I recently learned of dog weight vest. Initially, I was like “what is a weighted vest for?” I did some digging to answer my own curiosity of the benefits of a weighted vest for doggies and to share it with you.
Basically, a weighted vest is like a harness only bigger and covering more of the back. As the name suggests it is heavy. Most come with weights so that you can start with a little and add more as your dog builds more muscle. Some are weighted all over and some have pockets in certain spots to add weight to them.
Yeah, but what is it for? Well, according to what I have sniffed up there are a few different reasons why you might want to use a weighted vest for your dog. I have heard it said many times that “a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.” If you have extra weight on you then you are working harder at everything you do.
The Many Benefits of a Dog Weight Vest
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Reduce Excess Energy
This makes even the most hyper pup tire faster. And if he is tired he has less energy to jump on the guests, dig in the garden, chew on the couch, and chase the cat. Being a dog I have to say this seems a bit extreme to me. I mean the main reason doctors always want us to lose weight is that it’s hard on joints and hard on our bodies. Perhaps with very wise use, a weighted vest would be good. But, I don’t think any dog should wear one all the time.
Another reason to have a weighted vest for your dog is to build muscle. This can be helpful for some dogs that are in competitions or a part of the military or police. Being stronger can give a competitive edge to performance dogs. For police or search and rescue dogs more strength could be a matter of life and death. But does the average pet need that kind of muscle? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong. It would depend on you and your dog’s goals, I suppose.
An additional reason that I found people use weighted vests for their dogs is weight loss. (This is in addition to a good healthy diet of coffee and apples.) I think we can all agree that muscle burns fat. So, it follows that if the weight vest builds muscle then this would help a pudgy pup to lose weight. Still, I can’t help but wonder about the long term effects of using more weight to lose weight on the joints of that pudgy pup. Using it more for a “workout” then constant use seems wiser to me. I mean humans don’t walk around with a barbell or hand weights all day! They only use the weights for perhaps an hour and then are done with them.
Stress and Anxiety
Another reason that I found people are using a dog weight vest is to help “relieve” stress and anxiety. This might work for some dogs but I don’t think it would work for all of them. If your dog is reactive or truly anxious and freaking out. Don’t seek management like a weighted vest, seek to solve the root cause.
I was once very reactive, having panic attacks every time I saw another dog. I can tell you that a weighted vest would not have helped me. Perhaps I wouldn’t have barked my fool head off because I would have been too exhausted to do so. But I still would have been panicking inside. Probably panicking more because I would be afraid I couldn’t defend myself!
If your precious furry friend has true reactivity or anxiety, seek help. My girl got me into private training classes to help me. After about a year I was able to be around other dogs and not completely freak out. I am now happy to say that I can make friends with most dogs that I meet. Whether your dog is afraid of other dogs, loud noises, people in uniforms, bicycles, or something else, seek professional help for the root cause. Not just something to cover the symptoms.
A taco is bad enough, nevermind a dog weight vest!
Final Thoughts on Weighted Dog Vests
A last word on a weighted vest for dogs … seek the wisdom of a vet you trust. Work closely with that vet to create a workout routine for your dog. Have rechecks periodically to make sure you aren’t pushing your dog too far or too hard. We don’t want any injuries.