How To Buy a Dog Pack

Going on a hike with your pooch? Let Rover help you by carrying some of his own supplies with a doggy back pack! Finding the right dog pack is fairly straightforward, but you will need to figure some things out first.

Type of pack

Your choice of pack will be determined by your destination. Are you taking a nice urban hike in the park? Then a small, lightweight pack is a good place to start. If you’re going on a week-long camping trip or hiking in the wilderness, buy a dog pack that will stand up to the punishment of your dog running through low bushes and other obstacles.

Size of the pack

Buy a dog pack that is suitable for the size of your dog and for the load it will carry. For example, a Beagle can’t carry as much as a Labrador Retriever, which can’t carry as much as a Saint Bernard.  If you have more than one dog, you should measure each dog separately. Don’t guess.

Measuring your dog is fairly easy: with a fabric tape measure, wrap the tape around the girth (the fullest part of the dog’s ribcage, just behind the elbows). Each pack is sized for a particular girth measurement.  One manufacturer’s medium-sized pack might allow a girth measurement between 24” and 32”, while another manufacturer’s medium may be between 18” and 28”. Always go by the girth measurement, not the size.


Be sure to choose a pack suitable for the purpose. For quick hikes to the neighborhood park, buy a dog pack made with light, breathable material. For heavy or rough use, the material needs to be heavier and the seams solidly constructed.

Overall fit

Make sure that your dog’s pack fits well. If you’re able to go to the store with your dog, ask to try the packs on before you buy. If you order the pack online, then be sure that your dog is clean and brushed out well before putting the pack on for the first time, in case you need to return the pack. Your dog’s pack should fit on his back with most of the weight focused over his shoulders, but without impeding his movement when the pack is filled.

When you buy a dog pack that is right for the purpose and your dog, you’ll have a happy hiking buddy who can help share the load!


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