A dog backpack is worth buying if you have an active dog or a dog in need of a “job.”
There are several brands and styles, but my favorites are the Ruffwear dog backpacks because they’re built for durability (like actual hiking and camping). They’re made to last and hold up to my crazy dogs crashing around on hikes!
Most dog backpacks come in several sizes and have adjustable straps.
When your dog wears his backpack for the first time, he might feel a little unsure. It’s just a matter of being patient and praising your dog for wearing the pack.
Give him some treats for being a good sport, but for the most part the best thing you can do is to act like the dog backpack is no big deal.
In no time most dogs will learn to associate the pack with fun adventures!
Reasons for dogs to wear a dog backpack
Here are some reasons why we love ours!
1. Your dog will get more exercise while wearing his dog backpack.
A tired dog is a good dog. But let’s face it, how often are our dogs actually tired?
Whether you go for an hour run or a 15-minute walk, you will most likely be tired faster than your dog. If you want him to get rid of some extra energy, slip his backpack on him and add some weight to the pockets.
I used to put cans of soup or books in the sides of my dog Ace’s pack, but you could use anything. Bags of sand would work well because they wouldn’t make any noise. Just be careful not to add too much weight, especially in the beginning. Work up to more weight.
My mutt weights about 68 pounds, and he probably carried about 6-10 pounds in his pack, depending on the intensity of our workout.
2. Carrying a dog backpack gives your dog a job.
A lot of dogs need a purpose. Carrying his own backpack will give your dog a job. Not only will it help eliminate extra physical energy, but it will also give him a mental challenge.
You don’t have to put any weight in the pack. Just wearing the pack is enough for some dogs, especially as your dog is getting used to the pack.
As a young dog, Ace wore his empty pack on a 20-mile marathon training run with me. Wearing the pack for such a distance was not to tire Ace out, but to challenge him mentally.
Dogs get bored easily. And when they are bored they develop bad habits such as barking, chewing or ripping up carpet. Some dogs develop obsessions or anxieties.
For example, my mutt is obsessed with a tennis ball. Wearing his backpack gives him a real job vs. obsessing over his toys.
3. The dog will not be as focused on pulling.
If your dog is focused on carrying his own backpack, he will be less focused on pulling, being first and getting overly excited about other dogs and people.
I have worked for years now on loose-leash walking with Ace and he walks perfectly now. Still, when he was a young dog he would pull if he was wearing a flat collar and we were in an “exciting” area.
If he wore his backpack, he was less likely to pull. It was a great tool during the first few months I had Ace and I was teaching him the concept of “heel.”
4. Your dog can carry his own gear in his dog backpack.
When you travel, it will be handy to load up all your dog’s stuff in his own bag. When I travel with Ace, I put his food, toys, bowls and whatever else he needs in his backpack. It’s just less stuff for me to carry, and his stuff is all in one spot.
5. Your dog can carry some of your items, too!
The Ruffwear dog backpack (shown in our pictures) has plenty of room in the pockets for more items than my mutt can possibly need. So guess what? He is often stuck carrying some of my things like gloves or a hat.
6. A dog backpack makes a good water/beer carrier.
When you’re out on a run but don’t want to carry water, just put a bottle or two in your dog’s backpack. He won’t mind. Put a bowl in there and he can have a drink as well.
(This also works for carrying beer. Although the beer might be a bit shaken up!)
7. Your dog can carry his poop bags in his dog backpack.
I don’t know about your dog, but when I’m out on a long walk with my mutt, he tends to stop and poop whenever we’re as far away from a trash can as possible. And then he goes TWICE.
So, I pick it up, double or triple bag it, and have my mutt carry his own poop. Now that’s a dog with a purpose!
This is kind of embarrassing if someone sees you, but it’s better than running with a poop bag in each hand – something I have done many times!
8. Your dog can go on more trips.
I like to bring my mutt on as many outdoors activities as possible. When I go camping or backpacking, he carries his own gear and then some. I can’t imagine going backpacking without my dog.
It would not be as fun for me without Ace along. Even if he didn’t carry his own gear, I would still want him to tag along. However, it really comes in handy to give him a job.
9. It’s easier to see your dog while he wears his dog backpack.
The Ruff Wear dog backpack Ace is modeling in the pictures has reflective strips on the side, so it’s easier for me to see my black dog in the dark. Since his pack is bright red, it would be easier for me or someone else to find him if he were to get lost in the woods.
I also walk at night with my dog, so it is an extra safety precaution having a reflective pack.
10. The dog backpack will last a long time.
A good dog backpack like a Ruffwear pack is very durable, and it should last you and your dog several years.
Does your dog have a dog backpack? What brand is the best dog backpack in your opinion?
See more benefits of dog backpacks.