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Weighted Vests for Dogs: What They Are, Uses, Benefits & FAQ

Written by: Oliver Jones

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

Hunting dogs in vests

Weighted Vests for Dogs: What They Are, Uses, Benefits & 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. A weighted dog vest has numerous health benefits, like building strength, combating obesity, and more.

It’s probably safe to say that not all dog owners have heard of weighted vests. For those who haven’t heard of this canine gear, we’ll discuss what they are, their uses, the benefits for your dog, and FAQS.

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What Are Weighted Vests for Dogs?

A weighted dog vest improves your dog’s muscle tone, helps build strength, improves cardiovascular health, combats obesity, relieves anxiety, and more. They look 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 it won’t interfere with playtime and exercise.

There are pockets on either side for weight bags, but pet parents must be careful not to add too much weight. Weighted dog vests come in 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 to boost 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 build endurance and increase muscle tone. It will also enhance your dog’s cardiovascular health because it makes them work harder than when they’re not wearing the vest.


Reduce Obesity

Does your dog need to shed a little weight? A weighted vest helps your dog burn more calories during exercise and helps combat obesity. Obesity in dogs can lead to many health problems, but with daily exercise with a weighted vest, your dog will stay lean and healthy.

Relieves Anxiety

Some dogs have a hard time with thunderstorms, traveling, pet visits, and 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

A weighted vest is a prominent piece of dog training equipment. As mentioned, the vest helps keep the dog calm during anxiety, so if you’re training your dog because of behavioral problems, the vest will 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 walking or hiking with your dog. You can put your keys, phone, poop bags, and any other small items you don’t want to carry yourself. However, if your dog’s vest contains your supplies, you shouldn’t make it heavier by adding weights.

Now that we’ve covered the uses and benefits of weighted vests for dogs let’s look at some FAQs to help you decide whether to purchase one and, most importantly, whether it’s right for your canine.

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FAQs

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 your veterinarian to determine if it’s safe. It’s important to know if your dog can handle it. Ensuring you have the right size is also vital 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 wearing a weighted vest. 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 their 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 weight is crucial. If you have no idea what your dog weighs, you can always visit 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 already include weights, you can add more by using sand or copper BBs. 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 your vet. Weighted vests have plenty of benefits for the right situation. They can relieve anxiety, help your pupo shed some weight, and build and enhance muscle and cardio health. When in doubt, always check with your vet for guidance.

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Summary

If you’ve ever wondered what weighted vests for dogs are, hopefully, you now understand the uses and benefits. You know your dog the best, and if you think they’ll benefit from any of the uses mentioned above, go for it. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt, consult your veterinarian to determine if a weighted dog vest is suitable for your canine pal.

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Featured Image Credit by: Rionegro, Shutterstock

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