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Old 09-13-2009, 04:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How much weight in a dog backpack

After seeing a dog out this weekend using one, I seriously think I want one for Mandi. But how much weight can the dog carry in them? I was thinking of using it for my wallet, keys, a few diapers and wipes when we are out with the kid. Then maybe some snacks for Mandi and the DDs. Also, an extra leash (I usually have one just in case there is a stray or something). This should not come to too much weight, but could she also carry a couple water bottles or would that be too much?
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much weight in a dog backpack

I would work the weight up slow. I take Max hicking all the time and I put some ice and 2 water bottles on each side and a soft type water dish for Max. Where we hick is a lot of straight up trails so we do stop a lot to take the pack off and to drink water. It would really depend on the size of the dog and how much exercise they get.
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much weight in a dog backpack

Carly has at different times carried a 12 pack of pop, numerous books, 64 oz juice bottles, lots of things. I just make sure the
load is distributed evenly.

And that is for 2-3 blocks.
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much weight in a dog backpack

I can't name a source, but I believe that they can carry up to 20% of their weight or something like that....
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much weight in a dog backpack

One of our members, Historian has a great article on her websites dealing with backpacks including weight considerations here:

Historian's article on back packs

And here is another website for reference; Dog backpacks
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Old 09-13-2009, 07:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much weight in a dog backpack

I read a lot of articles online before I ever loaded Keefer's pack. One site said they can carry up to a third of their body weight, but most said no more than 20-25%, which seems like plenty to me. I'd rather have him carry less than he can than more than he should. At 80 pounds, he'd carry a maximum of 16-20 pounds if we stay within the 20-25% range. So far, he's typically only in the 6 or 7 pound range because he's only carrying two liters of water, a collapsible bowl, poop bags, the car keys, and my cell phone.

Historian mentioned using Platypus water bottles and I did some reading about them and thought they sounded great so I ordered two 1 liter bottles. I love them, and may end up buying a couple more. They also come in 1/2 liter and 2 liter sizes. Buying several of the smaller sizes makes it easier to shift the weight as necessary to stabilize the load between the packs.
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Old 09-13-2009, 07:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much weight in a dog backpack

we're looking for a backpack for our dog. our dog weighs 86.5 lbs.
i'm not going to let him carry more than 8 lbs. that's what i decided
to let him carry. there must be a more scientific method
of determining what the correct amount of weight to carry.
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much weight in a dog backpack

A dog that has been trained up to carrying weight can SAFELY carry 30% of its own body weight on an extended hike. Most people consider an "extended hike" to be 10+ miles over the course of one day and 20+ over the course of a weekend with camp in between.

That said, you can't just load your dog up with 30% of its body weight and head out onto the trails without training up to it. That would be the equivalent of putting a 54lbs pack on a 180lbs human and expecting them to do a fun day hike with it - which would probably make your human very sore and very unhappy, and it does the same to your dog.

It is generally recommended that you start with 5% of the dog's body weight and work up slowly and gradually, and that your dogs don't carry more than 20% to 25% of their body weight on any longer hikes.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club has a great section on its website about dog packing that gives training tips on working up to the weight, which you might want to check out.
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much weight in a dog backpack

Double post.
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much weight in a dog backpack

Historian, your backpack on human comparison makes great sense and I got a great laugh out of the visual too

I walk my 90 lb dog with his backpack everyday, I have a can of corn and a 5 lb weight plate on each side. It's probably around 13 lbs or so. He carries it with no problems at all, but I know it gives him a better workout than walking carrying nothing. It's definitely heavy enough that he knows it's there.

When we are taking actual hikes, I just have him carrying water and snacks, and his collapsable doggy bowl. On tight trails, you don't want hard cans of veggies or weight plates smacking into your shins, trust me.

A can of veggies and weight plates are pretty dense items, so I think you'd have a hard time overloading a dog backpack for a GSD with normal hiking items. Even if you somehow filled them with water bottles, it would probably not be more than 20 lbs. I can't see someone loading up a 100lb GSD with 30 lbs of weight in a backpack, even though the dog could probably do it, it wouldn't make much sense unless he was carrying some special heavy cargo (hmm).

A water bottle or 2 in each side, some snacks, keys, no problem whatsoever.

Here's Riku, oddly enough, not wearing a backpack at the time..
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