Many dog owners love hiking with their pets but carrying enough gear for you and your dog can get heavy. Thus, many owners purchase backpacks for their dogs and allow them to carry small items such as collapsible water bowls and food. Dogs are happy to have an additional job; they just need to become used to the backpack when it is empty and gradually build up to carrying items on a long walk. These packs can be made relatively easily.
Purchase a child's backpack or two equally sized bumbags or small carrying bags as well as additional nylon straps to serve as the foundation for the backpack. Some dogs will do better with a pack on their back, while some may prefer evenly sized packs on each side of the back.
If you chose a child's backpack, first size the pack with the arm straps, placing it on your dog just like you would a child. If you chose two evenly sized carrying bags, decide how they would best sit on the dog, considering its range of movement and the height of the bags from the ground.
Measure and fit the nylon strips. If you chose a child's backpack, you need to add a strap that will go across the dog's stomach and secure the pack. Some children's packs include these straps. If not, measure across the dog's belly and sew on the strap with a clasp. If you chose the two packs, you will need two or three nylon straps across the dog's back, each sewn to the two packs and two straps underneath your dog's belly, to secure the packs. The two underneath the belly will need clasps sewn on. Space the straps evenly to ensure the best comfort for your dog.
Practice allowing the dog to carry an empty pack around the house. Let it get used to the feel and weight on walks before adding additional weight. Gradually, increase the amount of weight and distance until your dog is ready to hike.
- Don't start hiking with your dog without practice. Adding weight without gradual build-up can cause injury to your dog. While hiking, also watch for signs of dehydration.