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Link is 8 months and 70 lbs, I don't know if that makes a difference or not? How old should he be before he wears a backpack? We quite a bit of hiking already and sometimes it would be nice if he carried snacks for all of us or something light like that, right now I don't mind carrying his water for him but he could carry the collapsible bowl and other light things.
 
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A very light load should be no problem. I would wait until he's about 18 months or more before any load with any heft to it was placed on him. Bones need to develop properly.
 

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He can wear a backpack with a very light load now, but he should be at least over a year, if not older, before he carries any kind of serious load.

A good weight to start off with is 5% of the dog's body weight, so if your boy is 70lbs, he should not carry more than 3.5lbs, which includes the pack weight and its contents.

The worry about using packs too early is very much in the same area than jogging or bicycling with a young puppy. The bones and muscles have to be developed before you can ask your dog to do repetitive movements on a hard surface, such as jogging next to a bike, or carrying weight.

Once he gets older, you can gradually increase the weight and condition your dog to carrying it. Just like people, dogs need to work up to carrying weight - you can't just do a hike once a month and decide your dog should carry 20% of his body weight. That would be like not hiking yourself and deciding you'd carry 20% of your weight on your next weekend hike.


A properly conditioned dog can safely carry 30% of its body weight, although it's recommended you stay between 20%-25% if you're going on longer hikes, like overnight hikes and such.
 

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KC is 7 months and she wears an empty pack or it has the fabric water bowl. Just want her really comfy in it. She has a long time to go before we actually use it.
 
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