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Safe Weight for Dog Carrying Backpacks
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Kurgo Dog Backpack
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Carry Your Dog Around
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DOG BACKPACK WARNINGS
REASONS & CONSIDERATIONS
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The added weight of a dog backpack helps your dog burn more energy in less time. It can also help your dog feel more secure, and as if they have a purpose when they come with you on walks. Remember, your dog backpack is increasing the intensity of your dog's workout, which means your dog may also get thirstier and tired faster.
1. Your dog will get more exercise while wearing his dog backpack.
2. Your dog can carry his own stuff in his dog backpack.
3. Your dog can carry your stuff in his dog backpack, too.
4. A dog backpack makes a good water/beer carrier.
5. Your dog can carry his own doggy bags in his dog backpack.
6. Carrying a dog backpack gives your dog a job to do.
7. The dog will not be as focused on pulling.
8. Your dog can go on more trips.
9. It's easier to see your dog while he wears his dog backpack.
10. The dog backpack will last a long time.
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How much weight is safe for a dog to carry?
In general, young and healthy dogs can carry up to 25% of their weight.
Some breeds can carry 10% to 15% more, while other breeds aren't cut out to carry much at all.
The amount you should pack also changes with age - this is a good topic to discuss with your vet.
BEST DOG BACKPACKS
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Backpacks for dogs are becoming increasingly popular. For neighborhood walks, backpacks provide a sense of purpose, and encourage dogs to focus on the task at hand, expending more energy on their walks than they would without a backpack. A backpack can remind a dog of its purpose and can let it know that it has worth and that its owner appreciates its effort to stay by his side with the load it is carrying. It is an experience that promotes more enjoyable moments of bonding, improved self-confidence for the dog, and a stronger definition of a companion in the field as the dog gains another purpose.
As an added benefit, backpacks can have a calming effect on dogs with fear aggression. They work much the same way the ThunderShirt does, by wrapping the upper body and applying the same soothing pressure to the dog's torso.
For those who love to camp and bring their best friend along for the hike, backpacks allow your dog to carry his own weight. Water, food, bowls and treats can be easily stored in the saddlebags. If you are new to hiking with your dog, prepare him for long excursions by starting out on short walks with an empty pack, gradually increasing the load.
Whether you are looking for a backpack for light excursions or long treks, there are several features you will want to take into consideration, as the various dog backpacks available on the market are not built with same features or load bearing style.
We have selected 5 of the top selling and top rated dog backpacks and reviewed them with an eye toward comfort, durability and best value. You need a ton of stuff when taking your dog out for a walk, or even on longer hikes.
Dog owners will have different considerations to take into account depending on the primary intended use of the backpack. In either instance you will want a backpack that fits securely and does not roll with the dogs stride, ultimately causing chaffing or sores. Hikers will need to consider both the in-town features as well as the long excursion features below. So why not let your pooch carry its own things in one of these handy and functional dog backpacks:
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DOG BACKPACK USE
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Nearly all healthy dogs will benefit from occasionally wearing a dog backpack during a walk. The following are some examples of different types of dogs that could benefit from wearing a pack. You will soon notice that pretty much any dog could benefit!
Dog backpacks for High-Energy Dogs
Those of you with high-energy dogs are probably the most likely to consider dog backpacks. Anything to tire out the dog, right? A walk just doesn't always cut it. Probably, you have also tried running with your dog and visiting the dog park. A dog backpack is just another option to help your dog burn up some physical energy. When you have a high-energy dog, you can never run out of options! We highly, highly recommend a dog backpack for active dogs.
Dog backpacks fir Anxious Dogs
Dogs with lots of emotional energy can benefit from a dog backpack just as much as the physically high-energy dogs. For example, my parents had two dogs that were very different as far as energy. Their springer spaniel prefers to run all day whenever possible (no surprise there). Their golden retriever, however, would rather lounge around by the people. A dog backpack can be a very valuable tool for draining some of the mental and emotional energy from an anxious dog. It gives the dog a job to do. It gives her brain something to focus on other than her source of anxiety, and it gives her a purpose.
Dog backpacks for Aggressive Dogs
Aggression in dogs is sometimes a symptom of pent-up physical or mental energy. The dog doesn't get enough exercise, so he's frustrated he can not get to that other dog you pass on the walk. He wants to play, but he can't. This might cause him to lunge and bark on the leash. Other dogs act aggressively because they might be scared or they could be protecting what they believe is "theirs." Regardless of what is causing the aggression, a dog backpack will often help the situation. It is not going to be a quick fix, but it will certainly help. The dog backpack will help the dog focus on something other than the source of his aggression. Ideally, he will focus on the task at hand, carrying his pack. You can help set him up for success by keeping some distance from other dogs at first and rewarding him with praise or treats for calm behavior.
Dog backpacks for Hard-To-Focus Dogs
If you have a dog that is easily distracted by every little thing on walks, a dog backpack could help him stay focused. "Oh my gosh, grass! Oh look, a bird! Wow, this smells wonderful! Oh wow, another dog! And what's that? A used napkin?!". If that sounds like your pup, a dog backpack, could really help him get into a working mode on walks.
Dog backpacks for Pulling Dogs
The dog backpack is one of the most underrated tools for teaching a dog to heel. My dog didn't know how to walk nicely on a leash when I first adopted him. We spent hours and hours working on the basics: sit, down, stay, heel. I used lots of different training collars, and they were all helpful in their own ways. But the backpack was also a great tool, because it slowed my dog down. This made the ever so difficult concept of "heel" much easier for my young dog to grasp. Do you have a dog that was bred for pulling, flushing, tracking or running ahead of people in any way? We highly recommend a dog backpack to help keep him "reeled in."
Dog backpacks for Small Dogs
We all know a few small dogs with tons and tons of energy, right? They often have more energy than the bigger guys. Yet, it seems like small dogs are less likely to be included in activities such as hiking, running, backpacking, rollerblading and so on. This is a shame, because many small dogs need more exercise than they are getting. A dog backpack can be the ideal tool for a small dog. This is actually one of the most common questions readers ask me. "Are backpacks OK for small dogs?" Of course! You will obviously want to find one that fits your small dog, and you may not even need to add any weight to the pack. But dog backpacks are definitely a great option for the little guys.
You probably get our point by now. Pretty much any healthy dog can benefit from a dog backpack. If you are not sure whether a pack is right for your dog, this is always a question you can bring up with a vet. Do not feel like you have to add much weight to the pack. Just wearing the empty pack itself is enough for some dogs to feel like they have a job. If you want to add some weight, start out with a small plastic bag of dry dog food on each side. Or, perhaps a lightweight book.
DOG BACKPACK TYPES
COMPARISON AND CATEGORIES
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Dog packs made specifically for mobile hydration hold a few items that are great for trail runs or shorter day hikes. Other packs are made specifically for training and exercise. Packs that work best for backpacking will have more volume and extra padding to provide comfort on your dog's frame.
Specifically designed for hardcore outdoor enthusiasts or working dog activities - backpacking, skijoring and other long-distance or strenuous activities; features may include heavy-duty materials, brush guards, compression straps, excellent ergonomics, lashing options, various types of padding. Prices range from $48 to $115. See Feature Comparison Table, Rugged. Granite Gear Ruff Rider, Mountainsmith Dog Pack, Ruff Wear Palisades, Wenaha Explorer II/Standard, Wolf Packs Banzai
Well suited for day-hiking, dog shows, and other outdoor activities, but lack some of the higher-end design features of the Rugged packs. Prices range from $28 to $70. Caribou Woofer, Outdoor Products, Outward Hound Quick Release, Ruff Wear Approach, Wolf Packs Reflector
Very small capacity and more suited for service/therapy dogs and urban walks. Ruff Wear Day-Tripper, Wenaha Jogger, Wolf Packs Saddle-Bag
Fall into one of the above categories, but have interesting characteristics that make them unique and worthy of consideration on their own merits. The uniqueness of these packs makes side-by-side comparison difficult. Cool Paws Day Trekker, Neo-Paws, Rocky Mountain K-9 Accessories Trailblazer, Ruff Rider Roadie Series, Sylmar Deluxe
Some of the online pet stores list backpacks without brandnames.
Adventure Gear Chief and Rover Dog Packs: Cordura, mesh saddle w/ pockets, large capacity, $33-$47
Bison Designs Long Haul: bags seal with drawstring and buckled flap, brushguards, elastic harness, optional fleece lining
Caddis Pet Products: brushguards, mesh saddle, $28
Lazy Pet Products Pooch Pack: sheepskin liner, $38-$61
Nordkyn Traveller Plus, Traveller, Day Pack: similar to the Wenaha line
Raven's Watch Backpack: custom pack made by a dog sled touring company
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CATEGORIES at WWW.AGILEPOOCH.COM
DOG BACKPACK FEATURES
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All packs are designed to provide adequate weight distribution for your pet. Other common features:
Dividers: So that you can keep food and water separate from any other supplies.
Collapsible food dish: Fits perfectly inside the pack or sometimes zips on the outside.
Pocket for a cooling insert: You keep the cold pack in your freezer and insert it into the pack before heading out, great for hot climates.
Top handle: Makes it easy to hang onto your dog if you are crossing a shallow river or up on a small ledge.
You should also consider a waterproof pack if there is a chance you will be in a lot of rain or snow. Also, the pack should be reflective. This really helps out with visibility, as many mornings in the Northwest are pretty foggy or sunless.
Cushioning: Under the buckles or bags, around the harness.
Security Functions: A grab handle to help pick up your dog over logs, rocks or additional hurdles. Reflective Trim.
Tie-Downs: Added loops for either a leash at the front or for a guiding haness on the back of the backpack.
Ruggedness and Weather Resistance: Examine the construction of the backpack. Are the seams double sewed or taped? Exactly where are the zippers located - on the side or on top? Are the flaps over the zippers and pockets, to keep the bad weather out? Zippers on top with no flaps will not keep out water extremely well.
Important Features for Backpacks Used for Neighborhood Walks
Fit and Comfort: look for fully adjustable 5 point chest and girth straps.
Avoid putting weight on the loin area of the dog. The weight should be distributed with the greatest weight at the shoulders, then lessening the load on the back as the pack extends to where the rib cage stops. The back pack should not put stress beyond that point on the spine (the loin area).
Shorter dogs will need shallow saddlebags, they should reach no farther down than 1 inch above the elbow of the dog.
Your climate determines the proper backpack for your dog. For those in hot climates should look for a backpack with a mesh harness or water bladders to dissipate the heat.
"Y" designed chest straps help stabilize packs and reduces strain on the neck.
Reflective tape and bright colors improve visibility for both you and your dog for motorist on rainy days and low light conditions. "Safety Orange" is a popular color for neighborhood walks
Important Features for Extended Hiking Excursions
Choose a light weight pack at around one pound or less. Your dog will be carrying his supplies and will tire quickly toting a heavy pack in addition to his supplies.
Look for a sturdy padded handle to help lift your dog through rough terrain and over obstacles.
Wide, padded girth straps will assist you in comfortably lifting your dog over obstacles.
Choose a backpack with removable saddlebags, for crossing streams and comfortable rest stops. Water resistant material helps preserve food and treats in rain and stream crossings.
(Use Ziplock baggies to protect food on overnight hikes)
Bright color backpacks can aid in rescue should your dog accidentally get separated from you in the wilderness.
Look for saddlebags that taper towards the rear of the dog as they place the bulk of the weight on the shoulders rather than the spine of the dog.
Padded harnesses reduce wear on the dog and the possibility of sores or hot spots.
Select a backpack with tough nylon material or rip stop especially if you will be hiking in an area with rock faces that could tear open the pack.
POLICE, MILITARY & K-9
As well, the professionally equipped military dog backpacks are widely used in U.S army.
This kind of backpack is usually waterproof, with many sections and pockets.
There should be gopro or other high quality video camera. Also, strong GPS system could be useful with such military dog backpack.
BEST DOG BACKPACKS:
COMPARISON and REVIEWS
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Here is a list of the best-reviewed backpacks for dogs online based on rating, consumer reviews, and expert opinions from online dog discussions. These backpacks are available in different sizes and have a size guide that will help dog owners decide on the correct size for their dogs.
Kyjen Outward Hound Backpack
Price: from $50.00
The Kyjen Outward Hound backpack features a detachable pack that allows the weight to be removed from your dog during stops. It has bright-colored reflective accents for improved visibility during low-light days and dog walks at night. It is equipped with convenient pockets for carrying water and food. A mesh pocket can carry water bottles with ease. The Kyjen Outward Hound Backpack is ideal for dogs that weigh fifty to 69 pounds, with girth size ranging from twenty to 35 inches. This is the highest-rated dog backpack currently available in the market based on feedback and consumer reviews, primarily due to its conventional design that allows proper weight distribution. It is also the kind of backpack that does not compromise on style. It has a wide variety of colors available that will surely appeal to even the most design-centric pet parents.
Kurgo Wander Dog Backpack
Price: from $60.00
The Ruffwear Approach dog backpack features a weight forward design that allows even weight distribution and reduction of spine and back-related tension. It has a harness frame that ensures further weight distribution, load stability, and overall balance and prevention of injury. This backpack also has an assistance handle, which is padded to allow the owner to help the dog by lifting it up over obstacles. This backpack is ideal for dogs that weigh from thirty to eighty-five pounds and is more inclined for use during rugged activities such as hiking. The Kurgo Wander Dog Backpack features a padded spine support that follows the contour of the dog's back to prevent spine-related injury from tension, and it has four reflective strips as an added safety feature.
Price: from $129.00
The Ruffwear Palisades Dog Backpack is The Cadillac of Dog Backpacks! The Ruffware Pallisades has all of the bells and whistles any serious hiker would like to see appointing their best friend. The saddlebags are positioned in a weight forward design and are easily detached for rests and crossing streams.
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This pack and the Ruffwear Approach have the best balancing design of any of the packs tested. Designed for long hikes and camping, the pouches have enough capacity to hold 2 liters of water, food for up to 3 days and collapsible food and water bowls. The strong padded handle with complementary padded girth straps make this a comfortable pack for both hiker and dog when assistance is required. The pack comes with two collapsible plastic water bladders that are positioned to protect the dog from the gear and work as a cooling system.
Granite Gear Alpha Dog Pack
Price: from $70.00
Best Pack for Dogs with Shallow Torsos! The low profile bags of the Granite Gear Alpha Dog Pack make this pack ideal for dogs with a short distance from the shoulder to the elbow. Heavy duty, this backpack is appropriate for city streets as well as the Rocky Mountains! The zippers on this pack are large and sturdy, and are easy to operate with gloves on. This pack tends to run large, so if your dog is near the sizing break point, go down to the smaller size. This pack is comparable in price and quality to the Ruffwear Approach pack. Choose between them based on your personal style preference and the build of your dog.
Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack
Price: from $80.00
Designed for day hikes or overnight adventures, the Approach pack is comfortable, functional, and will look great on your dog. It's made of lightweight materials, and its integrated harness provides multiple options for leashing, including traditional leash walking, lifting, or pulling. It features a weight forward design that allows even weight distribution and reduction of spine and back-related tension. It has a harness frame that ensures further weight distribution, load stability, and overall balance and prevention of injury. This backpack also has an assistance handle, which is padded to allow the owner to help the dog by lifting it up over obstacles. It is equipped with trail-ready features, such as stash pockets, external gear loops, and coated zippers. The Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack is ideal for dogs with girth size that range from 32 to 42 inches.
Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack
Price: from $65.00
Mountainsmith has been leading the dog pack industry for 30 years, and this year's K-9 pack is no exception. Designed with input from a Colorado sled dog veterinarian, this pack is sure to stay in place when your dog is blazing the trail. Three different size options are available, so you will have no problem finding a snug fit, no matter the shape and weight of your pup. But don't worry if your furry friend puts on a few pounds of winter weight — everything about this pack is adjustable, so it's sure to fit comfortably, day after day, year after year. Combining 30 years of dog backpack experience with the guidance of a local sled dog veterinarian, these canine saddle bags are the most "dogonomically" correct designs Mountainsmith has ever offered. This highly adjustable pack is sure to fit comfortably for long days on the trail.
Outward Hound DayPak Dog Backpack
Price: from $18.00
Some dogs just won't tolerate wearing a pack, so give the concept a try with this affordable pack before you spend a fortune on the big brands. This pack has all the essentials, including expandable pockets, adjustable straps, a harness made of breathable mesh, vibrant colors, and reflective accents, so your dog will stay comfortable and visible, all day and night.
Cesar Milan Dog Backpack
Price: from $66.00
What sets this pack apart from the rest is that it was designed to carry most of the weight around the dog's shoulders, where they are the strongest. Elastic sections on the straps adapt to the dog's movement, while padding on the straps and chest ensure comfort.
Kurgo Baxter Dog Backpack
Price: from $45.00
This pack is spacious and built strong to withstand abuse. Two saddle bags each have a 3.75-liter capacity, so there's plenty of space for water, food, and even toys. Pick from one of four different colors to complement their coat. And with eight adjustment points, finding the correct fit will be a piece of cake.
Ruffwear Singletrak Dog Pack
Price: from $90.00
Does your dog run wildly through tightly packed trees or have a tendency to brush up against fellow hikers on the trail? Then the Singletrak is the perfect pack, with its sleek, low-profile design that doesn't bulge out too far and won't snag on foliage. Two integrated, collapsible water bottles are just enough to keep your furry friend hydrated, while two additional stash pockets hold treats and snacks.
Columbustore Outdoor Dog Backpack
Price: from $23.00
Does Fido love to roll in the mud? No problem - this pack is washable. It's also extremely lightweight, at under three-quarters of a pound for a medium, so your dog won't be carrying unnecessary weight. And at this price point, it's perfect for the occasional user.
Lifeunion Saddle Bag Dog Backpack
Price: from $26.00
Great for a short, more casual day, this pack has enough space for treats, a water bottle, and your keys. While it's not as burly and durable as other packs, this is perfect for walking trails or for a long stroll around the park.
Pet Life Everest Waterproof Dog Backpack
Price: from $40.00
Go ahead, let your dog jump in the water, because this backpack is completely waterproof, down to the zippers. The straps are made of seat belt material, and the buckle is heavy-duty, so it's easy to secure weight. It also features reflective strips, an integrated harness, and a breathable mesh lining, for an all-around package that your dog is sure to love.
Ezy Dog Backpack
Price: from $40.00
The EzyDog Summit is comfortable, highly functional, and features an innovative chest plate that keeps your furry best friend feeling secure. It also has a leash caddy on the back, so you can store the leash when your dog is relaxing.
OneTigris Cotton Canvas
Price: from $20.00
The OneTigris Cotton Canvas has a cool, vintage look, and a brown hue that doesn't show dirt. It is also very useful with easy-pull zippers, and Velcro straps that hold the outer pockets in place.
HOW TO CHOOSE BEST DOG BACKPACK
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Humans should also ensure that the dog has a snugly fitting backpack.
So take him to the store to buy the right kind of gear for him. Make sure, that he also nods his head in approval for the color of the backpack. Not getting the right kind of backpack for your canine companion can and should cause problems when it runs away with the backpack, which contains so important camping, eating and staying alive gear. Also, check that it has the capacity to carry any of your extensive gear in the backpack, but do not ever overwhelm dog with an excessive weight!
Veterinarians, dog experts, and dog enthusiasts are of the opinion that dogs have been domesticated to serve a particular purpose. This is the main reason why dogs have been selectively bred to retrieve game, pull a sled, or herd livestock. However, with the constant change in the lifestyle of pet parents, there has been a slight reduction in such purposes.
These days it's common to find herding dogs living in suburban areas even when there are no available sheep or cattle to herd or sled dogs thriving in cities where sledding is not even a typical activity. Due to this modification in their canine lifestyle, many dogs feel uninspired because they are not doing the job incorporated into their genes.
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Your very first step should be talking to your vet. A dog backpack isn't just a stylish accessory - it's a way of adding a physical challenge to your dog's walk, and that may not be appropriate for all dogs. Young dogs may not be developed enough to use a weighted backpack, although you vet may allow the use of an empty backpack and older dogs may be placing too much stress on their joints.
These fur babies feel unfulfilled and may exhibit unruly behavior to divert their energy. This is where dog backpacks come in - simple contraptions that can give dogs physical and mental challenges that can serve as distractions to maintain balance and calmness in both indoor and outdoor settings. However, even if this accessory looks simple to use and acquire, we should be responsible enough to finding the best available on the market to suit the needs of the dog using it.
When a pet parent is looking for an ideal backpack for his or her pet, there are several factors that should be considered before making the purchase. These backpacks may be simple accessories, but when badly mismatched, can actually pose long-term health complications. Remember that not all dogs are compatible with backpacks because of size, trainability, and innate personality.
The most common dogs that wear backpacks are those under the sporting, herding, sledding, and therapy categories. These dogs are anatomically compatible with backpacks due to their strong shoulder and back muscles that can carry a reasonable load, as well as the shape of their body that can allow a backpack to fit comfortably. If you will be purchasing a backpack for your dog from a local pet supply store and not via an online store, always check the parts for any tears and missing stitches. Observe if the buckles and zippers are properly aligned to ensure a proper zipper mechanism, locking, and unbuckling.
Size is important to ensure comfort whenever a dog wears its backpack. A backpack that is too tight or too loose will compromise balance and can become a bad kind of distraction because the dog will not be able to walk properly.
Backpack sizes are typically classified into the four usual categories: Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large.
The size that you should get depends on your dog's size and its corresponding weight. There are also custom sizes that are being offered by both local pet supply stores and online retailers that are not in the mainstream size categories, such as Extra Small and Triple Extra Large. Sizing will also determine whether the side pockets can accommodate the weight that will be loaded, because overloading will damage the pockets when used inappropriately.
This amount can vary from dog to dog, but in general you should not exceed 20% of your dog's body weight. When packing the backpack, make sure you keep the weight evenly distributed on both sides of your dog's body with the greater weight near the shoulders and less weight further down the dog's back.
There are backpacks that follow the conventional design with side pockets and straps for proper fitting. However, due to competition and innovation, there are actually new designs that are being introduced. These designs deviate from the usual patterns due to the addition of a larger pocket or more segments on both sides that create both aesthetic appeal and function. Keep in mind that some new designs can actually work, but always observe whether these additions can be beneficial to your dog or if it would be better to use the usual designs. The size will still depend on how much the dog can carry as an acceptable load.
backpacks for dogs are usually made with lightweight materials that are typically breathable and durable. The fabric and size should be coordinated to ensure a comfortable fit. By comparing the materials used, you can find the best backpack for your pooch. This can determine whether the fabric is strong enough to handle the weight placed inside the backpack without compromising comfort.
Materials used in the stitching and the type of stitching done, such as single and double stitching, can add up to the durability of the backpack. There are backpack fabrics that can only handle so much before they tear apart, so remember that if you are challenging your dog by adding more load, you are also stretching the backpack's fabric natural strength. It is quite common to find that the more durable a backpack is, the more expensive it will be.
Additional features include reflective trimmings for safety and visibility, especially during low-light days or when walking at night. Backpacks can also be water resistant, designed for dogs that engage more in waterfowl hunting or field hunting in areas where weather is unpredictable. Water resistance is vital in making sure that the dog is not overly exposed to excessive water, as well as in promoting warmth and comfort despite the elements in the location. Also it's great to have 2 or even more small and not so pockets, to be equiped always with a lovely smartphone & a bunch of tastly coockies for a pooch! :)
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DOG BACKPACK FIT
and MEASURE GUIDE
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It's important to make sure the pack fits well, or else the dog could be uncomfortable or even suffer a chronic injury from walking long distances with a poorly-fitted pack. If this is the dog's first time wearing a backpack, ease into it. Have your dog wear just the pack for a few walks or hikes. Then add something light and go for another few walks.
Don't put too much weight in the pack, though, as this can hurt your dog's joints. Before heading to the store to look at dog backpacks, it's important to measure the circumference of your dog's chest. Most packs will have a specific chest size on the label, in order to provide a general fit for dogs of different breeds and sizes.
The Best Way
to Measure Dog Backpack:
LENGTH: Measure your dog from the back of it's neck towards the base of it's tail.
GIRTH: Start behind your dog's front legs and wrap the tape around the widest section of their chest.
WEIGHT: Weight your canine.
With all 3 of these measurements, you will be able to find the best doggie backpack.
Straps and Saddles:
One or Two Strap Harness: The two strap harness is intended in order that the backpack could be taken off your dog even though the harness remains on. This maybe an excellent advantage on lengthy hikes, when taking a break on the trail. You are able to get the pack off your dog, when you take yours off as well. An individual strap harness is an individual piece style. The only way to take off the pack is to take off the harness.
Compression Strap: These are straps on the bag, intended to stabilize the load, when the bages are not fully loaded. These are affixed to the pack, either horizintally or vertically. A properly fitted pack is going to sit closer to the dog's shoulders and body, keeping the weight off dog's back. The saddle bags should not beused for long, as they flap under the dog, nor should they go too far down on the dog's side. These may bounce and cause dog's discomfort. Check the pack to ensure that it allows the full range of dog's legs movements and nothing is rubbing your doggy.
FIT DOG BACKPACK STEPS:
1. Measure your dog's chest. Use a tape measure to wrap around the widest part of your dog's chest, just behind the front legs.
2. Shop around for packs. When you see one you like, check the size. Most will say what chest circumference goes with what size.
3. Have your dog try on the pack. You can do this at a pet store, or by buying the pack and bringing it home after making sure you can return it if it doesn't fit.
4. Tighten the straps so you can fit just one finger between the strap and the skin. This might seem too tight to you, but remember that the last thing you want when hiking is for loose straps to constantly rub up against your dog's skin.
5. Walk around with the dog and have your dog sit and lie down. Does the dog seem comfortable enough? Some dogs that aren't used to wearing a pack will seem uncomfortable no matter how the pack fits, though. Notice whether the straps rub up against the dog's armpits, or in the case of male dogs, the genitals.
If you are ordering online, check the return policy before you buy. Most of the packs sold for dogs are fully adjustable, but dogs come in so many different shapes and sizes. Even within a breed, it can be difficult to know if a pack will fit well without trying it on first. Be a wise consumer, and remember your dog will be wearing the pack, not you.
Some packs are designed to appeal more to people and may be less functional on the trail. Think of how you will be using the pack, and where. Does it need to be water resistant? How much gear will your dog be carrying? Is the leash attachment secure? These are all important questions before purchasing.
HOMEMADE DIY DOG
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If none of the commercially available dog packs strikes your fancy or if they're too expensive, try putting together your own using the pattern and directions provided here. 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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
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HOW TO MAKE DOG BACKPACK B
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DOG BACKPACK SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS
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The following tips and guidelines will help you and your dog get the most out of using a dog backpack.
Never weigh down a dog backpack. A dog should never carry more than 25% of their proper recommended body weight. If the dog is overweight, so not add the extra weight - go with what he SHOULD weight
Load the backpack evenly or it will lean to one side and pull on the dog. Uneven weight distribution is very uncomfortable for the dog and can result in injury, sores being rubbed and an overall dislike for the pack by the dog.
Give your dog breaks during long hikes and excursions. Just like you need breaks, so does your dog, which is why removable saddlebags are so preferable. Be sure to stop for plenty of water breaks if you are hiking on hot days. Your dog can become overheated, dehydrated and suffer heat stroke as well. Take care of him/her as you would yourself when it comes to rest stops and water.
Keep the pack clean between excursions. This is easily done with a rag and water and will help the pack last much longer.
Check straps and adjustments often to ensure there are no sore spots being rubbed. Adjustments can loosen and slip. Make sure that the pack is fitting well during the hike and not just at the beginning.
DOG BACKPACK WEAR:
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Bear in mind that dogs that will be wearing a backpack for the first time have the possibility of exhibiting reluctance. This is considered as a normal behavior because this is something new and outside of their comfort zone.
Do not force the dog to wear the backpack on the first attempt because this can lead to psychological trauma and stress !!!
Do not start hiking with your dog without any practice. Just like humans, dogs need to exsersize many and often, before they can reach highlands. Adding weight without gradual build-up can cause serious and sometimes unrecoverable injury to your dog. While hiking, also be sure to watch for signs of dehydration on your dog.
Many dog owners make the mistake of putting a dog backpack on their dog for very first time only minutes, before a hike, loading it up with stuff and then expecting the dog to be happy and comfortable. The more you practise with either dog back, the happier and stronger your dog probably will be on the hike. So practice makes ideal. The essential factor to remember when using a dog backpack for the first time is that your dog will most likely not want to wear it. This is natural. So, some patience is required here. Give your dog at least a couple of day of practice initial.
To get your dog used to a pack, start slowly.
First, let your dog examine the pack, and make this a really positive experience - lots of praise for sniffing and showing an interest in the pack. Do this a few times and always keep your tone positive when introducing him to the pack.
Before the pack goes on your dog's back, make sure he is already been on a decent walk. A calm, focused dog is much easier to fit properly. Ensuing that all the straps are tightened properly, lure your dog into moving with the pack on his back. Use some really tasty treats to get him moving, and your dog will begin to associate the pack with good things.
During this time, you want to assess your dog's comfort level. Nervous? Unsure? Ambivalent? Also watch as your dog moves about the house: does he have his normal range of motion? Are there straps hanging in the way of the legs? Are the saddlebags sitting far enough forward on the shoulders? While it's natural for dogs to feel strange wearing their backpack in the beginning, make sure you watch for signs of pain or discomfort.
Once you have checked the pack and made any adjustments for fit, put it away for the day. You want to keep these sessions short and sweet. The next time the pack comes out you can take the dog for a short, fun walk. Bring plenty of treats and make this a pack party! You want the pack to be associated with really good things, so your dog is happy to carry it.
As your dog gets used to the pack, begin to fill the saddlebags with bunched up grocery store bags. You want to use something lightweight that will give the dog a feeling for the potential bulk of the pack. If you take your dog down a narrow trail or through a crowded farmers market, you don't want the dog ramming the pack into people.
Over time, you can gradually increase the weight of items in the pack. Take care to always keep the pack balanced on your dog's back. Before each use, give the pack a good once-over, looking for any frays or tears in the materials.
Check that the buckles are clean and free of debris. Inspect your dog's body for areas where a pack might be rubbing or causing hair loss. If the pack is rubbing, adjust it, and if that does not fix the problem, get a different model.
Be ready for some extra attention. When people see your dog in a pack, you will be on the receiving end of comments, compliments and questions. If you and your dog are social butterflies, be prepared for many conversations about how cool it is that your dog is carrying some of the weight. And if your dog loves the attention, this helps to re-enforce that wearing a pack is a good thing!
TRAINING GUIDE BY
On the first day...
Put the pack on your dog without the tightening the staps too much. They ought to be tight enough that your dog can not get it off and afree himself, but not as tight to bear the weight. It will certainly help to praise your dog for weaing it. Plenty of loving attention assists very much! Leave it on for a couple of hours and then take it off. So the doggy should become slowly used with the new back equipment.
Repeat it at the second day,
but put the little dog backpack on a little tighter this time. Keep the straps lose enough for three fingers, to slide under the straps effortlessly. Nevertheless, you need to have the ability to pull down on the pockets, just a little without the backpack sliding around too much.
The third day...
should be a repeat of the second day, except this time the dog backpack will have some weight on it. Try a coulple of hal filled water bottles or some kibble in a zip-locked bag.
The fourth day
should be the same as the third day, but this day will probably be a full weight day. The dog backpack should be left on for about a hour, during this time. This would be to get your dog accustomed to the weight. Now your dog ought to be prepared for a little hile with a full pack on his back. If you believe that the fifth day is essential, of course fee free to leave the full pack on longer.
DOG WEARING BACKPACK
Step 1: Select a backpack that's right for your dog
When you are deciding on a backpack for your dog, take into account what you are using it for. Just exercise around town? For long hikes when camping? This will help you decide on the design of the pack and what kind of capacity you need. However, even if you are just using a pack for burning extra calories on a walk, make sure it is of sound construction. Things like where the straps fit on your dog, how well you can adjust fit, and if there is padding under the clasps, will all factor in to how comfortable it is for your dog to wear their new pack.
Step 2: Introduce the pack and get a proper fit
It's important to start your dog off on the right foot with their backpack, because the last thing you want is for them to become scared of it or dread it. That means you'll want to have a pocket full of treats when you first introduce your dog to their new pack. Some dogs will accept the pack like it's no big deal and you will hardly need to spend any time conditioning them to wear it. But other dogs may be a little more skeptical or flat out nervous about this strange thing you are attaching to them, so it doesn't hurt to take your time and make it a great experience.
Step 3: Get your dog used to new balancing & space awareness
The first thing your dog is probably going to do is try and walk through a doorway and run into the door frame. In fact, they will probably run into a lot of stuff the first time they wear the pack. They have to get used to the new edges of their body. Keep the experience fun with lots of laughter and rewards just for walking around your home with the pack on. Then, head out for a walk with the pack empty. Give your dog plenty of opportunity to get used to wearing the pack, as well as having it put on and taken off, without any weight in it.
Step 4: Increasing weight and improving fitness
The next step is slowly increasing how much weight your dog carries and ramping up conditioning. Just as you wouldn't one day wake up and run with a 50-pound backpack, your dog shouldn't wake up and start running with a heavy pack either. Start with a small amount of weight, maybe 2-3% of your dog's body weight, and build up from there over the course of a few weeks to carrying as much as, but no more than about 20% of the dog's body weight.
Step 5: Hit the trail and have fun!
Once your dog is conditioned to carry a backpack filled with necessities, you're ready to hit the road! Or sidewalk, or park path, or trail as the case may be. Remember to watch your dog for signs that the backpack is not rubbing them in the wrong place, and that they aren't fatigued from the extra weight.
With a properly fitted pack with just enough weight for your dog, neither of these should be an issue. But if there are areas where the straps are rubbing away your dog's fur, or your dog lies down during your walks to rest, it's a sure sign that it's time for you to carry the pack the rest of the way home.
HOW TO MAINTAIN
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Like other dog accessories, backpacks should be taken care of to make sure that they will last longer. Investing in a good backpack will ensure lasting service and durability, which will range from several months to several years depending on the frequency of use and the exposure to the elements.
While there are such features as backpacks being weatherproof, this does not mean that you should just let your dog simply wear this accessory and go. Before washing the backpack, always check the pockets for any morsels or crumbs left, which may cause lodging as it is immersed in water. This can harbor bacterial growth that can cause complications or infection.
Backpacks designed for dogs should be cleaned and dried before being stored and used for the next activity. As a general rule, it is not recommended for these accessories to be machine-washed. A gentle wash with soap and water is going to be good enough to clean the visible dirt, and removal of mud. Make sure that the cleaning agent you will be using is not too strong, as it may irritate the dog's skin during the constant friction that occurs every time the dog uses the backpack.
You may also consult your dog's veterinarian if a power disinfectant or flea powder can be applied to the straps as part of the disinfection process. A dog backpack should be air-dried and not spin-dried or blow-dried, because spin-drying can damage the parts, whereas blow-drying can make the threads brittle and will wear off faster. In combination with maintaining a backpack, the dog's body parts that are in contact with the backpack should be brushed to promote air circulation and blood circulation to the skin. This also removes loose fur that impedes circulation and can harbor bacteria.
CAMPING WITH YOUR DOG:
COMPLETE MANUAL & GUIDE
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Who doesn't love the fresh mountain air, running through fields of wildflowers and swimming in lakes? Rescue dogs are the perfect camping companions for families looking to spend some time in the great outdoors. As you pack the camper or backpack, make sure you follow the necessary steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for the whole family!
1. Check your Venue
When making camping reservations, make sure dogs are allowed. You will want to search for pet friendly campgrounds (and trails) to ensure a smooth camping experience. Due to insurance policies, some campgrounds have restricted certain breeds, typically "bully breeds", so make sure to check if your dog's breed is welcomed. Each state or national park has its own dog regulations and can be found on the individual park's website.
Most national parks don't allow dogs on hiking trails, but national forests do. Dogs are also allowed in many designated wilderness areas as well as most Bureau of Land Management holdings, but do your homework. Browse online at wilderness.net for an overview of wilderness areas around the country. Invest in a guidebook for the place you want to visit. Update your information by checking in with district rangers about current conditions and trail closures; ask if you will encounter snowfields or steep terrain, and whether you will have access to water and shade. Some backcountry areas are simply too hot for dogs, putting them at risk of burned paws, dehydration and heat stroke, to say nothing of snakebite.
2. Update Vaccines
Certain campgrounds require up-to-date rabies vaccinations for all pets. Also, if your destination is in an area that has fleas or ticks, make sure your dog is protected with the appropriate preventative. If camping near streams or lakes, do not let your dog drink from these water sources. Even the cleanest stream can contain giardia, a microscopic parasite that can cause havoc in your dog's GI track.
3. Pack the Essentials
Just like you, your dog likes the comforts of home at the campground. Bring your pup's kennel or dog bed, and his food and water bowls. Bring his favorite dog toys for chewing around camp or chasing at the lakeshore. Consider bringing a tieout, so your dog can be outside and free to roam around the campsite without wandering into the neighbor's campsite. A nightlight for your dog's collar is also a good idea, so you can see your dog at night. Depending on your destination, a doggie rain jacket or thermal may be needed, especially for those short-haired pooches. If hitting the trails, consider investing in a dog hiking pack, which will allow your dog to carry his own water and supplies. When conditioned, a dog can carry up to 25% of its body weight. Lastly, a dog first aide kit is a must have item when exploring the outdoors. Check out WWW.KURGO.COM, WWW.RUFFWEAR.COM and REI for the hardiest outdoor gear for dogs.
4. Protect your Pooch from the Wilderness
Depending on your camping destination, bears, coyotes, mountain lions and other wild animals are a possibility and unfortunately, can be a danger to your pet. Make sure your dog is leashed at all times during your outdoor adventure. This will protect them from wandering into danger. You also need to protect the resident wildlife from your dog as well, do not allow your dog to chase deer or any other wildlife. Also, make sure to pack out your pet waste, especially on high traffic trails and around bodies of water. This will maintain the serenity and beauty of the parks that so many people enjoy.
5. Know your Dog's Limits!
Before hitting the trails, make sure your dog is conditioned, either for mileage or carrying his own supplies. Young dogs, especially puppies, will not have the experience to transverse a steep slope and can easily slip and injure their joints. For dogs under a year, short, gentle hikes are a great way to introduce a young dog to the trails. Be mindful of the temperature and start your hike early to avoid the afternoon heat. Dogs are unable to sweat and panting is not an efficient cooling mechanism, particularly in hot weather or for dogs with thick coats. Always pack enough water for your dog: a good rule of thumb is to pack a 0.5 liter of water per mile for your dog. Since dogs are unable to tell us when they are tired, be mindful of your dog's behavior. Is your dog seeking shade every chance he gets, or lying down when the opportunity arises? Let your dog rest in the shade, rehydrate, and turn around! It's better to be safe than sorry.
Few dogs can do a backpacking trip without endurance training. Start close to home with hour-long hikes - adjust according to your dog's fitness level, and include uneven terrain to toughen his paws and give him a cardio workout. Within weeks, you're likely to be ready for day-long excursions farther afield. Provide plenty of water and snack breaks, and hike only as fast and as far as your dog can go comfortably. Get him used to wading and even swimming. Some dogs take one look at a rushing stream and say Forget it!, but if you build the challenges slowly and make water training fun, many will be unfazed by white-water riffles.
HIKING WITH YOUR DOG:
MANUAL & GUIDE
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Planning Your Trip
Trail Regulations and Etiquette
Always check on the dog regulations for the areas where you will be backpacking. Most U.S. national parks, for example, do not allow dogs to share the trail. Maintain control of your dog at all times. Dogs are required to be on-leash at most maintained public trails. Most require a leash to be 6 feet or less in length, so I advise ditching your extendable leash. It may be great for everyday romps around the neighborhood to give your dog more freedom, but it's rarely sturdy enough to live up to trail conditions. Having your dog on a leash is not enough! You should also be sure to keep him or her calm as other people and pooches pass by. Be aware of what situations will upset or aggravate your furry friend. If he or she is still getting used to other dogs, you might want to hold off on hiking for now.
Is Your Dog Physically Ready?
Ease your dog into the routine of hiking. If you want your pet to carry some of the load, start off by having him or her wear a pack around the house, then on short walks, then longer walks. You should also start with lighter loads. It's safe to work to up to one-third of your dog's weight if your dog is in healthy physical condition. For dogs who are older or in poor physical condition, consider leaving them at home with friends, They will be much happier and safer, too.
Be prepared. Sites such as peteducation.com have a lot of great info about dogs, including many articles about first aid. Petco and the Red Cross offer first-aid classes, which I recommend highly, to offer you hands-on help. Once Kiwi got quite a gash from a coyote she ran into. I was lucky enough to have a friend who was a vet on the trip, but quickly learned how important it is to make sure one is ready to take care of their dog no matter what circumstances arise. I carry pet first aid kit, which also comes with a great book to help you with what to do on the trail.
Packing Your Dog
You have done your research, and your pooch is ready to go. Let's start packing!
Food and Water
Hydration is crucial for an active dog. Some dog packs feature a nifty built-in hydration system for watering dogs. You can also consider collapsible food and water dishes. Depending on size, your dog should usually be able to carry his or her own food and water. Do your research to make sure there is going to be plenty of water to filter where you will be backpacking. Be sure to pack enough for both of you if there is nowhere to get more. Dogs are susceptible to giardia protozoa much like humans, so be sure to filter and/or treat their water just as you would if you were going to consume it. Check with your vet to ensure your dog will be getting the right amount of calories for the estimated energy that will be expended. Your vet is also a great resource to advise on the exercise level that is right for your dog.
This depends on what the weather is going to be like or how extreme it might get for the days you will be on the trail. I have opted for a kid's bag, but some of my friends carry ultralight two-person bags so that they can snuggle with their pooch when the temperature drops very low. It all depends on your pup, the breed and learning what they need to be comfortable. It's better to overpack the first time and learn than bring too little to keep your pal cozy.
In addition to sleeping gear, give some thought to your dog's attire. Indoor dogs and breeds with thin coats can benefit from an outer layer to preserve body temperature in cold, wet conditions.
Dog Vest and Coats
You might choose a type of jacket to ensure your dog's belly stays nice and warm, especially when you are in deep snow. If you are going to be hiking in a very hot environment, you might consider a dog vest. You can soak it with water to dissipate heat as the water evaporates. On the other temperature extreme, consider a fleece bodysuit that covers your dog's entire body and legs. This suit is overkill when your dog is working hard during the day, but I am sure any dog would appreciate PJs when it's chilly at night. In fact, some dogs do just fine with an extra layer and no sleeping bag at night.
It may take a few tries for you to find the right pair that don't fall off your dog when tromping through snow. I recommend testing out your boots on short walks and hikes before any big trips. Dogs looks a little ridiculous and confused the first time we adorned them in a footwear, but usually they are very thankful for a nessesary paws protection!
This is just the beginning of the gear you can invest in to make the outdoors a safe and fun place for your dog. A few other examples:
Dog harnesses for more technical trails or climbing
GPS beacons and leashes that fasten to you via carabiners
Dog-specific bike trailer
Dog tent (Not all dogs like these for overnights, but they can double as sun shelters.
Leashes (I prefer using a waistbelt system to not to wait, while backpacking, I like a leash I can clip to my pack.)
Cooling collars for hot days
Creams that help breeds that don't need boots stay comfortable in the snow.
Things to check after the trip...
At trip's end, be sure to check your dog's body for ticks, burrs and other objects. If you do find a tick, I recommend contacting your vet. There are different dangers for pets regionally, so a vet can help you decide if you should remove the tick yourself or come into the office. Also, I wash my dog with some medicated shampoo, as the plants that brush up against her can sometimes irritate her belly since she doesn't have a lot of fur on it. However, most dogs will be fine with a quick bath.
THE ULTIMATE DOG TRAVEL GUIDE
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When you are planning a trip, you have dozens of details to worry about. If you add a pet to the mix, those details may begin to feel overwhelming. Whether you are traveling for pleasure or moving to a new place, that does not mean you have to leave your dog behind. Here are some tips to show you how to keep yourself and your pet calm and comfortable, no matter what distance or mode you travel. This information will help you and your dog navigate every phase of the journey, from planning and packing to boarding and feeding.
Prepare for Your Journey
Pre-travel preparation is one of the most important parts of successfully traveling with or without a pet. By making the right plans, you can save yourself and your pet much discomfort or even trouble. Here are some key things you should do before you set out:
Rehearse With Your Pet:
If your pet has never been on a long journey before, get them ready by taking them on short drives and then increase the time gradually. Be sure to put them in their crate every time, so they get used to it faster. Take a walk around the airline terminal or station to get them familiar with the smells and sounds. Reward your dog for good behavior and talk reassuringly to them.
Take a Relaxing Walk Before Boarding:
It helps to let your pet walk or run around before boarding the plane, bus, boat, or train. See if there are any areas outside of the airport or station for a quick round of exercise. This will help both you and your pet expend excess energy and be more tired during the flight, which will make for a peaceful journey.
Buy the Right Crate or Carrier:
If you are buying a shipping crate for your dog, be sure it is IATA approved. Any crate or carrier should be large enough for your pet to sit, stand, and turn around in with ease. It should be secure enough not to slip around when the vehicle or plane moves or stops.
Prepare the Crate for Comfort:
Line it with absorbent bedding, like shredded bits of paper or cloth. Before you leave, freeze a small bowl of water, which will melt when your pet gets thirsty and won't spill during loading time. Close the crate securely but never lock it, so it can be opened for feeding or emergencies. Attach a bag of dry food or seed to the outside of the carrier or crate, so your pet can be fed during a long trip or layover. Last but not least, be sure to attach your dog's identification to the crate to avoid misplacing them.
No Crate, No Problem:
If you don't plan to use a crate in the car, be sure your pet rides safely with its head inside the window at all times. Keep pets in the back seat in a harness you can attach directly to the seat belt buckle.
Research the Dog Rules of Your Destination
If you are traveling internationally or even between states, check the requirements of your destination country, city, town, or state. The rules and laws may be different from your state or country of origin. Many countries and states have specific health, vaccination, and quarantine regulations. You can verify these rules by visiting the official embassy website of the country. More countries are starting to require pets to have a microchip implant, which is an effective way to find your pet if it gets lost or runs away. Ask your pet care specialist about getting one for your dog - they are inexpensive and could save you a lot of heartaches!
Contact A Specialist Pet Relocation Company
Just as a pet owner should go to a vet for specialist veterinary advice, or to a relocation company to move their furniture, pet owners should contact a specialist Pet Relocation Company for all the peculiar requirements for the destination, route, crating, air carriers, transit stops etc. that will be required. Every country and every carrier is different and the rules are inclined to change at any time. This Association IPATA (International Pet and Animal Transportation Association ) has specialist members throughout the world.
Learn About Your Airline's Pet Policy
Just like different countries have different rules, traveling with pets can vary by airline as well. Make sure you are informed about all requirements and restrictions before flying with a pet in the plane and the terminal, too. Try to book a direct flight so you won't have to deal with stopovers. Moving your pet from one plane to another could be stressful and increase the chances of losing them. You will also need to make different arrangements for in-cabin pet travel versus cargo pet travel. Sometimes, smaller "pocket pets" are allowed in the cabin, like birds, hamsters, and reptiles. Larger animals like dogs and cats are usually housed in a back area. Ask about the environment they will be in while on the plane to see if you need to provide extra blankets, water, or even a comfort item like their favorite stuffed animal. Most airlines have specific web pages that describe their policies on pets, as well as how to make in-cabin or cargo arrangements. Here some links to specific pages with airline information about traveling with pets.
Prepare for Other Modes of Travel With Your Pet
Even if you don't plan to fly, you will likely still need to transport your pet via at least 1 mode of transportation. If you have a travel crate or kennel for your pet, that is ideal; especially because they will be in unfamiliar surroundings and may feel threatened or uneasy.
Cabs, Rideshares, and Taxis: Because there are so many cab companies, you will want to ask about their pet policies when you call for a ride or before you get into the car.
When leasing a vehicle, talk directly to the rental company to find out about their dog policy before the trip. You may need to sign an agreement or pay a small deposit upfront.
Buses and Trains:
Many buses and trains, including Amtrak, allow small cats and dogs on certain routes, so be sure to ask ahead of time before you board.
Boats: The same goes for boats as for other types of transportation, even the smaller commuter versions. Take time to call them or check the website so you know their pet policy.
Never leave your pet alone inside a vehicle to avoid dangers like theft, heatstroke, and freezing. As a responsible dog owner, you need to gauge the mode of travel depending on your dog's temperament. You want to protect your pet, but you also want to protect others from scratches, bites, messes, and undue noise.
Find Dog-Friendly Accommodations
Although many hotels allow pets, others may prohibit them. If you don't want to get stuck with a hotel that is not pet-friendly, make sure to do your research before you book. Even if you know that your hotel welcomes pets, you should make sure you have a room where pets are specifically allowed. Some hotels may have particular rooms for pet owners. In addition, most hotels will specify the animal's type, size, weight, and other things, so be sure to review all their rules and ask any questions before you arrive. You can also search for pet-friendly hotels, as most establishments readily publish their information online on their official website.
Schedule a Pre-Trip Checkup With Your Veterinarian
Pet owners are advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to let their vets know as soon as travel becomes a possibility. It may take several appointments before all the paperwork and vaccinations are complete, so plan your vet visits well in advance of your trip.
Immunizations, Certificates, and Tests:
Certain countries may require blood tests, rabies certificates, and specific vaccines as much as 6 months in advance of travel. Failure to abide by these rules could lead to separation from your pet in your destination country, because officials may need to quarantine your pet upon arrival.
Medications and Flea Prevention:
If your pet is on any medications, special food, or requires flea and tick prevention, make sure to get a sufficient supply from your vet to last through the trip and a few weeks beyond.
Stress Reduction for You Both:
In addition to any essential blood tests, vaccinations, medication, and paperwork, your vet can also inform you about treatments that could make the journey with your pet less stressful. For example, getting a microchip implant for your pet could calm concerns about losing your pet while away from home. Also, asking your vet about sedation options for the trip could be a good idea if your pet is susceptible to anxiety.
Prepare Your Pet and Pack the Essentials
Create a list and stock up on all the things that will increase your dog's comfort during the flight. You should ensure that you have a spacious carrier that is appropriate for travel. If you plan to fly, your airline will specify the requirements. Some items you should acquire and prepare include the following:
Get Your Pet Comfortable With the Carrier:
Give your pet plenty of time to get used to the carrier at home by leaving it out with the door open. Put their favorite bed or blanket inside, leave a toy or treat, and praise them for going in on their own. Don't push it, just give your pet time to adjust.
Invest in Calming Products:
You might also want to consider anxiety-reducing products like a pheromone collar or lavender oil, which you can sprinkle inside the carrier for a calming effect. Another accessory to consider is a pet calming vest, which applies gentle pressure to specific areas to reduce anxiety. If your pet has a beloved blanket, stuffed animal toy, or even a shirt that smells like you, place that inside the carrier for comfort. Important! Make sure no tranquilizer is used on your pet that will reduce their blood pressure. This is especially dangerous at altitude for brachycephalics.
Pack Items for Restraining:
Make sure you have collars, leashes, muzzles, safety vests, and other items that will help you keep your pet under control at all times.
Check the weather and environmental conditions where you will be going. Be sure to pack collapsible water bowls, treats, toys, rain jackets, swimming safety vests or any other items your pet could use.
Prepare a Pet Travel Kit:
Depending on the mode of transportation, pack the essential items for your dog, including:
A small amount of dry food
A small collapsible bowl
Medications and first aid items
Travel documents, like a rabies certificate
A favorite soft toy, blanket, or pillow
Treats and dental chews
Your veterinarian's contact information
Watch Your Dog's Diet
If you can keep to your dog's accustomed diet for a while after arrival, it will help to avoid stomach upsets. Your dog will be out of sorts in unfamiliar territory, so changing up its diet could spell disaster. Your pet will most likely be hungry after the long trip, so do your best to ensure they have the food they need to keep them energetic and healthy. Here are some ways to keep your pet on course:
Depending on the mode of travel and destination, if you use a dried food, you can probably carry enough with you for a couple of weeks. You can also research the location to see if you can purchase some food upon your arrival, or even have it shipped there. Some hotels will have your dog's favorite food on hand if you set things up ahead of time. In this case, planning is crucial.
Canned or Fresh Food:
If you normally use canned or fresh food, it may be worth getting your pet used to a completely dry food diet before you travel. If they must have canned or fresh food, you will need to make sure you can either buy it or ship it to your final destination.
If you plan to transport a bird or small animal that eats seeds, be sure to check the country you plan to go. Some places will not allow certain types of seeds into their country.
Plan for Emergencies and the Unexpected
The U.S. Department of State recommends pet owners have an emergency plan in case they need to send their pets back home or leave them behind in the destination country. The plan should include:
Who to Call:
Your contact information, as well as your veterinarian's.
How to Care:
Instructions about your dog's care and feeding, including medications and preventative treatments.
Where to Stay:
Contact details of at least 1 trusted person or facility with whom your pet could stay, both in the destination country and back at home.
How to Pay:
Instructions on financial and medical resources your dog might need in an emergency situation and accessibility details, like phone numbers and hours of operation.
Keep Your Dog Calm and Comfortable During the Journey
You may be feeling stressed on the big travel day, but it is important your pet sees you as calm and collected. Here are some tips from the ASPCA to help make your journey go as smoothly as possible:
Talk to All the Airline Staff:
Tell every airline employee or personnel that you have a pet traveling with you. If your pet is traveling in the cargo area of the plane instead of the cabin, you may want to confirm they have loaded your pet onboard. This is especially important if you and your pet take multiple connecting flights. Sometimes airline staff will voluntarily approach pet owners on the plane once their pets have been loaded safely onboard, but this is not always the case. If you haven't already been notified of your dog's whereabouts before takeoff, don't be afraid to politely request confirmation from the airline staff.
Keep Your Dog Hydrated and Fed, But Not Full:
Just like their human counterparts, pets should not have heavy meals before flying. Feed your pet between 3-4 hours prior to leaving. Be sure to give your dog a bathroom opportunity close to departure time. Just like humans, pets get dehydrated while traveling and during flights due to the plane's air filtration system. If possible, give your pet some bottled water to drink during the flight, but not an excessive amount as that will increase the chance of a messy accident. If you are unable to monitor your dog's in-flight hydration, you should ensure they get rehydrated immediately after the flight. Be aware that drinking water that comes from a place your pet is not used to can cause digestive problems. On other modes of transportation, like buses and trains, water may not be easily accessible, so find out if you can carry bottled water for your dog. If not, make sure they have water on board for your dog. You will need to do your research to make sure your pet has all the necessities and is well-cared for, no matter what mode of transportation you choose.
Enlist in the Latest Pet Resources
Keeping your dog comfortable and healthy while traveling requires a certain amount of planning and preparation, but it is well worth the time. You will both enjoy the trip more and arrive ready to go! There are a number of gadgets and apps to help make your trip safer and easier, such as:
There are a variety of GPS pet tracking devices, like the Nuzzle Collar, that will alert the owner when the pet exits a pre-designated area.
You can go online to easily find a dog insurance plan that suits your budget and your pet's needs.
Pet Travel Apps:
Install a pet travel app to help you find pet-friendly places and share your travels with friends and family, such as FIGO's Pet Cloud and Bring Fido.
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