Carry on walking: 6 of the best dog backpacks

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  • A dog is made for walking, you say, and in many ways that’s right. However, there are times when it’s best to avail yourself of one of the dog carrier backpacks now on the market. For instance, young dogs shouldn’t cover too much distance in a day, but equally shouldn’t be left alone in the house for long periods. For older dogs, just like baby ones, early enthusiasm for a long walk may wane, so it’s handy to have an option for them to rest their tired legs.

    A backpack enables you to take your dog with you however long your hike, cycle, or trip around town. Public transport becomes a lot easier with a dog on your back rather than tripping people up with the lead or getting under fellow passengers’ feet. One of my commuting friends is allowed to take his dog into work and cycles in, but it isn’t safe through the streets of London to have his dog galloping beside him his bike. “Ludo” adores his backpack and trips into the office!

    Dog carrier backpacks are available in different styles to allow your dog to adopt his preferred position on your back. Some will prefer to sit, others to rest in a more upright position. Some styles have all legs out, some just two and others only the head.

    Naturally, you’ll want to practise with your dog in the home first, both to get used to balancing the weight yourself, and for him to become accustomed to being carried in such a manner. Some dogs, it has to be said, don’t every enjoy the sensation of being carried – including my own springer spaniel. The smaller and lighter the dog (and less fidgety), the easier it is for both of you.

    6 of the best dog carrier backpacks

    K9 Sport Sack

    K9 Sport Sack

    Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL | Colours: 6 options | Dog position: Forward-facing; on back | Max weight: 36kg | RRP: From £41.99 |

    K9 Sport Sack provides a range of backpacks, from the entry level “Trainer” for short, non-strenuous walks, to their “Plus” model, which is also a multi-functional storage pack with thicker shoulder straps and padded back panel for more weight and demanding activities. If you have a big dog, the Knavigate and Kolossus (pictured) models cater for dogs up to 23–36kg – providing you yourself are strong enough to carry them!

    The sizes cover dogs from 10–23in collar to base of tail, covering a wide range of breeds, however, if you have a larger-sized dog, the higher-priced models are a better option for the comfort of both you and your pet.

    Dogs are carried in an upright position, with their forelegs out, and their head looking over your shoulder. Tester “Ludo” is a medium-sized springer spaniel and although he doesn’t love being put into the backpack, is very happy and travels extremely well once in.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Petbonus dog carrier backpack

    PetBonus Backpack

    Sizes: S, M, L, XL | Colours: Army green, black, light blue, navy or pink | Dog position: Forward-facing; on front | Max weight: 16kg | RRP: From £30.99 |

    The backpack is best suited for small to medium dogs – from 5–16kg, but not many of us want to carry any more than that. The backpack has comfortable broad shoulder straps to distribute pressure of the weight, as well as a waist strap. A great feature on this backpack is the large holes for the dog’s limbs – all four limbs are out, and there is a cute tail hole.

    This backpack is designed to be used more commonly on the human’s front, with the dog facing forward. However, it also works with you carrying it on your back, with the dog facing backwards.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    ESPFHN dog carrier

    ESPFHN Dog Backpack

    Sizes: S, M, L | Colours: Black or rose red | Dog position: Backward-facing, on back | Max weight: 11kg | RRP: From £18.88 |

    This has a firm base, so the dog sits down inside the backpack, with just its head poking out. The neck hole is secured with a drawstring, so you can ensure it doesn’t jump out, but can move his head freely. Best suited to small dogs, as it’s fairly bulky with the dog in this sitting position. Designed for dogs from 1–11kg, but also look out for length measurements to determine whether or not the dog will fit in the pouch.

    Shoulder straps and back are made from soft sponge and breathable mesh to distribute the weight and give the human a comfortable experience too. It can also be worn on your front.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Kurgo G-Train

    Kurgo G-Train Backpack

    Sizes: One size | Colours: Black, blue, navy or red | Dog position: Backward-facing, on back | Max weight: 11.3kg| RRP: From £18.88|

    This backpack is dual-purpose as can also be used as a traditional carrier for your small dog, with stowaway shoulder straps, and a carrier handle on the top. It’s super strong and sturdy, and good for a hike as it has water bottle pockets and other storage possibilities. It also has a water-/muck-proof base for when you need to place it on wet ground, plus decent padding on the straps and back for the human.

    The dog is carried in a sitting position with just its head out, and the bag is a generous size for the weight allowance.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Jranter dog carrier backpack

    Jranter Backpack

    Sizes: One size | Colours: Grey, green/blue, red/blue or red/blue stripe | Dog position: Backward-facing, on back | Max weight: 10kg| RRP: From £36.99 |

    The sturdy canvas backpack carries your dog in an upright position, with all four limbs – and his head and tail – out. Suitable only for small breeds, with a maximum weight recommendation of 10kg. Plenty of padding on the straps for a comfortable ride.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Woolala backpack for dogs

    Woolala Dog Carrier Bag

    Sizes: S, M, L, XL | Colour: Grey | Dog position: Forward-facing, on back | Max weight: 23kg | RRP: From £36.99 |

    The dog is positioned on your back as though you are giving him a piggy-back, with his forelegs out and his head looking over your shoulder. It has a drawstring at the top to prevent the dog from jumping out. There are handy storage pockets and padded shoulder straps. It is not too cumbersome, yet sturdy.

    Although this backpack is designed to take up to 23kg, it is much better suited to smaller and fairly streamline dogs, as it is compact, and owners find that even the larger sizes can accommodate a 12–15kg dog rather than the maximum weight recommendation. However, it is a good option for lightweight dogs and puppies.

    In the UK? View at amazon.co.uk

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