Dogs and Backpacks – Basics and Information
Dogs can be one of the best animals to take with you on a camping or hiking trip. Not only will they give you companionship, they will also help protect you in the wilderness. Here are a few things you can use a dog backpack for while going on your favorite camping excursion.
As long as dogs have been domesticated, people have utilized their strength and intelligence by creating ways for them to be a part of our lifestyle. Whether it is sheep herding, guarding, carting, or hiking, dogs are amazing, useful companions. Dog backpacks have become more and more popular in recent years. Some of us like to give our dogs a job or make them feel important by giving them a pack. Others enjoy hiking and letting thier dog(s) pack part of the load. If you are new to using dog backpacks, there are a few things to consider before purchasing your dog's backpack.
1. The fit. Even large dogs have limits. If possible, bring your dog to the store and get him or her a fitted properly for their backpack. Make sure the pack is not too big. It should come in front of the hips and over the shoulders for proper distributition. It should fit snugly, but never tight. It should have some breathability if it is to be worn for long durations of time. Some packs are built over a harness and the weight can be detached for rest periods without comepletely unharnessing the outfit.
2. Before loading your dog up with things for your camping or hiking trip, make sure he/she is healthy. Just like humans, dogs that are not healthy are probably not going to be able to help you carry very much weight. Likewise, if the dog is under the weather, you may end up putting your dog in your backpack and taking him or her home due to their illness. So always check to see if your dog is well before going on your trip.
3. As you might have guessed, it is probably not a normal feeling for your canine companion to wear a backpack. Dogs are used to being free. They are somewhat domesticated with collars, but not wearing an entire backpack, especially ones that are weighted down with many objects and items. The first thing you should do is get your dog used to the backpack without anything in it. Put it on your dog for a few minutes a day. Allow them to get used to it. Gradually, over the course of a few days or weeks, your dog may grow to love their backpack and at that point you can begin placing items in it to condition them for carrying things for the trip. Little by little, add weight to the pack to allow your dog to build muscle and endurance.
4. Never overload the dog’s backpack. Dogs should never be loaded with more than 25% of their own body weight. Additionally, be sure the weight is distributed evenly.