The best dog backpack carrier In 2020 With Airline Travel Restrictions For pets

Last year when I was out hiking on the Yosemite Falls Trail. It suddenly occurred to me how much more fun it would be to have one of my dogs with me.

Right after getting back, I set out to find the best backpack carriers in hope to discover a bag that will serve all my needs and requiements in one.

dog in backpack

Today I share a review of the top bags I found and the best bags for each particular purpose whilst considering:

  • Cost
  • Purpose
  • Functionality
  • Comfort (for you and your dog)
  • And much more!

Let’s dive in!

The best dog backpack carrier In 2020

Editor’s PickBrand
Best Overall Petsfit Comfort Backpack
Runner Up Zanies Casual Canine Backpack Carrier
Best Budget ChoiceCuddlissimo Pet Sling Carrier
Best For HikingKurgo Dog Carrier Backpack
Best Shoulder SlingKurgo Dog Carrier Backpack

Best Overall Dog backpack carrier (Editor’s Choice): Petsfit Comfort Dog Backpack

Top Pick
Petsfit Dogs Carriers Backpack for Cat/Dog/Guinea Pig/Bunny
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The Petsfit Comfort Backpack features a well-rounded design that allows for your pet to have great visibility and ventilation whilst traveling. Each of the shoulder straps is padded and fully adjustable with a tether inside to secure your pet.  

For additional comfort, the chest straps stop any bounce and correctly position the weight. It also has a useful side pocket but is best suited for people under 5″10 as other customers over this height have reported the bag to be a small fit.

With a maximum weight of 15lbs for carrying, this bag makes the perfect well ventilalted option for hiking, long distance walks and short trips too.

Pros

  • Very strong construction
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Folds Flat for easy storage when not in use

Cons

  • Poor quality Zippers

Runner up: Zanies Casual Canine Backpack Carrier

Runner Up
Casual Canine Ultimate Backpack Carrier
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Zanies Casual Canine Backpack Carrier makes a great pet bag for carrying, with added self-locking zippers and added storage to house treats, foods, or anything of your choice.

There is an optional front tent that can be left open for ventilation or zipped closed for easier carrying. Its sleek design two pockets that sit on either side with a removable inside mat that can be cleaned with a wet cloth.

Unlike the Petsfit this bag can hold up to 22lbs and is made with 100% polyester to be pet friendly and long-lasting. Whether it’s a short trip to the grocery store or long-distance hiking, this backpack carrier will make a great product in helping you take fido along too.

Pros

  • Expanding Tent structure
  • Additional storage compartments
  • Removable mat
  • Made for hands-free carrying

Cons

  • Bottom of bag is soft and will easily collapse
  • Air circulation needs improvement

Best budget Backpack carrier: Cuddlissimo! Pet Sling Carrier

Budget Choice
Cuddlissimo! Pet Sling Carrier
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Perfect for dog owners seeking a budget solution, who only require a dog carrier for a walk, and not in need of a secure containment. The Cuddlissimo Pet Sling Carrier offers a simpler product that will allow you to carry your dog in a simple front-facing sling. 

Made with non-toxic materials, this small carry sling will hold pets of up to 6lbs in weight with a strap that goes over the shoulder for simple quick carrying. You can choose from a range of colors such as pink, yellow, blue, and green so you can move in style whilst taking a stroll.

This product is best designed for teacup and small dogs, cats, or other small pets that are light enough to carry inside. What’s more, is that it can be machine washed then hang dried for re-use at a later time.

Pros

  • Front-facing
  • Machine washable
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable shoulder strap

Cons

  • Only for smaller pets
  • Zipper is temperamental

Best soft carrier backpack: Henkelion Pet Carrier Small Medium Dogs

Henkelion Cat Backpack Carrier Bubble Bag
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This dog backpack is by far the coolest looking on the list with its unique capsule design that allows your pet to be seen whilst inside.

With 9 holes surrounding the bag, ventilation is made easy for air to be easily passed around the scratch-proof materials inside. All materials are made from solid ABS and oxford cloth that can hold pets of up to 15lbs.

You can choose from a range of colors that come in black, blue, pink, and grey that all come with adjustable shoulder straps, safety belts, and a transparent window. That said, there are a few letdowns to the product with the poorly made materials that prevent the bag from being secure.

Pros

  • Fully contained design
  • Great value for money
  • Great for short trips

Cons

  • Poorly designed
  • Plastic smell is overwhelming

Best dog backpack for hiking: Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs

Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs & Cats
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One particular bonus to the Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack is that its TSA airline approved and can be used as a regular backpack or pet carrier in one.

You can carry dogs of up to 25lbs in this bag with a secure interior carabiner that latches onto a harness to keep your pet secure during travel. The over the shoulder straps can be easily stowed away allowing for the bag to also be carried by hand.

Made with durable waterproof bottom and a machine washable pad this product makes a comfortable and convenient pet carrier for hiking. There are two bottle carriers on either side held in with breathable mesh that surrounds the bag to provide a well ventilated environment.

And to give you more confidence there is a lifetime guarantee cover offered on l’ll purchases that ensures accidental damage doesn’t come at a cost.

Pros

  • Multi-purpose backpack
  • Most comfortable to wear
  • Strong and durable design
  • Carriers pets of up to 25lbs
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Poles that maintain shape are do remain fixed in position

Best Sling Style Dog Backpacks: AUTOWT Dog Padded Papoose Sling

AUTOWT Dog Padded Papoose Sling
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If you’re looking for a quick throw over sling the AUTOWT Dog Padded Papoose offers a simple easy to adjust design, to help you head out on short trips.

You can carry pets that weigh up to 12lbs and chose from a range of 9 available colors to not only look stylish, but also remain comfortable in your travels. Unfortunately, this bag is not airline approved and not recommended for long distance use.

That said, the padded shoulder strap is thick and wide to help reduce pressure when carrying. You also have an additonal front pocket large enough to hold a mobile device or purse when out on the move.

Inside you’ll find secure links that hook to your dogs harness to ensure maximum security when in use. It’s no wonder this is an Amazon Best seller (as of writing this review) because customers are loving the design and convenience.

Pros

  • Simple casual design
  • Secure sling
  • Easy to put on
  • Holds up to 12lbs of weight

Cons

  • Lack of support in base of sling

Best Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs: Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack, Dog Carrier Backpack

Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack
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Here you have a backpack that is not only made for functionality but also serves the need for a comfortable travel bag that will keep your pup safe and secure on the move.

There is a mesh skylight design at the top of the bag that can easily be rolled up to allow more airflow. On each side wall, there are additional pockets for storage with breathable venting holes and pull tie fixings.

Whilst not machine washable, the removable non-slip pad can be used in the expandable rear section that allows for dual use of the bag. For added safety, the Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack is equipped with anti-escape zippers (with buckles) and a safety belt that can be mounted to your pet’s collar.

Made with 300D oxford cloth and a solid base, foldable design this carrier makes a great option for those wanting head out on long distance travels. You can choose from a range of six colors that are all made with non-toxic, non-irritating materials.

This product is a waterproof, dual purpose carrier that will carrier that will support any pet of up to 18lbs.

Pros

  • Dual purpose (can be used for regular use or pets)
  • Expandable back for additional space
  • Chest and stomach mount for added stability
  • Foldable

Cons

  • Not machine washable

Best carrier with wheels: KOPEKS Deluxe Pet Travel Carrier with Double Wheels

KOPEKS Deluxe Backpack Pet Travel Carrier with Double Wheels
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The KOPEKS Deluxe Pet Travel Carrier doubles up as a pet carrier and travel case in one. Not only that, but you can also use it as a pull along or a backpack depending on preference.

You can choose from two sizes (medium or large) that are btoh made with 600D Oxfrod fabric with 3 ventallation mesh panels on the each side. Inside is a solid base layered with faux sheepskin to keep your pup warm and snug whist on travels.

A great bonus is that this travel carrier can be taken on most airlines and is has super smooth wheels that maneuvers fantastically on airport floors. Pets of up to 10lbs is the reccomeneded maximum weight whilst some customers have reported to carry pets of 22lbs just fine on their travels.

Each corner is help up with industrial grade allumium rods and there are two side pockets for storing loose items such as a mobile phone or pet treats.

Its no wonder that customers are loving this product as its a dual purpose pet carrier that covers the essential needs for a regular traveller.

Pro

  • Airline approved
  • Smooth spinning wheels for easy control
  • Solid base to hold pets of up 10lbs
  • Dual purpose backpack carrier or pul along carry case

Con

  • No mesh covering for if you wanted to use in cold weather
  • No safety strap for pets

Best rear-facing carrier for dogs: PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack

PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs
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There’s no denying that the PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack is not only stylish but convenient in one. First off, it comes with a collapsible pet bowl that expands to 2 inches deep with a hook to clip onto the bag whilst traveling.

You can be sure your pet will be safe as there is a safety strap inside to clip into your pups collar along with additional safety buckles on each of the zipper to avoid unwanted escapes.

In total, there are 9 colors to choose from that all come with padded shoulder straps, front back and side pouches for additional storage and a cool name tag on the front for easy identification (you’ll never know when you need this).

For easy management when carrying, the bag is fitted with two straps that go around your waist and chest whilst wearing. The reinforced structure will prevent the base from collapsing and you can open the either side entirely with zippers that run down the length of the bag.

A feature like this would come in handy during accidents and so forth. All fabrics are made from strong and durable 600D high-grade polyester which is why this bag provides the perfect front face experience for you and your pet.

Pros

  • Can hold pets up to 18lbs in weight
  • Securely fitted with chest and waist padded straps
  • Internal safety strap fitted for pets
  • Decent amount of storage space

Cons

  • Zippers get stuck during use and poorly designed
  • Padded straps are a little thin

Best large dog backpack carrier: UG Pet Backpack Carrier

UG Pet Backpack Carrier
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Here is a carrier that will hold pets of up to 20lbs and comes with more space than most of us would need. The trolley frame fixed onto the backpack can be removed to allow for you to carry the bag as a backpack if required.

All sides are well ventilated with mesh walls, zippered access from all directions, waist and chest buckles, and a reinforced base structure to prevent the floor from collapsing. UG Pet Backpack Carrier also comes with a name tag on the front and a collapsible feeding bowl that opens to a few inches deep.

The internal fleece bed can easily be removed and machine washed and boasts an ergonomic design to help with support on your back whilst carrying. Some of the most common breeds that will work well in a carrier like this are: Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Corgi, Poodle, Schnauzer, Maltese, Papillon and Beagle.

Pros

  • Build to carry pets up to 20lbs in weight (check length and height first)
  • Strong well functioning zippers
  • Ergonomic design for better back support
  • Can be used as trolley to pull along or backpack (dual function)

Cons

  • Fabric is a little thin
  • Backpack is heavy when trolley is attached

Buying Guide: What to Consider When You Choose a Carrier

Weight Capacity

A quick way to go wrong is overlooking the size of a backpack or bag before buying. Reason is that you can be on the right track in the realms of weight, but what if your pet is too tall or wide to fit?

These are the types of questions you need to be asking, so its always a good idea to measure your pet before making a purchase. Alternatively, if you want to be on the safe side then you can go for a product that has an open top flap, which in worst case would help with spacing.

Safety

A few safety aspects to look out for include, safety straps inside of the carrier, padded straps for you (the carrier) or safety buckles around zippers. Whilst you may not find a bag that features all three each and every time, its certainly a good idea to buy a bag with at least one.

One other feature that can offer great safety is a name-tag. Name-tags are a great small addition that can be easily added to any bag or in some cases purchased with products to ensure your bag (and pet) can be easily identified in the case they become lost.

Comfort

These days most bags boast to have an ergonomic design that aims to support back and neck muscles. Along with that, there are bags that offer chest and waist straps with padded straps on the shoulders which all offer great additional support on long trips.

Material

Striking a balance between a flexible cloth and a hard-plastic material is crucial. Think about ho you will be using the dog carrier and choose materials that you think will be most appropriate.

Types of carriers

With different bags come different benefits. Some of us plan long distance hikes whilst others are just up to the grocery store. Having th eright equipment thats fit for the job will be vital when heading out to purchase a carrier.

To help you identify which type of bad is right for you, I have listed a few styles below with the benefits to each to help you decide on your situation.

rear-Facing backpack carriers

Backpack carriers are probably the most common style you’ll come across. They work best for long distance travel as your provided with the most support whilst being able to carry your pet in. backpack.

Front-Face backpack carriers

The main benefit of using a front-facing carrier is the fact that you can see your pet whilst traveling. Whilst they are appealing to look at and super friendly to pets, it’s not always the best way to travel over long periods of time.

Sling

Slings are super cool and super simple, and do what you see in pics. Simply throw it over your shoulder and you’re off to the races.

Whilst they are a great convenient way to travel with your pet, it is not recommended that you take a sling over long distance travel as you’ll quickly find out how painful it can become carrying this way for long periods of time.

Rolling

Some bags come with wheels affixed to them and an extendable handle, just like regular luggage. These carriers tend to be used for longer trips and may be used in multiple ways.

As a wheeled carrier that is towed behind in the same way like a suitcase, or with the handle retracted they cay be used as a tote bag, or even as a backpack. Very versatile bags that make a long journey more convenient.

What to avoid when buying a carrier for your dog

In my opinion, the two things you should clearly avoid when shopping for Dog Carrier Backpacks are: 

Not reading Reviews

One pro that we have in the modern day internet is access of information. reading reviews like this along with product reviews on marketplaces prove to be more valuable than you could every imagine.

Gone are the days of getting crappy products and bad services, as you can totally avoid it by just reading a review. Be sure to check out what others have to say first before buying. lucky for you Ive already covered that for backpacks in this post.

Not Measuring your pup

A quick measure of your pup can save tons of time down the road. Theres nothing more annoying than having to send back items and then wait for the new delivery to come because you never took time to measure.

Thats why a measure is always recommended or just go for a size that is well above what you estimate which should give you enough room to play around with.

Hiking and Traveling Outdoors

A few things to consider before heading out on long travels with a pup would be:

  • How long can your pup stay in the carrier
  • How long can you carry before getting tired
  • Will you be in extreme weather conditions
  • How is your pet secure
  • Can your bag be identified in the case of it being lost

Whilst this may to be everything, they are certainly a few things you MUST on consider before travelling with your pup. A quick checkup is recommended before you leave to make sure that your dog doesn’t have any unforeseen allergies or medical concerns that you need to be aware,

Evaluate the trip you are making and carefully think about the suitable equipment that you’ll need for you and your pup. How much food and water? What type of warmth will your pet need?

I’m sure you have a great idea, but this is just a quick reminder of the importance of considering your circumstances before heading out into the unknown.

backpack for a dog in airport

Flying Abroad with Your Dog

I checked out what the humane society had to say about flying with dogs. They were not very happy with the idea and suggested considering alternatives.

Before you decide to fly with your dog, you will need to consider a number of factors. There is a risk when you fly with your pet so it should not be undertaken lightly.

Air travel is particularly dangerous for any breed of dog with a flat face like pugs, Shih-tzus, or bulldogs, etc. They have short nasal packages and this makes them particularly vulnerable to oxygen deprivation.

Think about alternatives to flying, if any exist. Driving is a far better solution. If you are not able to drive then quite possibly it might be better to leave your pet in their home or boarding kennels.

Of course, sometimes this is not an option and you will be forced to consider flying. In this situation it is best if the dog travels in the cabin, assuming your airline will permit this. Check with your airline by using the contact information we provide below.

Most airlines will permit you to bring a small dog into the cabin, but will, of course, charge you extra. I have provided information for some airlines that do permit dogs in the cabin.

There are dangers with flying your dog in the luggage hold, every year, some animals get killed when traveling in the hold. Make sure you notify the captain or a flight attendant that your pet is in the hold. Some captains will take extra care if they are aware.

Airline restrictions for Pet Carriers Including costs

Airline Alaska Air
Maximum weight Alaska Air will allow dogs to travel in the cabin if they have a maximum weight of 20lbs (including the carrier). This includes international flights.
Maximum Carrier Size Maximum Carrier Size (hard): 43x28x19 cm
Maximum Carrier Size (soft): 43x28x24 cm
Restrictions Customers will be allowed to take a second carrier if they also purchase the seat adjacent to them. They also permit two dogs in a single carrier if the dogs show no signs of distress and no body parts protrude.
Cost/Charge Alaska Air Charges $100 each way per carrier.
More information Alaska Air’s Pet Info
Airline Air Canada
Maximum weight Air Canada permits dogs of up to 22lbs (including carrier). This includes international flights.
Maximum Carrier Size Maximum Carrier Size (hard): 23x24x55 cm
Maximum Carrier Size (soft): 27x40x55 cm
Restrictions Your dog carrier will be calculated as one standard item as part of your carry-on baggage allowance. They only permit one dog per passenger and your dog must remain under your seat for the entire journey.

There are restrictions for travellers who are minors, sitting in bulkhead or exit row, need the space under the seat for medical equipment.

NOTE: You are NOT allowed pets in Premium Economy
Cost/Charge Air Canada Charges $50 within North America and $100 international
More information Air Canada’s website.
Airline American Airlines
Maximum weight American Airlines permits dogs of up to 20 lbs (including carrier). This includes international flights that are under 12 hour’s duration.
Maximum Carrier Size You will need to check with American Airlines on maximum carrier size as it varies on each flight. Carry on dogs are not allowed in First Class or Business Class on certain planes and you should enquire. There may be additional requirements.
Restrictions N/A – See website for more information
Cost/Charge American Airlines Charges $125 each way.
More information American Airline’s pet travel info
Airline Delta
Maximum weight Delta has no weight limit, however, the carrier must fit under the seat. The Maximum carrier size depends on the flight, so you should check with Delta below. Delta permits dogs on international flights.
Maximum Carrier Size N/A – See website for more information
Restrictions The kennel must be leak-proof and ventilated on at least two of the sides The dog must remain in the carrier onboard and in the boarding area/lounge.
Cost/Charge Delta Charges $125 (Domestic) and $200 (International)
More information Delta’s website
Airline JetBlue
Maximum weight JetBlue permits dogs in cabins and has slightly more lax restrictions than some other airlines. They only insist the carrier stays under the seat in front of you during taxi, take-off, and landing.
Maximum Carrier Size Maximum Carrier size: 43x31x21 cm
Restrictions Your dog must remain in the carrier at all times and only one dog is permitted per passenger (usually)
Cost/Charge JetBlue Charges $100 each way.
More information JetBlue’s Pet travel info
Airline Southwest
Maximum weight Southwest has no maximum weight limit. The only restriction is that the carrier sits comfortably under the seat in front. International travel is NOT PERMITTED except for trained assistance and emotional support dogs.

NOTE: No dogs are allowed to and from Jamaica.
Maximum Carrier Size The maximum carrier size: 43x34x21 cm
Restrictions Only one dog carrier is permitted per passenger. A single dog carrier may be permitted to contain two dogs of the same breed. The dog carrier will be counted as the permitted carry-on-Dogs must remain in the carrier at all times.
Cost/Charge Soutwest charges $95 each way
More information Southwest’s Pet travel info
Airline United Airlines
Maximum weight United Airlines does permit dogs in the cabin as long as the carrier is placed under the seat.
Maximum Carrier Size Maximum Carrier size (soft): 46x28x28 cm
Maximum Carrier size (hard): 44x30x19 cm
Restrictions International flights: it depends very much on the flight, visit the website. Dogs are not allowed on flights to Australia, Micronesia, or Hawaii (Nor flying through). Unaccompanied minors cannot bring a dog. If you need a second dog then you must buy a second ticket.
Cost/Charge United Charge $125 per flight (PLUS $125 service charge for all stopovers of more than 4 hours in the USA, or 24 hours internationally). 
More informationUnited Airlines pet travel info  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are dog carrier backpacks safe?

Dog carrier backpacks are perfectly safe as long as you use them according to the instructions. For example, tethering your dog in the carrier.

Why does my dog hate being picked up?

Sometimes dogs become scared if they are placed in a carrier and they look out to see there is a drop to the floor. They need time to acclimatize to the carrier before they are picked up.

What length of time can a dog stay in a carrier backpack?

Most manufacturers do not recommend keeping a dog in a carrier for any longer than 45 minutes at a time. If the dog is sleeping then this may be extended, if the temperatures are high then this may be decreased.

Conclusion

Whether it’s a short trip to the grocery store or a long trip across the mountains. Dog backpack carriers will help you take doggo along with you. Not only will journeys become more convenient, but carriers are proven to improve safety too.

Be sure to check out potential restrictions or safety precautions before travelling. Just above are a few airline requirements for if you plan to take a trip to another country.

About Rachael Summers

6b394128bfeb0f594c612a32983d3976?s=90&d=mm&r=gRachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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