If you’re in a hurry and are here to find out what the best dog backpack is then we recommend the Pecute Dog Carrier Backpack as the best one.
Most people get dogs so they can enjoy their company while walking, shopping, hiking, biking, and so forth in life. While the larger dogs can generally manage to transport themselves, small dogs, particularly small older dogs, may struggle to keep up on longer/faster adventures and are also at risk of being stepped on in crowded areas. The obvious solution for any of this is a dog backpack carrier of some type. Here, we will discuss various types of dog carriers so you can select the best dog backpack for you and your little dog.
Here are the dog backpacks we will be reviewing
- Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack
- Pecute Dog Carrier Backpack
- Outward Hound Poochpouch
- Petgear I-Go 2 Carrier Backpack
- Ytonet Dog Backpack
How to Select a Dog Backpack
The first consideration is comfort for both you and your dog. Your outings together are supposed to be fun for both of you, not an exercise in tortured confinement or rubbing shoulder straps. The first concern is to get the right size for your dog, which means you have to get a tape measure and measure your dog’s height and length, and you’ll need to know approximately how much your pooch weighs. You can either go visit your veterinarian to weigh your dog (most veterinarians have a “please come weigh your dog whenever” policy) or hold the dog while standing on your own scale, then weigh yourself and do some math to determine how much your doggy weighs.
Then, you need to look at the sizing guidelines for dog backpacks you are considering to see which one best suits your dog. AKC notes that wearable carriers like backpacks are intended to fit somewhat snugly around the dog and thus a large amount of excess space that allows the dog to turn around and stand up is usually not necessary. On the other hand, cramming your dog into a backpack that is too small is not going to improve comfort either. The carrier also has to be comfortable for the dog’s owner to wear-fully adjustable padded shoulder straps are a must, and a thick, padded strap that goes around the owner’s abdomen can ease the effort of carrying the dog as well as stabilize the backpack against excessive movement against the owner’s body.
Planning a trip with your dog, or other pet? Check out this how-to guide:
Travel with My Pet
Most dog carrier backpacks allow the dog’s head to remain outside the backpack, so breathing holes are not necessary. However, dogs can easily overheat in warm conditions, and thus if you live in a warmer climate a backpack with plenty of ventilation to allow the breeze to flow over and cool your dog is definitely a feature to look for.
Position of the Dog in the Pack
The position of the dog when placed in the pack is very important. A well-designed dog carrier pack will allow the dog to assume a natural sitting position-namely, the dog has his hind legs folded underneath him and his front legs are supporting the weight of his upper body. Dogs find this position to be very comfortable. A carrier that allows the dog to switch between a natural sitting position and a natural lying down position is ideal for ultimate canine comfort.
Unfortunately, some designers of dog carriers seem to think dogs and babies have the same structure, and the pack forces the dog into an upright position with his legs dangling and not supporting any of his body weight. Many veterinarians have noted that the spine of the dog is not designed to be held upright, forcing it to support the weight of the dog’s head and upper body. Putting a dog in that position can cause serious damage to the dog’s spine. In fact, this upright position is so problematic for the dog that many veterinarians are currently recommending that owners don’t even encourage their dogs to assume the classic “begging” position because it puts the spine in an unnatural upright position.
After doing research to find the best dog backpack for you, it really sucks if it turns out the pack is shoddily made and falls apart rapidly. Zippers are often the weak point in backpacks, and it is best to look for packs with good, sturdy metal zippers, not plastic ones. Reinforced ventilation panels and sturdy, waterproof material are also essential features. We have kept this in mind for the recommendations below.
Ease of Dog Insertion and Security
Obviously, if you can’t easily get your dog into the backpack, it’s not going to work very well for you. Packs that can be opened up completely to allow the dog to easily enter or be assisted to enter will be fun to use instead of an annoying item that triggers your dog to struggle against using the backpack. In addition, it really sucks if you are walking around the city and your dog is able to jump out of the pack and go tearing off up the street. A pack that cannot be secured sufficiently to keep your dog inside it is not a pack you want to entrust your precious pup to.
Extra Storage Space
Many users of dog carrier backpacks have commented that packs that have extra storage space for items such as the dog’s leash, dog poop bags, dog treats, dog water bowls/water, and even storage for the owner’s keys and wallet really come in handy and can dramatically alter how much they like the backpack.
Top 5 Best Dog Backpacks
With all of that in mind, here are our top 5 dog backpacks to safely and comfortably carry your little buddy whenever you like.
This backpack by Kurgo is designed more like a backpack than a dog carrier and can be used as a regular backpack when you’re not carrying your pooch around. When you are carrying your dog (or cat) around though, as long as he weighs under 25-pounds, he can sit comfortably in the pack on all fours either with his head sticking out, or protected by the mesh cover. This bag can also be carried as a traditional pet carrier where your dog would lay on his belly facing the other way while you carry the pack from the strong handle on the front. This is a great option if you like to take hikes with and without your dog as it can work for both situations. It also features a water and “muck” resistant material on the bottom to keep your items, and your dog protected from moisture.
- Double-use as a regular backpack and a dog carrier backpack
- Can be carried like a traditional pet carrier from the strong handle on the front.
- Spacious enough to comfortably carry a dog (or cat) up to 25-pounds.
- Features sternum and hip straps to help you carry the extra weight of your pooch.
- Also features a laptop sleeve in the main compartment.
- Your dog can sit naturally on-all-fours with head out, or protected by a mesh flap.
- Features a muck and water-resistant material on the bottom to protect your items and your dog.
- Also features two mesh pockets to hold water bottles to keep you and your dog hydrated.
- Not designed to carry pets that are larger than 25-pounds.
This Pecute dog (or other pet) carrier gives your dog plenty of room to stand, sit, or lie down while he’s being carried. And when the carrier is on the ground, it expands out of the back area so that the carrier acts more like a crate. kennel, or just a cool place to rest for your dog. Your dog can enter the main compartment either through the top or the side and can either stick his head out or keep it in. The shoulder straps and comfortable and adjustable to help carry your pet, recommended for this carrier up to 18-pounds. There are external pockets too for keeping small items like poop-bags or snacks and a place to keep water for both of you. And lastly, the base cushion is reversible in case one side gets wet or soiled in any way.
- Adjustable design with multiple ventilation panels that can be zipped shut in colder weather.
- Can be adjusted to let the dog stick its head out or keep it in.
- The dog can move freely and stand, sit, or lie down.
- Two additional storage compartments.
- Padded adjustable straps for your shoulders and waist.
- Sturdy solid bottom with a reversible cushion.
- Retractable safety collar hook.
- Can be expanded to a larger size for use as a crate.
- Only comes in one size and cannot carry pets over 18-pounds.
- Sturdiness of construction is unclear.
- Cannot be machine-washed.
Defying the term backpack, this PoochPouch is designed to be worn on your front. Built for dogs up to 10 or 20-pounds depending on the overall size of your dog. It is available in two sizes, check the link for more information on carrying recommendations. Your dog is able to sit comfortably and look straight ahead in the main compartment and the area around the neck can be tightened to keep the elements out. If you think it looks like your dog could jump out of the carrier, there is a safety clip built-in that attaches to his collar to avoid that from happening. There is also a small pocket in the front for keeping smaller items like a ball, snacks, and poop-bags. This is a super lightweight carrier that can easily be brought anywhere with you.
- Carries dog in a natural seated position.
- Safety collar clip to ensure your dog stays in the carrier.
- Comes in two sizes, up to 10 or 20-pounds depending on other size factors.
- Has a storage compartment to keep smaller items like treats, poop-bags, or a ball.
- Comfortable to wear and you can keep an eye on your dog while carrying,
- Sturdiness of construction is unclear, though many say it is very good quality.
- Only designed for smaller dogs and should not be exceeded as this could lead to back pain.
- The ventilation area is very small and it can get hot inside the pack if worn for too long.
This Petgear I-Go2 backpack really lets you comfortably transport your dog from A to B in most situations. You can carry this pack on your back, in your hand, or wheel it behind you like a suitcase. It can even be secured as a car seat for your dog. There are four different sizes to accommodate and dog up to 25-pounds, this is great as you don’t want to give a smaller dog too much room to move around when inside. There is ventilation all around so you will have no worries about your dog getting fresh air and staying cool but it is not designed for him to stick his head out.
- Can be carried in many ways as a backpack, tote, roller bag, car seat, and crate.
- Well-ventilated with mesh pockets all around for protection from the elements.
- Safety tether to keep your dog from escaping.
- Comes in four sizes so you can find one to fit your dog, a maximum 25-pounds.
- Allows the dog to move freely and stand, sit, or lie down
- Two storage compartments to hold additional items like treats or poop-bags.
- Your dog will need additional insulation to stay warm in colder weather.
- Sturdiness of construction is unclear.
- The bag by itself without a dog is rather heavy at 10 lbs.
- The bag can also get very large and may be awkward to wear on your back.
Made from strong and scratch-resistant yet soft polyester material, this is a well-ventilated and smart-looking carrier of dogs up to 18-pounds. There are two ways for your dog to enter, either the front or top pockets, and due to the collar latch, you can keep the top open so he can stick his head out. The mat at the bottom is removable so that you can wash it if you to. There are also two medium-sized side pockets to hold smaller items that you like to take with you. And perhaps best of all, this carrier folds flat for easy storage when not using it, or packing in your car.
- Four ventilation panels and two areas to enter from.
- Dog can move around somewhat and sit in a normal position.
- Safety tether to keep your dog inside and lockable metal zippers for additional security.
- Top or side panel can be opened to allow the dog to stick its head out.
- Two nicely-sized storage compartments, one on either side for smaller items.
- Padded shoulder straps and back panel to help make carrying more comfortable.
- Only comes in one size.
- Does not feature sternum or waist straps to support your back when carrying.
- May encourage your dog to stand on hind legs to stick head out which is a bad position.
Best Dog Backpack Conclusion
After reviewing these products, the Pecute Dog Carrier is clearly the best dog backpack. It allows the dog to freely choose a comfortable position, is comfortable for the owner to wear, has plenty of ventilation, has features to keep the dog secure, and has storage compartments. A close runner-up is the PetGear I-GO2. This carrier would probably be the best choice for someone who wants the versatility of switching between a roller bag, a tote, a crate, and a backpack; however, due to its innate weight and stiff construction, it will not be as comfortable to use as a backpack as the Pecute carrier.
The Outward Hound carrier is primarily designed to be used as a front sling, for which it appears to work very well other than lacking a bit in the ventilation department. The Kurgo backpack is definitely worth an honorable mention for it’s high-quality and ability to work great as a backpack with or without your dog. If you think your pooch would be comfortable then we think you both will be with this one.
The Ytonet carrier is our last choice. Although it allows the dog to sit in a natural position, its design encourages the dog to stand on its hind legs to put its head outside of the top of the carrier. In addition, although it has a safety tether when the side flap is opened to allow the dog to put its head out, the dog could also easily jump or fall out and end up dangling from the tether, which is really not something anyone wants to deal with or allow their dog to do.