Backpack weights?

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Barked: Wed Apr 3, '13 12:11pm PST 
I purchased a backpack for the seven year old male min pin I just adopted. He is still a bundle of energy and although we do anywhere from 6-8 Km (1-1.5 hours) of combined walking and running per day, I want a way to burn a bit more energy for those days when I can't for some reason walk him as much.

He has taken well to the backpack as he is used to wearing coats but I am unsure as to how much weight I should be starting with. He's about 17 pounds so he's a big boy and he is in a great shape/no medical issues.

So my question is what should I be putting in this back pack? What are people using? Is there any way to calculate this based on the dog's weight?

Not sure if this is the appropriate forum for this but the min pin forum seems pretty dead so I am trying other options.

Thanks. Alice

More Bored- Collies
Barked: Wed Apr 3, '13 12:48pm PST 

First of all, you're going to want to make sure that the backpack is appropriate for weight carrying.
Many brands make "saddle bag" type backpacks which have the bags droop beneath the dog's ribcage.
These may be appropriate for horses and other carting type animals, but a dog's structure is not suited to carrying weight so low.

From what I remember, Ruffwear sells great ones.
A lot of the more inexpensive ones aren't designed in such a way to appropriately spread the weight out.

As for weights. I've used water bottles with gravel or water in the past. That way it's relatively inexpensive, and you can choose the weights.

Edit: Dogster kept censoring me laugh out loud I can't post the link but if you search the brand name I'm sure it will come up

Edited by author Wed Apr 3, '13 12:50pm PST


Will Work For- Food
Barked: Wed Apr 3, '13 1:46pm PST 
Contain is right about the ruffwear packs - they are very well designed. For a small breed, like yours, the ruffwear singletrak would probably be the best.

For weight, you can use anything but I find using items that are dense for their volume is best. I like to use baggies filled with rice - you can get a lot of weight without adding a lot of bulk. I will put water bottles in the back for convenience but I really don't like using water because it takes up a lot of volume in the pack and it sloshes around, making the weight unstable. A bit of water is fine, but I wouldn't use just water.

Build up the weight and duration slowly. Some dogs take to the pack better than others, so you might want to start by having your dog wear the empty pack around the house before you start to add weight.

Bianca CGC- TT HIC Thd- ♥

What big ears- you have...
Barked: Wed Apr 3, '13 3:02pm PST 
I love Ruffwear, but I don't think the Singeltrak would be small enough for a 17 lb dog. Their other packs come in a wider range of sizes... I had a Kelty brand pack for my small dog, they are also good quality.
I would suggest starting with a lightweight pack, maybe a few light items in it, and slowly build up a little more weight at a time. As far as how much weight I've heard different amounts, some say no more than 10% of the dog's weight in the pack, other sources say 15%, 20% or even 30% but that seems maybe more for larger strong dogs built for freighting/sledding or similar. So personally I'd probably stick to no more than 10-15% and slowly build up over time to that.

Member Since
Barked: Thu Apr 4, '13 6:48am PST 
Thanks so much for the response. The pack I have is not Ruffwear but is almost identical to the Palisades model. When I put the pack on, it sits pretty high so it doesn't droop down the ribcage.

Hershey is already comfortable wearing the pack so I will start with half a pound and go from there. I am thinking of filling ziplock baggies with some sort of small grains so it "hugs" his body.

Actually, the Ruffwear site says to not have dogs carry more than 25% of their weight. I think I'll try just going to 15, as suggested above, to be on the safe side. Don't want to do more harm than good.

Thanks so much for the tips!