Small dogs are appealing in part because they can accompany you places that larger pups can’t.
You can’t very well take your Great Dane into the local flea market, but Chihuahuas, Yorkies, and other pint-sized pups are often welcomed into these and other places.
But, your little pooch’s legs will get tired if you force him to walk for very long, and he may even get stepped on or kicked while trying to walk in crowded areas. And while you could carry him, that will get old really fast.
There’s a great solution for these situations: dog carrier slings! They’re something of a cross between a baby Bjorn and a purse, and they are comprised of a strap and a pocket. The strap goes over your shoulder and your four-footer rides in the pocket.
Below, we’ll discuss some of the most important things to seek in a pet sling and recommend five of the best options on the market.
We’ll also talk about some basic safety guidelines to keep in mind while toting around your terrier and provide a few care tips to ensure your sling lasts as long as possible.
Best Dog Carrier Slings Quick Picks
See our top picks here, or keep reading for full details!
Things to Look for When Picking a Pet Sling
Pet slings are pretty simple products, so they are produced by a huge number of manufacturers.
However, there are a number differences between good slings and not-so-good slings. Some of the most important things to seek when selecting a sling include:
If you want your pup to ride around for extended periods of time, you’ll need to a harness made from comfortable materials. Cotton and fleece are two of the most popular and comfortable choices, but polyester is sometimes used and provides adequate comfort.
Collar clips are small metal or plastic clips that are designed to keep your dog securely attached to the sling. This way, your dog won’t be free to run off if he jumps out of the bag. You don’t want to rely on these clips to keep your dog contained; they should only be used as an emergency backup. Instead, you’ll want to ensure your dog is comfortable riding in the sling and can be trusted to remain inside.
Note that although these are typically called “collar clips,” you should try to use them in conjunction with harnesses, rather than collars. This will prevent your dog from suffering neck injuries if he makes a break for it.
Zippers or Other Closures
While you’ll still want to select a sling that features a collar clip, slings with closing tops provide an additional way to keep your canine contained. Usually, zippers are used to keep the bag closed, but some slings incorporate Velcro, buttons, or snaps instead.
With these types of slings, you can let your dog stick his head out of the bag, before zipping or cinching it closed behind him. This way, he’ll be able to see what’s going on, without being able to jump out easily.
Just avoid zipper closures for long-haired pups, as their fur can easily get snagged in zippers – which is no fun at all!
A few high-quality slings lack adjustable straps, but most of the best models include them so that you can achieve the best fit possible. Some adjustable straps feature buckles to help collect or release excess length, but others us metal rings to accomplish the same thing.
If you aren’t of average height and weight, you’ll need to consider adjustable straps mandatory.
Removable Comfort Pads
To help provide the most comfort possible, some manufacturers install thick cushions or pads in the bottom of the bag. This provides your pup with a little bit more comfortable place to rest, and it helps protect the bottom of the sling pocket from your pooch’s claws.
The Five Best Dog Slings
You can’t go wrong with any of the following five slings but be sure to select the one that will suit your needs best.
Note that most slings are made for very small dogs, who weigh between 5 and 15 pounds. If your dog is larger than this, you’ll probably want to look for a backpack-style carrier.
About: The Alfie Chico Pet Sling is a stylish and comfy pet sling, which will help you carry your canine everywhere you go, while still looking fashionable in the process.
- Measures 9” depth and holds pets up to 12 pounds
- Feature adjustable shoulder strap and safety collar hook for extra security
- Perfect combination of convenience and style
- Hands-free design is perfect for everyday walk and weekend adventure
Features: The Alfie Chico Pet Sling is a reversible, fleece-and-cotton pet carrier that is designed to sling diagonally across your body.
It is available in two different versions – one features an adjustable strap and the other doesn’t (given the very small difference in price, it makes little sense to purchase the non-adjustable version, so we’ll concentrate on the adjustable strap version here).
The adjustable version is secured by wrapping the primary strap through a large metal ring, which allows you to adjust the length from 14 to 35 inches. This should allow owners of most body types and sizes to attain a comfortable and secure fit. It comes with a safety collar hook to keep your pet safe and it is machine washable.
The Chico Pet Sling is available in six different color patterns (although not all color patterns are available for both adjustable and non-adjustable models), but it only comes in one size. It features a 9-inch-deep pocket for your pooch and is designed for pets weighing up to 12 pounds.
PROS: Most owners who tried the Alfie Chico Sling were very pleased with their purchase. Most reported that it was well-made and durable, and most dogs seemed to find it comfortable. Several even reported that it worked with dogs that greatly exceeded the weight capacity (including 35-pound pit mixes, among others).
CONS: A small number of owners complained that the metal ring fastener dug into their shoulders or chest, making it uncomfortable to wear. A few also mentioned that the sling’s color faded over time. Overall though, complaints were rare.
About: The FurryFido Pet Sling is a simple and safe pet carrier that makes it easy to carry your pet around for extended periods of time without hurting your shoulders or back.
Features: The Furry Fido Sling is made from cotton for your dog’s comfort, and it features a relatively wide strap, which makes it easy to support your pup’s weight.
It is intended for dogs weighing up to 15 pounds, and it features a reversible design, so you can match the color to your outfit (or, your dog’s outfit, if you like to dress up your little cutie).
The FurryFido Sling only comes in one size, but it is available in four different color combinations: Black, Blue, Grey, and Pink. The reverse side features a brown and pink polka-dot pattern in all models. The FurryFido Pet Sling is machine washable in cold water. A collar clip is included for your pet’s safety.
- Comfortable to Wear - Durable,soft, cotton cloth material keep you and your pet relaxed, convenient...
- SAFE: This pet carrier bag holds your pet easily and it features a safety collar hook to ensure your...
- REVERSIBLE: With a reversible design, this pet sling bag is not only convenient but looks great...
- CONVENIENT: Easily tote your pets around town or during traveling with little effort. Thanks to the...
PROS: According to most of the owners who tried the FurryFido Sling, it is very comfortable for both owners and pets – several even reported that their dog fell asleep shortly after crawling into the pouch. A few owners also praised the pink-and-brown interior, as it helped to hide dirt and stains.
CONS: Several owners complained that because the strap is not adjustable, they couldn’t achieve a comfortable fit – this was primarily an issue for owners on the short side, as the sling appears to be designed for rather tall people.
About: The PYRUS Dog Sling is a feature-packed dog sling, which comes equipped with a number of novel innovations to help ensure it works well for you and your pup.
Features: The most notable feature of the PYRUS Dog Sling is the ventilation window, which helps keep your pup cool and comfortable, even when the temperatures soar. The fresh air that passes through the opening also helps to combat odors and ensure the bag doesn’t become damp.
It is also equipped with an adjustable strap so that you can wear it at the best height for your body. A small pocket is also included for carrying your keys, wallet or cell phone. The sling’s pocket features a zipper closure to keep your pet securely inside.
The PYRUS Dog Sling is made from 100% cotton and also comes with a removable, machine-washable fleece pad that sits in the bottom of the sling and provides maximum comfort for your pooch.
PROS: Most owners (including at least one veterinarian) reported that the PYRUS Dog Sling was comfortable for their dog and easy to adjust for a proper fit. The mesh window appeared to help keep dogs cool and the removable felt pad was a welcome addition.
CONS: The only complaint about the PYRUS Dog Sling related to the bottom, which a few owners characterized as flimsy. However, this problem can be overcome by inserting a rigid “platform” (such as a piece of thick cardboard) beneath the pad.
About: The I’Pet Dog Sling is a reversible, machine-washable sling, designed with your pet’s comfort in mind and made from a blend of cotton and polyester fibers.
Features: The i’Pets Sling is a simple dog sling, which is made without any extraneous bells or whistles. However, it does feature a charming dog graphic and is stitched in a which help ensure it is stylish and looks great. A leash clasp is included to keep your dog secure.
The i’Pets Dog Sling is available in three different colors options: Blue, Grey, and Pink. The opposite side of all three versions features a pink and brown polka-dot pattern. The i’Pets Sling is only available in one size and accommodates dogs weighing up to 12 pounds.
PROS: Most owners reported that the i’Pets Sling was very comfortable, even during extended walks and hikes. Most dogs also appeared to like the sling, and many owners reported that their pet crawled right in and went to sleep inside when given the option.
CONS: Unfortunately, like a few other slings, the I’Pets Sling does not come with an adjustable strap, so it isn’t a good option for those who are much taller or shorter than average.
About: The Timetuu BUY Dog Sling is a high-quality dog carrier that comes with just about every feature owners want, including an adjustable strap that will accommodate owners of all sizes.
Features: The Timetuu BUY Dog Sling is an attractive, reversible and machine-washable sling, which works well and looks great.
It comes equipped with a collar clip to keep your dog safe, and a roomy pocket to store your keys, cellphone or wallet. The pocket features a zipper closure to keep your stuff from falling out while you walk.
The Timetuu BUY Dog Sling is available in three different color combinations: Brown/Orange/White, Grey/Blue/White, and Ruby/Orange. It is only available in one size. The manufacturer does not indicate the sling’s weight capacity, but most owners found it large and strong enough to accommodate a 10- to 12-pound pooch.
PROS: Most owners found that the Timetuu BUY Sling was very comfortable, as did their dogs. Several owners praised the adjustable straps and reported that it was very easy to achieve a good fit. A few also praised Timetuu BUY’s customer service department.
CONS: There weren’t many complaints about the Timetuu Buy Sling outside of a few rare and minor sizing concerns.
Our Recommendation: The PYRUS Dog Sling
The PYRUS Dog Sling is well-made and received very positive reviews from most owners, and it also comes with several features that aren’t found in competing products, such as the included pad, mesh window, and pocket located on the strap. It’s also very affordably priced, making it a pretty clear leader in the category.
Basic Safety Guidelines for Using a Dog Sling
Plopping your pup down inside a sling and heading to the mall isn’t exactly a high-risk activity, but you’ll want to keep safety in mind to ensure that your dog stays safe.
If he ever suffers an injury (even a minor one) while riding in the bag, he may never feel comfortable riding inside again.
- Always use the collar clip. You don’t want your dog jumping out of the sling; not only could the fall injure him, he may run off and get into mischief. As mentioned earlier, try to attach the sling to a harness, instead of a collar, to reduce the possibility of neck injuries.
- Regularly inspect the bag for weak points or signs of wear. You don’t want loose threads wrapping around your dog’s claws, toes or tail, so be sure to look the sling over every time you use it. This is especially important after washing the sling.
- Be sure the bag doesn’t impede your ability to walk. Tripping and falling is almost as embarrassing as it is dangerous, so you’ll always want to stay upright when walking around. But this is even more important when you are carrying your dog, as he could become seriously injured if you take a spill. Just make sure the bag rides in a comfortable place on your body, and that your arms and legs can still move freely.
- Never leave your dog in the sling unattended. You shouldn’t leave your dog unattended in public in any circumstances, but because these bags make dogs very thief-friendly, you’ll definitely want to keep your furry friend in hand at all times.
- Keep the bag positioned so that you can see your dog. You don’t want your dog getting into mischief or jumping out without warning, so it is important to keep him riding on your hip or against your stomach, rather than behind your back.
- Monitor your dog’s temperature. Some slings can cause dogs to overheat when used in hot weather. Accordingly, you’ll want to keep an eye on your pooch and give him a break if he starts panting faster than normal or if his paws become noticeably damp.
Dog Sling Carrier Care: Make Sure Your Sling Lasts
If you take good care of your dog sling carrier, it will last for a long time and continue to look great while you haul your little pup around town.
Try to implement the following practices to extend its life as long as possible:
- Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. For example, most slings are machine washable, but a few must be hand-washed in cold water. Failing to follow the care instructions will not only cause the sling to fall apart prematurely, it may invalidate any warranty in effect.
- Consider using a pee pad for incontinent pups. You don’t want your pup to pee in the bottom of your sling if you can help it, so consider throwing a puppy pee pad, feminine hygiene pad, or similar absorbent material in the bottom of the sling if your little guy has frequent accidents.
- Keep your dog clean to keep the sling clean. Even though you’ll want to wash the sling regularly, it will stay cleaner between trips through the laundry if you bathe your dog regularly. Just be sure that your pooch is completely dry before letting him ride inside, so the sling doesn’t develop a wet dog smell.
- Be sure to zip zippers and snap snaps before washing. Securing the fasteners will help prevent them from breaking while it bangs around in your washer or dryer.
- Place a piece of cardboard in the bottom of the sling if your dog has sharp claws. You should keep your dog’s claws trimmed anyway, but if you can’t for some reason, slide a piece of cardboard in the sling to protect the fabric. Cardboard can also provide a bit of structure to the bag, which will make some dogs more comfortable.
Do you use a sling to carry your furry friend around? Have you found a great model that suits your needs well? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Also, be sure to share any sling-use tips you may have figured out – your experiences may help your fellow K9ofMine readers.