Are Dog Backpack Carriers Safe?

Dog backpack carriers have become an essential commodity in  man’s best friend everyday personal items and therefore it is necessary we look at the pro’s and cons to arrive conclusively if backpack carriers are safe for our beloved pets

Before we go further it will be appropriate to know exactly what dog backpack carriers are;
dog backpack carriers are small portable boxes, crates, cages or bags used to transport dogs from one location to another.

The two main types of dog backpack carrier are front openers (these are generally tough plastic boxes with a metal door, such as dog crate) and top openers (these are generally more like cages with a hinged roof), although there are other types. A carrier usually has a handle on top, although some are easier to carry in one’s arms rather than using the handle.

5 Reasons Why Dog Backpack Are Safe

  • They help your pet stay safe away from the element.
  • It helps your low stamina pets make long trip journeys they originally would make with you.
  • they keep your dogs away from other dogs when in an unfamiliar territory
  • It’s easier to see your dog while he wears his dog backpack.
  • You can back them while you complete other chores.

Styles Dog Carriers Come In

There are different types and styles of pet carriers available, according to one’s specific needs, such as for when traveling by airplane or car and for a pet’s species, weight, and size.

Airline dog carriers

When traveling by plane, each airline has its own specifications and requirements to make sure that the pet and other passengers travel safely and comfortably. Some airlines allow travelers to bring their dogs on board if they are comfortably accommodated in an airline-approved dog backpack carriers. Even then, usually only small dogs can go in the cabin. Otherwise, they have to be in the cargo hold, in specially designed crates such as dog carriers.

For dogs in the cabin, the general rule is that the carrier must fit underneath the seat in front of the owner and it must have a waterproof bottom. Also, the carrier must be big enough for the pet to turn around, stand up, and lie down. Furthermore, the kennel has to be ventilated on at least three sides.

Crates that are used in cargo travel must have a metal door that is strong enough to prevent the pet bending it in any way and must have attached the name of the owner and address and also a “Live Animal This Side Up” notice.

Dog carriers come in several basic styles, and you’ll want to select the type that suits your dog and your activities.

Standard hard-sided carriers: These are sometimes preferred for their durability and rugged construction. The hard shell offers a bit more protection for your dog and is easy to clean. If you’re traveling by air and your dog is too large for an under-the-seat carrier, some hard-shell carriers are approved by the airlines. You may prefer a top-loading carrier that allows you to lift your dog and place him inside.

Soft-sided carriers: are the most popular style for transporting smaller dogs, and some brands, like sherpa pet carrier, are approved by airlines to go under your seat. These are typically designed to be light and portable, and they fold up for easy storage. Check the size and weight specifications from the manufacturer; many owners say they need to go a size larger.

Wearable Dog Carriers

Mimicking the trend in baby carriers, have become increasingly popular. They keep your hands free and make it easy to take your dog almost anywhere. Of course, they’re only practical for little dogs. Shoulder-sling carrier allows your dog to nestle inside or keep his head free to watch the world go by. They’re washable, lightweight, and some come with zippers for added security.


Front packs or backpacks are another wearable option. Some styles can be used either as a front pack or backpack, with adjustable straps and holes for his legs.

Wheeled dog carriers — Even a small dog can start feeling heavy when carried long distances. Wheeled carriers have the advantage of being easy on you while they also keep your dog from being jostled around. Although not recommended for use during rugged hiking, they’re a good option for city walking and in airports. If you plan to use a wheeled carrier for plane travel, make sure to check the airline’s requirements first.

Dog carriers aren’t just for the tiniest of Toy poodles or little, short-legged  Dachshunds. Whether you need to take your dog on an airplane or have an older or infirm dog that still enjoys taking walks with you, the right dog carrier is an easy, convenient way to take your canine friend along.

To learn how to get your dog into a dog backpack read the post “Carrying a dog in a BackPack

Backpack Carriers

Backpack carriers are suitable for smaller dogs when walking. They are also convenient for hiking, shopping, road trips or appointments to the veterinarian. They feature a well-ventilated, comfortable compartment for the dogs for safe and enjoyable memories with your pet best friend. Some backpack dog carrier models are airline approved so they can be safely used while traveling by plane.

Backpack dog carriers are available in different sizes, colors, materials, and designs. Some have extra pockets which can be used for extra storage. Most of these pet carriers are designed for pets that do not weigh more than 10 lbs. They have ventilation sides and zippered sides for easy use. Some backpack carriers come with wheels which makes it possible to convert a backpack carrier into a roll-along one.

Dog Car-Seat Carriers

Used when traveling by car; these are also called car seats for dogs. They provide safety of the pet and they come in various sizes, colors, and designs to fit on the seat of a car. Different sizes can accommodate smaller or larger dogs of up to 25 lbs. They can also often be used as dog beds at home or in a hotel. Car seats are normally made of fleece and are filled with foam for comfort.

Dog Backpack Carriers Are Safe For Dogs

While many canine companions enjoy going everywhere with their owner, it’s vital to buy a carrier backpack that’s designed for your dog. Regular backpacks, handbags, and purses don’t have the features required to make your pup comfortable. When buying a dog backpack carrier, these are some of the features that should influence your product consideration.

Sizes of Dogs

Sizes of dogs and how it relates to the safety of dog backpack carriers:

It’s vital to get a backpack carrier that matches the size of your dog. Too big, and your pet won’t feel secure. Start by measuring your pet from the floor to his collar when he’s in the “begging” position (i.e. sitting back on his haunches). This is how big the interior of the backpack should be – although the side that needs to be this length varies depending on the shape. As always, if you’re in doubt about the size to get, choose the bigger option. You shouldn’t go by your dog’s weight alone, even if the bag specifies a weight limit. Instead, take a look at the measurements of the backpack carrier and how they correlate to your dog. Measure Your Dog!

You need to know your dog’s height and length to select the correct backpack carrier size. The backpack carrier should be large enough for him to turn around easily and to curl up or stretch out when lying down. Measure his back from his neck, where the collar sits, to the base of his tail. Then add a few inches to that measurement. Measure his shoulder height from the top of his shoulders to the ground. For soft-sided carriers, add two-to-three inches to shoulder height. For hard-sided carriers, add three-to-five inches. the dog is supported against your body, not by the carrier itself. The dog’s weight is another factor to consider. Manufacturers list size and weight limits for carriers, and if your dog is in between sizes, choose a larger size.

Does It Fit?

This still requires you  knowing your dog’s measurements. So, before you begin shopping, it is important you are sure of those. For most, you’ll only need your dog’s full height from ground to tallest point of the shoulders and length. You’ll also need your dog’s weight.

The reason for the additional inches is so that your dog can stand up and turn around in the carrier. Your dog should always be able to turn around in a tight circle inside the carrier. This ensures that they can get comfortable. Too much room, however, is just as bad as too little. With too much room, a small dog could slide around and get hurt. Additionally, if the dog can get “away” from one corner by going to another, there is a chance they will use the bathroom inside the carrier.

Weight of Dogs

Weight of dogs and how it relates to the safety of dog backpack carriers :
Once you’ve found the right size, you need to get a backpack that can support the weight of your dog. Don’t buy a backpack carrier-based entirely on its weight though – your dog may be light enough for a carrier but too big to fit in it comfortably.

Carrying Position

How Carrying Position relates to the safety of dog backpack carriers :
Some backpacks allow your dog to lie down in an enclosed space, which is great for hiking or long journeys. Others provide the option of sticking his head out of the top. Cheaper backpack carriers may use a “legs out” design, where the dog’s legs are put through holes. These usually aren’t as comfortable for the dog, so are less suitable for long journeys. There’s also the ruffit dog carrier, which is a backpack carrier but with a forward-facing design.

How the overall comfort offered by the backpack carrier Strap Padding, relates to the safety of dog backpack carriers

The heavier your dog or the longer you plan on carrying him, the more important it is to have excellent padding on the straps.

How Ventilation relates to the safety of dog backpack carriers

Dogs can quickly overheat, so ventilation is important. Look for a dog carrier backpack that’s made with plenty of breathable mesh.

Troubleshooting Your Carrier

Let’s say that you love the way a soft-sided carrier works for your pup and yourself, but you’ve had an issue with messes. This is a common complaint with these types of carriers because they are harder to clean. And once your dog begins to associate the carrier with the smell of accidents, it begins to think that that area is okay to “go” in.

One thing you can do in this situation is to insert a carrier pad, like the DryFur inserts that come in a variety of sizes. These keep your pet dry and the carrier clean. All you have to do is toss one when it’s dirty and replace it. That’s an easy fix.

When using a dog backpack carrier, these are the do’s and don’ts

  • Winter is that time of the year to consider a dog backpack carrier.  You can maintain the daily exercise challenge your dog needs while reducing the time you spend in the winter weather. The added weight makes the exercise of a shorter walk more intense, but even an empty backpack can provide a mental challenge. Here are some general do’s and don’ts to get you started with the doggy backpack.
  • Do select a backpack specifically designed for dogs You want a backpack that can withstand the elements, carry objects, and keep your dog comfortable and safe.
  • Look for one made with water-resistant, durable, and breathable materials. Another important feature is the proper padding. With the added weight, there’s extra pressure on your dog’s chest and the straps, so check those areas to ensure your dog’s comfort. 
  • DON’T rely solely on your dog’s weight for sizing Measure around your dog’s chest to get the right fit. Use a cloth tape measure around the deepest part of your dog’s chest.
  • DO start by consulting your veterinarian If you’re considering adding extra weight to the backpack, start by getting the okay from your vet, particularly for dogs that are seniors or have existing health issues. For most dogs, 10% to 12% of their body weight is a good starting point. This would be 5 to 6 pounds for a 50-pound dog, or 2.5 to 3.0 kilos for a 25-kilogram dog, for example. Of course, the right amount depends on a number of factors, such as your dog’s breed, physical fitness, and energy level. Some dogs can handle a heavier load, and others shouldn’t take on any extra weight though they may still benefit from carrying an empty backpack. These are all questions your vet can answer for you.
  • DON’T guess the weight of your backpack After you’ve loaded the backpack, you may find that you accidentally went over the weight limit. Keep a scale in a convenient location, so you can always verify the load your dog is carrying before the walk.
  • DO get creative with what your dog carries Many people stress about how to add weight to the backpack. Where do they find the right weight for their pup?
    There’s no need to get fancy. Make your dog useful: allow him to carry his ball, water bottles, poop bags, or other items you might need on the walk. If you allow him to carry your keys or other pointy objects, make sure they aren’t poking into him and causing discomfort, and make sure that the weight is distributed equally on both sides of the backpack. Bottles of water are a particularly great item for medium to large dogs since you can adjust the number of bottles or amount of water to reach your target weight.
  • DON’T give up if your dog is initially resistant Many dogs find the backpack strange at first and may try to get it off. Start by letting your dog get used to the backpack without any weight. Keep the experience short, and make it positive by associating the backpack with feeding time, treats, or praise. Gradually increase the weight you allow your dog to carry. This is a good idea for both his safety and his general comfort with the backpack. It’s important to note that ‘resistant’ isn’t the same thing as ‘in pain’. If you have any concerns about your dog’s ability to carry the backpack, remove it immediately, and consult your vet again.
  • DO cut back on the walk Give your dog time to adjust to the new weight and develop the muscles to handle it. Generally, a 15-minute walk with a weighted backpack is equal to a 30-minute walk without. Keep this in mind when starting your new routine. If you want to build up to a longer time, that’s okay, but do so gradually. Give your dog time to build the muscles needed to handle the challenge.

 I would categorically say that backpack carriers are safe and the above-highlighted points are to be looked at when picking a dog backpack carrier. It is good to use a dog backpack carrier that suits your dog and makes them comfortable. 

Author: Erwin BorgersHi, I’m Erwin. I grew up with two cats, but I always wanted to have a dog. Since my wife and I lived together, we have Mayla. She is a very sweet King Charles Spaniel. Together we spend countless of hours in the forest near our home. We love to walk together and now I want to share what I learned about walking dogs and what I learned about dog gear with you.