After 42 hours spent researching the best dog carriers, we think Sherpa Travel Deluxe Airline Approved Dog Carrier is the best for most people.
This choice is based on several criteria: brand, design, dimensions, color, material, ventilation, bedding, entry, closure, carry handle, straps, pockets, easy storage, water resistant, and item weight, among other things.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Quality||Appearance||Durability||Maintenance||Value for Money||brand||design||dimensions||color||material||ventilation||bedding||entry||closure||carry handle||straps||pockets||easy storage||water resistant||item weight|
|Sherpa Travel Deluxe Airline Approved Dog Carrier||Check Price||4.4||4.5||4.0||4.5||4.5||4.5||Sherpa||Duffel bag||17 x 11 x 10.5 in||Black / Grey / Brown / Plum||Nylon / Steel||Mesh panels||Sherpa fleece||Top||Zippered||Padded||Shoulder strap||1 front||Foldable||No||4 lbs|
|Pet Peppy Airline Approved Expandable Dog Carrier||Check Price||4.6||5.0||4.5||4.0||4.5||5.0||Pet Peppy||Duffel bag||18 x 11 x 11 in||Black / Red||Nylon / Steel||Mesh panels||Fleece||Top / Side||Zippered||Padded||Shoulder strap||1 side||Foldable||No||3.6 lbs|
|PetAmi Deluxe Ventilated Backpack Dog Carrier||Check Price||4.8||5.0||4.5||4.5||5.0||5.0||Pet Ami||Backpack||16.3 x 12.5 x 10.2 in||12 Colors||Polyester||Mesh panels||Sherpa fleece||Top / Side||Zippered||Padded||Backpack||2 sides, 1 front||Foldable||No||3.6 lbs|
|2PET Foldable Comfy Travel Dog Carrier||Check Price||4.9||5.0||5.0||4.5||5.0||5.0||2PET||Duffel bag||24 x 17 x 17 in||Beige / Blue / Grey / Red||Nylon / Steel||Mesh panels||Fleece||Top / Side||Zippered||Padded||Shoulder strap||No||Foldable||Yes||6.82 lbs|
|AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Dog Carrier||Check Price||4.2||4.5||4.0||4.0||4.0||4.5||Amazon Basics||Solid box||23 x 15 x 13 in||White, Grey||Plastic / Steel||Framed door, Perforated sides||No||Top / Side||Latches||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||4.9 lbs|
- 1 Selection Of The Best Dog Carriers
- 2 Best Dog Carrier Buying Guide
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Sources
If you and your pup are on the go, the best dog carrier is an essential item to have available on a regular basis.
Carriers offer flexibility in travel, while also providing you with a safe space they can go when you stay in a hotel or with family and friends.
There’s a lot to be said about having top-notch dog products. While some people are content with a standard dog leash, dog bowl, and dog collar, many pet parents will go above and beyond in order to know that their dog feels loved.
Nowadays, it’s affordable to update the bowl to a dog water fountain and/or an automatic dog feeder. And, if you’re grooming at home, a dog dryer, high end dog flea treatment, and dog conditioner and shampoo are musts.
Maybe you have all sorts of outdoor activities for them. A dog agility tunnel can burn off energy, as can throwing their dog fetch toy or using a dog whistle or automatic dog ball launcher. When your dog is indoors, it’s time to relax. Maybe they like to hang out in their dog playpen on their dog cooling pad enjoying some dog treats or their dog interactive toy.
If your pup frequently goes with you in the car, you know that a dog car seat is a great option. And if you’re a cycler, a dog bicycle leash lets your pet exercise with you. They can even carry their own dog water bottle in a backpack made for dogs to wear.
A high end dog crate can be handy, but the best dog carrier is going to be much more versatile and easy to utilize in many situations.
Selection Of The Best Dog Carriers
Here are the best dog carriers for most people according to Outlinist:
Best Dog Carrier Buying Guide
Space is a very essential part of finding the right dog carrier. A dog should be able to sit up and spread out, so you need to be aware of all of the dimensions.
Take some measurements with a flexible tape measure. Measure from the tip of the dog’s toes to the end of their tail when they’re in a normal lying position. When they’re standing, measure from the bottom of their paws to their nose as well as the widest part of their body (usually hips, shoulders and chest). Those three dimensions can help you find the right size.
What Will You Use It For?
Knowing the use can also be really helpful when you’re seeking out a carrier. Different styles of carriers have different uses and work better in different types of situations.
The best dog carrier for air travel, for example, is going to have hard sides and adhere to airplane rules based on the airline you’re going with. But, a carrier you use to go to the vet could be soft sided and much smaller.
A dog carrier crate combo is your best choice if you’re flying. It is also one of the more versatile carrying options because you can use it in almost any context. But, as you may expect, they can be difficult to store because they don’t usually fold up like other options.
They can also double as dog crates while you’re away, because they’ll have enough space to relax and move around a little bit.
Something like the best dog carrier bag can be a great idea if you’re only going to be taking your dog to the vet on occasion. Some of these even look like purses, making it easy and fashionable for you to carry them around.
Soft carriers may also look like the hard-sided options, but with mesh sides instead of hard plastic. These are a lot more flexible and you will be able to store them in a closet or a corner when you aren’t using them.
The best dog carrier front pack, also referred to as a “sling-style carrier”, is good for people who like to take their small or toy-sized dog with them on hikes or even out and about town. A dog carrier backpack is also a great option in these cases.
Smaller dogs are built for short periods of fast speeds, not long walks. So, having a wearable option is great in case they get tired while you’re taking them on adventures or if they have a hard time keeping up on a regular walk.
Wheels or No Wheels?
Larger dogs can be hard to move around when they’re in a carrier, so you may want to find the best rolling dog carrier instead of trying to carry them around in the airport or in and out of the vet’s office.
Wheels can add to the weight of a small-dog carrier, however. So, if you have a smaller dog (and thus, a smaller carrier), you may be better off getting one that doesn’t have wheels attached to it.
Dogs can be in carriers for long periods of time. With wearable carriers, their heads (and sometimes their legs) are sticking out, so you only want some mesh on the rest of the bag to keep your dog cool.
Soft and hard carriers enclose your entire dog’s head and body, and plenty of mesh, windows, and openings to allow maximum air flow are crucial to providing enough fresh, cool air while they’re in there.
When you’re looking at soft carriers and wearable carriers, you will find that the weight limits are typically quite low. On the high end, they can hold 30-35 lbs.
Most hard carriers have much higher weight limits, mainly because they’re designed to deal with a lot of wear and tear. Medium-large, large, and giant breeds will be able to go into many of these carriers much more easily, but you still want to check the weight limit. Don’t assume that the right size will always safely carry your pet.
Easy to Clean
A dog carrier cage is going to be relatively easy to clean – when there are hard plastic sides, all you need to do is hose it down and/or wipe it out and it’ll be ready to go when it dries.
Many wearable options are actually able to go right into the laundry with no issues. Some soft carriers may as well, but most of them will need to be wiped down and/or washed by hand. Either way, there are always options for cleaning any type of carrier.
Ability to See Outside
Your dog is going to be curious and, even if they aren’t prone to anxiety, they’ll still have a little bit of it because they’re going to a place other than home.
How can you thwart anxiety, endless barking, and such? The best way to do so is to have something that allows them to peek out. Whether the entire front has see-through bars or mesh, or there are windows scattered throughout the carrier, your dog will be much happier if they aren’t left in the dark.
You want to know that your dog is as secure as possible when they’re in their carrier. For soft carriers and wearable bags, you want to be sure that they can be zipped properly and that there are multiple fasteners to keep them safe.
For hard carriers, you want to have some sort of locking mechanism that is difficult for your dog to maneuver. You also want to be sure that food and water bowls that are in the carrier are safely secured to the side or bottom of the carrier so that, if the carrier tips, the dog won’t be hit by them and they won’t damage the carrier.
Accessories and Add-Ons
The best dog travel carrier should make it easy for you to get around with ease, and there are all sorts of accessories available. Many soft travel carriers and wearable options are going to have pockets where you can store items.
With hard carriers, you will find that you have places for bowls, as previously mentioned. Some may even be built-in. Some also offer space where you can put vet papers, pet passports, and other information about your dog.
Where are you going to put it when it’s not in use? Soft and wearable carriers are really easy to store away – fold them up and put them in a closet. Then, you’ll be able to grab it and use it the next time you need it.
This is where hard carriers are at a disadvantage. Many of them don’t have foldable options available, but some companies are trying to make it a little easier to store them away. If you’re in need of a hard carrier, be sure you know where you’ll put it when it’s not in use.
Padding and Comfort
Comfort is essential as your dog could be in the carrier for a bit. Wearable carriers should have enough space for the dog to wiggle a bit (without causing pain and inconvenience) and allow them to turn their heads. Both soft carriers and wearable ones typically have padding for additional comfort.
With hard carriers, either look for models that have a bed included, or get a bed that they can use in there. Hard floors can get chilly and uncomfortable, so a bed is a good option.
Both soft carriers and wearable carriers have some sort of strap system that allows you to carry your pet with ease. Some soft carriers also have handles that you can use. But, what if the strap doesn’t fit your arm, back, or chest well?
The best dog carrier will have straps that are easy to adjust so that you can easily fit them over your shoulder, on your chest, or on your back.
Frequently Asked Questions
What airplane requirements are there for dog carriers?
As you seek out the best dog carrier airline approved, you want to compare the rules of multiple airlines, because every airline is different.
On the basic end, most of them require the dog to be able to see out the front, that there is a strong locking system, and that their food and water are secured (or built in). Some airlines may also require a space for the dog’s name and other little additions.
Are dogs comfortable in sling-style carriers?
While your dog couldn’t wear something bulky like a dog recovery suit or cone while they were in a sling-style carrier, they are built for comfort. Many small breeds actually relax and feel quite cozy while hanging out in there.
They’re designed so that the dog has the most flexibility without inhibiting your movement at all.
Can carriers double as crates?
Some of them can! When you’re looking for all-in-one solutions, hard-sided carriers actually work really well as crates for your dog. They have a lot of space in them for a dog to lie down and move around, and they are very stable and sturdy.
Soft carriers are not quite as stable, so unless you have the sides reinforced, you may find it difficult to use them as a crate. Plus, if your intent for a crate is to prevent messes from accidents, a soft crate is not a great choice.
Can you get carriers for multiple dogs?
You can actually find a number of 2 dog pet carrier options, and there are a few 3 dog carriers as well. These either have plenty of space for everyone, or they have walls that separate your pets from each other.
As you may expect, these are typically for dogs 30 lbs. or less. If you were to try it for larger dogs, you’d likely end up with carriers that were too large and bulky to move around.
Can I use a dog carrier in the car?
There are a few convertible car seat options that are the best carrier for dogs in cars. These can be adjusted and set up like a secure car seat when you’re in the car, and then switched to be a carrier outside of it.
The issue with carriers is that they typically don’t have a place where you can secure your dog to the seat in case an accident occurred. You’re much better off getting a seat or harness.
- Traveling is for the dogs... and cats and other small pets, Transportation Security Administration, Aug 27, 2014
- Where is Your Dog Coming From?, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Dec 18, 2018
- Pet carrier, Wikipedia
- Pets and International Travel, US Department of State
- Dog Carrier for Bikes Prototype, Rhode Island School of Design
- The 10 Best Dog Carriers 2018, New York Magazine, May 1, 2018
- Dog crate, Wikipedia
- The 7 Best Dog Carriers of 2018, The Spruce Pets, Dec 24, 2018
- The best dog carrier bag you can buy, Business Insider, Sep 24, 2018
- Best Dog Kennels & Dog Carriers, Chewy