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It’s fun to go out and about with your dog. After all, one of the delights of dog ownership is that you can take your canine companion easily in cars and walk her around the neighborhood. While some people enjoy taking their dogs backpacking, others enjoy having backpacks to carry dogs in.
Some small dogs can’t always keep up well with their human companions on long walks, and others just don’t have the stamina for it.
If your dog has had an injury that has left her with mobility impairments, there’s no longer a reason she should have to be left behind on walks (assuming she’s recovered from any immediate medical issues).
Even if your dog is fit as a fiddle, sometimes it’s just plain cute to tote your pup around.
One of the easiest ways to bring your small breed with you is with a backpack made specifically to carry dogs.
They are affordable and comfortable for you and your pet.
Backpacks to Carry Dogs: How to Bring Your Small Pooch With You Everywhere
There are a lot of doggy backpack products on the market. Several companies now offer over-the-shoulder puppy-dog holders, and they come in a range of colors and styles. However, most packs can be sorted into three essential designs that give your dog freedom at different levels.
Full enclosed backpacks to carry dogs
There are some packs that completely enclose the dog inside. They feature mesh panels and ventilation so that your dog can see and breathe (and so passersby can admire your adorable companion).
When choosing one of these backpacks to carry dogs, make sure that you choose a pack large enough for your dog to be able to turn around and lay comfortably. You don’t want him to be cramped and uncomfortable.
One such product in this style is the Texsens Pet Expandable Backpack Carrier. This pack retails for around $400 on most websites. Although it appears to come in only one color – black and orange – it has an expandable front panel that allows your dog a little more room to wiggle when it’s set down.
Another pack that gets favorable reviews is the Texsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack. It easily fits most small to medium-sized dogs. The breathable mesh is scratch-resistant to help your pooch stay safe inside while still having a good view of the surroundings.
“Head free” backpacks to carry dogs
The next type of pack we’ll cover is the “head-free” variety. This style encloses everything but the dog’s head, which she can poke out of the top of the pack. There are a couple of ways that these can work.
Some feature a latch that you can clip the dog’s collar to to keep her from escaping. Others have a drawstring that can be used to restrict the size of the opening. Still, others have a box-like shape with an open lid that can be zipped up or left open.
One of the most popular examples of the “head-free” design is the Kurgo G-Train Dog Carrier Backpack. It holds dogs up to 25 lbs and is comfortable for long hikes and walks. It also has a separate padded compartment for your belongings, such as a laptop.
Another product with a similar design is the On-The-Go Supreme Travel by Bark-Pack. It comes in two colors – pink and green – and you can get one for a little less than $30 from most internet retailers. This one has a leash holder inside as well as a drawstring opening.
“Legs free” backpacks to carry dogs
We’ll call the third backpack style the “legs free” design. These are less backpack than front-pack, as the pack is usually worn on the front of the body. This design allows the hind legs of the dog to poke out through the pack, much like packs built to hold human babies.
RELATED: Top Five Best Dog Backpack Carriers
Since this position is somewhat unnatural for a dog, it may take longer for her to get used to than the other two styles. However, wearing your dog in front allows for better observation of the dog. You’ll be able to tell if she is feeling anxious, trying to nip, or doing something else that she shouldn't be doing.
Inexplicably, packs in the “legs free” category tend to come in a much, much broader range of colors and patterns. You can go with solid neutral colors, wildly vibrant stripes, or animal prints. They also tend to be much less expensive, around the $10 level.
One of the most ubiquitous brands out there is the Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack. This one comes only in black but has four leg holes and a clip to keep your dog’s collar attached.
Another similar product that gets high consumer ratings is the Mogoko Comfortable Dog Backpack brand of leg carrier. It comes in around 10 different fabric patterns and retails for around $14. The padded shoulder straps and lightweight fabric allow it to be comfortable on long walks.
How to choose the right backpacks to carry dogs
Now that you know about some of the most popular kinds of doggy backpacks, how do you pick out the best ones? Once you’ve narrowed your choice down to which of the three styles you prefer, take a look at some of the design elements.
First of all, you will want something sturdy. You don’t want your dog falling out of the bottom through a ripped seam. Make sure that you don’t see any holes or separations along the seams of the pack. If you’re shopping online, check the reviews from other consumers. If the pack you’re looking at has a tendency to fall apart easily, odds are that previous buyers have hopped online to complain.
RELATED: Benefits of a Dog Backpack Carrier
Another very important feature to look for when shopping for backpack-style carriers is washability. As a dog owner, you probably already know that dogs can be messy. Hair and dander can get everywhere.
Choose something that you can unstrap and throw in the washing machine rather than a product that you’ll have to take to the dry cleaners. If machine washing is not an option, try to go with something that can be quickly wiped down with a damp cloth.
Good ventilation is another important feature to look for when shopping for backpacks to carry dogs. It will not only help your dog breathe but also help the pack dry more quickly, reducing the chance that a wet pack will grow mildew. Proper ventilation will also help your dog feel more comfortable, so she's less likely to have anxiety while riding in her new carrier.