If you like to get active by going out for a bike ride or hiking along wilderness trails, you can bet that your furry friend will want to come along too!
But what can you do if you have an older dog that can’t get around so easily anymore? How about a tiny pup that just can’t keep up on a long ride or hike? And what about very young puppies?
Now, thanks to specially designed dog backpack carriers, a senior dog, a toy breed, or a pup with mobility issues can share in the fun!
Read this guide to find out what’s the best dog back carrier you can buy and more!
Comparison Table of the 7 Best Dog Backpack Carriers
Ytonet Dog Backpack Carrier
- Carries dogs up to 20 pounds
- Excellent ventilation
- Includes handy side pockets
Kurgo G-Train Backpack Carrier
- Carries dogs up to 25 pounds
- Lifetime warranty
Pawaboo Traditional Carrier
- Carries dogs up to 15 pounds
- Front-facing carrier design
- Quick-release safety feature
Petami Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack
- 600D premium-grade polyester
- Additional shoulder padding
Mogoko Dog Carrier Backpack
- Ideal for small dogs of 10 to 15 pounds
K9 Sport Sack Trainer
- Suitable for larger dogs
IDEE Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack
- Suitable for dogs up to 20 pounds
- Ideal for hiking and biking
What Is A Dog Backpack Carrier?
A dog backpack carrier, unlike a traditional pet carrier, is designed to transport your pet safely on your back or front, carried in a bag.
Backpack Styles and Sizes
Some styles of backpacks enable the dog to have his legs and head out, while others keep the animal safely confined. A hands-free dog backpack carrier provides the dog owner with much more freedom to move when hiking or biking with their pet.
You can also take your dog with you on public transport, such as on an airplane or the subway.
Most dog backpack carriers are designed to take small dog breeds and cats purely because of the weight you have to carry. That said, you can buy carriers for medium-sized and larger breeds, provided you’re fit and strong enough to carry your pet.
When to Use a Dog Carrier Backpack
Although dog backpacks are an excellent idea, there is a time and place for them. These canine accessories were first made popular by celebrities that wanted to take their dogs with them wherever they went, coining the term “purse dogs.”
Unfortunately, carrying your dog around all day is not good for the dog’s health. However, there are some occasions and situations when placing your dog in a backpack is necessary and a handy trick to have.
If you have an elderly dog or one that has mobility issues, your dog can still enjoy a day out in the wilderness or a romp down a bike trail, thanks to a dog backpack carrier. Young puppies that don’t have the stamina to walk very far can also benefit from being given a lift.
If you’re out hiking and your canine companion is flagging, you can give your dog rest by popping him in his carrier and giving him a ride. Once your dog’s batteries are recharged, they can continue walking alongside you.
Although dogs are strictly speaking “four-wheel-drive” creatures, rough terrain can cause paw injuries. So, if you come across a particularly tricky stretch of going, you can save your pet from discomfort and possible injury by using your carrier backpack.
The same principle applies to crossing water, climbing up rocky inclines, or getting over fences that the dog can’t negotiate on his own. Using a backpack carrier gives you the freedom you need to carry your dog over difficult parts of the trail, while still leaving your hands free.
If you like to take your dog along with you on a camping vacation, the chances are you’ll want to hit the hiking trails around your chosen campground.
Many wilderness areas are home to sensitive birds and animals, and dogs are not permitted, even when the pup is leashed. However, a well-behaved dog can still go along for the ride, safely contained and confined in a backpack carrier.
Why You Should Buy a Dog Backpack Carrier
If you take your dog with you often, a dog backpack carrier makes things much easier on both of you.
For example, a dog that continually pulls on his leash can become extremely tiresome on long hikes, and a backpack carrier can save you a lot of frustration. You can still both enjoy the walk without you having your arms pulled right out of their sockets.
If you have a small dog, it will take much longer to cover the same amount of ground as a larger breed. So, a little dog will get tired much more quickly, and a backpack carrier allows you to give your exhausted pup a lift without having to abandon the hike altogether.
Of course, you can still take your dog out for rides in your car in his travel crate, but that’s not the same as taking a long walk in the fresh air. As dogs get older, some develop health problems, such as arthritis, which makes accompanying their owners on long hikes really tough going. A dog backpack carrier makes that a non-issue, allowing both of you to enjoy the exciting trips your pet loved when he was younger and more mobile.
Related: Best car safety harness for dogs
What To Look For In A Dog Backpack Carrier
So, you can see that using a dog backpack carrier can have many benefits for both dogs and their owners. But how do you go about choosing one?
The most important factor when choosing any dog container is getting the size correct. If the carrier is too large, the dog will roll around too much, making carrying that extra weight uncomfortable and tiring for the owner. If the carrier is too small, the dog will feel cramped and uncomfortable, and he might even overheat.
How Do I Measure My Dog For A Backpack?
To get the correct size backpack for your dog, you need to take the following three factors into consideration:
- Your dog’s weight
- Your dog’s body length
- The girth of your dog’s chest
To get the dog’s weight, you can either take a trip to the vet’s clinic and ask to use their special scales, or you can do the job at home. Simply stand on your bathroom scales with your dog and make a note of the weight. Now, stand on the scales without the dog. Subtract your weight from that of your dog and you together, and that will give you the dog’s weight.
Using a fabric tape measure, measure the distance from your dog’s collar to the base of his tail. That will give you the dog’s length.
Finally, measure the girth of your dog’s chest at its widest point.
If you’re unsure of the correct size to buy, ask the manufacturer for more information and guidance.
What’s Your Dog Like?
Establishing the correct size of carrier appears pretty straightforward. However, there’s a massive difference between dogs’ body shapes and types. For example, you can have a sausage-shaped Dachshund and a bowling ball bulldog, and every other conceivable shape in between.
So, the best backpack carrier for one dog might not suit another. Tiny dogs with fragile limbs might be better suited to a carrier that allows the pup to ride inside and view the passing world through a mesh window. Long-necked dogs might prefer a backpack that enables them to ride with their heads sticking out. Dogs that fidget are probably best carried in a bag that lets them put their head and all four legs outside.
It’s really just a case of choosing the style of carrier that suits your dog the best.
Adjustable Head And Leg Openings
A high-quality, well-designed backpack allows you to adjust the shoulder straps and head and leg openings to ensure that both you and your pet are comfortable.
If the backpack is too tight, the dog’s circulation will be restricted, while if he has too much space, his safety could be at risk.
Many doggy backpack carriers are made with an expandable design that enables you to convert the bag into a regular carrier. That can be a very handy feature to have, as the backpack could double as a carrier for your car, on a train, or even on an airplane.
A confined dog is at risk of overheating, especially on a warm day when in close contact with a warm human!
So, with any form of wearable dog gear, you need to check that the fabric used is breathable and non-restrictive, providing plenty of air for your pet. Mesh fabric generally provides optimal airflow through the carrier, and a puppy backpack with plenty of mesh windows gives your dog a room with a view.
If you intend to use the backpack outside, look for one that’s weather-resistant or waterproof. That way, you won’t be carrying a miserable soggy doggy around on your hike!
Most backpack for dog carriers have additional storage pouches where you can carry small items, such as treats, poop bags, water, a collapsible dog bowl, and other essentials.
That’s handy, as you want to keep the weight and bulk you’re carrying down to a minimum, and if you can fit everything you need in one backpack, so much the better.
A Comfortable Fit For You
Of course, you’re the one who will be carrying the weight of your dog on a bike ride or hike. So, you want a backpack that’s well-balanced and comfortable with even weight distribution. Ideally, the backpack should have well-padded, extra-wide shoulder straps, a waist strap, and safety buckles that are easy to adjust.
The backpack carrier should have a safety collar, safety clip, or safety leash attached within the carrier to prevent your dog from escaping or falling from the backpack. That’s extremely important, as even a fall from waist height could cause catastrophic injuries to a toy dog or one with health issues.
If you intend to travel on an airplane, check that the carrier’s zipper has a secure locking device that only opens from the outside.
Accidents do sometimes happen, especially with puppies and elderly dogs. So, look for a carrier that has a removable, washable liner that’s easy and quick to clean.
The backpack should be made from strong material that won’t collapse, especially in the middle section, which would be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for your dog. Before you use the backpack, we recommend that you load the backpack to its maximum and then take it for a test run.
Are Dog Backpacks Safe?
Generally, as long as you buy a high-quality backpack with a sturdy design that fits your dog properly and your dog is well-behaved most dog backpack carriers are perfectly safe to use.
However, front-style carriers where the dog’s legs are left free can be uncomfortable for dogs with joint problems. For maximum comfort, these pups might be better transported inside a backpack. However, if your dog shows signs of discomfort, using a backpack is probably not the best choice for your pet.
The dog backpack carrier you choose should have a safety leash feature that attaches the dog’s leash to the inside of the carrier. That way, your dog won’t be able to jump out of the carrier, potentially falling and injuring himself.
How Long Can A Dog Stay In A Backpack?
Provided that your backpack carrier is sturdy and well-made, and easy for you to carry, there should be no issue in letting your dog ride in the backpack for a few hours.
Remember that your dog might get a bit fidgety and restless if left inside the carrier for too long. You also need to keep in mind that your pet will need regular potty stops throughout a long walk.
So, we recommend that you stop every hour or so and let your dog out of the backpack to stretch his legs and relieve himself. That’s especially important on very hot days to prevent your pet from overheating.
How Much Weight Should I Put In My Dog Backpack Carrier?
Ideally, you should carry around 25 percent of your dog’s total body weight in your backpack carrier. So, if you have a dog that weighs 20 pounds, you don’t want to put more than an additional five pounds in your backpack.
There are several reasons for that. Firstly, you are the one who is going to be carrying that weight! Don’t make the mistake of carrying the backpack for a few feet and assuming that you’ll be able to cope after an hour’s hike over challenging terrain.
If you think you might struggle to carry your dog over any considerable distance, perhaps reconsider the idea of using a backpack and go back to the drawing board.
Do Dogs Like Riding In Backpack Carriers?
Most dogs do seem to enjoy riding in backpack carriers.
However, the carrier must be the correct size and design for the dog, and the pup must be comfortable. Dogs that are well-behaved tend to adapt best to riding in backpack carriers, and many even go to sleep during the ride. On the other hand, dogs that are prone to fidgeting around and are easily distracted by other pups and people passing by might not enjoy the experience of backpacking.
So, you need to know your dog and perhaps have a couple of trial runs before you head off for a day’s hiking with your dog in a backpack carrier.
7 Best Dog Backpack Carriers
Now that you know more about using and choosing a great dog backpack carrier let’s dive into this list of our favorites.
1. Ytonet Dog Backpack Carrier
Carries dogs up to 20 pounds
Includes handy side pockets
If you have a medium-sized or small dog, the Ytonet Dog Backpack Carrier is the perfect choice for you.
This backpack is worn on your back like a mini crate and can carry a dog weighing up to 20 pounds. The crate’s mesh panels enable you to keep an eye on your pet, and the carrier has side pockets where you can store your dog’s essentials, such as treats, poop bags, and your leash.
This pet carrier backpack has two separate entrances for convenience, and you can attach your pet’s leash to the bag for safety, just in case your dog makes a leap for freedom!
- Provides freedom of movement for your dog
- Carries dogs up to 20 pounds
- Fully adjustable
- Not very comfortable to carry
2. Kurgo G-Train Backpack Carrier
Carries dogs up to 25 pounds
The Kurgo G-Train Backpack is designed to carry dogs weighing up to 25 pounds, and it looks great, too!
This fantastic backpack is not only TSA-approved but it can be transformed into a regular carrier by flipping it onto its side. These pet carriers have lots of pockets for the storage of poop bags, treats, your furry friend’s leash, and lots more! The bottom of the bag is waterproof, making cleanup easy in the event of accidents, and it’s stain-resistant, too.
The carrier is very well-ventilated for your dog’s comfort, and the padded shoulder straps and hip strap make this affordable backpack comfortable for owners, too!
If you buy your backpack from an authorized seller, you get a lifetime warranty.
- Lifetime warranty
- Waterproof and stain-resistant
- Carries dogs up to 25 pounds
- Comfortable to carry
- Some users report factory defects in the carrier
3. Pawaboo Traditional Carrier
Carries dogs up to 15 pounds
Front-facing carrier design
Quick-release safety feature
This traditional carrier is designed to hold dogs of 15 pounds or lighter and has a front-carry design.
This carrier is worn on your front. The dog is secured in the carrier by chest straps, allowing your dog complete freedom of movement for all four legs. The carrier is fully adjustable, and the design includes quick-release chest buckles for safety.
Although this pet carrier is undoubtedly cute and the front-carry design can help clingy dogs with separation anxiety, getting your furry friend installed in the bag can be challenging. Also, the shoulder straps can slip off your shoulders rather easily.
- Quick-release feature for extra safety
- Carries toy breeds up to 15 pounds
- Front-facing design
- Only suitable for very small dogs up to 15 pounds
4. Petami Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack
600D premium-grade polyester
Additional shoulder padding
The PetAmi pet carrier backpack is a cross between a traditional carrier and a hiking backpack.
The design allows your pet ample space to look out of the carrier’s top window or just chill out and enjoy the ride if he prefers. This pet backpack has two mesh windows on the front and the side.
We love the sturdy, robust 600D premium-grade polyester construction of this carrier. The carrier also comes in nine different colors and has double-padded shoulder straps for user comfort. There are chest buckles and a waist buckle for additional support. And that’s not all! This carrier comes with a free collapsible water bowl and an ID tag.
- Made from strong 600D polyester fabric for durability
- Includes free collapsible water bowl and ID tag
- Comfortable to carry
- Zippers are disappointingly poor quality
5. Mogoko Dog Carrier Backpack
Ideal for small dogs of 10 to 15 pounds
The Mogoko pet carrier backpack is designed for toy breeds weighing between 10 and 15 pounds.
The carrier is designed like a rucksack and is constructed from EPE-padded foam and mesh. The drawstring opening neck hold provides good ventilation while allowing your dog to enjoy a clear view of where you’re going.
The carrier features lots of pockets on either side, where you can keep everything your dog needs for a fun trip. There’s a rope inside the carrier that attaches to your dog’s leash, keeping your pet well-anchored in case he tries to get away from you. The bottom of the carrier is removable for easy cleanup.
The carrier features a waist strap and fully adjustable shoulder straps for your comfort.
Finally, this carrier is airline-approved, making this the ideal choice for you if you like to travel by air with your canine companion.
- Easy to clean
- Constructed using EPE-padded foam
- Comfortable to carry
- Not suitable for larger breeds
6. K9 Sport Sack Trainer
Suitable for larger dogs
The K9 Sport Sack is built like a traditional backpack with safety buckles, extra pockets, and lots of excellent extra features.
This dog carrier is ideal for taking your dog along with you on bike rides. The backpack is designed with wide mesh FoamTek shoulder straps that can keep you cool on a hot day, and the 20mm thick bottom pad inside the carrier keeps your dog comfy.
The carrier is made from lightweight, water-resistant fabric, and the backpack has additional side pockets that can take water bottles, poop bags, leashes, and anything else you’ll need for your pet.
- Perfect for bike rides
- Made from lightweight, water-resistant fabric
- Lots of extra pockets
- Suitable for medium to large-sized dogs
- Not suitable for small dogs
7. IDEE Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack
Suitable for dogs up to 20 pounds
Ideal for hiking and biking
The IDEE Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack is suitable for use with dogs weighing up to 20 pounds.
The product’s ergonomic design offers several important extra features, including reinforced double line stitching to strengthen the strap seams. The mesh back is made from breathable, thick fabric for increased comfort for your pet. A comfortable carry is assured, thanks to the extra-wide, extra-thick chest, waist, and shoulder straps.
The carrier has front and side pockets for additional storage, and the expandable nylon mesh area offers your dog plenty of space to lay down and nap. To keep your pet safely contained in the carrier, there’s an integral metal leash hook. For easy cleaning, the double-sided bottom pad is removable.
Finally, your pet is guaranteed an excellent view, thanks to the transparent PVC plate and roll-up mesh shade curtain.
- Ideal for hiking and biking
- Made from lightweight, water-resistant fabric and mesh
- Plenty of extra storage pockets
- Easy to clean
- Not the cheapest carrier but a reasonable price for the quality and extra features you get
I hope you enjoyed our reviews of the best dog backpack carriers on the market. If you found the information helpful, please share the article!
Of the dog backpack carriers we reviewed, our favorite was the IDEE Expandable Dog Carrier Backpack. We love the backpack’s ergonomic design and thoughtful features, including reinforced double line stitching to strengthen the strap seams, extra-padded straps for user comfort, lots of pockets for useful additional storage, and the double-sided base pad for easy cleaning.
Although this isn’t the cheapest backpack on our list, we think the product offers excellent value for money, superior user comfort, and a wealth of bonus features. That’s why we love it!
What backpack did you choose for your dog and why? Tell us in the comments box below!