Picture it: You just got home with your new puppy, and you’re dying to take him with you everywhere you go. Not only will your puppy be able to socialize and experience the world around, but they will also get to spend valuable time at your side.
Using a carrier sling allows you to bring your dog with you, even if they don’t have all their shots yet or are too young, small, or old to walk very far. The sling keeps them close to you and comfortable, without the jostling and bouncing that comes from trying to walk with a travel carrier.
Of course, deciding to get a carrier sling is just the first step. Now you need to choose the best dog carrier sling for you and your pet. Luckily, we’ve put together some tips to help you make the decision.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Dog Carrier Sling
Before you start looking at dog carrier slings, read through these questions. Knowing the answers will help you make the right choice!
Ready? Here are the top questions to ask when looking for a carrier sling.
Why should I purchase a sling carrier?
Before you really dig into elements that make a good carrier, you might want to ask yourself why you want a carrier in the first place.
A sling carrier is an excellent way to keep your dog close to you. You may have a new puppy who needs to venture out and explore the world but can’t on their own yet until they get shots. You can carry them around in a carrier sling to let them see new things without any danger. This will also help if you need to go long distances that your puppy can’t keep up with.
Another reason to get a carrier sling is if you have an old dog who gets tired quickly. If you need to go out and bring your dog with you, but they can’t walk far, you might want a sling carrier to easily carry them with you while you go. This also applies if you have a furry friend who can’t see well or has another disability.
Finally, you may consider a carrier for a small dog that always wants to be nearby even in your home. If you find that you are always tripping over your small pup who just wants to be beside you, this could be a great option as you can still use both hands and walk around, but your furry friend can rest comfortably at your side.
Will my dog be comfortable in this sling and will I be comfortable carrying him?
One of the first things you might wonder about is comfort. You want your pup to be comfortable and happy in their carrier sling. How do you accomplish that?
Start by looking for a carrier with a soft internal lining. You don’t want something too thick and furry, which might make them feel too contained. However, fleece or soft cotton lining should add the perfect level of comfort.
You know your dog best, after all. If they like fuzzy blankets on the couch at home, they’ll like a thick lining in their carrier sling. If they aren’t much for cuddling, they may want a carrier sling that focuses on ventilation instead of coziness.
Making sure that your carrier sling is the right size will also help ensure comfort. If the carrier is too small, your dog might be squished and will try to get out. If the carrier is too big, the dog might not have good visibility over the edge of the sling.
Of course, you will also need to be comfortable when carrying your pet. To keep yourself comfortable, make sure the sling has a wide shoulder strap that won’t dig into your skin as you walk.
You’ll also need to make sure the sling is the right length so that it isn’t pulling on your shoulder or putting unequal weight on your back. This article by Dr. Kevin Pauza is focused on baby carriers, but it can still give you some advice on how to safely carry a dog in a sling as well.
Will my dog be warm enough or cool enough?
Another aspect of comfort is temperature. The dog carrier sling you get will depend on the climate in which you live. Do you often go outside during the winter? Is your home sunny and hot year-round? Will you be outside in the rain or snow?
If you live in a cold climate, fleece might be an essential feature in your carrier sling. It will help keep your pup insulated and comfortable.
However, if you live in a warm climate, you’ll need to focus instead on good ventilation. It might be worth getting a sling with mesh sections and thinner material. It’s important to make sure your dog doesn’t overheat in his sling carrier.
If you do live somewhere hot, take your dog out of the carrier for occasional water breaks. This will also give you a chance to make sure they aren’t getting too warm in the fabric and will let them stretch their legs.
Does my dog fit in this carrier sling?
Another essential question to ask when looking for a carrier sling is: Does my dog fit? You don’t want a carrier that is too small and uncomfortable or too big and unsafe.
Your dog should be able to comfortably sit or stand in the carrier sling with their head completely out so they can look around and regulate temperature.
Most slings will give you measurements as far as what size dog will fit. However, when you choose a carrier, make sure to take a few short practice walks before going any long distance, just to make sure that your dog fits inside comfortably.
In addition to size, check the weight support of the carrier. If you have a french bulldog puppy, he may look small but weigh a surprising amount. Double check that the carrier sling you’ve chosen will support the weight of your dog.
Will this dog carrier sling last?
This leads right into my next important question, which is durability. You don’t want a carrier that will start to fall apart after just weeks of use. There are a few things to consider that will contribute to the sling’s durability.
One is weight. If your dog is at the top end of the carrier’s weight limit, the carrier isn’t as likely to last for years. A heavier dog will put more strain on the strap and could lead to quicker tearing. A very small dog, on the other hand, won’t add this strain.
No matter how heavy your dog is, the material of the sling also affects its durability. Most carriers are made of cotton, with some elements of fleece or polyester. As you probably know, cotton can be made cheaply, but it can also be a durable and reliable fabric.
To get a good fabric, you’ll just need to check out your source and feel the fabric yourself before committing to the carrier sling.
A final factor to consider in terms of durability is the lining. A good pet carrier sling should have an inner lining. Not only does this provide warmth, contribute to comfort, and lend itself to easier cleaning, but it also means a carrier that will last longer.
If the carrier sling doesn’t have an inner lining, your dog may scratch up the interior of the carrier, eventually leading to tears or holes in the bottom of the sling.
How much does this carrier sling cost?
Cheap doesn’t always mean worse, and expensive isn’t necessarily better. Often instead of quality, you pay for fashion or unique but unnecessary features. To make sure that you are paying a good price for quality, check the material and construction of the carrier sling.
You shouldn’t need to spend any more than $50 on a carrier sling, and many good options come in around the $20 range. You will likely pay more for larger carriers that can support more weight, and you may pay more for ventilation features or extra warmth if you live in an extreme climate.
Is this dog carrier sling safe for my dog?
The other essential question to ask is: Is my dog safe? As a dog owner, you are dedicated to keeping your little one safe. How do you check for the safety of a carrier sling? Here are three things to look for.
The collar ring is a metal ring used for securing your dog. Hopefully your pup will be content to sit in the carrier sling with you, but there’s always the chance that she’ll jump out. If this is the case, she should be wearing a harness with a leash attached the the collar ring.
This way she won’t be able to run far. It’s important that you use a harness instead of a collar for carrying your dog in a carrier sling. If the dog does jump out, the collar could hurt their neck while a harness will disperse the impact and keep them safe.
Your dog needs to be able to breathe easily. This means two things. One, your dog should be able to lift their head out of the carrier and look around and breathe in the fresh air.
Two, if your dog is sitting in the carrier, there should be enough ventilation that they can still breathe easily.
A well ventilated carrier will also provide a release for odors and moisture, keeping your dog more comfortable, clean, and safe.
Finally, safety for you is important. Make sure the sling has enough strap support that you aren’t straining your shoulder. Consider switching sides occasionally and make sure you’re focused on posture while you carry your pup.
The strap support is also important since it keeps your dog secured to you. If the strap were to snap while you were walking, your dog could be seriously injured.
Do I like the look of this carrier sling?
Finally, the last question to ask is just about appearances. Obviously this factor is not as important as the others we’ve talked about, but it still matters. You should love the carrier sling you choose.
After all, your dog is so cute that everyone will be stopping to look. You might as well feel cute too with a stylist carrier sling. Your dog deserves the best.
Top 5 Dog Carrier Slings for Every Need
Now that you know what elements are important in the best dog carrier slings, it’s time to start shopping. To help you out, I’ve rounded up five carrier slings that owners and dogs alike love. These hit all the checkmarks for a good carrier.
Time to get shopping so you and your dog can hit the streets together.
This mesh sling carrier is the perfect option if you live somewhere with a warmer climate. The fabric is thin and breathable so your dog won’t get too hot while you carry him around with you. This carrier would be great for hiking or a day outdoors.
The carrier comes in several colors so you can find your favorite, or your dog’s favorite! Many of the colors are reflective in case you need to go somewhere at night; you can have added visibility. There are three different sizes, so be sure to choose the size that best fits your dog.
The YUDODO carrier has a clip-on shoulder strap, making it easy to take on and off, though the strap isn’t adjustable. It has a reinforced zipper that won’t slide while your pet is inside and comes with large, strong buckles that should offer plenty of durability.
- Comes in three sizes: Small, medium, and large.
- Comfortable and breathable material that will keep your dog cool during warm weather.
- Easy to put on because it zips open for the dog to get in and the shoulder strap clips to help the human get it on.
- Can be purchased in one of several bright colors, including pink, blue, and reflective orange.
- Reinforced zipper and large plastic buckle are durable and provide added safety for your furry friend.
- Comes with a pocket for your phone.
- The shoulder strap is not adjustable, meaning it may not be a perfect fit for the owner.
- Some dog owners have removed the string meant to adjust the neck opening. The excess string is long and can get in the way or be a hazard in some cases. Luckily, the carrier works well even without the string.
- Not as cozy for dogs as some other carriers, since the mesh fabric isn’t as soft or warm.
The AMAMIA carrier is a rectangular carrier sling with a flat bottom so your pet can sit or stand comfortably. If your dog isn’t a cuddler, this might be a good choice, since they’ll have a little more room to move around without being held too closely against your body.
The flat bottom also has a removable pad, so you can wash it between uses. If your pet does need a little more comfort, you can easily add a blanket to the bottom of this carrier.
As far as comfort and functionality for the owner, the AZAMIA dog sling carrier has a thick pad that goes on the shoulder strap. The strap is adjustable and the pad can be moved into the most comfortable positioning.
This carrier is made of a thick fabric with a breathable mesh window. This helps with temperature regulation and gives your pet extra breathability while you’re walking.
- Mesh window for ventilation allows your dog to breathe more easily and stay cool.
- Square build and removable flat bottom make this carrier more comfortable for dogs who want space to sit and stand comfortably.
- Thick shoulder pad increases comfort for the owner.
- Adjustable strap makes this easy for most owners to wear over their shoulder.
- Bottom pad is removable and washable.
- Front pocket to hold keys, phone, or wallet.
- Not as cozy as some sling carriers, since it doesn’t sit tightly against the owner’s body.
- May result in a little more shaking and vibration for the dog while you’re walking.
- Strap is adjustable but still not very big, so may not fit comfortably on everyone.
- Only comes in one size and color.
The OrgMemory Pet Sling Carrier is perfect for cold weather days or for puppies who like to be close to their owner. This unique design has an adjustable shoulder strap so you can change how high or low the dog sits against your body.
The sling is made of cotton and polyester and is machine washable. The fabric is soft and warm because of the design. The strap, however, is not very padded compared to other carriers, so might not be as comfortable if you plan to carry your pet a long distance.
The carrier comes with a velcro attachment at the bottom which you can strap around the dog to secure him instead of using the traditional collar clip. The elastic band at the opening means your pet has plenty of space to move around but is also held secure, even if you don’t use the velcro strap to attach him or her.
- This sling carrier is one of the best carriers in terms of comfort and coziness. Your pet has plenty of room while also being held close to your body.
- This cloth sling is easy to wash in case of accidents or to clean out the dog smell after a while.
- The shoulder strap is adjustable, so you can change how high or low on your body the sling rests. This makes it more comfortable for the owner.
- Cotton and polyester blend fabric is soft and warm, so your dog can come with you even on chilly days.
- There is no collar ring, so you can’t secure your dog in the way you do with many others.
- Many owners report that the velcro strap meant to replace the collar ring is inefficient, and their dogs don’t like the build-it attachment.
- The shoulder strap is not heavily padded so may cause back pain after long periods of use.
- No pockets.
I wanted to include the Amos carrier because it can be worn over one shoulder or as a front carrier with the straps over both shoulders. This still allows your hands to be free but will be easier on your back.
The Amos front sling carrier has a collar hook for safety and a mesh window at the top that can be closed to secure your dog or open to let him pop his head out and look around. The mesh allows plenty of ventilation even when closed to keep your pup at a comfortable temperature.
One of my favorite features of this sling carrier is that it has five pockets located around the carrier, so you can have plenty of places to store your phone, wallet, keys, poop bags, treats, etc. The shoulder straps are also padded for additional comfort and thick so they won’t place too much strain on your back.
- Five pockets so that you only need to bring the carrier with you instead of bringing along another bag.
- Thick shoulder straps.
- Mesh opening keeps your dog contained or allows him to have more freedom and view.
- Cute design so that you’ll love showing off the dog and his carrier.
- Durable fabric and good temperature regulation.
- Plenty of room for your dog to move around.
- Not very soft interior, you may need to augment it with a towel, blanket, or soft t-shirt to make your pup feel cozier.
- Does get quite hot inside even with the mesh window.
- On some owners the weight is held too low, leading to some back pain.
This reversible sling is 100% cotton and can easily be machine-washed. The cotton makes it a warm choice for your pup if you live somewhere cold, but the open design means that in a temperate climate your dog also should be able to stay cool.
The shoulder strap for the owner is adjustable and has some padding for additional comfort. There is a pocket for keys or a phone, and it comes with a zipper to secure your valuables.
The safety collar hook keeps your pet secure in the carrier, without the ability to jump out or wiggle too much. There are a few color options for this pet sling carrier and the reversible design means you get two for one when you purchase.
- Soft cotton fabric is warm, cozy, and machine-washable.
- Reversible design means you get two styles in one and can change the way you wear this sling.
- Shoulder strap is adjustable so you can fit the carrier to your body.
- Pocket comes with a zipper so that you can carry your wallet or keys more safely.
- Collar hook adds extra safety to this carrier.
- Some owners complained that the strap was too long, so if you’re petite this might not be the best choice for you.
- In hot climates the carrier might hold in too much warmth.
- For some breeds this sling carrier is too shallow and doesn’t have as many safety protections as some carriers.
There are a few reasons to get the best dog carrier sling you can find. You might have a puppy, a small dog always underfoot, or an old dog who needs a little help getting around. Either way, you’ll want to find a carrier that is safe, affordable, durable, fashionable, and comfortable.
With this guide, hopefully, you’ve been able to really narrow down the aspects that are important to you. The five carrier slings I listed are favorites of many dog owners. I tried to find a good diversity so that you can find the perfect fit for you no matter the climate where you live or the cuddle levels of your pooch.
The best dog carrier slings are comfortable for your dog and for you, with adjustable straps and soft material. They have safety features such as collar hooks and secure openings. They are well ventilated with mesh windows or mesh features, and the best ones are machine washable so that doggy smell doesn’t follow you around forever.
I hope this helps! Now choose a carrier, get your pup comfortable with lots of treats and some practice, and then go forth and explore the world with your best friend right by your side.