Safe weight for backpack? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Safe weight for backpack?

how much weight can a dog carry safely?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 06:00 PM
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The most Shasta has carried was 15lbs. She didn't have any problems with that.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 06:01 PM
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Safe weight for backpack?

It would depend on how long and the intensity of the walk. I hike my 5 yr old Dogo with 5 jars of pickles and my 10 month old with 4 small water bottles and we walk around 5 miles ...it's a flat walk no big hills or inclines.


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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how many onces does the pickle jars hold? why pickle jars? lol.
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It would depend on how long and the intensity of the walk. I hike my 5 yr old Dogo with 5 jars of pickles and my 10 month old with 4 small water bottles and we walk around 5 miles ...it's a flat walk no big hills or inclines.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 06:22 PM
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I use large soup or tomato cans, would shy away from using glass jars I think lol. I usually put two on each side, sometimes a small can on each side aswell, although I feel they could carry more. We don't use the backpacks often enough and I feel I would need to work them up to heavier weights. The four large cans seem to be good for my sporadic use of their backpacks.
I know their are some good sites for dedicated backpack users, specifically people that hike and camp with their dogs. There is a recommended % based on the dogs weight, but I don't remember what that is.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 06:28 PM
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I have been told no more than 10% of the dog's weight and that if the dog is good condition and has been worked up to the amount. Of course for a short distance they can carry more but I believe that the 10% is for an activity such as hiking and not a slow short walk down a sidewalk.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 06:36 PM
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25-30% of their weight at maximum with a conditioned dog.

Mine only carry 5lbs each these days. At most I'll put 10lbs on them. Never had an issue, it's nothing for them. (they are 74lbs and 85lbs)

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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3o% for a 74lb dog is 22 lbs if my math is correct. that's
seems like a lot of weight. 30% for a 85lb dog is 25lbs
again that seems like a lot of weight.

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>>>> 25-30% of their weight at maximum with a conditioned dog.

Mine only carry 5lbs each these days. At most I'll put 10lbs on them. Never had an issue, it's nothing for them.

>>>>> (they are 74lbs and 85lbs)
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:21 PM
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25-30% of their weight at maximum with a conditioned dog.

Mine only carry 5lbs each these days. At most I'll put 10lbs on them. Never had an issue, it's nothing for them. (they are 74lbs and 85lbs)
This is the guideline I've always heard as well, including from a couple of vets I've spoken to about it as I started backpacking with my dogs. My dog is about 75 pounds and I usually limit him to 10 pounds on longer or more strenuous hikes, but will do 15-20 for easier ones. Especially if we're hiking in the desert (as opposed to mountains), where it tends to be flatter but you need more water due to little shade and hotter temps, as it's the water that gets heavy really quickly so I make him carry more of his share.

IME it depends a bit on the quality of the pack, too. If it shifts around or the weight is distributed unevenly, it will be harder on the dog. A well-fitted pack that you keep evenly weighted and that distributes the weight across a larger area of the back will be a lot easier on the dog and it can carry more weight.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
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This is the guideline I've always heard as well, including from a couple of vets I've spoken to about it as I started backpacking with my dogs. My dog is about 75 pounds and I usually limit him to 10 pounds on longer or more strenuous hikes, but will do 15-20 for easier ones. Especially if we're hiking in the desert (as opposed to mountains), where it tends to be flatter but you need more water due to little shade and hotter temps, as it's the water that gets heavy really quickly so I make him carry more of his share.

IME it depends a bit on the quality of the pack, too. If it shifts around or the weight is distributed unevenly, it will be harder on the dog. A well-fitted pack that you keep evenly weighted and that distributes the weight across a larger area of the back will be a lot easier on the dog and it can carry more weight.
Exactly.

My current dogs are not conditioned... therefore, they do not carry anywhere near that percentage. They carry no more then 10lbs, and the hikes are not long (2-3hrs, with breaks to enjoy the scenery and for me to take the camera out).

Back when I had my goldens though, we were avid hikers. Especially my female. We had the proper gear and she was in perfect shape and conditioned. On our hikes she would carry at or close to 25-30% of her weight. She never had an issue. Mind you, this was a very healthy breeding bitch. She was health tested, hip/elbow certified, from great lines, etc. We went consistently for a good 10 years of her life. She passed away at 14, and STILL had perfect hips... never an issue moving her entire life. Very very little arthritis in her last year (from an old leg injury from falling on the pool deck)... never on any pain medications.

I do believe if a dog is healthy, from a good background, and well conditioned... the vet recommendation of 25-30% in packs (with the correct gear, reasonable length of time, and regular care during a hike) should not be a strain for the dog.

To the OP: Do what you believe is fair for your dog's weight and conditioning. Watch for any straining or stress from the pack. Start off small (1-5lbs), and gradually work up from there.

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