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Carrier or Sling - The choice is yours!

Bella with her mum
Bella towards

An easy way to transport your small breed dog around is something that every small dog owner may need.

Whether you’re taking a trip here to Daisy Street, off for a visit to see friends, or whatever destination you and your dog have in mind. Backpacks and carriers for dogs are becoming very popular among pet owners.

There are many options out there – a dog backpack or dog sling – the choice is yours!

 Here we see Bella being brought into the practice for her vaccinations and she is being carried in a very stylish sling.

Considerations when looking at backpacks and carrier slings?

Backpack carriers for dogs and dog slings each have their pros and cons, and whether or not either is the right fit for you and your dog depends on several criteria:

1. Do you really need a carrier and why?

Dogs love to run and play and this obviously is the main way we keep our pets fit. Most dogs should be walking most of the time, including all the smaller breeds. We are not doing our smaller breed pets any favours carrying them around. After all, we must remember they are dogs and need to run around and play, not to be treated like a baby who can’t yet walk.

However, there are times when we need to carry our dogs. A prime example is visiting the vets for your puppy’s vaccinations – before they are fully protected, as they should not be walking where other dogs have been - so a sling or carrier is perfect in facilitating this.

If you also have an older dog, a sling can be used to enable the older dog to still go on the walk with their owner when any younger dogs are being exercised.

2. Your dog’s breed (personality and size in particular). Only small and toy breed dogs can be transported in carriers or slings.

​3. Where are you going to use the pet carrier? – A larger back pack carrier may not be suitable on a busy bus or train. What weight can you carry comfortably on your back? Remember a growing Lab will soon become too heavy for you to carry in a sling comfortably.

4. Has your dog any medical conditions that would make being in a carrier unsuitable?

Other things to consider are:

Is it comfortable for your dog?

Is it comfortable for you?

Is the material easy to clean?

Is the carrier easy to put on by yourself?

Will the colour, style, and material match your typical wardrobe?

Is it adjustable so you can use it for other pets and could someone else in your family wear it too?

Take your time to choose the right Backpack or Sling

The Back packs and carriers vary greatly in their designs and features. Take some time to decide what you like and feel is important to you and your dog.

The key with dog backpack carriers and slings is to get your dog used to them so your dog wouldn't be opposed to get into it after the first experience.

Dog backpack carriers:

Here the dog sits in the carrier, which is on the back of the owner and the dog faces out behind its owner. So firstly we don’t want your pet falling or jumping out of the backpack so check that there is an attachment for your dog’s lead or collar which fastens them to the carrier.

Second, while some simple design backpacks for dogs are only made to contain your pet, others are equipped with dog supplies-specific storage pockets, full enclosures with mesh netting for ventilation, and even built-in food and water bowls.

Key takeaway on dog backpacks:

Storage pockets, dog attachment leash and wheels (on some) are the main advantages of dog carrier backpacks over pet carrier slings. You don’t get any of these three features with a dog sling. For this reason, backpacks are usually preferred over dog carrier slings by consumers that like to travel with their small dogs.

One drawback of backpacks when compared to the dog sling is that they are bulkier. Also, not all dogs may enjoy not being able to see your face when they’re in the back.

Dog Carrier Slings

Bella with her mum  Bella looking away

As you saw with Bella, she was being carried in a sling. These are often made of strong fabric and hang over your shoulder, a bit like a baby sling. That physical closeness helps many dogs and especially puppies, feel more comfortable and fosters the bond between you and your dog during a trip.

Some pet slings have two handles, and carry the dog in the same way your grocery bag does, allowing their legs to dangle free, whilst keeping their spine straight. These sometimes also have straps so you can carry them like a back pack but on your front, however in our opinion, this is a very unnatural position for a dog to sit in.

However, make sure that your pet has enough room in a sling to be comfortable and there may also be no way to securely attach your dog to you or the sling and the last thing we want is for your new puppy to escape.

From all the staff at Daisy Street Vets, we hope you enjoy using your carrier or sling. Obviously, most dogs will be walked on a lead during the majority of their lives, so if you need more help and advice on this, don’t hesitate to contact us at the practice on 01254 53622.

Samantha Purcell Daisy Street Vet, Jan 2018

24th January 2018, 12:25
Page updated 13th Feb 2018, 06:50
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