Every dog parent walks their dog from time to time. Not only is it great for the dog to get some exercise, but it’s also good for us, as well!
For all the benefits that walking offers, thousands of dogs are still overweight, and this can lead to a plethora of health problems. Dogs that are well-exercised are much happier and have a longer lifespan. You might find helping your dog lose weight and increase their energy level a bit challenging, and this is exactly why weighted vests for dogs are a perfect solution.
I've decided to make this guide and aid you in search of the best weighted dog vest for your dog.
3 Best Weighted Vests for Dogs Reviewed
1. XDog Weight & Fitness Vest For Dogs - Best Weighted Dog Vest
XDog Weight & Fitness Vest for Dogs climbed to the very top of my list because this product is designed with all of the characteristics you should look for in a weighted vest for dogs. It's no wonder, considering that XDog is one of the most reputable brands when it comes to pet training equipment.
So, let's dissect the favorable features of the best weighted dog vest, one by one.
Firstly, the XDog Fitness Vest is made from heavy-duty material that can withstand a lifetime of abuse, but it is also breathable and lightweight at the same time. The result? Your dog will experience no trouble during wear, and it won't restrict its movement.
The versatility of the XDog Weight & Fitness Vest cannot go unmentioned, either.
Namely, it is available in 6 different sizes to ensure a snug fit regardless of which dog breeds wear them. The one that I tested was XDog Weight X-Large, and it was comfortable for a heavy and large Pitbull.
It will not only improve your dog s overall health, but its evenly distributed weight placement in the pockets secured by velcro and alligator clips will significantly build dogs' muscle and strength.
This vest is also made to reduce dogs' anxiety because it makes it easy to hit that soft spot of the right pressure to calm your dog.
- Great for training and improving strength & muscles
- Six different sizes
- Comfortable fit
- Made from a durable material
- Designed to reduce anxiety
- None with this one!
2. Full Body Weighted Dog Vest - Runner Up
My runner up, the Full Body Weighted Dog Vest by Canine Weight Set, puts anxiety management at the forefront.
That is not to say that training and muscle improvement needs are far behind, though. Quite the contrary - this vest for dogs is made to increase the fitness level, and it has pockets that are on the outside of the vest.
There are no straps that are touching your dog s body. As a consequence of this, the fit may not be as snug as with my top pick, but it is reinforced. Heavy and large dogs can also use these weighted vests for training.
And did I mention that you also get 2-pound sandbag weights included in the purchase?
It's rare that manufacturers choose to include these along with the weighted vest, so they definitely earned a couple of bonus points for that.
When it comes to the material, it's waterproof, which means that you can use this weighted dog vest when it's raining. The 1/2-inch padding on the vest combined with the 1/4-inch padding on the straps ensures that your dog is comfy.
Therefore, if you need help with reducing anxiety problems for your doggo, go for this one - it keeps a perfect balance and can be beneficial in the long run.
- Designed to reduce dogs' anxiety
- Easy to use
- Sandbag weights included
- No heavy canvas
- There are some better picks for training
3. OneTigris Tactical Dog Molle Vest - Budget-Friendly Pick
The OneTigris Tactical Dog Molle Vest has vaulted past the competition for its incredible training and anxiety-reducing capabilities.
This dog weighted vest is made from a top-notch 1000D Nylon material that guarantees longevity. More importantly, it does not interfere with your dog's movement. The manufacturers have also included comfy cotton details that won't irritate your dog s body and skin.
One of its strongest features is that it has multifunctional pouches. They are used for any every-day items you use for your dog and are designed to be easily accessed.
You'll get an EMT bag, a tool pouch, and a waist pack. The buckled chest strap has the UTX-Duraflex system for a quick release.
In order not to make your dog uncomfortable, you should check the specs of these weighted vests because they come in different sizes.
While double handles are not a necessity, they are handy because they allow you to have full control over your dog's training and muscle improvement.
A bonus of this weighted vest is that it is designed to give dogs a "military-style" appearance. So, if you own a guard dog, this dog vest will not only built its strength and protect it from injury but also fit any adventure you may embark on.
- Efficient for strength training
- Reduces anxiety
- Made from a heavy-duty material
- Can be used for guard dogs
- Won't slide to one side as the weight is evenly distributed
- Somewhat on a bulky side
How do Weighted Dog Vests Work?
The short answer to what is a weighted dog vest is that it allows your dog to be calmer and more manageable, keeping your pet more loyal, easier to guide, and in better physical shape.
A weighted dog vest can help an overweight pup lose weight, intensify their exercise rate up to 90%, burn excess energy, and keep the dog’s activity level down. Your preferences will make a difference in what you choose. After all - just like us, humans - all dogs have different needs, too.
Benefits of a Weighted Vest for Dogs
You’ll want to read all the way through to the end to learn more about the benefits of a weighted vest. You might feel a bit overwhelmed, but this is one of the more important purchases you’ll make for your dog. After some thorough testing, the weighted vest that proved to be the best is:
Here are some of the reasons why this purchase is important:
An Ideal Way to Protect Cardiovascular Health
Having a busy schedule doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to keep your dog healthy. Taking your dog on regular walks is good for cardiovascular health. You need to remember, though, that walking does not replace the need for other forms of exercise. Using a dog weight vest improves your dog’s overall health and helps fight obesity.
Losing Extra, Unhealthy Pounds
What seems like a leisurely walk for you can be stressful for an overweight dog. A weight dog vest can be one of the best ways to help keep your fuzzy buddy healthy. Your dog can burn excess energy and start losing weight within a couple of weeks.
If you walk your dog for 20 to 30 minutes daily with a weighted vest, you’ll likely start to see satisfactory results.
Helping Your Dog Calm Down and Relax
Overactivity can be more harmful than helpful for your dog’s health. If your dog frequently gets out of control, extra energy will only cause more problems. Failing to rein in your dog’s energy will only contribute to hyperactivity.
When you use the right weighted vest that fits comfortably, you’ll likely be amazed at the difference that it makes. Playtime will be a time where your dog gets the workout they need to stay calm. A proper emotional balance will help your dog stay focused. The more balanced your dog is, the less likely it will end up triggered by unimportant things.
There is No Single Solution
You’ll need to use a bit of consideration when you’re shopping for most products on the market. Weighted vests for dogs, by contrast, are one of the easier pet items to shop for. If you aren’t sure where to start, the choices might seem a bit overwhelming. Consider the following:
Do You Want Pockets?
A vest for dogs that has pockets can add to or reduce the weight. Sided pockets, in particular, play a role in adding weight. For the most even, balanced feel, weight distribution on the sides, bottom, and top evenly. Vests with more even weight distribution will feel more comfortable.
What About a Padded Dog Vest?
A weighted vest with material that stretches out will aid your dog’s mobility. Another benefit is providing extra protection during exercise. This vest should fit well enough to allow your dog’s weight to be well-sustained. Although most dogs will initially feel a little uncomfortable, they will eventually get used to the weighted vest.
Measuring the Size
If you buy an adjustable vest, making sure that it fits your dog is important. You should measure the chest, neck, and dog’s length before buying the vest. Most brands have guidelines for which size will fit most dogs. For example, a 23 to 28″ dog weighted vest comfortably fits 35 to 55 lb. dogs. Always make sure the vest allows for comfortable movement.
Even though weighted vests give your dog extra weight to carry, they should never affect your dog’s posture. You don’t want your dog to end up tense or strained when wearing the vest. Consult with your vet about the maximum weight and exercise your dog can manage based on their breed, age, health, and build. In the case of a growing dog, increase the weight gradually.
Is Buying or Making a Vest Your Best Option?
Buying a weighted dog vest is easy with the number of retailers available. However, what if you prefer to skip shopping online and make one instead? The costs and your creative abilities are important considerations. Making a vest provides a little more flexibility in its design.
Sometimes, a more comfortable, flexible, and secure fabric that allows an owner to make a vest is preferable. The price of the fabric is another consideration, with the best options ranging from $60 to $100. Think about the dimensions, the durability, and how easy the fabric is to work with before making a final decision.
Backpack or zippered vests will usually be the best option when you decide to buy. When you take your dog on longer walks, backpack-style vests are hard to beat. Zippered vests allow for the easiest adjustments according to your dog’s size.
What to look for when buying (or making) a weighted vest for dogs:
- Easily washable fabric
- Reflective material for night use
- Properly ventilated material
- Useful for getting and keeping the dog in shape
- High-quality, durable material
- Non-slip straps that are easy to adjust
- Affordable price without sacrificing quality
- Additional attachment for resistance
- Adjustment for weight size used
Something in Mind before Making a Vest Purchase
A point to put in mind before making a vest purchase is that every product has faults, and weighted dog vests are no exception.
Here are some of the problems found with different vests:
- Some of the weighted vests are difficult to fit on bigger dogs
- Smaller sizes might be even smaller in real life
- Vests from some manufacturers only come in one color
- There is considerable variation in prices that might impact affordability for the best option
- Some varieties are not well-suited to small breeds
- Buyers have reported some vests breaking after relatively few uses
- Vest straps can rub to the point of irritation
Even though it’s often easier said than done, this is a time when you want to be picky. Each weighted vest for dogs has different features and different construction. Always choose the option best-suited to your dog, which will lead to a healthier posture.
Introducing the Weighted Vest to Your Canine
Introducing the weight vest to dogs can be difficult if a dog doesn’t tend to be very submissive, which impacts how they might accept the weighted vests and harnesses. You want to ensure your dog is calm so the vest can go on as safely as possible. Here are some tips that can help:
Add Additional Weight Proportionately
Regardless of the starting point, additional weights should be added gradually. Adding the extra weight is a process your dog needs to get used to so they know what to expect. Monitor your dog to see what their response is like. Remove the extra weight if your dog is showing signs of getting too exhausted. Only resume adding more weight once your dog is comfortable with the current amount.
Make Sure the Dog Weighted Vest is Properly Centered
Always make sure you put the vest on gently, taking care around the neck and leg areas. Use the straps to provide the proper adjustments. Make sure everything is evenly adjusted and balanced.
Reward Your Dog for Accepting the Weighted Vest
Remember, getting your dog used to the vest will likely take multiple attempts. Wearing something like a weighted vest is foreign to a dog, after all. Keep the sessions with the vest as low-key as possible, and praise your dog for their acceptance. Take short walks at first, and only gradually increase the weights. Your dog is less likely to get injured if you increase things slowly.
Tips On Weighted Dog Vests
If you strain yourself trying to lift one of the weights - it’s too heavy for your dog.
Avoid putting the vest on your dog during exceptionally hot weather. In the warmer months, confine the workout times to early morning and early evening. Taking this step will help avoid heat exhaustion, as well as protect your dog from joint injury.
Frequently - Asked Questions
How much do weight vests for dogs actually weigh?
Most dog vests are lightweight before adding weights. You will add weights or bags of sand to the vest’s pockets to get the desired weight.
Are any weighted dog vests waterproof?
There are many dog vests with waterproof features, including vests perfect for winter weather and rain. You will find these waterproof options in different styles and colors. Be careful around high water, because you don’t want your dog sinking.
How do I find out what size fits my dog?
Measure your dog’s girth with a tape measure. Sample sizes based on breed might include:
Toy 13″ – 16″ “Teacup” Yorkies and Chihuahuas
Extra Small 16″ – 23″ Maltese, Miniature Poodle
Small 23″ – 29″ Dachshund, Rat Terrier
Medium 29″ – 30″ Doberman Pinscher, Weimaraner
Large 35″ – 39″ Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd
Giant 39″ – 45″ Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernard
Points to Note When Starting out a Weighted Dog Vest
There are a few important points to note when starting out a weighted dog vest:
- Avoid rocky or steep areas that can wear your dog out too quickly
- Use moderating by keeping your walks to 20 minutes daily
- Regular stopping and resting is necessary to avoid strain, so stop for a rest if your dog is visibly exhausted
- Always carry water with you to keep your dog hydrate
Are Metal Parts Rust-Resistant?
Look for rust-resistant metal surfaces, even if you don’t walk your dog in wet conditions. Taking an umbrella during rainy weather is always a good idea. Moisture barrier products that are pet-safe can also help protect the metal.
Backpack vs. Vest
You’ll need to consider your overall lifestyle when making this choice. Backpacks are a good choice for dogs and owners with active lifestyles, but you will need to take care to avoid the weighted vest for dogs slipping when it is worn. Conventional vests usually adjust more easily.
Quality and Durability
Even if your dog isn’t a chewer, many are likely to react to something new like a weighted vest by chewing on it. You’ll also need to think about things like mud that might require more frequent washing.
When you buy a vest for dogs from a well-known manufacturer, you can be more sure of getting a quality product.
Wrapping It All Up
You might discover that finding the right vest requires more work than you realized.
Whichever product of the 3 top picks you choose, one thing's for sure: Your dog will love the vest, and it will improve its quality of life.
A win-win situation; don't you agree?