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Going on long walks and hikes with your dog is so beneficial! It’s definitely one of the most fun activities you can do. Those hikes get you out exploring while helping your dog burn off their excess energy.
It can be cumbersome to bring all the things you need for both you and your dog for an extended hike, though.
Read on to see why you should get a backpack for your dog to wear, how to fit your dog for their ideal dog backpack, and see our list of the best dog backpacks.
Best Dog Backpacks
Why Should My Dog Carry A Dog Backpack?
Many dogs feel more at ease when given a job to do. Dog backpacks are wonderful for giving your dog a job, which can help calm anxious dogs down and provide extra mental and physical stimulation!
Any dog can benefit from the task of carrying a dog backpack, as long as it is properly sized for them and weighted evenly.
Even when walking around the neighborhood, the dog backpack is helpful. I don’t know about your dog, but it seems Roxy always wants to poop around the halfway mark of our trip.
A dog backpack gives you a super convenient place to stash those filled poop bags until you can get to a trash can!
Is It Safe For My Dog To Carry A Dog Backpack?
For the majority of dogs, it’s perfectly safe for them to wear an appropriately-sized backpack. Some dogs, including some senior dogs or those with back problems may want to skip this one, though.
The maximum weight for your dog to safely carry in their dog backpack is 25% of their body weight. To keep your dog safe, make sure the load is evenly balanced in each bag.
A good guideline to start is to keep the pack weight under 10% of your dog’s body weight, and ensure it is evenly balanced on each side of the pack to prevent it from leaning.
Can Senior Dogs Carry a Dog Backpack?
Absolutely, senior dogs can carry a dog backpack when going on walks or even short hikes! Keep the weight down to a minimal level to avoid adding stress to your dog’s joints.
Having them carry poop bags, keys, and a lightweight water bowl would be enough to give them a sense of purpose while being easy for them to carry.
How to Select the Right Size Dog Backpack
Each manufacturer has different sizes and fits, so look at the fit guide to determine the ideal size for your dog.
Some brands offer sizing based on your dog’s weight, and have highly adjustable straps to tighten as needed.
Others offer measurement charts with key points to measure your dog to ensure a proper, comfortable fit.
By following the directions of the specific dog backpack you choose, you’ll have a perfect fit!
Getting Your Dog Adapted to a Dog Backpack
Some dogs take to using a dog backpack easily. Others need a bit more convincing to want to carry one.
An easy way to start getting your dog adapted is by using it around the house for a few minute sessions.
Give them plenty of verbal praise and encourage your dog to take steps forward with plenty of treats.
Once they’re comfortable wearing it around the house for a bit, you can progress to having them wear it on short walks. Our neighborhood has community mailboxes, so we often put a backpack on the pups and let them carry the mail back.
It’s a nice, light way to get them used to carrying things. Plus, Roxy gets quite proud to show off to neighbors while walking!
What To Put in a Dog Backpack
It’s important to keep the weight of your dog’s backpack under 25% of their body weight. You can have them carry their poop bags, a collapsible food/water bowl, a small first-aid kit, and small bags of food for the journey.
If you’re hiking in rough terrain, you can even pack a set of dog booties to prevent foot injuries. If you will be hiking in drier areas, make sure you pack enough water for both you and your dog!
Here Are Some of Our Favorite Dog Backpacks
Wolf Republic Ranger Backpack
The bags hold a good amount of items to make trips nice and easy for you and your dog. The mesh panel is breathable on warm days, and the canvas is so attractive and durable. Plus, the easy access to poop bags is awesome!
Roxy and Rico are both right around the 50-60 lb range, but they’re built so differently. Roxy has a pretty deep chest and more narrow waist, while Rico is a thin boy with long legs.
The straps on the Ranger dog backpack are easily adjustable to get the perfect fit for your dog. Since the belly strap is something they’re not quite used to, I left it a bit loose so they can get comfortable with it while in the backyard, but they’re adapting to it quickly.
It’s very easy to make adjustments to fit them perfectly, and the belly strap helps keep it securely in place.
The belly strap is actually my favorite feature of this, because Roxy has always been a bit of an escape artist with backing out of harnesses.
The Ranger pack is secure enough that I’d feel comfortable using it without a harness underneath as a backup, which makes it even better for her!
Outward Hound Daypak
Outward Hound (the same company that makes some of our favorite dog puzzles!) offers a great starter pack for dogs. It’s nice and lightweight, and the mesh panels keep your dog cool in warmer weather.
It holds less than other backpacks, but it’s perfect for getting your pup accustomed to walking with the pack on. This is a great option for those living in warm climates or hiking during warm summer days.
Lifeunion Polyester Dog Saddlebags
While summer in Alaska is amazing with the long days, the winter brings those chilly, dark, 6-hour days and long nights. We don’t let the cold stop us from going out, though! I love the reflective stripes on the Lifeunion saddlebags to keep us safe even when the sun sets at 4pm.
EzyDog Summit Dog Backpack
The Summit Dog Backpack is one I bought for Roxy and Rico when I found out we were moving to Alaska. They love wearing it! The chest plate is very comfortable.
The bag has quick-access panels, making it easy to grab those items you need frequently or quickly, like keys or poop bags! It does have a tendency to shift to the side a bit, though, so that’s something to be mindful of.
OneTigris Dog Pack
The OneTigris Dog Pack is a sturdy canvas that holds up in tough environments, and looks great doing it. The top handle makes it easier to help your dog over obstacles like boulders and logs.
OSPet Saddle Bag Backpack
The OSPet Saddle Bag is pretty awesome, because the side bags are easily removable. That allows it to be used as a traditional harness. It has a nice reflective strip to boost visibility while out at night, too.
Stock Show Pet Dog Cartoon Backpack
Okay, so this cartoon backpack may not be the best for going on hikes. Plus, since it’s only made for dogs from around 11-16 pounds, it won’t fit Roxy or Rico. But seriously, HOW CUTE IS THIS?! I love it so much. This would be great for taking your dog on a picnic and letting them carry their own little blanket to lay on!