Selecting a Dog Bag Guide!
We move around … a lot. Usually I walk. In fact my bipeds insist. I am after all a dog and what should a dog do? Walk, run and gallivant as often as possible. So I do, because a happy dog is a tired dog. Occasionally however, it just isn’t practical or, as is the case with air travel for example… allowed.
A Bag for Every Situation
As much as we would love to say we have a single bag that meets all our needs that simply is not the case. In large part that is due to the extreme weather we live with here in Canada ’s capital region.
Our dog carriers and bags would have to adjust to temperature extremes that range (give or take 5 degrees) from +30ºC (86ºF) in the heat of summer all the way to -30ºC (-22ºF) in the brutal cold of February and March.
There is also a difference between the elegance desired for living in the city, versus the more rugged needs of physical activities such as sailing, hiking and snowshoeing. There are also legal requirements with regards to carry-on pets and their carriers when flying.
Sadly, this means that just like our closet has coats for spring and fall that are different from the ones we wear in the dead of winter – not to mention the difference between those for sport rather than going to and from work and living in our urban environment; the sad truth is that as much as we have tried to find a one size fits all for coats and failed – the same is true for carriers and bags.
Selecting a Dog Carrier Guide
That is how we, although minimalists, ended up with a top 5 list of bags.
1) The Sleepy Pod – Our Airline Approved Carrier
Research for a an airline approved carrier that was both esthetically pleasing as well as fully practical lead us to the sleepy pod.
There is absolutely no down side to this travel carrier. It looks amazing, it is crazy comfortable both for me and my parental units, and it is multifunctional. It also comes in all sorts of awesome colors; ours however is simple and white.
The circular shape is what makes the most sense right away. I sleep curled up in a ball, so for me to sleep well for 6 or more hours when brought on a plane as carry on meant the round (over rectangle) shape was pure genius. Talk about thinking outside the box! But it is also big enough that I can stretch out and sleep on my back or side. It is lightweight – but still has solid structural density. It doesn’t collapse when it is put on the floor – a good thing in a crowded train station (and the reason we did not choose the sturdy bag). The small sleepy pod meets all approved airline measurements for carry on status. Yes it fits under the seat in front – even for sardine style flights.
The top is a solid plastic like mesh and it unzips. Because the sleepy pod is lightweight the bipeds do not mind keeping it – and thus me – on their lap, one hand in the pod to keep me settled during long confinement periods. There is a Velcro strap that allows the mesh to stay open – just enough – for me to poke my head out during walks between gates -but not jump out. The same Velcro strap allows the sleepy pod to be Velcro-ed to a seat belt and has made the airline crew far more likely to accept the carrier being on the lap rather than under the seat during the flight (but not for take-off or landing).
The base is used as the structure for my day bed every single day (hidden inside a white faux-fur pillow case). But it is SO much more. After all, this is what “Mom” brought me home in from the breeder – my first flight (see video sleeping at Chicago airport!) and extras? Oh yes baby in spades!
There is a mesh insert for the pod that elevates me off the bottom just enough to keep me cool on hot days. There is also the heat pad that plugs in (also has a car cigarette heater adapter to use that as an outlet) and gives me my own safe heating system for cold travels something the bipeds love since winter here is almost 6 months long after all. Heating the pod up under the fur came in handy when I was ill and had trouble maintaining my body temperature on the way to the vets. There are also two color options for the fur insert – black and also white.
It is my day bed, my carrier for travel AND was my car seat for a long time before I got my permanent booster seat and it still is a booster seat when we have to rent a car when traveling abroad– we LOVE multi-functionality!!
(Update: we have since found an even better carrier by One for Pets – see header photo and new blog post!)
2) The Louis Vuitton Baxter GM – Our Warm Weather City Bag
We adore this bag … and my bipeds are huge fans of Louis Vuitton goods. Not because it is fashionable (it’s a bonus) but because of a genuine appreciation for classic luxury goods, have amazing design and quality workmanship and so much more. “Mom” collects and has loved the company since she was 8, and knows the Vuitton family history etc. It’s a small obsession; nothing dangerous … but an obsession all the same.
So, when faced with a need for an every day dog bag that didn’t LOOK like a dog bag it really was a no brainer. The cost is prohibitive and so – “Mom” saved. She saved for 3 years and bought it before she even chose me (with matching leash). She had it, ready for my arrival. This bag will last me my entire life and maybe even beyond; so why waste money on anything else that will need replacing? One time cost…. spread over my lifetime? So worth it! I loved it from the get go.
The bag has a cool roll-down on one side, with a great little snap system to keep it there. When I must be “hidden” from sight a little more – the rolled down side can be zipped up! The lightly padded lining can be removed for easy cleaning. The outside side pocket is big enough to fit “Mom’s” wallet, lip-gloss, keys and blackberry. The top snap for the lining is often left open and the lining then doubles up as two inside pockets for flat things like mail. It is also … gorgeous. The bag is pure leather, brass/gold zipper and finishes, even the breath wholes are finished right … so the bag is a little heavy. For my bipeds this is not a down side – but it is worth noting for those for whom this might be an issue.
It has one thing missing: a mesh top. From time to time, I am snuck into a place I shouldn’t be (Go ahead – decide how offended you want to be … we good?). I am use to seeing where I go and don’t take to laying down in the bottom of the bag “going blind” well. For this, my parental units wish that the bag came with a mesh top that could be snapped into place when needed. “Mom” is looking into having one made and will keep you posted!
The Louis Vuitton Baxter GM is a wonderful city bag, perfect for going shopping, meeting friends for drinks at a patio and going incognito; without looking like you have a gym or grocery bag with you. It is where fashion and style finally come together. As minimalists we love the durability, timeless elegance and workmanship of this piece.
3) The WagWear – Our Warm Weather Sling
“Mom” first saw the concept online, and then saw a friend of hers with a sling for her baby and fell in love with the hands free aspect. So she tried it out with me using a shawl. Because of a lack of solid base, she wasn’t certain I’d take to it.
I did. In fact so much so – I fell asleep. I loved being able to see and smell what she was doing. I loved that her movements were rocking me. She loved having me snuggled up and warm, hands free with no weight on her shoulder. She loved how portable this solution is for travel (toss in the suitcase easily) and … “Dad” loved it too! As much as he appreciates the LV bag it IS too girly for him. Also, we needed something more “sport” and heavy duty durable (read: machine washable) for when I am taken hiking, sailing, and on long walks.
It is really REALLY well made with “solid will last forever” canvas. It is lined in a washable little “quilt” and comes with two safety straps! One that keeps the bag from opening sideways and one strap to attach to a harness for those dogs that like bungee jump! Actually the extra safety has come in handy more than once – like say, when going on an airboat tour ride on the everglades and wanting to keep Fido well away from Crocodile infested waters!
My bipeds get a flag badge from every country I visit to personalize it. Don’t you love that idea?! Now my sling is uniquely mine! Our WagWear is khaki with chocolate brown lining and details. Very Safari looking! It is the only bag that “Dad” will use.
4) The Furoshiki – Our Cold Weather Sling
We venture out in all sorts of weather … including the cold, icy days of winter. Continuing with the sling concept, it occurred to the bipeds that the WagWear sling was not warm enough. This became obvious after our first winter when we had to bring with us a thin shawl or pashmina to add warmth. With snowshoeing and other winter fun activities in mind the bipeds placed a very special order with Canine couturier Kiki Hamann. We needed something that would brighten up the long grey days of winter, but was still durable and most important WARM!
We were delighted with Kiki’s Furoshiki. The faux fur and silk lining are stunning. The fur resembles blue feathers and makes “Mom” think of blue jays – one of Canada ’s prettiest birds. It has a pocket inside for a wallet and keys and the Furoshiki can be carried in two ways.
- Slung over the Shoulder. This is great for going to the stores, and in and out of the car booster seat.
- Slung across the body. This method makes it hands free and is ideal for snowshoeing and other winter activities.
The furoshiki has warmed me up many times during long winter walks. I can snuggle up, on the worst of a cold blizzard and remain safe. In addition it does not keep just me – the dog – warm but with the faux fur slung across the body like a beauty pageant ribbon, the biped too benefits from added body heat. It can get really toasty!The furoshiki comes in a wonderful array of color choices. You are certain to find one that fits your own personal sense of style. For men, I would suggest you ask Kiki to make a leather one with fur inside!
(Update: Check out the snowshoeing with a small dog video we made – where this carrier is featured!)
5) The Puppy Bucket – Our Cold Weather City Bag
Designed with a booster seat approach in mind, the Puppy Bucket (as we have dubbed it) is something unique. It looks like a large hand bag, but is in fact a dog bag and portable booster seat for toy breeds. This is a winter option and replaces the Louis Vuitton city bag during the cold months.Entirely lined in faux fur, the beautiful workmanship and design is a work of art by Kiki Hamann. The bags major advantage is that it has both owner and dog in mind. Four large pockets allow the bipeds to store all sorts from wallets, camera’s, keys, poop bags and treats. The cushion inside can be removed and on really cold days, this forces me deeper into the “bucket” to stay out of the wind (and out of sight). Once the weather is warmer, the booster pillow can be put back and I can once again look out.
When placed on the ground – the Puppy Bucket is wonderful for us small dogs since it elevates and with the booster cushion places a large amount of insulation between dog and the cold surface that is the frozen icy winter ground.I have fallen asleep in the Puppy Bucket more times than we can recount especially during theater rehearsals. This is a perfect bag if you visit friends a great deal because it is a booster seat and a portable dog bed… not to mention a stunning purse.
Besides the obvious – your humans arms – what is YOUR favorite carrier, bag or sling … and why was it chosen?