10 Best Weighted Vests For Dogs (& Why They Need It)

Many equipment and tools go hand in hand with pet parenting.

Many seem optional, but if you want the best for your pet pooch (and surely you do!), you wouldn’t mind getting the ones you can afford.

In this article, we want to suggest a beneficial tool for your dog: The weighted vest.

Weighted vests help a dog in the physical, emotional, and mental aspects. Physically, weighted vests are necessary when the dog is going through weight training, and it helps develop muscles. On mental and emotional health, weight vests combat anxiety and behavioral issues. 

There’s a lot more on this subject, including a couple of downsides of these vests.

We’ll be looking into the best weighted vests for dogs in detail, why dogs need them, and how to make the right choice.

What are Weighted Vests for Dogs?

A weighted vest is a garment that resembles a backpack and sticks close to the body of the wearer, which in this case is a dog.

Humans also use weighted vests. For dogs, weighted vests can come in three sizes: small, medium, and large.[1]

Professional dog trainers know a lot about weighted vests, but for pet parents, this tool might be strange.

This is especially with parents that train their dogs by themselves rather than hire a professional trainer.

There’s a lot a dog stands to gain from a weighted vest, and our goal is to propose this as a good tool for pet parents who may be unfamiliar with it. 

Why Do Dogs Need Weighted Vests?

Weight loss

Several studies have shown that obesity is a serious problem for both dogs and humans. The numerous health problems of obesity make it something not to be desired.[2]

If you notice your dog piling up pounds, a weighted vest can help it get back to optimum weight.

Curbing anxiety

Dogs that are prone to anxiety will find themselves scared of almost anything, from a thunderstorm to a new visitor.

Similar to humans, anxiety can be disconcerting for your canine friend.

Weighting vests provide an additional benefit of comfort for these dogs, which can assuage anxiety.

There are also anxiety vests that serve a similar purpose, but the good thing with the weight vests for dogs is the wider spread.

Building muscles

Weighted vests are very essential in muscle development. Dogs are fitter and healthier with toned muscles than without.

Weighted vests offer more resistance as the dog exercises, which contributes to better muscles. 

Improving cardiovascular health 

Besides toning muscles and shedding weight, weighted vests contribute to cardiovascular health and develop a dog’s endurance.

Games that require a dog to run can be done with a weighted vest attached. 

The Best Weighted Vests for Dogs

1. OneTigris Tactical Dog Molle Vest

Onetigris Tactical Dog Molle Vest Harness Training Dog Vest With Detachable Pouches

OneTigris is considered a high-quality vest and is made of a nylon material that can withstand water and dirt.

It also has pouches (3 of them) where you can keep medical kits, food,  water, and more. OneTigris is an excellent exercise tool.

This weighted vest has been compared to a military outfit, and that’s not an exaggeration due to its quality.

Dogs tend to be comfortable wearing an OneTigris vest, and it is long-lasting. The company also delivers quickly, and the product stays secure.

Customers have been known to receive their product in 2 to 3 days.

Pros

  • Available in many sizes
  • Can be used like a harness
  • Strong and long-lasting
  • Water and dust-resistant material

Cons

  • Quality can be better

2. Xdog Weight and Fitness Vest for Dogs

Xdog Weight &Amp; Fitness Vest For Dogs

Xdog vest’s first great quality is its simplicity and sleekness.

It provides comfort while being a great exercise tool, which makes it double as a weight vest and an anxiety vest.

Xdog ensures that the dog’s muscles get toned while it works on mental health as well. 

Xdog is suitable for different dogs because it comes in a variety of sizes, from XX-small to X-large.

There are also different colors, so you don’t need to feel limited to dull colors if you would prefer something bright.

There are Xdog vests in pink, blue, light pink, black, green, or purple.

Pros

  • Long-lasting material
  • Adjustable
  • Available in different colors and sizes
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Straps have no padding, and that can cause skin irritation 

3. RUFFWEAR — Approach Pack

Ruffwear - Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack For Dogs

Ruffwear is shaped like a saddlebag, and it comes with padded handles that make it comfortable for the dog to strap on.

Ruffwear also has pouches where you can place some essential items. 

Another big advantage of Ruffwear over other vests is its ability to illuminate in dim areas.

This enables you to keep watch over your dog where light isn’t enough. Positive reviews have also shown that this vest is long-lasting, even after a year of use.

Pros

  • Long-lasting
  • Comfortable to strap on
  • Available pouches where you can keep essentials

Cons

  • Sizing issues with the extra small size.  

4. Canine Weight Set Full Body Weighted Dog Vest

Canine Weight Set Full Body Weighted Dog Vest

Canine Weight prioritizes “comfort and results”, which makes it a tool that you ought to consider.

Canine weight has paddings that were built into the weight pockets.

This padding makes the dog feel more secure and comfortable, and the external pockets help with balance.

Canine Weight has adjustable straps that ensure it fits your dog the way it should (not too tight and not loose).

The material is easy to clean, and it is considered long-lasting.

Pros

  • Comfortable for the dog
  • Straps make it fit on the dog
  • Material is durable and easy to clean

Cons

  • Straps sometimes get loosened, making the vest tilt

5. Xdog Dog Parachute Weight Resistance 

Xdog Performance Parachute For Dogs

The Xdog dog parachute and the Xdog vest were made to function together, but we list them apart because they have different functions.

You attach an Xdog parachute to the vest, and it provides resistance when the dog is building muscles. It is also good for speed, acceleration, or chute training.

Just like the vest, the parachute comes in different sizes and colors. The colors include red, pink, and purple and the sizes are medium with large.

The material is of high quality and it lasts a long. You can attach the parachute to any vest with links for it, but the recommended vest is the Xdog vest.

Pros

  • Available in different sizes and colors
  • Long-lasting
  • Good quality

Cons

  • Not suitable for small dogs
  • Can’t be used on its own

6. ActiveDogs Weighted Vest for Dogs

Activedogs Dog Muscle Building Weighted Vest - Pull Trainer Dog Endurance Builder

ActiveDogs Weighted Vest functions as both a weighted vest and an anxiety vest—though it was made for exercise.

This double function isn’t always to be expected with weighted vests, so it gives ActiveDogs an advantage.

It comes in three sizes and is usually colored black with white stripes. 

This vest is made for more intensive exercises, and you can add weight to the extra pockets if required.

Because of its purpose, it looks rugged. It is also made with strong materials and paddings that last. 

Pros

  • Strong and durable
  • Made in the United States
  • Both a weight vest and an anxiety vest

Cons

  • No place to attach a leash to it

7. PET ARTIST Dog Sled Weight Pulling Training Harnesses for Large Dogs

Pet Artist Dog Sled Weight Pulling Training Harnesses For Large Work Dogs Behaviors Training

The PET ARTIST is designed differently from many others on this list. It is a harness that you attach to the dog, and it pulls the weight while working out.

PET ARTIST is very beneficial for sled dogs like Siberian Huskies, as they have the instinct for pulling objects. It isn’t limited to them, though. 

The weight itself doesn’t come with the harness. You have to provide that on your own.

This vest is designed simply, yet it is effective. It is comfortable, secure, and long-lasting. It is suited for large dogs. 

Pros

  • Simple and effective
  • Lasts long
  • Durable material

Cons

  • Size can’t be adjusted
  • Not recommended for small dogs

8. Outward Hound Daypak Blue Dog Saddleback Backpack Medium

Outward Hound Daypak Blue Dog Saddleback Backpack

The Outward Hound often comes in blue color and of medium size, though it is also available in many other colors.

The backpack is adjustable and the mesh makes it easy to carry. Due to the bright colors, it is easy to spot your dog even in an area with dim light. 

The backpack comes with 4 pockets, two of which are expandable.

It has a padded handle as well, making it comfortable for the dog to carry. It is made by a team of passionate pet parents.

Pros

  • Bright colors
  • Adjustable with pockets that can expand
  • Available in both medium and large sizes

Cons

  • Weak harness

9. Cesar Millan Dog Backpack 

Cesar Millan Dog Backpack

Made by popular dog behaviorist Cesar Millan, the Cesar Millan dog backpack is suitable for restless dogs and anxious ones.

The backpack doubles as a remedy for both anxiety and boredom by giving your dog comfort and a job to do. 

The Cesar Millan dog backpack is the answer for busy pet parents who may be unable to take their dogs out for walks.

There’s a guarantee that the backpack can provide the benefits of 1-hour exercise in 30 minutes. It is water repellent.

10. The ZELUS Weighted Vest

The ZELUS weighted vest is suitable for athletic dogs. It sticks close to the body and can be adjusted to the comfort of the dog.

It is a good vest for dogs with bulky and tall body frames. It also comes with more features like pockets and a double stitch.

The ZELUS balances out evenly too, making it a good vest for muscle toning.

Pros

  • Adjustable straps
  • Has pockets where you can keep essentials
  • Good for muscle toning

Cons

  • Not suitable for small dogs.

Disadvantages of a Weighted Vest for Dogs

Many pet parents may be concerned about the weighted vest, especially those who haven’t used it before.

Let us highlight some of the challenges that can occur when a dog uses a weighted vest. Many can be overcome, but you still need to know them.

They include:

  • Exhaustion.
  • The risk of injury, especially at the spine.
  • Some dogs with health problems may find it difficult to use the weighted vest.

How to Choose the Right Weighted Vest for your Dog 

To overcome some of the challenges listed above, you must be selective about the best you pick for your dog.

With many options, it can be hard to choose. Here are some tips for you:

Your purpose

Is it for exercise? Anxiety? Muscle toning? 

The appropriate size for your dog

The best way to know this is by measuring the broadest part of your dog’s ribcage. The width will give you an idea of what to expect.

Find a vest that fits without pressing into the spine and ribs. If your dog shows discomfort, that’s a bad sign.

Age

Age is considered the most important factor. A dog that’s too young shouldn’t be placed on a vest as that can injure it.

It is advisable you get a vest for your dog at two years and above. 

Cushioning

Padding is key for comfort, especially with a dog that hasn’t tried it before. Padding isn’t just for comfort, though. It also protects the dog’s bones, skin, and organs.

Load

Extra pockets are the last item to look out for when choosing a vest

The pockets should only carry essentials as too many loads can tire out the dog. Professional trainers recommend a vest with extra pockets for obese dogs.

Final Thoughts 

If you’ve not tried out a weighted vest before, don’t be afraid to.

The benefits supersede the downsides, and your careful choice can eliminate whatever challenges you may face.

Weighted vests can serve as both an exercise tool and a good aid for anxiety and behavioral problems.

With our top picks of the best weighted vests for dogs, it shouldn’t be difficult to find the right one for your pooch.

Also See:
10 Best Dog Treadmills (& Why They Need It)

Avatar Of Robert Miller

Authored By

Robert Miller

Robert Miller is a dog behaviorist and professional dog trainer. With more than eight years of hands-on experience in the field, Robert relishes sharing his vast knowledge to help prospective pet parents choose the right dog breeds that suit their lifestyle and provide dog owners with the information they need to ensure they raise a well-behaved canine companion. ...