting weights because the added weight engages more muscles into the physical effort. The reason why they put a vest on their dog is the same, to increase the effort and make the dog work harder.
These vests come in all sizes and have removable weights that can be added or removed in order to adjust the amount of pressure put on the dog’s body. This ensures that the animal is not put at any risk and that the effects will only be beneficial for its training.
Benefits of Weighted Dog Vest
- Great for physical training
The main benefit of the vest is the muscular training it provides. If you regularly take the dog out for long walks but it never seems to develop the proper muscular mass, the answer could be adding more weight to its body.
This will engage more muscles in the exercise and will encourage the dog to be more active and to pay attention to the training. Distractions like other dogs, birds, or kids playing will be eliminated as the dog will tend to be more focused and consume more energy.
- Calming effects and behavior training
Dogs can have behavioral problems caused by anxiety or previous trauma. This can make them nervous during a thunderstorm, at the contact with a stranger, or simply develop a strong personality that makes them hard to control.
The vest provides a hugging feeling that makes the animal become calmer and overpass stressful situations that might cause an outburst. The extra weight also consumes their energy, making them act calmer and distracting them from problematic situations.
The biggest risk of training with a heavy vest is to overwhelm the dog’s body that is either unprepared for the weight or suffers from a condition that doesn’t allow it to carry any additional weight. This is why it’s essential to consider the dog’s age and ability to handle more weight than its own.
- Bones and joints exertion
If the dog is too young, its bones and joints are not prepared to face a challenge like carrying additional weight. Putting a heavy training vest on the spine of a puppy can lead to serious bone and joints problems.
Senior dogs have the same problem and should not be exposed to the risk of overburdening their fragile bone structure. Exceeding the weight limit can also have serious consequences on the animal’s health and it could lead to irreparable damage to the muscles or bone structure.
HOW TO PUT WEIGHT ON A DOG
- Gradually introduce
Of course, your dog may not take kindly to a weighted vest on your first try with him. Give him credit to be wondering why you are saddling him with weight when he would like to run around freely. Pretty soon he will adjust and it will become a part of his workout routine.
So, introduce the vest slowly to your dog. In the first training sessions you may not want to engage him in a lot of exercises, but instead, get him used to the feel by walking him gently. It will not be wise also to start your dog with the full amount of weights. Increase gradually instead.
- Balance the pack
Unbuckle the vest where needed and gently slide it over the dog’s head. Very importantly, ensure that material is centered over the shoulders and there is no imbalance. Remember that the pack is weighted and can be a source of discomfort as your dog goes through its exercises. Additionally, you do not want to cause pain or strain to the animal.
- Add weight slowly
Whatever weighted materials you have to use, add them slowly to the pockets of the vest. Again, the purpose at this stage is to gently get your dog familiarized with something he is not used to. At this stage, you are in an observing position as you identify his response and plan the next move.
Remove weights as needed especially if the dog gets exhausted after just a few minutes. Where there is no problem, increase the weight as you go along.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PUTTING WEIGHT ON A DOG
Generally, a weight vest is not meant to stress the dog and to get him into submission which is why it should be no more than 10 – 20% of the dog’s bodyweight. All precautions should be taken to prevent strain or pain at any time. The general rule when using a weight vest should be safe at all times.
Dogs under two years are not yet fully grown and should not be burdened with weights. Overworking dogs that are still at the puppy stage can damage their joints. You can read one of our popular pieces to know how much exercise is right for your pup, which can enlighten you further.
Consider also that vests are close fitting and can be very hot for the dog. As a measure to prevent heat stroke, it is advisable to use a weight vest when it is coolest in the day.
HOW TO ACQUIRE A DOG WEIGHT VEST
- Make your own
Dog weight vests are available for purchase and there are several good brands around that you can choose from. However, these can be expensive, sometimes fetching prices above $100. Dog vests are not difficult to make.
Those persons who possess a flair for creativity and you have the energy to put into it, have the option to make their own. The good thing is that you get to customize it to your dog’s needs. Just chose material that is cool against the dog’s skin and fillers that are appropriate and durable.
Sand filters, for example, get heavy and will not hold up if the dog plays in water. It is suggested that you use plastic pellets that will last for a long time. Additionally, include enough pockets so that you can add weights as needed.
- Age of your dog.
Just as young kids should not lift weights, your dog under two should not use a weighted vest. His muscles are still forming, and you should not rush this process. Once you start using a vest, be sure to introduce it slowly, starting with very light weights and short periods so he can get accustomed to the added weight.
- Purchase ready-made
There are two main types of dog vests – vests with zippered pockets or pouches, and backpacks. With zippered pockets, you can add or remove weights as needed to get the exercise intensity for the dog. With backpacks, you are able to insert items like weights and this works wonderfully when going on a hike or on long walks. Either way, your dog gets the same workout.
Backpacks however need to be managed carefully to avoid sliding along the dog’s back and chafing as a result. Several dog vest sources exist in ready-to-wear convenience and you can select from them taking into consideration your dog’s needs. When selecting ready-made items, there are three important things to determine.
A dog vest is going to be handled and worn many times and therefore a warranty statement would be a good indication of how long it will serve.
- Ease of use
There’s no reason for a dog vest to be taking a long time to be fitted. It is a simple device and should be easily slipped over the head and shoulders and buckled quickly.
A pocketed vest can put too much weight around the belly area, which could strain your dog’s spine. Be sure the pockets distribute the pressure around the shoulders, top and bottom, and the sides. This will help avoid strain.
Be sure the padding is adequate to prevent rubbing or discomfort to the dog. Look for any signs of chafing or discomfort.
You should be able to identify your dog’s fit or calculate it with ease with a statement of the size of the product.
Those who use a weighted vest for their dog will tell you that it’s more than just a muscle-building strategy, but also, to improve endurance. Sometimes the daily run is not enough for certain breeds of dogs that were meant to be extremely active. Adding a dog weight vest to those runs and walks intensifies a workout, and you will notice a calmer, fitter dog as a result. Go slowly, listen to your dog, and have patience.