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What Makes A Weighted Dog Vest Heavy?

Some people might have wondered what actually makes a weighted dog vest heavy? If you fall in this category then you came to the right guide. We’ve also asked the same question ‘what makes a weighted dog vest heavy?’ which is why we made this guide on this very question. If you’re interested in finding out for yourself, then you should read through this guide.

What Are Weighted Vests for Dogs?

A weighted dog vest is a backpack-like garment that hugs a dog’s body. It has straps across the upper chest and below the belly and the abdomen of the canine. The vest has weight pockets attached along its sides. It also comes in all sizes for different breeds – small, medium, and large.

This gear is well-known in the dog training field. However, it may be unfamiliar, especially to dog owners that do not commit to professional training for their pets. But even your sweet dog can harbor intense energy and emotions at home. This thing for dogs can be of great help.

There is a good deal of benefits a weighted vest can offer. Let’s take a quick look at the advantages in the physical aspect first. This vest helps overweight dogs drop some excess weight. It also aids in the enhancement of muscle strength. Moreover, managing your pet’s weight results in improved cardiovascular health.

A dog’s mental and emotional welfare is also the focus of this product. A weighted vest boosts an apprehensive and aggressive dog’s self-esteem. The weights in each pocket lay pressure on the dog’s body, making it more calm, self-assured, and susceptive to obedience and behavior training.

Why use a weighted dog vest?

A fundamental purpose of the weighted vest is to help your dog build up his strength and endurance. Certain breeds need much more exercise than a daily run, and a vest can be another way to make his workout more intense, and you may end up with a dog that is not only more fit but also much calmer. Just as people wear weighted clothing or hand and leg weights, a dog can benefit from the additional weight on his body.

Some of the benefits of your dog wearing a weighted dog vest are:

  • Strength training and endurance building. Just as humans add weight to a workout to push the muscles more and build endurance, a weight vest will do this for your pooch. It will help him in building muscle. Many breeds simply can’t get enough of a workout with a daily walk. Certain breeds such as Labradors, Siberian huskies, or Golden Retrievers can benefit from the additional workout.
  • Cardiovascular Health. Experts recommend a dog have a minimum of 20-30 minutes of exercise daily. Your workout will be more effective when the vest is worn. It’s also useful in managing obesity in dogs.
  • Stress Relief. Wearing a vest during his workout can help your dog work off lots of extra energy and produce extra endorphins. This can mean a calmer pup for you and better interactions with other dogs.
  • Reduced aggression. If your dog is given to aggression, it can be beneficial to provide him with extra exercise. If he is worn out, his anxiety level may be lower, and he may be calmer around other dogs.
  • Many dogs suffer from anxiety and the behavioral problems that do with it. This means they may be nervous during a thunderstorm or have a hard time around strangers. A properly fitting vest can give an anxious dog the feeling of being hugged, which will make them calmer in stressful situations. The extra weight also uses up some of the nervous energy. Also, when training the dog can be especially difficult to do as it cannot focus on the activity with it being so exciting. Apart from restricting the activities of such energetic displays, the pressure of a weighted vest on your dog can provide a sensory feeling of comfort that calms the senses and reduces aggressive behaviors. The dog now becomes agreeable, is easier to train, and even in situations where he would normally show anxiety, he will display calm.

Training a dog with a weighted dog vest

  • As with anything new to your pal, always start slowly. Let him get used to the feel of wearing the vest without additional weights to start. He may be tentative at first. Be patient and take it slow as he gets accustomed to it.
  • Let your dog start wearing the vest for a short time, with just a short walk a few times until he is used to wearing the vest. Once he walks comfortably and confidently with the vest, you can add weight, a little at a time. You can also let him run a bit more freely and stay out longer. Never let the weight of the vest exceed 20% of his body weight.
  • CAUTION: Remember, he will get tired more quickly. Don’t push him too hard, and be ready to shorten his usual workout, to begin with. Avoid intense exercise. Be sure the weight is properly balanced. And bring hydration.

Picking the right weighted vest size for your dog

Some decisions you’ll make when choosing a vest should be discussed with your veterinarian. There are two types of vests: those with a backpack and those with zippered pockets. Both allow you to add or subtract weight. The vests with pockets put most of the weight closer to the dog’s belly while the ones with a backpack put pressure on the dog’s shoulders.

The primary considerations are:

  • Age of your dog. Just as young kids should not lift weights, your dog under two should not use a weighted vest. His muscles are still forming, and you should not rush this process. Once you start using a vest, be sure to introduce it slowly, starting with very light weights and short periods so he can get accustomed to the added weight.
  • Dogs Size and Weight. You must be sure to avoid a vest that puts pressure on his spine or mid-section. You want to add a little weight but not overwhelm or hurt him! Start with no more than 10% of his buddy weight and do not exceed 20%. Be sure the vest weight is evenly distributed, and the fit is comfortable and allows for a little growth.
  • A pocketed vest can put too much weight around the belly area, which could strain your dog’s spine. Be sure the pockets distribute the pressure around the shoulders, top and bottom, and the sides. This will help avoid strain.
  • Be sure the padding is adequate to prevent rubbing or discomfort to the dog. Look for any signs of chafing or discomfort.

How Heavy Should It Be?

If you’re just looking to reduce anxiety in your dog, it doesn’t need to be heavy at all. Rather, it should be a tight-fit without making your dog uncomfortable. This is also the same for weighted stuffed animals which generally only seek to provide the owner with a calming effect.

Thankfully, the vests above come in a huge range of different sizes and materials. Letting you choose a vest that’ll fit almost perfectly on your dog. Many also come with a size guide to make sure you pick the right one.

Want a vest to increase and strength and stamina of your dog? That’s when you want to start looking at the heavier vests.

Generally speaking, you’ll always want to start light if your dog has never worn a coat or other heavy vest before. Going too heavy in the beginning causes great pressure on joints and muscles, leading to potential injuries.

Start light, and increase the weight of the vest as your dog becomes stronger and more comfortable with wearing it.

There’s no real limit to how heavy your dog’s vest should be. Just keep increasing the weight until they reach a point where you want them to be.

Very importantly, ensure that material is centered over the shoulders and there is no imbalance. Remember that the pack is weighted and can be a source of discomfort as your dog goes through its exercises. Additionally, you do not want to cause pain or strain to the animal.

What are Weighted Dog Vests Filled with?

Several different things can fill a weighted vest for dogs. Most vests are filled with paddings to help a dog adjust to it. Paddings are like little pillows designed to help put dogs at ease with the gear and guarded against probable injuries.

Also, sand, miniature weight plates, and the like, can load up a weighted dog vest. The intention is to put more pressure on the canine’s body for muscular and psychological gains.

Both the paddings and weights are alterable to the trainer or the owner’s liking. A dog’s overall health necessity may change over time. Thus, the weighted vest allowing modifications along the way.


Regardless of all its benefits, fitting a vest to your dog will not get the healthy and fit dog that you desire. It will have to be done in conjunction with regular exercise, proper nutrition, and consistent training routines.  In the end, you will have a healthy, well-built, and socially competent dog. Soon your dog may just give you that look or bark that says it can’t do anything without its weight vest.