The Best Dog Backpack Carriers (June 2024 Reviews)

Picture of a dog in a backpack carrier

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When you have a pup that loves to be near you at all times, a dog backpack may be the best product you can buy. Though some “back” packs will actually allow you to wear him in the front as well, he’ll be on your back primarily and that gives him a good view of the world. When he goes with you everywhere, you’ll develop a stronger bond and he becomes socialized all the better, possibly leading to a happier, well-behaved, and well-rounded dog.

Our vet advisor, Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, looked at all types of dog backpacks to determine which is the best option for your pup and she personally selected the Lekereise Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack as her top choice.

Best Overall

Lekereise Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack

For the best dog backpack carrier there is, look no further than the Lekereise Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack.

While this was Dr. Whittenburg’s top choice, she also offers a series of her top tips for what to look for in choosing the best dog backpack, a section on who should avoid purchasing them altogether, and she personally selected the best backpack carriers for a variety of specific use cases.

The 5 Best Dog Backpack Carriers

  1. Best OverallLekereise Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack
  2. Best BudgetTexsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack Pet Carrier
  3. Best for Small DogsWOYYHO Pet Dog Carrier
  4. Best for Airline TravelPetsfit Pet Backpack Carrier for Small Dogs and Cats
  5. Best for Walking & HikingFUR CADET Plush, Comfy Dog Carrier Backpack

Dog Backpack Carriers Compared

Here are our top picks. Compare the ratings and features of different models to find the right one for you.

Editor’s Picks Model Rating Activated Carbon Filter? Room Capacity Fan/power Modes
Best Overall Honeywell HPA 250B 5.0 310 sq ft 3
Best Budget Filtrete Pet Air Purifier 4.6 80 sq ft 3
Best Splurge Oransi Mod HEPA Air Purifier 4.4 1,250 sq ft Touch and toggle for several speed options
Best for Large Spaces Coway Airmega 4.7 1,560 sq ft 5
Best Portable LG PuriCare Air Purifier 4.4 Immediate Area Only 2

*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers

Who Should Buy Dog Backpack Carriers

  • Active pet parents. When you’re constantly on the go – hiking, traveling, kayaking – you may be especially pleased with the flexibility that a dog backpack carrier provides you. You can still do all the things you want – and you won’t have to leave your dog behind.
  • Old dogs. When you have a dog who can’t keep up with you like he used to, then it may be time to invest in a way to carry him so he doesn’t have to strain himself.
  • Road Trips. If your pup is good in the car, then you don’t necessarily need a crate for him (though you should keep him secure in case of an accident, of course). But sometimes a leash isn’t appropriate when out with him – and crates aren’t very portable anyways. A backpack for your pup will have you covered so that you can keep your dog a part of your movement every step of the way.

Who Should Not Buy Dog Backpack Carriers

  • Airline travel. For some smaller breeds, on some airlines, it’s ok to travel with your dog in a backpack. But that’s still not the norm, so don’t rush into a purchase or show up to your flight without researching that very thoroughly.
  • Large breed parents. We could tell you that if you get the right backpack, you can carry any breed of dog, but everyone knows that’s a lie. You’re not going to walk for very long with a saint bernard on your back, even if you can find a backpack that safely carries 200 pounds of dog.

Buying Guide: Research Tips From a Veterinarian

Because purchasing an air purifier can be a moderate investment financially, you will want to do some research and find a unit that will fit your needs. Here’s what to consider when picking an air purifier for eliminating pet odors: 

  1. Comfort. The most important factor when choosing a dog backpack carrier is to consider the comfort, of both you and your dog. Carriers that are small, easily collapsible, lack a rigid bottom, or have poor ventilation will be uncomfortable for your dog and should be avoided. Likewise, it is important to look for wide, padded shoulder straps, and a snug-fitting chest strap for the wearer’s comfort.
  2. Find the right size. Measure your dog and ensure they will fit comfortably inside the backpack. Medium and large-sized dogs should not be carried in these types of carriers. – Even if you can find the type that is sturdy enough for them, you shouldn’t attempt to carry them this way; it will only end in pain for you both.
  3. Escape-proof. Because you will be unable to see your pet while you are carrying them, it is also essential to ensure the backpack is made of sturdy materials and cannot be escaped. That means zippers are secure and
  4. Skip the legs out. Due to discomfort and possible strain on the dog’s body and joints, I do not recommend backpack carriers that fit around the dog with holes for their legs. This is an unnatural position for a dog, and it can lead to distress and injury to your pet.

It’s important to remember that the backpack carrier isn’t for all dogs. Dogs who are too large won’t be comfortable and neither will you. But if your pup just needs to lose a little weight, making him walk with you may help him a great deal! You may want to bring the backpack along, though, just in case he plops and can’t be coerced to continue on the way back. And if you have more than just your dog, don’t forget that you can carry your cat with you on your outings, too!

How Much Do They Cost?

Between $30-70

The good news is, dog backpacks may be the least expensive carrier there is. No matter how robust, or flexible the design, you can pretty much count on it being under $100. In fact, the bulk of the carriers will be between $30 and $70. You’ll get more features and durability with the high-end backpacks, but even the lower-cost versions will more than get the job done.

Our Methodology: Why Trust Pet News Daily

As a veterinarian, I’ve been faced with several questions about dog carrying. I also have my own dogs, so I understand the desire to take your pups along with you whenever you can. You need to make sure you’re doing so safely, though, and that’s where my (and your vet’s) education can help you along the decision-making process. You’ll need to make sure your choice is the right fit, so your dog is comfortable and you are, too. Keep in mind that a dog backpack isn’t the same as a baby carrier; all legs and arms must be secured within the backpack or you can cause serious bone and joint strain on your pup. If you’re ever concerned about your choice, pick up the phone and make the effort to talk to your vet.- Dr. Jamie Whittenburg

The Best Dog Backpack Carrier Reviews

1. Best Overall – Lekereise Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack

Best Overall

Lekereise Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack

For the best dog backpack carrier there is, look no further than the Lekereise Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack.

The Lekereise Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack is labeled as a “cat backpack carrier” but is actually my overall favorite for dogs as well. It is made of quality materials, is airline-approved, and has padded straps for the comfort of the pet owner. One great feature of this backpack is the expandable back that gives your pet more room when opened up.

In its carrying state, this backpack has four mesh windows to allow your pet good air circulation as well as an unobstructed view. In the expanded state, there are seven. This eases pet anxiety, prevents overheating, and makes being carried a more enjoyable experience. This backpack is easy to store too as it collapses down into a small size

  • 2 size, 3 color options
  • Plenty of ventilation
  • Folds flat for easy storage
  • You can’t wear it when extended
  • No buckles to secure zippers

2. Best Budget – Texsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack Pet Carrier

Best Budget

Texsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack Pet Carrier

The Texsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack Pet Carrier allows you to carry your pup without breaking your back – or your bank.

Slightly larger than most, the Texsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack Pet Carrier can hold dogs up to 18 pounds. All three exposed sides are made up of large mesh panels which allow for good ventilation and view.

This backpack is equipped with padded shoulder straps and a chest strap that are both comfortable for the wearer and add security for the pet. Made from strong materials that will keep your pet safe, along with a removable bottom pad that makes cleaning easy, this backpack is a great basic model.

  • 180-degree sight
  • Mesh offers plenty of ventilation
  • 5 color options
  • Mesh construction is less durable
  • Doesn’t expand

3. Best for Small Dogs – WOYYHO Pet Dog Carrier

Best for Small Dogs

WOYYHO Pet Dog Carrier

The WOYYHO Pet Dog Carrier is ideal for your small ad toy breed dog.

If you have a small dog and are looking for a backpack carrier that is comfortable for both you and the dog, the WOYYHO Pet Dog Carrier is an excellent option. This carrier is for small dogs and only accommodates up to a 10-pound dog. The carrier backpack has the ability to be adjusted to fit the wearer comfortably – both the shoulder straps and the chest strap can be adjusted for fit.

The bottom of this backpack is solid and rigid which keeps the backpack from collapsing onto your pet and makes it easy to clean. For safety, the backpack features a built-in security leash, as well as both waist and chest buckles to prevent the backpack from falling off of the wearer.

  • Front or back carry
  • 2 size options
  • 13 color choices
  • No top cover – for only well-behaved dogs
  • Doesn’t expand

4. Best for Airline Travel – Petsfit Pet Backpack Carrier for Small Dogs and Cats

Best for Airline Travel

Petsfit Pet Backpack Carrier for Small Dog and Cats

If you plan on using a backpack for your dog to fly, then check out the Petsfit Pet Backpack Carrier for Small Dog and Cats.

The Petsfit Pet Backpack Carrier for Small Dogs and Cats is perfect for traveling, especially on airplanes. The most important feature that makes it a good choice aboard the airplane is the steel rim construction that prevents any part of the carrier from collapsing. This is a must when placing your pet under the seat in front of you. It’s made of extra durable PVC Oxford cloth and claw-resistant mesh so you can rest assured that your pet is safely contained in the backpack while traveling. Locking zippers add to the security.

Labeled for pets up to 22 pounds, this is also a large carrier with a spacious interior, but it is airline-approved to meet requirements for flying. Also a plus for the airline traveler, this backpack comes with multiple side storage pockets as well as a D ring for hanging small travel supplies.

  • Front and top entry
  • 22 lb weight capacity
  • Secures in car/airline seat
  • Doesn’t expand
  • Doesn’t collapse

5. Best for Walking & Hiking – FUR CADET Plush, Comfy Dog Carrier Backpack

Best for Walking and Hiking

FUR CADET Plush and Comfy Dog Carrier Backpack for Hiking

For a dog backpack carrier that works brilliantly with on your hike, try the FUR CADET Plush and Comfy Dog Carrier Backpack for Hiking.

When hiking or walking, it is important to find a dog backpack carrier that is comfortable for both the dog and the wearer. The FUR CADET Plush, Comfy Dog Carrier Backpack is both. Equipped with a plush interior for your dog as well as thick, padded straps for you, this backpack is a great choice for hiking with your small dog. Made of durable and waterproof nylon, this backpack also comes with a lifetime replacement policy should the backpack not hold up to use.

The backpack comes with a collapsible dog bowl, and easy-access waste bags to keep you prepared for your hike or walk. A nice addition to purchasing this backpack, the company donates a portion of its profits to humane shelters and pet adoption/rescue centers.

  • 2 size, 2 color options
  • Includes potty bags and collapsible dog bowl
  • Soft design for comfort and support
  • No top cover – for only well-behaved dogs
  • Claims effective for larger sizes than reality

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dog backpacks safe?

They absolutely can be! Unfortunately, the answer isn’t absolute; you can’t use a backpack rated for a lower weight capacity than your dog is and expect you both to be safe. This will cause the integrity of the backpack to diminish over time, you’ll both suffer the consequences. The instability may cause your dog to react dramatically and he may fall, trip you, or scratch you to get away from a perceived danger.

However, if you find the right fit, with the kind of padding and reinforced construction you need, carrying your dog in a backpack may just be the best way to ensure he stays secure and you don’t strain your back carrying him. When your pup is in a comfortable position, you won’t need to worry about panic, and all the ways he exhibits that fear.1

Can I use a regular backpack as a dog carrier?

Yes, you technically can carry your dog in anything he fits in and lets you put him in. However, the potential for disaster is a bit more prevalent when the carrier he’s in isn’t meant for him. There will be no way for you to secure him to prevent him from jumping out since you will need to keep the top of the pack open so he can breathe. And when he’s on your back, you can’t see if he starts showing signs of anxiety. Because dog backpack carriers are so inexpensive, we definitely recommend getting something designed with your dog in mind.
What is the best way to carry your dog?

If you want to make sure your dog is socialized, without the leash, then a dog backpack can help you with that. There is no definitive “best” way for all dogs – each dog has his or her own personality. However, when you’re first socializing your dog you may be a bit leary of just throwing him to the wolves, so to speak – but you still want to make sure he’s getting the socialization so he doesn’t develop greater anxiety about social situations. 2 If you want to make sure he is used to other people and other dogs without putting anyone at risk a backpack can help. The right backpack carrier can keep him secure and keep you from the strain of carrying him in your arms.

If you do want to carry him in your arms, though, make sure you’re doing it right. Place your arm under his chest, grabbing a back leg, and place the other arm around him, grabbing his collar. This will give him the support his body needs and give you the control you’ll need to keep him from jumping or squirming too much.3

How long can a dog be in a backpack?

The same rules for any confinement of your dog apply to backpacks, as well. You can push the time spent cooped up a bit because he’s near you and that settles him in for longer, but he’ll still need to use the restroom and stretch his legs from time to time. Younger dogs will need to work those issues out more frequently than older ones, but you can generally expect only a couple of hours in the backpack before he’ll need out. Don’t worry about knowing when, though – he’ll show you signs; whimpering, repositioning himself,  and even barking will all indicate he’s ready for some more space.

Article Sources

Pet News Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Sung W, MS, PhD, DVM, DACVB. Extreme Fear and Anxiety in Dogs. Published August 6, 2019. Accessed April 6, 2022.
  2. Tiira K, Lohi H. Early Life Experiences and Exercise Associate with Canine Anxieties. PLoS One. 2015;10(11):e0141907. Published 2015 Nov 3. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141907
  3. Williams S. How to Pick up a Dog Properly. Updated March 29, 2019. Accessed April 6, 2022.
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