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Discussion Starter #1
I'm planning on getting a backpack for my adult lab in the next few weeks and one for the puppy WHEN SHE IS OLD/DEVELOPED enough. No way would I put one on a 5 month old puppy. Just though I'd clarify that.

Anyway...which brands have you all had success with? I have seen reviews about how some sit too far back on the dog and possible back problems...but of course these are the ones that seem the most readily available right?

So...I'm open to suggestions. Both dogs are labs. The current adult is about 50lbs and the puppy is projected to be between 55-60 when she is fully grown.
 

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If you are willing to spend the money, the Ruffwear brand is high quality, well designed and durable. the one that is a combination of a removable pack and a harness provides a lot of options and is very useful.

For a basic pack with lower cost, I have used the MountainSmith brand and found it serviceable. The front straps under the belly rubbed the front "armpits" but a bit of fleece wrapping solved that easily enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Shell! What sort of store sells those? REI? Dr's Foster & Smith?

All I've found available in the stores here is Outward Hound.
 

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MountainSmith pack was on Amazon. A local hiking store carried Ruffwear stuff, as does of course Ruffwear's own website. I bought Ruffwear brand items online from Altrec. I would think REI would carry that line.

I'd say 18 months is fine for using a light pack (no more than a couple pounds in it for a large dog). Then you can get them used to the pack and at about age 2, add some weight. I stick to no more than about 15% of body weight in the pack (balanced side to side) but start with just a single can of soup in each side (so, about 10 ounces each side).

Remember that a pack adds to the effect of hot weather (although it can help keep them warmer in cold weather which is a plus)
 

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At what age can a pack be used?
Our Akita is about 18 months.
That is plenty old enough. We had our Akitas in backpacks at 8-9 months. They were 80-90 lbs by then, so I guess it would depend on the size of your Akita. All three ended up being 120+ and never had any health problems. They were also pulling us through the snow every winter, so I guess they just got used to pulling things and carrying weight.
 

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Ruff Wear! Best packs in my opinion. If you shop around and wait for a deal, you can get them for a lot less than full price.
 

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Thanks!
Heat is certainly an issue here.
We've been in the mid/upper 90's to low triple digits for about 2 weeks.
Hiking and walks have been early morning affairs as he was raised in climate control until about 2 months ago.
He's pushing at 100 pounds now.

I'm off to check the sites and brands you all recommended.
 
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