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The joy of being a dog owner is spending quality time with your pet, whether that’s at home or out on fun doggy adventures. But if you have a small pooch, or have just taken on a new puppy, there can be a limit to where their little legs can take them. Some dogs can also suffer from separation anxiety and are soothed by you being close. So, if any of these scenarios sound familiar, then a dog carrier sling could be the perfect solution.
Designed for pups and small dog breeds, sling carriers wrap across the front of your body and your pooch sits neatly inside. With their front pouch, your little friend can see what’s going on in the world, while remaining cradled next to their favorite human. And you? Well, you get to take your doggo with you, wherever you go! With more and more coming onto the market, we take a look at what we think are currently some of the best dog carrier slings so you can make the right choice for you and your mini pooch.
With an urban design, our Best Choice is this smart sling carrier that can hold pets weighing up to 10 pounds. Made from leather for strength and comfort, with breathable soft mesh panels and pocket for your pet, you’ll take dog carrying in your stride. The body strap is fully adjustable and has a wide clip buckle and convenient cell phone pocket. The front pet pouch is perfectly sized for miniature breeds, such as chihuahua, mini poodles and Pomeranians and designed for comfort and safety. There’s plenty of ventilation, a leash hook and a drawstring around the opening for a safe fit, allowing your pooch to see everything that’s going on. And all of this for around $26. Great value for a quality dog sling carrier.
If comfort is at the top of your list, then check out this dog sling carrier from Toomkas. Made from a breathable cotton fabric that’s machine washable and feels super-soft against your skin, there is plenty of padding to protect both you and your pooch. As well as reversible (so two great looks for the price of one), it is also available in two sizes – up to five pounds and up to 10 pounds so your little pooch won’t feel swamped. The shoulder strap is adjustable and there’s enough pockets for your furry friend’s essential stuff. Once inside, your little canine has plenty of space to look out and there’s a sturdy lock to fix to his collar for total peace of mind.
Carried low over your hip, the Chico is a substantial pet sling that makes a fashion statement for you and your dog. For mini pooches up to 12 pounds, there’s ample space in the pouch for your pet to settle back and relax. The shoulder strap doesn’t have a buckle; instead you tighten the material through a loop to get your desired fit. This means it might not be as secure as a clip lock buckle, but you can adjust the fit. As a true ‘sling’ design, the opening to the pouch is quite wide but when worn, it feels secure and there’s a safety collar hook to keep your dog in place. And the fabric is soft cotton, comes in a choice of six fashion colors and machine washable too, so you and your pooch always look your best.
Our best price pick is this practical dog sling designed in a roomy papoose style. With the looks of a fashionable over-the-shoulder bag, it’s also reversible when you and your little dog want to shake up your look! Made from soft cotton and polyester, the whole carrier bag is machine washable and can handle mini dogs up to 12 pounds. The pouch is slung quite low so larger dogs may find it a little uncomfortable, but for small canines and puppies that need that close contact reassurance, this sling can work well. And there’s a security clasp to attach to their collar to keep them in place. However, the shoulder strap is not adjustable which is a shame but for the price this is a good sling for shorter journeys.
As a close-fitting sling for the more nervous pet, Slowton’s Pet Carrier is a well-priced choice. Made from soft, breathable cotton with a wide, adjustable padded shoulder strap, this carrier feels secure and sturdy. The pouch design hangs close to the body, meaning your little dog can always feel you near. The whole dog sling is also designed for comfort, from the generously padded strap to the roomy pouch with inner safety strap. And it is machine washable too so and your roving doggo always look your best. Although Slowton says it can take dogs up to 13 pounds, they recommend the ideal size is between for 5-12 pounds for maximum comfort all round. For very small dogs, you will need to pop in a little blanket for extra comfort.
Ultra-light with a reassuringly secure feel, the Retro Pug could become your dog’s carrier best friend. With its kangaroo pouch, there’s plenty of support, as well as space for your doggo to look out, as it is designed to be able to take small to medium dogs weighing up to 15 pounds. What we like about this pet carrier is the wide shoulder strap that takes the weight and has been ergonomically designed to alleviate any shoulder pain. You also get enough clips, pockets and storage space for all those doggy essentials and the sling can be worn either to the left or the right. And this pet sling’s lightweight design means you can fold it up and take it with you on a walk with your dog, in case your little friend need a helping hand.
With its funky styling (who doesn’t love tartan?), there’s a fashion-forward vibe to this small dog sling from Jekeno that also steps up to the plate as an effective pet carrier. The fabric – cotton and chiffon – has a cozy feel but it’s durable and machine washable. Oh, and it’s reversible too. Sized for small dogs and cats up to 10 pounds in weight, this sling is a great way to take your pet with you and the pouch is roomy with plenty of under support. The classic cling style is held together with an adjustable strap with a metal buckle as a nice detail. The safety leash for your dog’s collar is actually on the shoulder strap which doesn’t give as secure feel as it being inside the pouch but for short journeys, walks or to carry your pup in the car, this is a nicely priced buy.
For the more outdoor adventurous mini pooch, we really like this durable and waterproof dog sling from Puppy Eyes. Made from lightweight, waterproof and breathable fabric, it has a sizeable pouch space for your dog, and can take a dog up to 17 pounds. To take the strain, the shoulder strap is nice and wide, with an easy adjust buckle and strap pocket. Inside the pouch there is an inner lease plus a safety net to ensure they stay comfortably in place. For the durable, outdoor spec of this dog sling, you will pay an extra price, but this is still a reasonable purchase and you should get a lot of wear out of it for your money.
The second Slowton carrier in our review, and this time they scoop our best dog sling premium pick. And the reason is you get a lot of quality features for your money. First up, this wide-strapped dog sling carrier is hard bottomed with removable padding for extra support, making it an ideal puppy sling. The shoulder strap is also padded and has a wide adjustment range. Although the capacity is smaller in the pouch, this carrier is for much smaller dogs and pups, so can take up to 9 pounds in canine weight. And your pup will certainly feel safe and secure, thanks to the inner padding, safety hook and drawstring neck. Add in ample pockets and with the Slowton Sling, we think you have a winner.
And finally, we finish with a compact dog sling for the tiny pet – small handbag sized for teacup pooches and puppies up to six pounds. Made from pet-safe, durable and breathable vinyl fabric, this sling sits high on your body, with a short adjustable shoulder strap. Simply pop your mini dog inside the pouch, attach their collar to the security hook and adjust the drawstring neck for a comfort fit. The front mesh panels allow for plenty of ventilation and the whole sling lies snugly against the body just as the name, Cuddlissimo, promises. Available in five colorways and machine washable, this dog sling is reversible too for when your pet wants a fresh look!
Dog sling carriers are much more than a fashion statement, they can be an essential addition to your canine’s kit. Here are the main reasons why:
Reassurance: Small breeds and young puppies can have anxious tendencies if their human parent is not close by. Using a sling holds them next to your body and keeps you in clear view so they feel reassured.
Safety: Smaller dogs can find the big world a little overwhelming, especially in busy places or where there are larger dogs. A dog sling means he can come out and about with you safely.
Support: Small dogs invariably have small legs and so may not be able to walk the distances you’d like to. With a dog sling, you get the best of both worlds – your pup can stretch their legs before popping them into the sling to complete the rest of your walk.
For age or medical reasons: An ageing pooch may still have the will to go for walkies, but not necessary the physical energy. Or your pet may be recovering from an operation, but you don’t want them to miss out. A dog sling is a great way to ensure they get some fresh air and you get to share some quality outdoor time with your pet.
Convenience: Your small dog may not be up to the activities you’ve planned but still wants to come with you. Pop them into a sling and you get to enjoy their company, while keeping your hands free for other things.
What to Look for in a Pet Carrier Sling
There are a few important features you need to consider when choosing a new pet sling carrier:
Weight capacity: most dog slings are designed to carry dogs up to 13 pounds, as they are not suitable for carrying dogs over that weight. However, it’s essential to check the maximum weight capacity of the model you are thinking of buying as it may be less.
Material: the right material is essential for any dog carrier sling as it needs to be durable and comfortable for both you and your dog. Look for a breathable material such as cotton, polyester or mesh which can also wick away moisture while letting enough ventilation through to prevent your pooch from over-heating. Ideally, it should also be machine-washable and quick to dry.
Adjustable straps: For the perfect fit, look for easily adjustable straps across the shoulders. Being able to adjust the height and tightness of the strap means you can get the sling to sit comfortably across your body.
Collar hook: Most dog slings include a built-in strap and hook inside, so you can securely attach your pet’s harness or collar to prevent them from jumping out.
Pockets: Look for a sling that has additional pockets or storage compartments where you can stash those doggy essentials away.
Basic Safety Guidelines for Using a Pet Sling
While you should always read the manufacturer’s instructions, there are some general safety rules when using a pet sling:
Don’t the weight limit: Your pet should be on or below the maximum weight your sling can carry as going over the limit can put your dog at risk of falling out as well as putting a strain on your back.
Don’t rush your dog: If they have never traveled in a dog sling, then your pooch needs some time to get used to it. Introduce it to them slowly, let them sniff and explore it then sit them inside and carry them around for a few minutes at a time at home before venturing further afield.
Make sure your straps are securely adjusted: Getting settled with the sling before you head out is a good habit to get into and will avoid any mishaps should any buckles or straps come undone.
Make sure he is comfortable: Your dog should be snug in his sling, but he still needs to be comfortable. A poorly ventilated sling can lead to overheating, especially if they like to snuggle down. And always ensure they can breathe easily; however, they sit in the sling.
Always secure them: Use the built-in collar or harness hook inside your dog sling to attach your pooch’s collar so they are safe and secure, just in case they get spooked.
Dog Carrier Backpack vs. Dog Sling
Both dog slings and backpacks basically fulfil the same remit – to keep your pet secure and close while carrying them, whether that’s for a gentle walk, a visit to the vets or something more outdoor adventurous. But there are some key differences between the two and how your pet is carried:
Dog sling: Designed for very small dogs or puppies, these carriers keep your pooch comfortably close to you via a sling that wraps around your body from the shoulder to the opposite hip. A dog sling is ideal if you need to keep your hands free while carrying your pet and are not planning anything too physical, such as riding a bike or trail hiking.
Dog carrier backpack: Styled like a conventional backpack, these carry your dog upright either on your back or front, with their legs through holes. They are typically more robust and weatherproof than a dog sling and can carry larger dogs but still have a maximum weight.
Dog Sling Carriers FAQ:
Q: What size dog carrying sling should I get for my pup?
A: Slings are designed for small dog breeds and puppies so getting the right size is essential for a safe ride. Most slings are based on a maximum weight limit, typically between 5 and 13 pounds so ensure the sling you choose is right for your pet’s weight. If necessary, measure the height of your dog and ensure it matches the specifications for the dog body carrier you are looking to buy.
Q: Are dog slings waterproof on the inside in case my pooch has an accident?
A: It depends on the sling you choose, but some are made from waterproof materials to both protect your pooch from the elements and to also deal with any ‘inner leaks’. Other slings have waterproof inner base pads. If the sling you are buying is not waterproof, but made from cotton material, ensure that the whole carrier is machine washable and any inner pads are removable so you can clean up after any little accidents.
Q: Am I spoiling my dog when I carry them?
A: As long as your dog is fit and healthy, then it’s important not to carry them all the time, otherwise it can become a habit and something they expect you to do. And this may be interpreted as spoiling them. But using a sling to make transport an easier option is a healthy reason to carry them. There are also other good reasons to carry a dog – they may be a senior pet with less mobility or a dog recovering from an illness; they may be anxious in certain situations or it may not be safe for a small pet to walk, for example rough ground or where there are much larger dogs and they need to feel safe and secure. As a dog parent, you know your own animal, and as long as carrying them is not an unnecessary habit, then no, you are not spoiling them.
Our Top Pick
We think the Yudodo Pet sling carrier one of the best pet carrier slings you can buy. Made from leather and durable mesh, it’s designed to fit dogs up to 10 pounds. And there’s plenty of space for your pooch to relax, with a drawstring opening and leash hook for extra security. The adjustable strap has your comfort in mind too, making the Yudodo the ideal urban bag around town for your smaller pet.