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The Best Dog Backpack

By: | Updated: October 26, 2019

Dogs love to go on outdoor adventures, just like their human does.

Dog backpacks are an easy and handy way for your companion to carry practically any type of item. Examples include their own waste bags, water bowls, treats, toys and many more.

They are becoming more common due to its usefulness for hiking, camping trips and neighborhood walks. Backpacks provide a sense of purpose and encourage dogs to focus on the task at hand. Further, dogs use more energy on their walks than they would without a backpack.

As an extra benefit, backpacks have a calming effect on nervous pooches with fear aggression.

Whether you’re searching for a backpack for light outings or long wanders, finding the best dog backpack for you and your dog can be difficult. Features to take into consideration will vary, depending on your reasons for buying a dog backpack. Luckily, we’ve reviewed 5 of the top-selling and top-rated dog backpacks on the market, along with an all-you-need-to-know buyer’s guide to help you look for the best dog backpack.

The best dog backpacks

We’ve listed the 5 best dog backpacks below that we’re sure your dog will absolutely love.

1. Pettom Dog Saddle Backpack 2 in 1 Saddlebag & Vest Harness

 Not only is this our best dog backpack, but it is also our best dog backpack for hiking.

The bag contains a load compression system. This makes sure the load is stable and the weight is equally distributed on both sides. The saddlebags are removable from the harness, a helpful feature for crossing streams and comfortable rest stops.

This backpack has a scratch-proof polyester outer layer, designed to withstand all types of weather. The inside is made up of a soft, breathable and cooling mesh lining with sponge padding. These features ensure both durability and lasting comfort, even in hot climates.

As it comes in small, medium or large, it is suitable for most sized dogs. Choose from a range of bright colors – perfect for improving visibility in situations where your dog may run ahead or when you and your dog may accidentally separate in the wilderness. It is also reflective, providing extra protection in low light conditions including in the night.

2. Ruffwear Singletrak Pack

If you want to a backpack for both everyday trips and long hikes, then this is the ideal pack for you and your canine companion.

The backpack offers 5 points of adjustment. This allows a sturdy, customizable and tailored fit for your dog with a full range of motion.

The low-profile Cloudburst Gray color is ideal for urban environments, while the material reflects heat from the sun. This will keep your dog cool in the hot weather. For when you go in the wilderness, the reflective trim will help you keep an eye on your companion while they go and explore – even in low light visibility conditions.

Plus, this backpack comes with two collapsible BPA-free and taste-free water bottles, especially designed to fit perfectly in each pocket.

3. Kurgo Dog Backpack

If looking for a lightweight backpack for everyday activities and long adventures while on a budget, we highly recommend the Kurgo Dog Backpack.

The two saddlebags provide enough space for all of your dog’s essentials during a long trip away.

This backpack is made of a breathable mesh, keeping a dog cool and comfortable on the move. It offers an impressive 8 points of adjustment, so you can easily alter this backpack to fit snug on your dog.

The large handle provides extra control of your companion while exploring on your adventures.

The rear positioned hook is useful for attaching a leash, but also acts as a bottle opener!

With its range of bright colors and reflective trims, it increases the safety from all angles so your dog can be easily visible at day and night.

4. Doggles Dog Extreme Backpack

If you’ve struggled to find a backpack for your Chihuahua or Alaskan Malamute, this bag is perfect for you and your pooch.

This backpack ranges in sizes between extra-extra small to extra large, catering for all sized dogs.

Made of a tough waterproof nylon and interior mesh ticks the boxes for sturdiness and comfort.

The straps can be easily adjusted. This is perfect for making sure the backpack fits well on your dog and also for dogs that are still continuing to grow.

Overall, this great quality backpack holds a generous capacity while remaining value for money.

5. Outward Hound Denver Urban Pack

This stylish lightweight backpack is perfect for urban environments such as casual city outings or strolls around the neighborhood park.

The two large storage pockets are great for carrying small items such as keys, cell phones, waste bags, treats and other walking essentials. A handy quick release buckle will make sure your supplies are secure.

The sturdy D-ring clip allows the backpack to be clipped to a leash.

The top of backpack is made out of mesh, keeping your dog cool while the internal padding gives extra comfort.

What are the benefits of buying a dog backpack?

Dog backpacks are safe, enjoyable and useful. It can be a great training tool and most dogs can use one.

Your dog can carry items

Picture of a dog carrying a large stick in the woods.

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When you’re out venturing in the wilderness, you have to bring the essentials such as food and water.

Adding your dog’s supplies on top of yours can considerably add more weight. But by supplying your dog with a backpack, they can carry their own items and lighten your load.

There are limited restrictions on what type of items your dog can carrying the backpack. The only items you should avoid are those that are sharp or too heavy. If it’s something like your keys, be sure to wrap them and that it’s not causing any discomfort.

Most people fill their dog’s backpack with such things as treats, toys, clickers, leashes, waste bags, muzzles, towels, food, medication, first aid supplies, extra water, food, collapsible water or food bowls, maps and so on. You get the idea!

Gives your dog a sense of purpose

Dogs love to feel needed, be part of the group and enjoy pleasing their owners. Backpacks provide dogs with a sense of purpose because they immediately feel useful to a situation.

Further, having your pooch carry something for you is a surprising way to keep them attentive and on their best behavior.

Fewer distractions

While strolling the great outdoors, most dogs are easily distracted by their environment: the various scents, sights and sounds.

Backpacks allow a dog to focus on the task at hand, making it easier for them to disburse their energy to the journey.

Extra layer of security

Picture of a dog hiding in the bed sheets.

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Backpacks can provide an extra layer of security for dogs that become nervous in crowded or unfamiliar spaces, around other dogs or unfamiliar people.

By wrapping the upper body, this applies a calming pressureto a dog’s chest. It’s soothing in a similar way to swaddling newborn babies with blankets.

No training is required

Your canine companion doesn’t need to be trained to wear a dog backpack.

Can your dog understand and obey simple commands such as “sit”, “stay”, “come” and “leave it”? If yes, then your dog is more than likely to be ready to join your outdoor adventures while wearing a backpack.

If your pooch isn’t quite there yet, you may wish to consider taking a few classes before you buy a dog backpack.

As with all new experiences, you should slowly introduce your dog to a backpack. We recommend preparing new canine hikers for long trips.

Your dog may be resistant at first. Once they’re happy to keep the backpack on, begin on short walks with an empty backpack. You can then gradually increase the load. Water bottles are great to use – they won’t tend to move around too much and you can also reduce or increase the weight as you wish.

Dog backpack: buyer’s guide

Regardless of your primary intended use of the backpack, you will want a backpack that fits securely but comfortably.

A comfortable backpack will be one that features wide padded chest straps to reduce wear on the dog and prevent rubbing, sores and hot spots. This also acts as a sturdy handle for when you need to lift your pup over barriers or uneven ground.

Further, the design of the backpack should promote the movement of joints, head, neck and hips. The size, durability, adjustability, weight and capacity of a backpack will also add to your dog’s comfort.

Size

When considering a dog backpack, it’s important to make sure it fits correctly. Most backpacks will vary in size to correspond to the overall size of the dog: small, medium, large and sometimes extra-large.

Durability

As your dog is going to be carrying important items, it’s important to make sure that the backpack is durable.

High-quality backpacks are made with breathable materials resilient enough to withstand wear and tear, all types of weather and the occasional fall. A good example may be tough nylon or polyester material. These won’t snag on rocks, so your items can remain safe.

Look for backpacks with hardwearing clasps, buckles and zippers. A backpack with cheaply made connectors is unlikely to last long.

You also need to consider the climate. If you’re planning on travelling in hot climates, look for a backpack with a mesh harness or water bladders to dispel the heat.

Adjustability

Having a backpack that can be easily adjusted is important to be personalized to your pup’s body. Look for fully adjustable chest and leg straps.

In addition, it would make it easier and comfier for putting on and removing the backpack for your pooch.

Weight

Select a lightweight backpack at one pound or less. Your companion will tire quickly if they have to carry a heavy backpack in addition to the supplies.

Capacity

For a dog backpack to be reliable, it must be able to safely hold the items it is carrying. It should also be easy to fill.

Smaller dogs will need shallow backpacks, while larger dogs can have deeper backpacks.

Other desirable features

Bright colors and reflective tape improves visibility to see your dog if they get ahead, even in low or poor light. It can also aid rescue in situations where you and your pooch may accidentally separate in the wilderness.

Y-shape chest strap backpack (tapered towards your dog’s rear) is designed to help distribute the majority of the weight on the shoulders, reducing the strain on the back.

Removable saddlebags are useful for crossing streams and comfortable rest stops, rather than completely removing the whole backpack.

Things to consider when choosing a dog backpack

Before selecting the ideal backpack for your dog, you should consider the following advice.

Determine how you’ll use a dog backpack

Think about whether you need a dog backpack for long hikes or short walks around the park.

Backpacks designed for urban environments are usually smaller, with easy to reach pockets and handles. Other backpacks designed for robust environments have a larger capacity and are made of tougher material.

You’ll get the most for your money by choosing a backpack that provides only what you need. As you can imagine, using a backpack designed for the city is unlikely to last well in the wilderness and vice versa.

Your dog’s measurements

Before considering any backpack, it’s important to accurately measure your dog.

Have your dog standing upright, and use a measuring tape for the following essential measurements:

  • Length. Distance between the base of the neck and the base of the tail
  • Neck. Circumference of the neck at its largest point
  • Girth (chest). Around the widest part of the ribcage

When you find a backpack you think is suitable, be sure to carefully check its dimensions. It may also require additional measurements, such as shoulder height.

Your dog’s weight

Picture of an overweight dog.

Pixabay

In addition, you need to consider your dog’s weight. The type of backpack you choose and the dog supplies you fill it with will depend on the size of your dog.

According to American Kennel Club, dogs can carry up to 25% of their weight. This weight includes the overall weight of an empty backpack.

While searching for backpacks, also look at the overall weight of the dog backpack. All our best dog backpacks are comparatively lightweight and easy for dogs to manage. As long as you use them appropriately, you don’t have to worry about them becoming too heavy.

When it comes to packing, make sure the backpack’s weight is evenly distributed on both sides and centered on your dog’s shoulders. Backpacks should not stress beyond the spine. Uneven weight distribution can cause discomfort and harm to your pooch. Too much weight on the back can cause severe health issues. Avoid guessing an approximate weight. Instead, always weigh out the items.\

NOTE: Your pup’s breed, health and age all influence into determining an optimal weight. Be sure to discuss this with your veterinarian.

Your dog’s physical limitations and medical conditions

As your dog grows, so does the likelihood of your dog developing physical limitations and medical conditions. This would make some dog backpacks impractical.

Senior dogs and dogs with back, hip or neck problem should not wear backpacks. It will undoubtedly be uncomfortable or likely to increase your dog’s health problems.

If your dog has recently lost a significant amount of weight and muscle mass, a dog backpack that is lighter and has a smaller overall capacity might be a better option.

Also, skin conditions might get more irritated by a backpack rubbing them. A secure and comfortable fit should prevent further irritation.

Historically, dogs were never in circumstances where they had to carry additional weight on their backs or shoulders. With this in mind, be reasonable in your dog’s backpack use to prevent any physical complications for your dog.

Our favorite dog backpack

Out of the five backpacks we have presented, we have to choose our favorite dog backpack. We’ve chosen the Pettom Dog Saddle Backpack 2 in 1 Saddlebag & Vest Harness as the best one.

This backpack outshines the other four because of its high functionality. The saddlebags can be removed easily without removing the whole harness. This is extremely helpful during your adventures when crossing streams and for rest stops.

It is resilient for all types of weather while keeping your companion cool and comfortable, no matter how long the journey.

This backpack is available in reflective, bright and bold colors for high visibility and extra safety.

Taken together, it also wins for the best dog backpack for hiking.

Final thoughts on finding the best dog backpack 

Picture of a dog laying under an umbrella.

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Dog backpacks can be a great asset for our companions to contribute to daily activities, carry their own supplies, provide a sense of purpose and help to feel secure.

Finding the right pack for your dog breed and activity will ensure a comfortable fit and lasting durability.

By considering your dog’s size, weight and activity level, you can determine the best dog backpack for your pup.

A dog backpack is probably better than no pack. If you have a budget, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives on the market that are also good value for money. It’s important to buy a backpack made of quality material and built to last.

We hope this guide helped you in choosing the best dog backpack. Did you buy one of our best dog backpacks? Have you had experiences with dog backpacks before? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

Author:

serena law Serena is the content publisher for Daydreamdog and a life long dog lover. Between walking them, writing about them and spending too much time liking pictures of them on Instagram, her day literally revolves around dogs! If you want to learn more about Serena click here.