When to Start Using a Dog Weight Vest
You have probably been out at the dog park and noticed some dogs wearing a dog weight vest. It seems strange at first, but there are lots of good reasons to use weighted dog vests – from keeping your pet calm to helping it build muscle. Not every dog is cut out for wearing one of these vests, but muscled breeds like pit bulls and Rottweilers often benefit from weights.
If you have had someone recommend weighted vests and you aren’t sure whether your dog needs one, you should consult your vet first. Beginning to use these vests too early can harm a puppy’s development, while older dogs and dogs with joint problems may not be able to handle it. Here are a few of the most popular reasons people start using a dog weight vest.
When their dog becomes too active.
Have you recently switched dog foods, added supplements, or had your dog suddenly gain more energy as it enters another stage of its life? Overactive dogs can be exhausting and dangerous to both themselves and others, and they can resist training sometimes. If your dog finds it hard to heel because you walk so slowly, a weighted vest can help make it tougher to sprint ahead of you and keep you both walking at the same pace.
If their dog needs to lose weight or build muscle.
Some dogs are overweight or not as muscled as they should be, and veterinarians may recommend exercising with a weighted vest. This helps increase the impact of activity by building extra muscle and burning extra calories. Fat burning happens faster and muscle building follows suit. In lighter dogs seeking to gain muscle, this is particularly important, as they have less resistance from their own body weight. Muscle building requires consistent exercise, so wearing the vest while going on walks can make your dog build muscle for competitions faster.
Changes appearance and form for competitive dogs.
Whether their dogs are show dogs or participate in weight-pulling competitions, weighted vests can help build muscle and change people’s pets’ appearance. If your dog needs to go from skinny to built in order to be the show dog of the block but great food and supplements aren’t yet helping much, a weighted vest might be the secret sauce you’re looking for.
Some dogs are anxious in certain situations.
Taking a dog to the park is a frustrating chore if it makes the dog anxious. Anxiety-prone dogs can sometimes find reassurance in weighted vests, which feel like a hug or security blanket. They will also become tired more quickly, leaving less energy to fidget and worry. It helps keep the dog grounded and focused on its own exercise. Because anxious dogs can sometimes lash out at others, they are often mislabeled as aggressive or antisocial when they’re really just nervous. A weighted vest can help your dog stay calm in public.
Aggressive dogs may calm down.
Dogs that have not been properly socialized by a breeder or family may be calmed by weights. They see the weighted bags as something to do, which gives them something positive and productive to focus on. This can help reduce behavioral issues and make sure your dog won’t feel anxious and prone to biting, fighting, or chasing when you don’t ask it to! It’s important to ensure your dog is properly trained from an early age, whether or not you use a weighted vest – it isn’t a substitute for great, consistent training.
Don’t go too heavy or too young.
It bears reminding that you are putting a puppy in danger if you use a weighted vest. Always check with a vet before starting to use a weighted dog vest on a regular basis. They are still growing and their muscles should not develop too rapidly in the first year of life. Dogs of any age should not have more than ten to twenty percent of their own weight in the vest, or they could strain their joints.
No matter why you’re using it, a dog weight vest can be bought or made at home. Make sure the material is comfortable against your dog’s skin or fur and the filling is made of poly pellets, not sand or another filler that is prone to getting heavy or impossible to wash. If your goal is to exercise your dog or build muscle, weight vests work best in conjunction with a healthy amount of exercise, proper nutrition through the diet and supplements, and thorough training. There are few things more pleasing than playing with a cooperative, well-built, happy dog!