How To Carry a Dog in a Backpack 

 April 22, 2023

By  Diane Wuthrich

The use of dog backpacks have become increasingly popular as a means of traveling with your pet. But how do you carry a dog in a backpack?

Check your dog’s weight and temperament before you decide to place them in a dog backpack. Get them familiar with the pack by offering a treat when you first try to fit the dog inside it, then secure them inside. Observe how the dog reacts as you walk around with the pack lifted on your shoulder.

There are some considerations to think about if you want to comfortably and safely carry your dog in a backpack. Read on below to learn more.

Can I Carry My Dog in a Backpack?

Dog backpacks are a terrific way to transport your dog during short trips.

However, given the array of dog sizes and temperaments, it’s important to know how to carry a dog correctly in a backpack. Provided that the backpack is well-ventilated and you carry the dog responsibly, most dogs will enjoy being in a dog backpack.

How To Carry a Dog in a Backpack

To ensure your dog’s safety and well-being while in a backpack, there are some steps necessary to get them used to it. Below are some tips for helping your dog become acquainted and eventually used to the dog backpack:

1. Lay the open backpack down on the floor.

See if the dog expresses any interest in the backpack or begins to sniff it; if he does, reward him immediately with treats and praise. If he ignores the backpack, you can try to get his interest by placing a treat inside the backpack. Reward and praise him as soon as he gets the treat from the backpack.

Repeat this step until your dog realizes he gets rewarded whenever he goes near or in the backpack; even better if he goes inside himself – then reward again.

2. Introduce a command to teach your dog when he should get into the pack.

A command you don’t already use for other tasks, such as “in the bag” or “get in”, is ideal. Place a treat inside the bag again, and if he responds by stepping into the bag or entering the backpack completely, praise and reward him. Repeat until he has understood the command and puts his whole body in the backpack.

3. Secure the dog inside the backpack and walk around indoors.

Secure the backpack then lift it up slowly, as you put the straps around your shoulders. Walk around your home for 3-5 minutes and observe the dog’s reaction; some dogs may take time to get used to sitting high off the ground, while others may take to it right away.

4. Adjust based on your dog’s reaction.

If a dog is squeamish, barks or yelps constantly while in the backpack, they may not be comfortable in it. You can try again another day to see if it takes a few training sessions. Should you notice no improvement in their behavior while repeating the training steps on different days, this means your dog doesn’t like being in a backpack.

5. Gradually increase the length of time you keep your dog in the pack.

For dogs that have become acclimatized to being in a backpack, get them used to staying in it for longer periods of time but gradually. If you intend to go hiking with them for 3-4 hours at a time, let them out to go potty after an hour, which is also a great opportunity for them to stretch their legs.

Keep in mind that acquainting your dog with a backpack should be done at home, and not outdoors. There are better chances they will be comfortable with it if this is done in an area they are familiar with first.  

How To Choose a Dog Backpack

The right backpack can make a big difference in your dog’s enjoyment and comfort. Here are the factors you should consider when selecting a dog backpack:

Only Use a Backpack Designed for Dogs

Dog backpacks have all the features needed to keep them safe and well-ventilated. Placing your dog in a regular backpack is hazardous as it can increase the risk of suffocation.


Ventilation nets are essential for breathability while the dog backpack is closed. Some backpacks are designed with various entry points, though if a dog is comfortable with the pack, you can also leave the top open while in use to allow them to breathe fresh air and see the sights as you walk.


Weigh your dog and measure around the deepest part of their chest to ensure a proper fit. They should be able to move around freely without restricted movement while inside the pack. Dog backpack manufacturers will usually provide guidelines on the best way to measure your dog for their pack, since there is no one-size fits-all solution for dog backpacks.

Consider the size and age of your dog as well when selecting a dog backpack. If your dog is still a puppy, you may want to get a larger backpack to accommodate them when they grow.


Dog backpacks are usually designed with any number of pockets to accommodate various purposes for using the pack. Compartments are helpful for segregating belongings such as food from a bag of dog poop or toys.

Waterproof or Water-Resistant

If you intend to use the backpack for long hikes, a backpack that is water resistant or waterproof is necessary to keep them dry. Dogs may be prone to getting sick and uncomfortable if they are outdoors in wet and cold weather.

Adjustable Padded Straps

Dog backpacks with adjustable and padded straps help you stay comfortable during walks and hikes. It also helps ensure even weight distribution while protecting your shoulders and back.

Our Recommendations for Dog Backpacks

If you are shopping around for dog backpacks, these are some popular choices that come highly recommended for the excellent features that you and your dog will appreciate:

-   Pawsse Dog Carrier Backpack

Small dogs that weigh up to 7 pounds will enjoy going on adventures in the Pawsse Dog Carrier Backpack. The top zippered-access opening makes it easy for them to get in and out, as well as enjoy the view from up there. It also comes equipped with thoughtful features such as adjustable waist belt and shoulder straps, attachable collapsible bowl, and two large side pockets.

-   Kurgo K9 Rucksack

The Kurgo K9 Rucksack is ideal for medium-sized dogs as it can accommodate up to 25 pounds. It features a top-loading compartment, washable interior pad, a pocket for your iPad, and an adjustable tether to help keep your dog safely in place especially during bumpy walks. Meanwhile, treats, toys, and other essentials can be kept in the small front pocket.

-   Petsfit Comfort Dog Backpack

The Petsfit Comfort Dog Backpack is one of the most durable pet carriers out there, manufactured with 600D Oxford together with 230d polyester mesh. Adjustable waist and shoulder straps make it simple to distribute weight evenly, while an ergonomic design provides maximum comfort. Meanwhile, the side pockets can fit a leash, treats, and other essentials.


With proper training and the right dog backpack, you can increase the chances your dog will love being in one. It will enable you to enjoy new adventures together while giving you peace of mind that your dog is safe and comfortable.

About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}