In a rush and just want my recommendation? I think the Pet Gear I-GO2 Roller Backpack is a great choice.
Whether you climb mountains or stroll around the neighborhood, there are times when your dog may not be able to walk with you. The alternative is to carry them. Fine for a time, but even a little dog can feel like a tonne of weight after a few minutes.
To ensure the safety and comfort of your dog, and you, it’s important to get the best dog carrier backpack for your specific needs.
In this article, I’m reviewing the following dog carrier backpacks.
- Outward Hound PoochPouch Front Carrier
- K9 Sport Sack | Dog Carrier Backpack
- Ytonet Dog Backpack Carrier
- Pet Gear I-GO2 Roller Backpack
- Kurgo G-Train Pet Backpack Carrier
When To Use a Dog Carrier Backpack
The first three months of a pup’s life are important for development of social skills. Young puppies should have their first round of vaccinations at six weeks of age. It’s recommended that they start to be taken out and socialized about a week later.
As with any baby, they can become tired quite quickly. A carrier backpack gets them home from the park safely, while they snooze comfortably inside.
Similarly, as your dog ages they may have problems with fatigue. Health problems such as arthritis can reduce the amount of exercise your dog can manage. Dogs still want to be out and about. They love seeing and doing different things, and being stimulated.
I had this situation with a 17 year old Border Terrier of mine. She loved being out on walks but her spine and hip arthritis caused severe immobility and pain when she walked.
Has your dog had surgery, or an injury which prevents them from being able to do a long walk with you? Do you need to carry your dog to the vet? Are you planning air-travel?
Perhaps you need to walk or cycle to a dog park through busy city streets. A dog carrier backpack can make yours and your dog’s life a lot easier.
Some airlines allow dogs in the cabin area. See United Airlines policy.
Uncontrolled and aggressive dogs can be intimidating for a little hound. Scoop them up and pop them in a carrier.
Important Features To Look For In A Dog Carrier Backpack
The first thing to decide is, what type of carrier you are looking for? There are several styles available. You’ll want to match your lifestyle and plans with the best backpack carrier for you.
Safety and comfort is the most important thing for dog lovers. You want to know that your dog can’t fall out of the backpack, or hurt themselves while inside.
Whatever style you choose, it must be made from a hard-wearing material, with reinforced stitching and good quality fastenings and straps.
Always check the maximum carrying weight, however your dog may be short and squat or tall and slim. The shape and dimensions of the carrier are just as important as the recommended weight limit.
Your dog needs to be able to move naturally without being too restrained. They love settling down for a rest as much as they enjoy seeing the world going by.
Your safety and comfort are important too. Back and shoulders can be strained with a poorly fitted carrier.
Some carriers have ‘breathable material’. While this may be adequate for very short trips on cool days, mesh windows are better for air circulation and temperature control.
The lining should be washable, and the bottom of the carrier should be easy to clean.
The last thing you want is your dog jumping out of the carrier when you’re on the move. Make sure there’s a strap and clip inside the backpack carrier to attach to the collar or harness.
Keys, treats, vet records, poop bags, leash! It’s always handy to have some roomy pockets to stow the travel essentials.
FAQs About Dog Carrier Backpacks
Is it cruel to have your dog in a backpack?
Consult with your veterinarian if your dog has any medical issue, to make sure a dog carrier backpack is right for you. The ASPCA website actually promotes the use of carrier backpacks. Used sensibly and safely, and as long as your dog can move around, they are a great addition to your doggy gear.
Is it a good idea to buy a collapsible carrier for easy storage?
Very small dogs would probably be better suited to a collapsible carrier. Heavier dogs may require something sturdier. If you’re using it for air travel, I would be more inclined to consider something that can’t be chewed through.
What are the pros and cons of using a dog backpack carrier?
Pros: Your hands are free for other items such as a phone, books, bags and coffee! Much easier to get places while keeping your dog safe.
Cons: You can’t see your dog if they are facing backwards.
Are the ‘legs-out’ dog backpacks safe?
As long as it’s well made it should hold your dog well. If you are considering a legs-out backpack, think about possible pressure points around the base of your dog’s tail. Some larger dogs may have trouble with chafing round the legs. Correct fitting is very important.
How do I measure my dog for a carrier backpack?
Your dog’s height when seated, and their weight are the most important measurements. Measure your dog’s height when seated (from the paws to the base of their neck). Also measure round the widest part of their chest.
This front carrier comes in two sizes. Small size for dogs up to 10lb, and medium size for up to 20lb.
Intended for snugly fitted and seated dogs, the compact design ensures stability and safe travel.
This PoochPouch is lightweight, which has a huge benefit in minimizing back and shoulder fatigue for you, the carrier.
Water resistant nylon fabric adds protection and durability, and makes the carrier much easier to clean and keep dry.
The mesh siding helps keep your dog cool, providing ventilation and stopping odors from building up.
A great feature of the PoochPouch is the interior harness which clips to your dog’s collar for added security. It’s a great option for shorter walks and getting about town.
- Well made
- Can be front or back facing
- Solid bottom for stability
- Small sizing, so if in doubt go for larger model
- Can be uncomfortable on really long hikes
The K9 Sport Sack AIR is a funky looking carrier, coming in a range of great colors to match or complement any hound.
Comes in 3 sizes to fit your chihuahua, or larger sizes for your french bulldog or pug, up to 30lb.
This backpack doubles as an airline friendly, veterinarian approved pet carrier, a great option if you do lots of traveling and only want one carrier.
There are several safety mechanisms included in the bag such as:
- Carabiner collar clip – a steel alloy, heavy duty clip to keep your dog safe.
- Lumbar support straps – to alleviate back strain while you’re using the K9 Sport Sack AIR.
- Zipper loop – so there’s no accidental opening of the carrier.
- Side cinch straps – helps keep the carrier robust and stable.
- Sternum straps – great for weight distribution.
- Mesh side panels – to keep your dog cooler.
- USA based company, performance guaranteed and great after-sales support
- Backed by a 60-day quality guarantee
- Accurate sizing
- Easy to clean and dries quickly
- Very light
- Well padded shoulder straps
- Three inch booster seat that is sold separately
- Extra add on accessory pack available
- Possibility of dog’s front legs chafing if not fitted correctly
- Not suitable for carrying by larger people with wide backs and chests
Soft sides and the durability of polyester make the spacious Ytonet Dog Backpack Carrier a great option for hounds up to 15lb.
The four mesh windows provide that all-important ventilation, but also your dog will have great views on the walk.
The top mesh window has a roll-up cover, so on cooler or damp days you have the option to keep that on. The mesh window itself can be unzipped so your dog can put their head out, but there’s no way of securing it so that can be awkward.
The Ytonet Dog Backpack Carrier has a handy internal leash clip, plus lockable zippers for extra security.
- Plenty of space to turn around inside the backpack
- Enough room in the straps to fit a good sized person
- Airline approved (check with your airline)
- Well-made, sturdy and comfy
- Can fold up, takes up very little space to store it
- Various mesh windows provide plenty of airflow and viewing angles
- Can be uncomfortable as soft sides result in pressure on your back
- No breast strap for weight distribution
- The top mesh window is firm and there is nowhere to attach it
Boasting five functions, this backpack is a roller bag, backpack, car seat, airline traveler and tote. The fleece pad keeps your dog comfy no matter what.
The Pet Gear l-GO2 Roller Backpack comes in four sizes, for dogs up to 25lb. If the room inside the backpack wasn’t already generous enough, you can expand the sides to add another three inches of space.
Telescopic handle makes this carrier a breeze to move around on the ground.
- Shoulder straps are well padded
- Wheels work great even on carpeted floors
- Pouches are quite roomy
- The frame is very sturdy and stays true to form while in use
- Not approved for all airlines
- No large sized pouch for bigger items
Airline and TSA approved, this hiking backpack is made for dogs up to 25lb who like getting into the great outdoors.
With a water-resistant fabric top and waterproof bottom; the Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack is stain resistant and easy to wipe clean. It also has a removable, machine-washable interior pad, great for dogs who have hiked in all the elements.
Despite being lightweight, this backpack is rugged and durable, and comes with plenty of storage. The top and front grab-handles make it easy to handle, especially when your best mate is on-board.
The Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack comes with hassle-free Kurgo lifetime Warranty against manufacturer defects, and there is good customer support available.
- Great design
- Generous storage compartments
- Thick, padded straps for comfort
- Great for day hikes
- Can also be used as a regular backpack
- Water bottle pockets and laptop storage
- Mesh may not have adequate ventilation for extended use on hot days
My pick isn’t the biggest-budget dog carrier backpack available, but the Pet Gear I-GO2 Roller Backpack certainly delivers a lot of bang for your buck. The multi-functionality is a real bonus, and the design and build quality are exceptional.
Another feature that puts this dog carrier backpack into first place is the telescopic handle. An absolute must if you are going longer distances, or need to get about the city.