Summer is coming up and with it hiking season. I love to hike, always did. Maybe I just confirm the cliché that says that every Swiss loves to hike. Anyway! My hikes got suddenly all the better when I started hiking with the dog of our vacation place in the Swiss Alps.
That dog Toby, well, had a special habit. He loved to carry stones while hiking. While this at first view might look unusual, he actually displayed a trait dogs like to do: being part of the hiking team by carrying something themselves. Toby would have loved to carry a dog backpack for hiking!
If you love to hike and you have a dog, I recommend to include your dog in your carrying duties. Every dog loves doing that, and it doesn’t matter how big or small your dog is. Even a Yorkie can be eager to carry his own backpack filled with his essentials. Most of the dogs love carrying the dog backpack so much that they even want to do it on simple daily walks.
So, what do you need to know about hiking packs for dogs and how do you choose the right one for your dog?
First of all, get a backpack that is specifically designed for dogs. They fulfill all requirements for free movements, safety and comfort. Very important points. Good dog backpacks need to be made of a water-resistant, durable and breathable material. So many dogs like to jump into every water and mud they encounter on the hike. The backpack needs to withstand all these movements and hazards and shouldn’t come loose.
The dog hiking pack by Ruffwear comes in 5 different sizes from XX-small to X-large. It‘s important for your dog to feel comfortable by wearing the exact size for his body. You can take the measurement around the widest part of your dog’s rib cage and compare it to the offered backpack sizes.
The right dog backpack needs to have proper padding. This is essential since your dog is carrying weight in it that will put extra pressure on his body. So, not only the pack but also the straps and the handle should be padded for your dog‘s comfort and for your‘s.
Speaking of weight. Before you start your hiking adventure with your dog make sure that your dog is at all able to carry weight. Older or very young dogs as well as dogs with health issues might not be able to do so. The best is to check with your vet before you buy a backpack for your dog.
If your dog will be carrying a backpack for the first time just start with a weight of about 10% of his weight. Only later add more weight to it as long as your dog feels comfortable with it. The weight though shouldn’t exceed 25% of your dog‘s weight.
You will find out what hiking type your dog is. Some dogs love to handle heavier loads. Others prefer a very light weight which even can just be an empty backpack. That doesn’t mean you should give up on it, your dog still wants to carry a backpack on your hikes.
It‘s anyway a good idea to start with empty backpacks until your dog gets used to this new experience. And it’s good to start with shorter hikes and walks before you undertake a full-day hike or even a week hike. The question what to add to your dog‘s backpack depends fully on you. Most of the people add dog‘s stuff such as water bottles, balls and dog food.
Now I just can wish you and your dog wonderful hiking experiences! Enjoy the summer together!
Ruffwear Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs
- Features a weight-forward saddlebag design
- Streamlined design and lightweight materials
- Padded comfortable handle
- Integrated harness and reflective trim
- Non-slip straps and sheltered buckles
- Comes in 5 sizes
Stitching is solid. Material is solid. I like the handle. It does ride forward over the shoulders. The pack size itself is large, but can fit a 1L water bladder easily and that is what I use for weight. It has the big pockets, and then one smaller pocket above it to put treats, keys, whatever in.
My Boxer (and I) love this backpack! We use it all time when we go hiking or even on our daily walks to give her a job to do. It has large pockets so that she carries everything we need on our day hikes except the car keys. We’ve even used it when we go on vacation to pack everything she’ll need for the trip.
My little yorkie loved carrying this pack on our hike. The pockets are perfect for treats and small bags of food. It didn’t weigh or slow him down, and he looked really cute in it.