The best dog backpack

Pets

Get your dog used to its new backpack gradually — try it empty and/or for short periods before gradually working up to using it on full hikes.

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Which dog backpack is best?

Going on hikes and long walks with your dog can be equally rewarding for both of you. But if it’s just you and your canine companion on the trail, it can be tough to carry everything you need. With a dog backpack, your four-legged friend can share the load by carrying some light essentials, such as a collapsible water bowl or canine first aid supplies.

Keep reading to learn how to choose the best dog backpack. Plus, you’ll find reviews of a few of our top picks. Our favorite model is the Pettom Dog Backpack, thanks to its durable waterproof design.

Considerations when choosing a dog backpack

Size

The majority of dog backpacks are available in several sizes, so you can choose the size that best fits your dog. We’d recommend checking the sizing guide and measuring your dog as directed to make sure you get a good fit. Of course, too-small backpacks won’t fit on your dog or will be noticeably tight, but too-large backpacks can be equally problematic, as they’re likely to slip or move when your dog walks or runs, which can cause uncomfortable rubbing.

Weight

It’s fine for your dog to carry a handful of light items in their backpack, but you shouldn’t weigh them down. The maximum your dog should carry is 25% of their body weight, but preferably less if they’re not used to wearing a backpack. Of course, this includes the weight of the backpack, so be sure to choose a lightweight option.

Compartments

Your chosen dog backpack should have at least a couple of compartments. They should be even in size and position so it’s easier to evenly distribute the weight your dog is carrying. Zippered pockets are essential to stop your gear from falling out, but it can be nice to have some small, semi-open pockets, too, as they give you easier access to items you might need to get to quickly or frequently.

Features of the best dog backpack

Waterproofing

If you’re an all-weather hiker, look for a dog backpack made from waterproof material to protect the contents when it’s raining.

Leash attachment

Some dog backpacks double as harnesses, as it can be tricky for dogs to wear both harnesses and backpacks at the same time. If your chosen backpack has a leash attachment point, then it’s suitable to use as a harness.

Reflective piping

If you often walk your dog when it’s dark outside, choose an option with reflective piping, stitching, or other reflective detailing for better visibility.

Breathability

Backpacks with mesh panels and those made from breathable material are more comfortable for your dog to wear in warmer weather and can help prevent overheating.

Washability

It’s likely that your dog backpack will get dirty on your adventures. It will be much easier to keep it clean if it’s machine washable.

Dog backpack price

You can find small, basic dog backpacks for as little as $15-$20, whereas high-end, extremely durable models can cost $60-$90.

Dog backpack FAQ

Q. Should I choose a traditional backpack or a saddlebag-style backpack for my dog?

A. Definitely choose a saddlebag dog backpack (with compartments that sit on either side of your dog’s body) over a traditional backpack that sits on top of the back. A traditional backpack doesn’t distribute weight evenly and is more likely to be uncomfortable for your pet.

Q. Are backpacks comfortable for dogs to wear?

A. For the most part, dog backpacks are comfortable, as long as you choose a well-padded backpack that distributes weight evenly, and never give your dog more than 25% of their body weight to wear (at the absolute maximum). However, we’d only recommend dog backpacks for fit, healthy adult dogs, excluding seniors. We’d also advise you check for signs of rubbing during and after a long hike and discontinue use right away if you notice any rubbing or chafing.

Dog backpacks we recommend

Best of the best

Pettom’s Dog Backpack

Pettom’s Dog Backpack

Our take: A spacious yet lightweight backpack that’s perfect for medium and large dogs.

What we like: Leash attachment means it can double as a harness. Made from waterproof material for wet-weather walks. Spacious, evenly balanced compartments.

What we dislike: Some buyers report issues with sizing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck

Outward Hound’s Daypak Dog Backpack

Outward Hound’s Daypak Dog Backpack

Our take: With its cooling mesh panels, this is an excellent choice for use on warm days.

What we like: Offers excellent value for your money. Three sizes available. Reflective detailing for better visibility. Easy to adjust with large expandable pockets.

What we dislike: Not the most durable option for long hikes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

OneTigris’ Dog Pack

OneTigris’ Dog Pack

Our take: This rugged cotton canvas dog backpack is durable enough for heavy-duty use.

What we like: Features two large zippered compartments for even weight distribution. Semi-open pockets make for easy access to frequently used items.

What we dislike: Not suited to small dogs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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