Top five bags and carriers for transporting small and medium dogs in public spaces
If you don't live in NYC, you might not know that the local transport authority banned dogs and pets from being taken on the subway back in 2016. There was an exception, however, where animals could be “enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers”. They basically meant purpose-designed bags and carriers, but many New Yorkers got creative, as has been hilariously documented at the #Bagdogs Instagram account.
The closest I've come to carrying one of my dogs was when old man Rossi the Collie had his hip replacement and needed a belly sling to help get him around. So I've enjoyed researching this post, and have curated a selection of different bags and carriers for dogs of different sizes and for different transporting scenarios. The cat's out of the bag, and the dog is getting in...
YUDODO DOG SLING CARRIER
Best for miniature pooches
This over-the-shoulder sling-style bag is perfect for Chihuahua-size pups, Yorkies, Mini Pinschers etc, and 82% of over 7000 ratings give it 4 and 5 stars on Amazon, earning it the Amazon's Choice accolade. There are three sizes, with the manufacturer claiming the largest bag will hold a 14lbs/6.3kg dog. Some customers buy the bigger bag for extra room, but you'll run the risk of finding the head hole to be too high for a smaller pup to stick their head out, so checking all the measurements and dimensions is vital, as with any online purchase.
It's made from breathable mesh material with a leather base and has a wide, soft padded strap, with built-in phone pocket. The zipper has a Velcro security brake to stop it unzipping, and the main opening features a drawstring to close to the size of your dog's head. A fixed leash strap inside attaches to your pup's collar for extra security. It comes in a range of bright colours and is a stylish and well-priced, hands-free carrier.
KURGO G-TRAIN DOG CARRIER BACKPACK
Best for adventurous medium-size dogs
This is the most expensive single-function bag here, but as someone who used to edit a magazine about outdoor adventure, I am a bit of backpack nerd and I'm drawn to the obvious high quality and well-considered features. This is a serious dog carrier for longer treks than just to the subway, and would suit outdooristas, hikers and adventurers.
The well-padded main carrying compartment is suitable for dogs up to 25lbs/11kg, is ventilated and has a swivel tether inside to secure Fido in place. The base is waterproof so can be placed on wet and mucky ground and the top is water resistant. The interior dog carrier is waterproof and can be removed for washing.
The rest of the bag is laden with typical hiking backpack features, such as numerous storage and water bottle pockets and a laptop sleeve inside. There is a carry handle on the front and the rear straps can be unclipped and tucked away so the bag can be turned on its back to become a standard carrier using the front handle. It's also TSA Airline Approved and comes with a lifetime warranty. It's a serious bit of kit for taking your dog with you wherever you go.
K9 SPORT SACK
Best for big lumbering beasts
The K9 Sport Sack is available in five different models in five different sizes and will hold much bigger dogs than the others mentioned here. I've seen pics of a Retriever, Collie, a Husky and even a Rottweiler in one of these, and the XL Rover versions claims to hold up to 80lbs/36kg of dog. It's a front-facing design, so they get to see where they're going and rest their paws on your shoulders. Your dog is secured at the neck with the collar opening and their front legs poke through leg holes. A tether inside clips to their collar for extra security. There are zippered vent panels on the side for the dog and a padded Airflow cooling back panel for the human. The padded straps have weight distribution adjustability, a sternum strap and padded lap belt with handy hip pockets.
The top-of-the-range Rover has a detachable storage pocket on the back but three of the five models don't have extra storage other than the water bottle pockets. Choose wisely.
Comes with a 60-day money back guarantee and boasts a 4.4 out of 5 average rating from many happy customers.
PETSAFE HAPPY RIDE BICYCLE BASKET
Best for multi-mode journeys
So what if you have to cycle to the station with your dog? You'll need some kind of bike carrier that is also a dog carrying bag. Ta-dah! Enter the PetSafe bike basket - a sturdy, nylon carrier designed to mount to the front of your bicycle with the supplied brackets and straps, and transport pooches weighing up to 13lbs/5.8kg.
It's packed with storage options with two side pockets featuring useful compartments to keep keys, phones, treats and more, plus a large accessible pocket at the front for your transit pass, leash or bike lock. And there's a mesh water bottle pocket too.
A simple strap turns it into a carrier, but it's definitely more bike basket than shoulder bag. Although the simple bracket system makes attaching and removing it from your bike a quick and straightforward operation, and it's adjustable to fit various handlebar widths, too.
There is also a detachable sun shade, although some reviews claim it's too flimsy to be taken seriously. But of the many bike basket dog carriers out there, this is definitely one of the best, and is an Amazon Choice product based on price and customer ratings. Depending on how fast you cycle, you might also want to invest in some Doggles too, for your dog's sake!
IBIYAYA 5-IN-1 PET CARRIER
Best for small constant travel companions
I couldn't resist this one. It appeals to the gadget geek in me with all that multi-functionality. This cool looking shoulder pet carrier is also a backpack carrier, a wheelie case carrier, a car seat carrier and a stroller carrier!
Take your dog with you everywhere, but it will have to be a small dog. Although Ibiyaya suggest a weight limit of 16lbs/7.2kg, this might be too small for some dogs, especially in the horizontal car seat or stroller mode, as the dimensions don't take into account the curved design, which effectively reduces the floor size and some ceiling height.
You might find better strollers, with more room for your dog, or more comfortable backpacks (see above), or car booster seats with better features, but if you want all that and more in one multi-function, transformable mega-carrier, this has to be worth a look.
(Regardless of which carrying solution you choose, my research highlighted how important it is to spend time reading the measurements and dimensions and matching to your dog, as small differences can have a big effect on whether your pet is comfortable and secure.)