Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Product Review: Outward Hound Poochpouch Dog Carrier

The Outward Hound Poochpouch Front Carrier is like a baby carrier for tiny dogs. It features crossed shoulder straps to help distribute weight, and an interior clip that attaches to the dog's harness to help keep them contained. The Poochpouch comes in two colors and two sizes, small fits dogs up to 10 pounds while the medium fits dogs up to 20 pounds.
Photo by Erin Koski

This is the carrier for dogs who want to be super close. When riding in a sling or a purse at your hip is just too far away for your tiny dog, the Poochpouch is the answer. When a shoulder bag just isn't secure enough, the Poochpouch has you covered. (Note: This is actually still a little too far for Ru, who would prefer a carrier that places him directly under my chin.)

Formerly named the Pet-a-roo, this carrier is styled after those things made for strapping your baby to your body. Outward Hound originally made a version that made the dog ride face-out with all four legs sticking out, that looked even more like a baby carrier. At some point somebody probably realized that suspending a dog from their crotch is going to put an uncomfortable amount of pressure on their spine, and the hard-bottom wearable pet carrier was born. (As it turns out, suspending babies like that is problematic for the same reason. Who knew?)

Photo by Erin Koski

Like most baby carriers, the Poochpouch is a mass of straps. There are two that cross over on your back, and a third that goes around your waist. This makes for a very secure ride, and prevents the pouch from swinging away from your body when you lean over. I've heard of people using the Poochpouch for a motorcycle dog carrier.

Ours is a size small, and I like the lower profile. Some of the earlier front pack carriers had a huge bib at the front that was basically the length of my torso and positioned the pet down at waist level.

An obvious potential issue I can see with this carrier is that it is not designed for larger people. I am an average-sized woman and you can see that I have the straps adjusted fairly close to their maximum length. The waist strap will fit up to a 50" waist, but could probably be modified to fit someone bigger with some extra strapping and buckle. Keep in mind that the carrier will also fit differently on different body shapes. My husband can wear the carrier with no adjustment to the shoulder straps, but it sits much higher on his chest. Also, he complains the entire time I am strapping a small dog to his body.

In addition to the size of the human wearing the Poochpouch, the size of the dog must be taken into consideration. The carriers have maximum pet weights listed, but they also have maximum heights and lengths. Ru is a very long-backed chihuahua, and although he is only six pounds, you can see in the top picture that he is very nearly too tall for the small Poochpouch when he is sitting down. We would probably also do well with the medium size, which would leave enough room for him to lay down or snuggle into a blanket.

Pros: Very securely attached to the human when straps are crossed over. Multiple buckles allow for multiple strap configurations and also allow the human to put on the carrier without being a contortionist. Two shoulder strap design distributed weight much better than single strap carriers and is much more comfortable for extended wear. Positions pet closer to my face that any other carrier I've tried.

Cons: Multiple buckles on multiple straps can make using this carrier difficult for the spatially-challenged. Elastic drawstring at top of pouch seems to be a weak point, with lots of reviewers mentioning it breaking. Pouch security relies partially on pet compliance, and will contain a dog/cat/ferret/possum that really wants to get out. Plastic harness clip may also be a weak point, and could be replaced with a carabiner or other sturdier piece of hardware. Many pets well under the listed maximum weights will exceed the maximum dimensions and be too big.

Bottom Line: This is not a secure carrier for a pet that does not want to be contained. It is not good for holding a wiggly puppy that wants to explore. The drawnstring is there for added comfort and security, not to prevent an unhappy dog from escaping. The inside clip needs to be attached to a harness and not a collar to avoid strangling dogs that decide to jump. Don't take this thing out hiking and expect your dog to adapt to it on the move. Take some time to figure out how to put it on and adjust it properly, and then spend some time lounging on the couch with your tiny dog while you teach them that this is another vehicle for snuggling.

What kind of carrier do you use for your dog?

1 comment:

  1. Very, very helpful blog! Loved your photos and review. I have a 4lb teacup chihuahua who is getting elderly. She is my world and I was looking for some way to carry her without the use of my arms. I have severe arthritis and I'm in my late 20s so I often have to make physical adjustments even when carrying a dog of only 4lbs. So thank you for all the wonderful information and descriptions in your review! Have a great day with your sweet pooch! :)