Small dogs are appealing in part because they can accompany you to places that large 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 a few of the best options on the market.
We’ll also talk about some basic safety guidelines to keep in mind while toting your terrier and provide a few care tips to ensure your sling lasts as long as possible.
See our top picks here, or keep reading for full details!
Best Dog Carrier Slings: Quick Picks
- Cuby Dog Carrier [Best Overall Dog Carrier Sling]: This sling has all the bells and whistles owners typically want, including a comfy and adjustable strap and a safety buckle to keep your pooch secure.
- Poco Pet Carrier [Best Dog Carrier Sling For Travel]: This carrier neatly folds into its own pocket when not in use, making it easy to bring with you so it’s ready whenever you need it.
- ARELLA Dog Carrier [Best Dog Carrier Sling for Slightly Larger Pups]: Perfect for pups who are a little too large for other sling carriers, this model will accommodate dogs weighing up to 20 pounds.
The 9 Best Dog Slings
You can’t go wrong with any of the following six “slings” (one isn’t really a sling — but more on that in a minute). However, you’ll want to 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 need to opt for the one we’ve identified below as being appropriate for slightly larger pets or simply look for a backpack-style carrier.
1. Cuby Dog Carrier
About: If you just want a high-quality, really well-rated pet carrier sling, which is almost certainly the best one on the market, just check out the Cuby Dog Carrier. The soft cotton sling is absolutely adorable and has a safety belt to keep your dog secure. This carrier is washer-friendly and reversible, making it a great pick for everyday use.
- Designed for dogs up to 10 pounds
- Fixed shoulder strap
- Adjustable safety belt
- Made from breathable cotton material
- Dual-sided sling with solid color options and patterned sides
- Impressively affordable price for a high-quality carrier
- Being reversible is like getting a two-for-one deal
- Owners loved the sling’s safety belt
- Some owners found the shoulder strap too short
- Thick fabric may be too warm in some climates
2. Aflie Pet Carrier
About: Most pet carrier slings are pretty comfortable, but the Alfie Pet Carrier Sling takes comfort to a new level – for you and your dog! Made from denim and soft cotton, this sling will have your pooch riding around in the lap of luxury, while you’ll enjoy the wide shoulder strap that you can connect in two different ways.
- Comfy and adjustable, wide shoulder strap
- Comes with a collar-clip safety strap
- Reversible design
- 9-inch deep pocket
- Designed for dogs up to 12 pounds
- Pet parents were impressed with Alfie Pet Carrier’s durability and enjoyed using it on a daily basis
- Plush cotton fabric kept dogs comfortable
- The wide and adjustable shoulder strap design is very helpful
- A few pet parents noticed that the carrier’s color faded over time
- Not all owners loved the metal shoulder connector
3. Jekeno Pet Carrier
About: The Jekeno Pet Carrier is an affordable carrier sling that will keep your pooch secure and comfortable without costing you a fortune. But despite being so affordable, it’s lined with cotton and chiffon to give your four-footer the comfort he deserves. It’s even machine-washable, making it easy to keep clean and looking its best.
- Breathable cotton is great for any climate
- Reversible design available in 6 different patterns
- Safety collar hook and fastening buttons
- Adjustable buckle and shoulder strap
- Designed for dogs up to 13 pounds
- An affordable option for pet parents on a budget
- The adjustable strap reportedly fits all body types
- The buttons and a collar hook are great safety features
- A few owners had problems with the adjustable buckle
- Owners complained about the lack of strap padding
4. Poco Pet Carrier
About: Do you love to travel with your pooch? If so, it’s hard to beat the Poco Pet Carrier. This small and lightweight carrier sling actually folds up into its own pocket when not in use. Throw in the attached (and convenient) leash clip and cell phone pocket and you have the ideal canine carrier for small doggos.
- Lightweight, packable carrier sling
- Built-in carrier clip
- Attached cell phone pocket
- Accommodates pups up to 15 pounds
- Adjustable shoulder strap
- Pet parents love that this carrier folds up into its own pocket
- Most owners characterized it as very durable and sturdy
- We love the built-in phone pocket and included carabiner
- Not all dogs like the slick nylon material
- It doesn’t have a padded shoulder strap
5. ARELLA Dog Carrier
About: One of the most common problems owners have when seeking a carrier sling is capacity – most slings are designed for very small dogs. But there is one good option – the ARELLA Dog Carrier – that is designed to accommodate slightly larger pooches. A husky isn’t going to fit into it, but its 20-pound rating allows for bigger pups than most other bags.
- Rated for dogs up to 20 pounds
- Drawstring mesh closure and safety clasp provide security
- Wide, adjustable shoulder strap
- Comes with 2 storage pockets
- Water-resistant fabric
- Owners of slightly larger pups were delighted to find a pet carrier that worked
- Storage pockets are almost always a good thing
- The drawstring closure and leash clip provide great safety
- This is a pretty pricey sling carrier
- Some dogs may not like the drawstring mesh closure
6. Roodie Dog Carrier
About: Over-the-shoulder pet carrier not really your jam? Well, check out the Roodie Dog Carrier Hoodie. One part human hoodie and one part canine carrier, this garment will keep you and your pooch comfortable while allowing him to accompany you just about anywhere. Best of all, it still features hidden hoodie hand pockets!
Roodie Dog Carrier
A hoodie with a built-in carrier pouch suitable for petite pooches.
- Comfortable cotton hoodie
- Separate, hidden hand pockets
- Zipper enclosure on the pooch pouch
- Removable, machine-washable liner
- Great for pet parents looking for a carrier sling alternative
- Keeps people and their pet comfy
- Unlike some similar garments, this one is easy to machine-wash
- Not a great option for warm climates
- No built-in leash or collar clip
7. FurryFido Classic Reversible Dog & Cat Carrier Sling
About: Get two looks in one with FurryFido’s Classic Reversible Dog & Cat Carrier Sling, a soft cotton pup pouch made with a solid side and a star-adorned print. Its built-in safety hook attaches to your dog’s collar or harness, keeping him safe and secure on your side.
FurryFido Classic Reversible Dog & Cat Carrier Sling
A hands-free canine carrier featuring a reversible design of a solid print and stars.
- 4.5-inch-wide shoulder strap for comfort
- Can hold pups up to 13 pounds
- Machine washable for cleaning as needed
- Over-the-shoulder, hands-free design
- Reversible styling is like getting two slings for the price of one
- Machine-washable fabrics make it a breeze to keep fresh
- Quality was a win with most pet parents
- Shoulder strap isn’t adjustable in length
- Some owners feel the sides are far too open for their comfort, potentially risking falls
8. Katziela Expandable Sling Dog & Cat Carrier
About: Katziela Expandable Sling Dog & Cat Carrier is a breathable barker bag made of mesh and polyester. Its padded strap keeps you comfortable during wear, while the small strap pocket can stow extras like your phone.
Katziela Expandable Sling Dog & Cat Carrier
A lightweight shoulder sling crafted of mesh and polyester for maximum breathability.
- Can hold dogs up to 10 pounds
- Drawstring closure and safety hook-up for securing your sniffer during wear
- Expandable bottom makes for more woofer wiggle room without being bulky
- Available in 5 colors: Grey, Black, Red, Blue, and Green
- Lightweight design comfortable for pups and pawrents
- Quality received heaps of praise from owners
- Expandable bottom allows pups to burrow inside for a nap
- Strap pocket’s location is a bit close to your pooch, so you can’t store treats or other goodies
- Size and weight limit only suitable for tiny toy breeds
9. Outward Hound PoochPouch Dog Sling
About: Tackle the trails with Outward Hound’s PoochPouch Dog Sling, a terrier toter featuring water-resistant fabric that wipes clean with ease. The inner safety harness secures your dog as you power through the terrain, while a zippered pocket holds small accessories, like keys or poop bags.
Outward Hound PoochPouch Dog Sling
Water-resistant fabric makes this doggo sling a top-notch choice for outdoor excursions.
- Holds dogs weighing up to 15 pounds
- Adjustable 39-inch strap lets you customize the fit to your comfort
- Comes with a side pocket and front storage pouch
- Made of nylon and synthetic fabric
- Water-resistant material works well in outdoor conditions
- Bright hue is great for visibility on the trail
- Pet parents report the design is sturdy
- Lacks shoulder strap padding
- Additional color options would be nice
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 one made from soft materials.
Cotton and fleece are two of the most popular and comfortable choices, but polyester is sometimes used and provides adequate comfort.
A handful of carrier slings utilize smooth nylon fabric. There’s nothing “wrong” with nylon, except that some pupperinos don’t appear to like the way it feels.
Obviously, you want a pet carrier sling made from soft materials that are comfy for your canine, but you don’t want to do so at the expense of durability. Pet carrier slings may not be super expensive, but every dog-care dollar counts! So, pick one that’s likely to last and you’ll have more money to spoil Spot in other ways.
Manufacturers can make carrier slings durable in several different ways, but likely the easiest (if not the cheapest) is by simply using high-quality materials.
Collar clips are small metal or plastic clips that are designed to keep your dog securely attached to the sling and give you peace of mind.
They help prevent your dog from hopping out and running away. But while they’re helpful, 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 may even see some called a “safety collar hook”), 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. Slings and bags usually rely on zippers 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.
A few high-quality slings lack adjustable straps, but most of the best carrier slings include adjustable straps 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. Some owners can get by with the standard strap length, but 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.
Appropriate Weight Rating
Finally, you’ll want to stick to carrier slings that have weight limits that exceed your pup’s body weight.
For example, a lot of sling carriers have 12-pound weight limits. So, while your 13-pound Yorkie may only exceed the weight guidelines by a pound, you’ll want to look for one rated for slightly larger pooches.
Failing to heed weight limits will put your dog at increased risk of injury.
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 under 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 wise 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. But there are things you can do to help keep it looking and working well.
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.
Dog Carrier Slings: FAQ
Sling carriers aren’t the most complicated dog-care items around, but they still cause owners to have a number of questions. We’ll try to answer a few of the most common ones below!
Are sling carriers safe for dogs?
If used properly and in conjunction with a collar clip, sling carriers are pretty safe for doggos. Just make sure to monitor your pet closely the first few times you use it and watch for signs that he’s getting antsy or feeling nervous — this may be a clue that he’s about to make a leap for freedom.
Ultimately, as long as you stick to high-quality pet slings, the biggest X factor is your doggo’s personality. This is yet another case in which it is important to know your pet and the way he’s likely to react to a given situation.
Do dogs like slings?
Some dogs LOVE riding around in a sling-style carrier, but others find the experience a bit nerve wrecking. The only way to really know for sure is to grab one and give it a try.
We will say that dogs who enjoy being carried are typically more likely to enjoy riding in a sling than those who like keeping all four feet on the ground.
What is the best puppy sling?
The very best sling for your puppy will depend on several factors, but we think that the Cuby Dog Carrier is the best for the majority of four-footers.
It ticks off almost all the boxes owners would want, it’s comfortable for canines, and it is pretty reasonably priced.
What is the most comfortable dog carrier?
The dog carrier sling we think is most comfortable is the Alfie Pet Carrier.
It features a 9-inch-deep pocket, it’s made from a combination of denim and soft cotton, and most pet parents report that their dogs love it.
Are there any dog sling carriers for big dogs?
Not really. The model with the highest capacity we’ve found (that we feel comfortable recommending) is the ARELLA Dog Carrier, but it is only rated for pets weighing up to 20 pounds.
Honestly, even if you found one rated for more weight than this, it would be pretty tricky to carry around a big ‘ol doggo in an over-the-shoulder sling.
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.