Normally, we want our pets to have comfortable, lightweight harnesses to make walking fun and easy. But some of the best weighted dog vests can actually benefit you – and your dog in many ways on those walks!
Adding weight to your dog can actually help them with training, strength, and even future health concerns. It is a great option for dogs like mine who seem to have no “off button” as it helps tire them out.
So, what is a weighted dog vest and does your dog really need one?
- XDOG Weight & Fitness Vest
- Canine Weight Set Vests
- OneTigris Tactical Training Dog Vest
- Pet Artist Weight Training Harness
- RUFFWEAR Hiking Weighted Backpack
- Leerburg Weighted Vest
- What is a Weighted Vest for Dogs?
- What are Weighted Dog Vests Used for?
- Features of Weighted Dog Vests
- Are Weighted Vests Good for Dogs?
- Are Weighted Vests Dangerous?
- Do Weighted Vests Work?
- Is it Safe to Wear a Weighted Vest All Day?
- What is the recommended weight for a vest?
Best Weighted Dog Vests
If you’ve never purchased a weighted dog vest before, it might be confusing to figure out where to get it and how to choose the best one. Below are some great options to make your decision a little easier.
XDOG Weight & Fitness Vest
The XDOG Weight & Fitness Vest is exactly what you need in a dog weight vest. It’s made to build muscle, improve performance, and combat obesity. It secures around the front and belly of your dog, just like a regular harness would. It’s also made with a waterproof, breathable material to cater to every activity. Inside, it has safe and comfortable weight bags that can be filled with sand or copper BBs.
This vest is much safer than other types of weight training because it can shift and adjust with your dog’s movements. The weight placement is near your dog’s front shoulders for the most ideal muscle building experience. If your dog is new to weighted vests, you can start with less weights and slowly add more as they get used to it. It comes in eight different sizes to ensure that it has a snug fit for your dog. With the proper sizing, your dog won’t experience any rocking back and forth as they run. It’s also available in six different colors.
- It adjusts to your dog’s movements.
- It’s waterproof.
- It has front shoulder weights.
- You can choose how much weight is on it.
- It comes in eight sizes.
- It comes in six colors.
- It doesn’t come with the weights.
- The stitching might rip or fray.
- It’s difficult to return faulty products.
Canine Weight Set Vests
The Canine Weight Set was designed to help improve your dogs overall health. It is made of a waterproof material and is tear resistant. The interior is padded foam to help keep your pup comfortable.
A reflective material was added to help keep your pet visible at night.
The weight placement is at the front and the back of the lengths to help keep them steady and the weight balanced.
The vest is available in 5 sizes:
- Front and back leg weight placement
- Weight of bags can be easily adjusted
- Zippered bags can hold sand or BB’s
- Complaints of bags with the sand breaking or ripping
- Shifting can be a problem
- Can be a bit bulky
OneTigris Tactical Training Dog Vest
The OneTigris Tactical Dog Vest is a durable nylon vest that comes with detachable pouches. The material is made to resist dirt, water, and abrasions. There is a space on the top of the vest to attach patches, such as “do not pet” or “service dog“. The back of the vest has space for straps and pouches, which can hold supplies to weigh down the vest, including poop bags, toys, dog treats, a medical kit, or even just weights. The vest doesn’t come with any type of weights, so you will need to provide your own.
On the back of the vest, there are two handles, which makes it easy to grab and control your pup when needed. It’s widely adjustable, but it only comes in one size, which is geared toward larger breeds like German Shepherds or Doberman Pinschers. It’s not made specifically to be a weighted vest, so it’s advised that you don’t add too much weight to the pockets. It only comes in a neutral tan color, and it buckles underneath your dog when putting it on.
- It has a spot for a patch.
- It’s resistant to water, dirt, and abrasions.
- It has handles on the back.
- It has pockets for carrying items.
- It’s easy to adjust.
- It’s not made specifically to be a weighted vest.
- It only comes in large.
- It only comes in one color.
Pet Artist Weight Training Harness
This weighted dog vest works a little differently. Instead of holding the weight itself, the harness attaches to something heavy. Then, your dog can build strength by pulling the heavy object using the vest. The vest is durable and strong, but still has a comfortable nylon material for your dog. Unfortunately, the vest only seems to come in a “one size fits all” style, with minimal adjustments.
It’s sized to only fit larger dog, such as Huskies and German Shepherds. It’s a great tool for training sled dogs or for simply increasing your dog’s strength. Unlike normal harnesses, the straps cover several points throughout your dog to reduce pressure. Dog parents commonly use tires, crates, and other moderately heavy attachment options for training.
- It pulls objects for training muscles.
- It’s made with a comfortable material.
- It’s durable.
- It has lots of straps for added safety.
- It’s great for sled dog training.
- It’s only made for large dogs.
- It has minimal adjustments.
- It could be confusing to put on.
RUFFWEAR Hiking Weighted Backpack
So, it might not be a true weighted vest, but this is a great option since it is flexible in the amount of weight it can hold. It attaches as a harness, but has a pouch for supplies (or weights) on both sides of your dog’s shoulders.
Like the Outward Hound backpack, this vest for dogs is light on its own, but becomes heavy when objects like treats, poop bags, or keys are added to it.
The harness straps are padded to avoid rashes, and the high quality handle on the back is used to control your dog better. It comes in four different sizes, all of which can be easily adjusted. You can put it on by sliding your dog’s head and legs into it, and then buckling it around their body. All colors have reflective trim to ensure that your dog stays visible at night.
It is recommended that you put no more than 25% of your dog’s bodyweight in the pouch.
- It can hold supplies.
- It has reflective trim.
- It has a handle.
- It comes in four sizes.
- It comes in three colors.
- It could be difficult to balance the pouches.
- The harness itself is very light.
- It might not work well for small dogs.
Leerburg Weighted Vest
Leerburg is a solid choice for a weighted vest. They are well established in the dog training industry and offer high quality products to help your dog. Their weighted vest is made from a heavy duty, double stitched cordura denier backed fabric.
The interior is lined with a soft faux sheepskin material which provides more comfort for your pet. There are individually zippered compartments on every vest where you can add one pound weights. The number of pockets depends on the size your purchase.
The vests are available in 3 sizes:
- Small: 22″-24″ with 8 zippered pockets that each hold .5 pound weights
- Medium: 27″-31″ with 8 zippered pockets that each hold (1) one pound weight
- Large: 34″-36″ with 10 zippered pockets that each hold (1) one pound weight
- Durable and long lasting (customers have noted years of use)
- Flexible weight options
- Available in 3 sizes
- No color options
- Vest can slide if dog shakes
- Limited to 10 pounds of weight in the largest size
Weighted Dog Vest Buying Guide
Not every dog needs a weighted vest, but it can certainly help some dogs. Whether your dog is large or small, a dog vest can make them stronger, happier, and more confident.
Here’s everything you need to know about what to look for when choosing a vest for your dog.
What is a Weighted Vest for Dogs?
A weighted vest for dogs is very similar to a weighted vest for people. It applies weight to your dog’s body as they walk, which can be beneficial for short-term use. If you’re planning to go on a short walk or run, throwing on a weighted vest can keep your dog strong and healthy, just like it would for you.
Most weighted vests are heavy enough on their own or have pockets for weights, but others are more unique models. Some dog harnesses are designed to drag heavy objects behind your dog. That vest type is best for dogs who are learning to pull sleds or just love to run around.
Another one of the best weighted vest types is a backpack harness, which allows your dog to carry heavy objects inside. It can also double as a bag for travel, which can carry your dog’s supplies, or your keys and wallet. You’ll just have to make sure that all the pockets of the vest remain a balanced weight for best results. These unique types of products can add a little more excitement to your dog’s workout routine.
Regardless of what a dog weighted vest looks like, its main purpose is simply to apply weight across your dog’s body. While not all dogs need them, some dogs can greatly benefit from them.
What are Weighted Dog Vests Used for?
Weighted vests are used to build lean muscle, increase stamina, and improve endurance. They do this by adding resistance to your dog’s muscles as they walk. It might sound scary, but that resistance makes you dog’s body work harder, ultimately making them stronger. By strengthening your dog at an early age, you can also help them avoid joint problems as they get older.
Also, a weighted vest for dogs can help calm down hyper dogs. When running around with a heavy vest, your dog will tire out faster. So, if your pooch loves to run and play to no avail, a weighted vest can help your dog relax more often while still getting all the exercise they require.
If the vest also has large pockets to hold objects that can weigh your dog down, it can also serve as excellent hiking gear. Your dog can carry their own treats, toys, and poop bags with that handy feature.
You might have also heard of weighted vests used to calm anxiety problems. While those are also heavy vests that can help your dog, they’re an entirely different vest for a unique purpose. Instead of weighing them down, anxiety vests will swaddle and comfort your dog. This article will only cover weighted dog vests for strength and physical health.
Features of Weighted Dog Vests
When choosing what features you want your weighted dog vest to have, you should first consider what you’ll be using it for. Weighted vests can be used for walking, running, and even playing with your dog. But of course, you should only have your dog wear a heavy vest for short periods of time.
Like all dog harnesses, the vest should be durable. Dog weight vests should be able to withstand strong dogs, which means they shouldn’t fray when bitten or scratched. Some dog weighted vests also come with a handle on the back to help you control your dog better.
It’s also a good idea to ensure that the vest fits your dog properly. Most weight vests will have a sizing chart for you to check, so measure around the front of your dog and underneath your dog before purchasing one. That way, you can ensure that the weighted dog vest is the proper size and won’t need to be returned.
Finally, you should make sure the weights are suitable for your dog’s size. Weighted dog vests are more commonly used for large dogs, but all dog breeds can benefit from them. So, make sure the weights aren’t too heavy for your dog’s body. Heavy weights can make your dog stronger, but you wouldn’t want to risk your dog’s well being in the process.
A weighted dog vest isn’t as easy to find as a traditional dog harness, but it can be beneficial for most dogs. Choose the vest that fits your dog best and always use it with caution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before you make that final decision, make sure you know as much information about weighted dog vests as possible. Here are some questions that dog owners commonly ask, and some might help you learn how to use a vest for your own dog.
Are Weighted Vests Good for Dogs?
Yes, weighted vests can be good for dogs. They encourage your dog to work harder, ultimately strengthening their body, building natural muscle and tone.
A quality weighted dog vest will apply even weight throughout your dog’s body to ensure that they don’t fall or get hurt. But like all products, it should only be used when you’re monitoring your dog to ensure that no accidents happen.
Are Weighted Vests Dangerous?
No, weighted vests aren’t dangerous, but they’re not for everyone. Like a vest for people, a dog weighted vest is not suitable for canines with back, neck, or joint problems.
The vest is made to keep a dog’s body strong as they age, not to improve the strength once your dog has already suffered from problems. So, a senior dog or an ill dog could get hurt using a weighted dog vest. Only use in moderation and avoid using it if your dog seems uncomfortable or in pain.
Do Weighted Vests Work?
Yes, weighted vests for dogs have shown positive results in the dogs who have used them. Regular use can improve strength, endurance, and cardio. It might not work for every dog, but with proper use, it will help your dog stay strong and healthy as they age. It works best for dogs that seem to have endless amounts of energy.
Is it Safe to Wear a Weighted Vest All Day?
No, you should not let your dog wear a weighted vest all day. Weighted vests are meant for training dogs and short workout sessions.
Long-term wear could result in soreness, tiredness, and muscle pain. If your dog shows signs of pain, take the vest off for the time being, as too much use could damage their overall health. Never put your dog’s well-being at risk for the benefit of their training.
What is the recommended weight for a vest?
It is recommended to never add more than 10%-20% of your dogs weight to any weighted vest. But you should ask your veterinarian before using a weighted vest with your dog to ensure you are doing what is best for them!
Now that dog lovers have a reason to get a weight vest for their dogs, it’s time to choose the one that’s best. The best weighted dog vests listed here are all great options, but which you choose depends on your dog’s needs and the situations you’ll use the vest for.
Also keep your dog’s size in mind since small dogs need different vests than large dogs.
The best value for money is the Canine Weight Set Store Full Body Weight Vest. It’s one of the higher end weighted vests for dogs, but it has lots of unique features. It covers your dog’s entire body, it has eight pockets for weights, and it even comes with sandbags. It’s the complete package for dog trainers looking for something to keep their pet strong and healthy.
The best premium product is the XDOG Weight & Fitness vest. It has a traditional vest design that fits your dog nice and snug, helping both performance and anxiety. While it doesn’t come with weights, you can choose the ones that are perfect for your pet.
The best weighted vest will be different for every dog. Some dogs just need to carry a little extra weight while your pet might want to pull something behind them. Consider all these options to find the one that’s the proper size and design for your pup.