Hiking with a Puppy in a Backpack: All You Need to Know

Hiking with your dog is an unforgettable experience. For pet owners, it’s perfectly normal to carry your friend along with you on your adventures as soon as possible. The only real issue with taking your puppy out on long treks is allowing your little companion to walk with you at a young age can cause harm to them if they are overexercised, and this can inhibit development and even cause long-term health problems.

hiking with puppy in backpack
Hiking with a Puppy in a Backpack

Unlike traditional dog carriers, puppy carrier backpacks are specifically designed to carry pets safely on your back (or front) while allowing your puppy to simply sit in the bag. Some backpacks allow your puppy to keep his or her head and legs free—similar to backpack carriers used with babies—while others keep your pup enclosed in their little bubble.

Hiking with your puppy has never been more comfortable than with a puppy backpack, and it’s wonderful to not have to be concerned about your pets when out hiking. Carrying them along in a puppy backpack allows you to just enjoy their companionship without any restrictions on your hiking adventure.

You may want to consider one of these puppy backpacks if you want to take your dog out on more outings but they’re currently limited due to chronic injuries, low stamina, or being of a young or old age. With a puppy backpack, you won’t have to abandon your puppy or leave your sweet dog at home when you want to go outdoors.

Is It Safe for Puppies to Go Hiking When They Are Young?

Your young, gleaming puppy is full of enthusiasm and will undoubtedly become one of your closest adventure companions in the years ahead, but don’t go hiking on the trails just yet. Long, steep walks aren’t healthy for a dog that’s still growing and developing due to how strenuous such an activity can be. You will need to evaluate your puppy’s age, size, breed, and health before setting out on any of these big adventures.

Your puppy’s limbs will get longer during the first year of its life, and issues such as plate injuries are more likely to occur while your puppy is still growing. The growth plates at the ends of your dog’s bones are soft patches that harden as they grow, and excessive activity and trauma will destroy these development plates and cause long-term problems for your pup.

Your puppy’s readiness for long hikes will vary depending on his or her age. Growth plate injuries that occur before your dog reaches the age of eight months are the most serious, and these can even lead to problems that necessitate surgery. Dogs are vulnerable while still growing, which can be up to the age of a year for small dogs and up to around 18 months of age for large dogs.

It’s advised to seek out professional guidance from your veterinarian when it comes to deciding when your puppy is ready to go hiking with you.

What is a Puppy Carrier Backpack?

A puppy carrier backpack is made to safely transport your pup on your back. Pet carrier backpacks exist in a variety of sizes, but the majority are designed to accommodate both dogs and cats.

One of the main advantages of a puppy carrier backpack is the ability to travel long distances with your pet on your back. With the help of these comfortable backpacks, elderly pets who have lived an active lifestyle in their younger years can also continue to do so and go out with their owners in their golden years.

Characteristics of a Good Backpack

It can be difficult to know what your puppy needs when you decide to purchase a puppy backpack to make hiking with your dear friend more feasible. Read these about crucial features that a good backpack should have to make it easier for you to choose the greatest backpack to meet your specific pup’s needs.


The size of a puppy backpack is the first and maybe most significant factor to consider when looking for one to use with your dog. Naturally, you want to make sure your hiking buddy’s bag is the proper size.

Traveling while using a carrier that’s too small will likely be tough for both you and your puppy. They’ll need more space if they’re a giant-sized breed, but you don’t want them to have so much space that they sink low and can’t pop their head out to look around comfortably. Do some research and double-check the measurements of both the backpack carriers you’re considering as well as your puppy.

Support and Comfort

Find a carrier backpack with shoulder straps, proper back support, and proper weight distribution among the chest and waist belts—the fit should be similar to what you’d also want to find when choosing a standard backpack. Make sure your puppy has a comfortable place to sleep on the inside as well.

Choose a backpack that is appropriate for your puppy’s weight and size. To avoid feeling caged, the puppy should be able to move around freely and also have enough headroom and ventilation to be comfortable. If the space is too large, the puppy may get jostled or distressed while traveling on the inside.


Safety is determined by the backpack’s quality, ventilation, and closure, as well as your puppy’s level of comfort. Most backpacks have a tether on the inside where you can secure your puppy’s collar or harness to keep it from jumping out and running away while out and about. Additional protection is provided by the safety buckles included on the zippers, which keep your pet safe from the inside.

If your puppy gets distressed while inside the backpack, it may attempt to escape or panic from being terrified. As a result, these safety features help reduce the chances of any accidents occurring until you can ensure that your puppy becomes more settled and comfortable inside the enclosure.

Features and Functions

To keep your puppy’s weight from pulling your back too badly while hiking or on lengthy walks, make sure your backpack includes adjustable and padded shoulder straps, as well as chest and waist straps. Standard materials, durable zippers and closures, a strong bottom, and a comfy inside are all recommended by vets for the best backpack for your puppy. It’s also a bonus if the interior is removable or of a material that can easily be cleaned.

On the inside, look for smooth seams and smooth edges; there should be no sharp edges or anything that makes it uncomfortable for them to lie down or brush up against while moving. A lightweight product with mesh windows will often provide wonderful support on hikes for active users, allowing your puppy to stay cool while simultaneously reducing the amount of weight you have to carry.

Why Should You Buy a Backpack for Hiking with Your Puppy?

If you and your puppy travel frequently, a backpack carrier can make life much easier for both of you. On long journeys, for example, if your puppy consistently pulls on the leash while walking, it can become very painful for them if it goes on for an extended period. It will also make your walk far less pleasant and be quite inconvenient.

Using a backpack carrier (see Amazon) can help you avoid the frustration of a dog that pulls too much during walking or other adventures. Your outings with your resistant pup will be far less frustrating, and they will be able to travel with you more comfortably instead of your outing being a constant battle.

Smaller dogs generally take longer to cover the same amount of ground as larger dogs, so hiking can be exhausting for them. Having a backpack to carry them in if they get too exhausted is usually a good idea in these cases since it requires so much more of them compared to going hiking with a larger breed of dog that can easily keep up with a human being.

Last but not least, using a puppy backpack carrier will also assist with puppies that may have health problems. If they have problems with their backs or hips from an early age, this can make it difficult for them to go on lengthy walks. That isn’t to say they don’t want to join you on your trips, it will just be more difficult for them and likely even a bit painful. With a puppy backpack, these health concerns won’t be an issue, and you’ll be able to enjoy your trip together without any pain or worries.

When Is It Appropriate to Use a Backpack While Hiking?

Backpacks are fantastic, but there is also a time and place for them.

Keeping your puppy in a backpack can be beneficial and even necessary at times. If your four-legged buddy gets fatigued while hiking, the best method to give them a break is to put them in a carrier bag and give them that much-needed break for a short distance. This allows your puppy to relax and re-energize so that he or she can continue walking with you.

Another time when a backpack will come in handy is when you’re hiking over tough terrain. Putting your puppy in a carrier backpack is a great method to get them through a challenging section of a route, such as crossing a stream or climbing something your puppy can’t climb on its own.

If you don’t want to leave your puppy at home when it’s too young, these backpacks are an excellent alternative for safely hiking with them.

How Do You Pick the Right Backpack for Your Puppy?

You’ll need to know your puppy’s exact measurements, including the following:

  • Your puppy’s weight
  • The body length of your puppy
  • Your puppy’s chest girth

If you don’t have access to a large scale, such as one at your veterinarian’s office, you can easily weigh your puppy at home using standard bathroom scales. Simply stand on the scale while holding your puppy first, then weigh again without holding your pup. Subtract your weight from the combined weight of you and your puppy, and you’ll get the answer for how much your puppy weighs by itself.

Use a tape measure to measure the distance between the dog’s neck (where the collar sits) and the base of its tail to determine the length of its body. Finally, measure the girth of the puppy’s chest where it is widest with a tape measure to get the last bit of criteria that you’ll need to know for finding the most appropriate backpack size for your pup.

The Benefits of Hiking with a Puppy in a Backpack

A backpack is an excellent choice for owners who enjoy hiking or long walks with their pets. Puppies are small, delicate creatures who cannot walk for long periods alongside their owners, so backpacks allow owners to help their puppies still come along in these situations. Here are some of the benefits of taking your pup out hiking or on longer adventures with you:

  • Hiking and trips with your closest friends are amazing and enjoyable.
  • Leaving a beloved pup alone at home is stressful.
  • It helps in the socialization of your puppy.
  • Being right with you ensures the safety of your puppy.
  • You can spend time and make memories with your puppy.
  • You can learn about your dog’s hidden abilities and attributes.
  • Backpacks provide you with more room to carry your other essentials as well.
  • You can bring your small, growing puppy hiking with you in one of these backpacks.
hiking with puppy in backpack
Hiking with Puppy in Backpack

Related Questions

What are the main types of dog carrier backpacks?

In general, there are two types of dog carrier backpacks: classic backpacks that you wear on your back and front packs that you wear on the front of your body. The majority of models on the market belong to the first group. These are great for most dogs, but if your dog is particularly nervous, they will likely feel more at ease in a front-pack.

Do puppies enjoy being carried in a backpack?

Different puppies react to being carried in different ways. Puppies do not always prefer to be carried in one specific way compared to another. Many puppies, however, enjoy riding in backpacks because it means that they are going on an adventure and spending time with their owners.

What is the best way to use a puppy backpack?

Following the manufacturer’s instructions is the best way to use your puppy backpack. For example, do not carry a small pup in a large backpack because it may not be safe or comfortable for them. Carrying a dog that is heavier than the manufacturer’s recommended weight limits for the backpack is also not a good idea. Finally, maintain the carrier well by cleaning it following the bag manufacturer’s recommendations.

Related Reading: How to Carry a Dog in a Backpack: Canine Clues

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.