The Pros and Cons of Weighted Vest for Dogs

The Pros and Cons of Weighted Vest for Dogs

Gilbert McBride No Comment
Health Tips

Dog lovers and trainers are probably familiar with weighted vests used in training dogs but it might be a novelty for someone who has never thought of workout sessions for their dog. These vests are extremely useful in improving the stamina of small, medium size and large dogs that require a good physical condition. While being very helpful in maintaining a robust stature of dogs, a weight vest for dog training can also have some bad effects that must be acknowledged in order to be removed. Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of dog weight vests.

A Few Words on Dog Training Vests

People also wear weighted vests while walking, running or lifting weights because the added weight engages more muscles into the physical effort. The reason why they put a vest on their dog is the same, to increase the effort and make the dog work harder. These vests come in all sizes and have removable weights that can be added or removed in order to adjust the amount of pressure put on the dog’s body. This ensures that the animal is not put at any risk and that the effects will only be beneficial for its training.

Are They Safe to Use?

This is the main concern of dog owners who have never used a vest and who want to make sure they will not endanger their animal. In most cases and under normal use, the weighted dog vest should not pose a risk to the dog’s health but this means that it should be used properly. Depending on the weight and height of the dog, the vest should be chosen in such way that it will perfectly fit its body circumference and length. If chosen correctly, the vest will help you improve the muscular strength of your dog, solve several behavior problems, and turn your dog into a more obedient one.

    • Great for physical training

The main benefit of the vest is the muscular training it provides. If you regularly take the dog out for long walks but it never seems to develop the proper muscular mass, the answer could be adding more weight to its body. This will engage more muscles into the exercise and will encourage the dog to be more active and to pay attention to the training. Distractions like other dogs, birds, or kids playing will be eliminated as the dog will tend to be more focused and to consume more energy.

    • Calming effects and behavior training

Dogs can have behavioral problems caused by anxiety or a previous trauma. This can make them nervous during a thunderstorm, at the contact with a stranger, or simply develop a strong personality that makes them hard to control. The vest provides a hugging feeling that makes the animal become calmer and overpass stressful situations that might cause an outburst. The extra weight also consumes their energy, making them act calmer and distracting them from problematic situations.

The biggest risk of training with a heavy vest is to overwhelm the dog’s body that is either unprepared for the weight or suffers from a condition that doesn’t allow it to carry any additional weight. This is why it’s essential to consider the dog’s age and ability to handle more weight than its own.

    • Bones and joints exertion

If the dog is too young, its bones and joints are not prepared to face a challenge like carrying additional weight. Putting a heavy training vest on the spine of a puppy can lead to serious bones and joints problems. Senior dogs have the same problem and should not be exposed to the risk of overburdening their fragile bone structure. Exceeding the weight limit can also have serious consequences on the animal’s health and it could lead to irreparable damage to the muscles or bone structure.

Consult the Veterinarian

In case you have any doubts that your dog will be able to handle the vest training, you must consult with your veterinarian. They will tell you if the dog suffers from any medical conditions that prohibit the use of weight vests or if they are either too young or too old for such a training experience. Never buy a vest before getting a competent opinion from the doctor who has observed your dog throughout its life.

Pick the Right Vest

To avoid the cons of dog weight vests, you need to carefully pick the one that will help it increase muscular strength without overexerting its body. In terms of size, they come in regular small, medium, and large sizes to perfectly fit any dog. As for weights, note that the ones designed for small dogs usually weigh 4 pounds, the ones for medium dogs weigh 8 pounds and vests for large dogs have 10 pounds. The zippered pockets will allow you to add more pounds as the dog gathers more strength but no matter how tempted you will be to test the limits o your dog, never overburden it. Measure the dog’s chest behind the front legs to see which size will suit it best and make sure it will sit comfortably on its back without putting pressure on the spine. Luckily, most models have clear specification so you will determine which is the maximum weight limit for each one.

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