Level Up Your Hiking Game With a Backpack for Dogs

Why Dogs Need Backpacks and How to Find the Right Fit

When you go on walks or take your dog hiking, you might notice that a lot of pups are wearing a backpack for dogs. You’re wondering if you should do the same. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your dog help carry some things? Is it going to help your dog get a better workout? Could it improve his wellbeing and his health somehow?

Dog backpacks can be beneficial to you and your pup in a number of different ways. Here are some reasons why you should consider investing in a dog backpack, as well as how to find the best fit for your pooch.

Give Your Dog Extra Exercise

winter care tips for dogs
pc: @couleedogs

When you go on a hike or walk with your dog, he’s burning calories but he isn’t necessarily building muscle. Whether you have a large dog or a small dog, you can put an appropriately sized dog backpack on him so he gets a better workout.

It will make him tired much quicker, which is especially helpful if he has a lot of energy. You can add more weight to the backpack by inserting water bottles, a collapsible water bowl, energy bars, waste bags for poop, and more.

Instill a Sense of Purpose in Your Pup

Dogs like having something to do — it gives them a sense of purpose. If you give your pooch a hiking backpack for walks or day hikes, then he may enjoy them much more since he has a job to do. Typically, working breed dogs like wearing backpacks.

Some of the breeds in the working group include the Alaskan Malamute, Great Dane, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Mastiff, Rottweiler, and Siberian Husky.

Help You Tote Things Around

dog wearing a backpack for dogs

When you’re going on long walks or day hikes exploring the backcountry, you can get tired pretty quickly if you’re carrying water bottles, a blanket, food, a first-aid kit, waste bags for poop, sunscreen, your cell phone, and any other items you may need.

Your dog could help you carry these objects so that you don’t have to strain yourself so much. If he’s an extra large or large dog, then carrying some things shouldn’t be an issue for him.

When Not to Use a Dog Backpack

Dog backpacks aren’t for everybody. If you put the pack on your pup and he doesn’t seem to like it, or doesn’t get used to it after a hike or two, then it might not be right for him.

Additionally, if your dog has health issues like breathing problems, hip dysplasia, other joint issues, or a heart condition, then you need to ask your veterinarian if it’s OK to use a dog backpack. If you put this extra weight on your dog and he can’t handle it, it could have a negative impact on his health.

Another factor to consider is your dog’s age when using a hiking backpack. Typically, puppies, who are still growing, and senior dogs, who may have health issues, should not wear dog backpacks. Again, consult with your veterinarian if your dog is a puppy or a senior.

The size of your pup could be an issue, too. If you have a Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, or another small breed, your dog might not do well with a backpack.

You don’t ever want the backpack to out-weigh the dog. The backpack and the items in it combined shouldn’t weigh more than 10% to 12% of your dog’s body weight, so keep that in mind.

How to Find the Right Dog Backpack

sizing guide for dog pack

When searching for a dog backpack, make sure it’s made of breathable mesh for good airflow so that your dog doesn’t get too hot and is comfortable at all times. For example, it may have mesh sides and will likely include Velcro.

If you anticipate that you’ll be going on day hikes in the rain or that your pup will be jumping into the water, then get something that’s water-resistant. You’ll want to stress durability as well so that the dog backpack can withstand all that outdoor adventuring!

The backpack should have side pockets to store items so that the weight can be evenly distributed. If it’s not, your dog could be in a lot of pain when you go on your walks and hikes. There should be an attachment point for the leash such as on the back. It may include a chest strap as well. Since retailers offer different sizes of dog backpacks, ensure you’re buying the right size for your dog.

Buying a Dog Backpack

You can buy the best dog backpacks from a number of retailers including Outward Hound, Amazon, or your local pet store.

For example, Outward Hound’s DayPak Dog Backpack is a saddlebag-style pack that is lightweight and includes two storage compartments on each side for even weight distribution. This day pack has plenty of room for water bottles, food, poop bags, and more. It also has breathable mesh fabric, bright colors for high visibility, and adjustable straps.

Another good option is Outward Hound’s Denver Urban Pack. This saddleback dog backpack is made with breathable mesh fabric, sizing based on the girth measurement of your dog, four storage comportments, and adjustable straps to fit small dogs, medium-sized pups, large dogs, and extra large dogs. It also has a D-ring for your dogs leash attachment when you need to keep him close.

Backpack Carriers for Humans

dog carrier pooch pouch

Let’s say you’re searching for a pet carrier backpack for taking walks or long hikes with your pup. You can invest in a dog carrier backpack if you have a small dog and he can’t walk for long periods of time, or you need to take him around to different places and don’t feel like using a traditional carrier, which can be cumbersome.

Outward Hound’s PoochPouch Backpack could be a perfect fit for you. It has padded air mesh straps so you’re comfortable while carrying your dog and it’s made out of water-resistant nylon fabric for durability. There is a safety harness attachment and zippered top for additional durability as well. Keep in mind that the maximum weight accommodation is 15 pounds.

No matter which product you need, you can find the best dog backpack or carrier for your needs. Simply search for products from reliable retailers, look at the reviews, get clearance from your veterinarian, and you’ll be able to enjoy a walk or even a backpacking trip with your pup, who will definitely appreciate it.

Explore all of the best dog hiking gear here!