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Dog Carrier Backpacks: Must-Have or Fad?

Whether you’re heading off on vacation or running errands around town, going with your dog in style is the wish of every owner. After all, our dogs are family and we should be able to enjoy their company in every type of situation.

One reason why you may need a dog carrier backpack for the smaller or toy breeds is safety: if you’re attending an event with large crowds your dog can easily be stepped on by an innocent bystander and aside from possible injuries, his initial reaction may not be all that friendly…

But how do you bring your dog to the places you want without hassle? You don’t want to embark on a long hike and find out you need to cut it short or have to carry your dog in your arms all the way back.

Backpacks for carrying dogs are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the US. They can now be found in many styles and designs to suit not only the type of transport you are going to use  but also your personal tastes. 

When you travel by plane overseas, your small dog will often be allowed to ride in the passenger cabin with you, providing your dog carrier meets the airline requirements. 

Unlike Australia – where the only exception is for service dogs - it is completely acceptable in many countries to take your smaller dog with you on buses and trains, as long as they travel in a fully closed dog carrier. 

How to choose your Dog Backpack Carrier?

1. Select a carrier that you think will be the most comfortable for your dog to be in for an extended period. Its size should be tailored to your dog’s size and weight. The normal dimensions of a backpack dog carrier will vary according to the brand and design so please check their sizes carefully.

2. What will be its main use?
Are you grabbing a quick coffee in the City, going on long bushwalks or travelling by car or motorcycle etc.?

3. It should offer good support (you’re carrying it remember...) and be made of a high-quality, durable material. The backpack dog carrier should provide a sturdy base and should not collapse especially in the middle section. We would recommend a test run (loading it to the maximum weight) before using it with your own dog, especially prior to a long outing. 

4. Is it multi-purpose? Can you wear the dog carrier as a backpack and can it be used also as a booster seat when travelling by car? 

Your first concern when travelling by car or motorcycle should be your dog’s safety and yours – if you brake suddenly, you don’t want your pooch to be thrown out and turn into a projectile. Make sure that your dog carrier is fully enclosed and secured by a safety restraint to an anchor point.

5. It should have a safety collar attached within the backpack so that your dog will not be able to escape: falling from waist-high could cause serious injuries to a small dog. If travelling on the plane, make sure the zipper has a locking device and can only be opened from the outside. Imagine your pooch running down the aisle causing havoc at meal time?

6. Will it be easy to clean? Is the lining removable and fully washable? It is probably not advisable to use a backpack dog carrier with a puppy who is not yet fully toilet trained for obvious reasons.

What models are currently available?

This is another of those areas where we feel Australia is currently seriously lagging behind its US and European counterparts. 

Probably because we are allowed to take our dogs on a flight or public transport generally (unless they're an Assistance Dog) so the demand for this type of products is not huge at present.

Your best bet will be to source one from an online store like Amazon or eBay and directly from the manufacturer. However with the average dog size shrinking fast in Australia (new dog owners favouring the likes of Frenchies, Pugs and Oodles), we expect this to soon change...

#1. Zanies Casual Canine Ultimate Backpack Carrier

This doggie backpack carrier is highly rated by Amazon users and features front side zips, which open into an optional mesh tent area. There is also a mesh side door that has been added for ventilation. This backpack also offers a side storage pocket. 

Reviewers commented that its main drawback is that the straps are thin and they also wished for a waist strap to help stabilise the dog backpack.
Available in blue and green.

RRP: US$49.99 on

#2. Wacky Paws Sporty Pet Backpack

Designed by Crazy Paws in the US, this is a very funky dog backpack carrier!

Best suited to the smallest breeds, owners will enjoy the fact that their dog is able to poke his/her head out of the backpack’s hole. 

Generally well-constructed, it features a hook that attaches to a harness to keep your dog safe. If you enjoy a bit of colour in your life, this backpack comes in nine designs and 3 sizes: Small (up to 3kg), Large (up to 5kg) and XLarge (up to 8kg).

RRP: from US$44.99 at

#3. Timbuk2 Muttover Backpack

The Timbuk2 Muttover Backpack is a must-have for any small, well-travelled pooch. 

Perfect for bikers, it fits your dog comfortably with multiple external pockets for your iPad, book, wallet, keys and your pet’s snacks, leash, etc.

Designed for stability and pooch-in/pooch-out ease, the Muttmover Backpack's front panel zips open to lay flat so that your dog can easily step in. Big adjustable fit straps distribute the weight of your pooch whilst the ventilated back panel keeps you cool. 

The dual side openings accommodate a wide range of pet sizes and the backpack also has a grab handle for easy lifting. Finally, an on-strap bottle opener and foldable water bowl mean you no longer have to rely on the kindness of strangers!

RRP: US$118 from

#4. Outward Hound Puppak Front Dog Carrier Bag

Taking your pup on your next adventure is easier with the Outward Hound PupPak Front Carrier

This hands-free front pack makes carrying your dog safe, comfortable & easy when you're on-the-go! Water-resistant fabric combined with mesh siding provides a secure and ventilated space for your pup to enjoy the scenery as they travel snuggly against your chest. 

Padded shoulder straps and adjustable buckles keep you comfortable while an interior harness clips in your furry friend for safe travels. The top drawstring can be cinched for a more secure fit. Dual side pouches and a front zipped pocket keep all your essentials in one convenient place. 

Available in Small (for dogs up to 10 LBS); Medium (for dogs up to 20 LBS).

RRP: from $104.99 at

#5. Lenis Pack Front/Back Pack

Designed by Emanuele Bianchi for pet owners who like to keep their small pet close, the Lenis Pack pet carrier is a combination of elegant velvet tones and is extremely comfortable.

The signature checked stitching on Mocha microfibre suede is lined with a soft and stylish orange nylon fabric. The Velcro closure top keeps your pet secure and safe. Straps can be adjusted to carry on front or back. 

Your pup fits snugly inside and the adjustable straps let you wear this bag as a front or back pack. The hood of the Lenis Pack is designed to let your happy companion peek out and take in the fresh air. Great for short breaks, the carrier can be placed on its back and doubles as a small pet house. Includes inner safety leash.

Other style colour combinations include espresso with a stone interior, stone with a sage interior, and sage with a stone interior. Weight Limit: 5.4 kg. 

RRP: from US$36.00 at

#6. Prefer Pets Red Backpack Carrier

This backpack dog carrier receives a 5 star rating from its customers and can be used as a backpack or over the shoulder, as it comes with two padded shoulder straps. This heavy duty pet carrier features straps to make it more stable and you can easily carry a pet up to 9 kg. 

The main material is heavy-duty nylon canvas and the bottom is removable. It is designed with durable mesh covered windows on all four sides for ventilation. 

Another advantage is that it is an airline approved in-cabin carry in most airlines and also comes with a luggage ID. 

Customers also love the tapered top which gives their dog more head room when placed in the dog carrier. 

RRP: A$46-50 on ebay or at

#7. U-Pet Astronaut Pet Dog Backpack 

U-pet’s Pet Dog Backpack is a mobile pet bed, in-cabin airplane carrier, and car seat all in one! 

The revolutionary semi-sphere window design adds a unique function: it provides your pet with more space whilst allowing him/her to enjoy the scenery and interact with the outside world! 

There is a built-in security leash, mesh panels and ventilation holes, a soft washable pad, top and side entries for maximum accessibility and it can also fold flat for easy storage.

This carrier is approved on most major airlines. 
The adjustable backpack straps and a carrying handle make it easy to secure to a seatbelt.

Suitable for pets (dogs or cats) up to 7kg.

RRP: US$129.00 from

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