Normally, we want our pets to have comfortable, lightweight harnesses to make walking fun and easy. So, a weighted dog vest seems rather counterintuitive. Yet, adding weight to your dog can actually help them with training, strength, and even future health concerns. So, what is a weighted dog vest and does your dog really need one?
Our Top picks Weighted Dog Vests
Last update on 2021-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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 before choosing to purchase one for your canine companion.
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.
Best Weighted Vests for Dogs
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. I’ve selected six great options to make your decision a little easier. I’ve analyzed each product based on features, pros, and cons.
XDOG Weight & Fitness Vest for Dogs - A Weighted Dog Vest Used to Build Muscle, Improve Performance, Combat Obesity & Anxiety - Improve Your Dog's Overall Health & Exercise. (Medium, Orange)Buy on Amazon
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.
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 Dog Sled Weight Pulling Training Harnesses for Large Work Dogs Behaviors Training, Dog Pulling Sledding Harnesses for Weight Pulling,Canicross,Ski-JoringBuy on Amazon
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.
This weighted dog vest is also a backpack, so it can keep dogs strong while also carrying your hiking supplies. It’s a nylon harness with a pouch on each side to hold supplies like treats, toys, keys, and poop bags. The pockets even have zipper expansions if more space is needed. The harness itself is lightweight, but adding objects into the pockets can make it work as a training vest too.
It has a sturdy handle on the back to allow you to control your dog easier when out and about. The vest comes in four different sizes, all of which are easily adjustable. To put it on, you need to slide your dog’s head and legs into it and buckle it around their body. It also comes in either blue, green, or brown. The brighter colors are best for visibility during day and night.
- It’s made with breathable mesh.
- It can hold supplies.
- It has a handle.
- It comes in four sizes.
- It comes in three colors.
- The harness itself is very light.
- It could cause rashes.
- The material is very thin.
This is another backpack harness that also serves as a weight dog vest. It attaches as a harness, but has a pouch for supplies 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. It also comes in three colors: campfire orange, meadow green, or orange poppy. All colors have reflective trim to ensure that your dog stays visible at night.
- 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.
This weighted vest for dogs covers your canine’s entire body like a jacket. It has eight pouches for added weights, two above each of your dog’s legs. This vest is meant to have positive effects on both the muscles and joints. It comes with 2-pound sandbags that you can slide in each pocket, but you can opt to use your own weights too.
The design is weight resistant to keep it as comfortable for your dog as possible while still benefitting their overall health. The vest and strap are also padded to prevent rashes. The newer design of this vest even comes with a sled pulling attachment for further weight training. It’s a solid black color, and it’s available in four different sizes.
- It covers your dog’s whole body.
- It comes with sandbags.
- It has eight pouches.
- It’s padded.
- It has a sled pulling attachment.
- It comes in four sizes.
- It could be tricky to put on.
- Dust could come off of the sandbags.
- It might become unbalanced.
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.
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 vest 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.
I’ve selected the best product based on different categories to help narrow down your search. Hopefully, this information will help you make your final purchase.
The best on a budget is the Outward Hound Dog Backpack. Not only is it an affordable product, but it’s also handy. On top of weighing down your dog, it also has some pockets to hold supplies in, making hiking trips more convenient for you.
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.