Dog Backpack

The Top 7 Dog Backpacks Your Dog Will Love

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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Best Dog Backpacks Summary

Are Dog Backpacks Good for Dogs?

Are-Dog-Backpacks-Good-for-Dogs

Yes, dog backpacks can be good for dogs. You can use a dog carrier backpack to store water and other useful resources during long hikes or walks. 

Your dog’s backpack can carry different supplies including dog food, poop bags, medication, and treats. Dog backpacks can also act as travel bags for your dog in which you can keep her essentials like medication, treats, and supplements. 

Some dogs may not like carrying backpacks no matter how much you train them. In this case, the backpack wouldn’t be a good idea. If your dog is one of these, don’t force her to wear a bag as it will lead to discomfort and bad behavior.  

Are Dog Backpacks Cruel? 

No, dog backpacks aren’t cruel. If your pooch loves her backpack and shows no hesitation when you put it on her, it is definitely not cruel. 

Dog backpacks are only cruel if you force your dog to wear one when she doesn’t want to or if you let an unsuited dog wear a backpack. 

Dogs that shouldn’t wear backpacks include old dogs, puppies, injured dogs, and dogs living with an illness like arthritis, canine hip dysplasia, and heart disease.

Finally, intentionally overloading your dog’s backpack is also considered cruel because it is uncomfortable and can cause serious health issues like joint disease, back pain, and injuries. 

How Much Weight Can a Dog Carry in a Backpack?

A dog backpack should weigh between 10 to 25% of a dog’s weight. Dogs that are new to carrying a backpack should start with lower weights and slowly work their way up to 25% as they get more experience. 

When introducing your dog to her backpack, start with small objects like a ball, toy, or even nothing. As she starts to get used to carrying the extra weight, introduce more weight till you get to the 25% mark or whatever she is comfortable with. 

Some dogs may not be able to carry 25% of their weight even after training. These include smaller dogs, senior dogs, and sick dogs. 

Accurately measure your dog’s backpack to ensure that it doesn’t exceed the recommended limits. Weigh the bag on a scale instead of guessing as you may wrongly estimate the weight.

Make sure the weight of the backpack is evenly distributed on both sides of the body to prevent exerting stress on one side. 

What Age Can My Dog Wear a Backpack?  

Your dog should only wear a backpack when her joints are fully developed, which is between 18 months and two years. Medium to large dog breeds can start wearing backpacks at 18 months, but giant breeds should wait until at least two years. 

This is because joints in giant breeds take longer to develop. Giant breeds are also more prone to joint problems, so starting a backpack too early can increase their risk of getting conditions like arthritis and hip dysplasia.  

If you are not sure whether your pet dog is a good candidate for wearing a backpack, consult with a veterinarian. The vet will give advice based on your dog’s and overall health. 

The Best Dog Backpacks Reviewed

From travel carriers to dog totes to life jacket backpacks – the pet market offers dozens of different dog backpack designs. Here are some of the best dog backpacks based on quality, efficacy, and style.  

RUFFWEAR Approach Dog Pack Backpack

RUFFWEAR-Approach-Dog-Pack-Backpack

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Summary: The Ruffwear dog backpack is the perfect backpack for any dog owner. The bag comes in five sizes to fit most dogs. All three available colors are very bright for easy visibility in low light. The bag is made with durable fabric to last you a long time, even with constant use. 

Best use: Best used as a dog hiking backpack

Sizes available: Extra extra small (XXS), Extra small (XS), Small (S), Medium (M), Large/Extra-large (L/XL)

Handle: Yes, on some designs

Number of pockets: Four

Adjustable: Yes

Leash Attachment point: Yes

Pros

  • Has a form fitting dog harness for extra stability and fit
  • Reflective trim and loop to attach a beacon for extra visibility
  • Comes in four sizes
  • Has a leash attachment point

Cons

  • Not suited for machine washing

Review: Owners of dogs of all sizes enjoy this harness. Most love the good quality and how well-made it is. Others report getting surprised at how much even the small sizes can carry. One customer says her German Shepherd didn’t need any convincing to get used to the bag and actually gets excited at the sight of it.

OneTigris Dog Pack Hound Travel Backpack

OneTigris-Dog-Pack-Hound-Travel-Backpack-2

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Summary: This backpack is designed to act as your dog’s personal rucksack on trips. The spacious pockets allow you to store supplies like water, treats, keys, and more in them. The bag caters to most dog sizes and has a mesh fabric for extra breathability.

Best use: Best used as a pet travel backpack

Sizes available: Small, Medium, and Large

Handle: Yes

Number of pockets: Four

Adjustable: Yes

Leash Attachment point: No

Pros

  • Breathable mesh fabric for increased airflow
  • Comes in three sizes
  • Handle for easy carrying
  • Metallic D-shapes rings for extra attachments

Cons

  • No leash attachment point
  • The backpack is dark-colored, which would limit visibility in low light

Review: In general, dog owners love this bag for how much it can carry. They say the bag has enough space to carry most of the supplies a dog would need during a long walk. 

IDOMIK Dog Backpack No-Pull Pet Backpack

IDOMIK-Dog-Backpack-No-Pull-Pet-Backpack

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Summary: This cute frog-shaped backpack is the dream daypack for parents of small breed dogs. The bright color allows high visibility in low light, and the mesh fabric keeps your dog’s skin from overheating. The bag also doubles as a harness and has a leash attachment point. 

Best use: Park visits

Sizes available: Small and Medium

Handle: No

Number of pockets: One

Adjustable: Yes

Leash Attachment point: Yes

Pros

  • Breathable mesh fabric for increased airflow
  • Leash attachment point
  • Bright color for increased visibility in low light
  • Dog harness vest for extra fit and stability

Cons

  • Only available in two sizes with no options for large and giant dogs
  • Only one pocket

Review: Owners of small dogs love how cute and adorable this bag looks. They say it is equally functional and interesting to look at. Dogs love it just as much because of how comfortable and lightweight it is. 

EXCELLENT ELITE SPANKER Dog Pack

EXCELLENT-ELITE-SPANKER-Dog-Pack-2

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Summary: This backpack is made from extra-strong nylon fabric that is padded to maximize comfort for your dog. It comes in four beautiful colors and has a sticker patch that you can use accordingly. 

Best use: Camping 

Sizes available: Medium to Large

Handle: Yes

Number of pockets: Two regular pockets and four “external” pockets

Adjustable: Yes

Leash Attachment point: Yes

Pros

  • Comes in four different colors
  • Sticker patch you can use according to your needs
  • Leash attachment point
  • Many pockets for extra storage during long and multi-day trips
  • Handle for easy carrying

Cons

  • Available in dark and dull colors not suitable for low visibility areas
  • Comes in only one size

Review: Customers say this backpack is well made and can withstand wear from even the most hyperactive dogs. Those who have tried it highly recommend it to others mostly because of its good quality but most importantly because dogs love it too. 

Dog Saddle Bag Backpack

Dog-Saddle-Bag-Backpack

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Summary: This polyester backpack has a slit on the side from which you can pull poopbags without having to unzip the pockets. It is wonderful for long walks due to its roomy pockets that can accommodate a good amount of supplies. The bag is also easily machine-washable. 

Best use: Everyday walks

Sizes available: Medium to Large

Handle: Yes

Number of pockets: Two regular side pockets and four “external” pockets

Adjustable: Yes

Leash Attachment point: Yes

Pros

  • An outlet for easy poopbag access
  • Machine washable
  • Handle for easy carrying
  • Leash attachment point 

Cons

  • Comes in only one size and color

Review: Reviews of the Dog Saddle Bag praise how spacious it is despite it being lightweight. Dog owners also say that the bag is very durable and can last a long time despite regular use. 

Outward Hound Lightweight Dog Backpack

Outward-Hound-Lightweight-Dog-Backpack-1

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Summary: For dog owners who love to have a wide variety of choices, the Outward backpack is the right pick. The backpack has not only three colors but also three stylish designs to suit every taste and lifestyle. All designs are practical with breathable fabric, a handle, and a leash attachment point. 

Best use: Park walks

Sizes available: Small to Medium and Large to Extra Large

Handle: Yes

Number of pockets: Four

Adjustable: Yes

Leash Attachment point: Yes

Pros

  • Lightweight. The backpack weighs only 0.9 lbs
  • Breathable mesh fabric for air circulation
  • Comes in three designs and colors
  • Leash attachment point
  • Handle for easy carrying

Cons

  • Comes in only two sizes

Review: The Outward Hound backpack has over 4,000 Amazon reviews, and most are in awe of it. Dog owners love how spacious it is, with one saying it can easily carry up to four 17 oz water bottles. 

OneTigris Y-Shaped Dog Backpack with Handle

OneTigris-Y-Shaped-Dog-Backpack-with-Handle

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Summary: This OneTigris backpack is perfect for medium and large dogs. It is made with durable nylon fabric that is both dirt and water-resistant. Bonus features include a harness, reflective trim, top handle, and breathable mesh fabric. 

Best use: Camping

Sizes available: Medium, Large, and Extra Large

Handle: Yes

Number of pockets: Two

Adjustable: Yes

Leash Attachment point: Yes

Pros

  • Y-shaped harness for even weight distribution
  • Reflective trim for increased visibility at night
  • Breathable mesh fabric for air circulation
  • Handle for easy carrying
  • Quick-release buckles in case your dog gest uncomfortable

Cons

  • No size is available for small dogs

Review: Owners of large dogs love this backpack for its good quality and lightweight nature. Dogs also love how well the backpack fits during walks and hikes. 

What is a Good Size for a Dog Backpack?

What-is-a-Good-Size-for-a-Dog-Backpack

The best size for a dog backpack depends on two factors: the size of your dog and the purpose of the bag. 

Before choosing a backpack, measure your dog to determine what size of backpack suits her best. You’ll need to measure your dog’s chest, neck, and back length.

To measure the chest, wrap a soft measuring tape around the widest point of your dog’s chest and note the measurement. Do the same for the neck, ensuring to get the widest point again. To get the length of the back, measure the distance from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. 

You can then use these measurements when selecting the perfect size of a backpack. If you are buying a backpack with adjustable straps, ensure that the maximum length of the straps accommodates your dog’s measurements.

What is the Best Dog Backpack?

RUFFWEAR Approach Dog Pack Backpack
  • Reflective trim and a light loop for The Beacon (sold separately) provide visibility in low-light conditions.
  • Stash treats, bowls, and more in the pockets and on the external gear loops.
  • Designed with weight-forward saddlebags that help stabilize pack contents for easy, comfortable carrying.

The Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack is our pick for the best dog backpack. This is because it checks all the considerations to keep in mind when choosing a good dog backpack. These considerations are:

  • Size. A good backpack should be the right size for your furry friend, not too tight and not too loose. Measure your dog before choosing a backpack to avoid getting the wrong size. An ill-fitting bag would be uncomfortable, and a tight one can cause injuries like choking. 
  • Fabric. The fabric should be breathable to allow airflow between your dog’s skin and the backpack. A non-breathable fabric will cause your dog to overheat at the spot where the bag rests. The fabric should also be durable and, if possible, water-resistant.  
  • Dog’s age. Puppies and older dogs may not be suited for a backpack or may have special requirements like smaller sizes and longer straps.
  • Dog’s temperament. If your dog has shown strong hesitation to wearing dog gear like leashes and collars, getting her a backpack, especially without training, will most likely be futile. 
  • Comfortable straps. For extra comfort, the shoulder straps should be padded. Padding also helps to minimize the chaffing of your dog’s skin when carrying the backpack. 
  • Functionality. The backpack you choose should be able to serve the purposes you need it for. Ideally, it should be multifunctional and able to carry most things. 
  • Visibility. For walks in rough terrains like mountains and forests, a brightly colored backpack is ideal to allow you to know where your dog is at all times. 

Are Dog Backpacks Worth it?

Yes, dog backpacks are worth it. They are practical because they allow you to split the task of carrying equipment between you and your dog. 

In addition to their practicality, pet carrier backpacks add weight to your dog when exercising, which makes the exercise more efficient.