What’s The Best Dog Carrier? Reviews & Buyer’s 2021 Guide

The Best Dog Carrier Feature Image

Whether you’re a writer who’s planning to take your furry friend on a month-long vacation to another state or a pet parent who just needs a way to carry your fur baby to the vet, a pet carrier is a useful addition to your supplies. 

The best dog carriers will keep your pooch comfortable, safe, and contained while traveling in the car. Plus, they come in a sturdy, lightweight, and easily transportable design–making it possible for you to take him on planes. 

There are so many types of pet carriers on the market: some are best for small dogs, while others expand to accommodate larger canines. Many carriers are designed to meet airline pet guidelines, and some are ideal for car rides, hiking, and biking. 

Nevertheless, the right carrier for you depends on the breed and size of your pooch, as well as your lifestyle and your destination. Scroll down for the best dog carriers for every type of adventure.

PRODUCT / PRODUCT DETAILS

PRODUCT

PRODUCT DETAILS

Comfortable Dog Sling Carrier

1. EliteField Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Dog Carrier Bag

Large Dog Carrier for Air Travel

2. Frisco Premium Travel Dog Carrier Bag

Let Your Pet Travel in Comfort

3. Sherpa Delta Airline-Approved Dog Carrier Bag

Our 8 Best Dog Carriers

1. EliteField Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Dog Carrier Bag

Comfortable Dog Sling Carrier

This airline-approved doggie tote comes in two sizes: 17-in size ( 17 x 9 x 12 inches) that can hold up to 15 pounds and 19-in size (19 x 10 x 13 inches) that can support pets up to 18 pounds. 

It’s one of the best soft-sided pet carriers with standout features that include an insertable hard support board to help maintain the shape of the carrier and removable fleece bedding to keep your pet comfortable during short and long trips. 

It also contains two accessory pockets, a side zipper for easy access to your pooch, and mesh netting on top and sides for more natural light and maximum ventilation for your pet.

As for safety: An innovative seat belt can be strapped to the exterior belt loops and a built-in harness clip. Plus, it has a padded shoulder strap, a luggage strap, and duffle-style carrying handles.

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2. Frisco Premium Travel Dog Carrier Bag

Large Dog Carrier for Air Travel

Looking for the best travel carriers that will fit your pet’s size? Look no further than this Frisco Premium Travel Carrier Bag for Dogs. 

This incredible travel carrier comes in three sizes: small ( 15 x 10 x 8.5 inches), a weight capacity of up to 8 pounds; for medium (17 x 11 x 10.5 inches), holds up to 16 pounds; and large (19 x 11.75 x 11.5 inches), supports a weight of up to 22 pounds –giving this bag with a roomy, sherpa-lined floor and semi-collapsible design that holds flat to fit smaller spaces like your car seat.

The travel carrier bag also has a soft, removable base made of Sherpa-lined engineered wood, as well as mesh panels for added visibility and more ventilation. 

The auto-locking zippers make sure the pet is safely confined with top and side entry options, while a luggage strap makes it easy to slide on and off your suitcase. 

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3. Sherpa Delta Airline-Approved Dog Carrier Bag

Let Your Pet Travel in Comfort

This pet carrier is perfect for dog owners that are worried about not being allowed onboard through security with their pooch. 

All small and medium Sherpa carriers are part of its exclusive Guaranteed On Board Program. Simply visit the Guaranteed On-Board website, find your airline, print the Guaranteed On-Board form, bring your pet’s health certificate, and you’re ready to take off!

Available in three various sizes: small (15 x 10 x 8.5 inches), medium ( 17 x 11 x 10.5 inches), and large (19 x 11.75 x 11.5 inches). Plus, your pet will surely be comfortable in this pet carrier with its machine-washable and hypoallergenic faux lambskin liner, as well as ventilated mesh panels. 

Not only that, it has a non-slip shoulder strap and padded hand straps so you can carry your pet easily.

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4. All-Season Pet Tote Carrier with Weather Guard

Useful Travel Carrier for Small Dogs

Afraid to get your pet wet from the rain? Worry not,  the FurHaven All Season Pet Tote Carrier is here to help you with that. This versatile pet carrier is made of top-notch quality, waterproof poly canvas fabric, with foam-lined walls for extra insulation and comfort for your pooch. The removable rain fly also keeps your pet protected from any weather.

It also has a zipper opening that allows easy access for your pet while the multiple mesh windows with hook and loop fasteners provide ample visibility and ventilation for your pooch. 

The best part is–this pet tote is multi-purpose which means you can use this as a dog carrier purse, for a dog car seat, or a soft pet crate for travel including airplane flights.

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5. Petmate Soft-Sided Dog Carrier Bag

Hard Sided Pet Carriers for Dogs

The Petmate product is the best soft-sided carrier for your pet because it features a 2-door design for both top and front-loading, a convenient carrying handle, a comfortable shoulder strap, as well as mesh walls to promote more healthy airflow. 

This cozy kennel is also made of durable material with PVC backing that is sturdy enough to hold up to scratching. Plus, the exterior rear pocket allows you to bring all your pet’s items which makes it perfect for general or in-cabin airline travel. 

This pet carrier can hold pets weighing under 15 pounds and is available in two sizes: medium ( 17 x 10 x 10 inches) with a weight capacity of up to 10 lbs, and large (20 x 11.5 x 12 inches) that can carry a pet with up to 15 pounds weight.

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6. Sherpapet Trading Company Delta Deluxe Pet Carrier

Air Travel Certified Pet Carriers

This is an ideal dog front carrier for that slightly nerve-wracking first car trip home with a new puppy and a safer option to carrying them on your lap. It comes in different sizes for your pup to feel secure but gives them enough room to move about and to fit under most airline seats. 

It has durable mesh panels so you can keep an eye on your pet while he also takes a peek at the outside world. The soft material is a handier, more friendly option than hard plastic carriers. It has safety straps and light handles so it won’t hurt your shoulders while you carry your pet to the vet.

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7. Pet Magasin Collapsible Dog Carrier Bag

Soft Panels and Safety Straps to Secure Your Dog

If you opt for a hard-sided travel kennel, then this collapsible pet carrier bag might interest you. This comfortable travel carrier makes the ideal portable pet home for your furry friend. 

It has a hard, waterproof top and bottom design to protect your pet from turbulence or rain so you won’t have to worry about your pet getting soaked in the rain–while giving your pet a sturdy platform to lay on. 

Plus, it contains a super-soft padded mat for more comfort and security to help your pup feel snug and safe while traveling. On top of that, it features a see-through mesh door and multiple ventilation holes that allow air to circulate and prevent anxiety or isolation. 

It’s a lightweight compact design, easily folds down, and can be zippered together to conserve space when not in use.

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8. Katziela Expandable Bottom Soft Pet Carrier

Airline Approved Carrier for Small Dogs

Among the carriers found on the market, this expandable travel carrier provides an easy, convenient way to take dogs along. Designed for smaller dogs and cats, this pet carrier comes with three various size expansions for flexibility. 

Just choose which base you want to make the bag 10″, 12″ or 13.5″ tall. Its bottoms zip on and off simply and the shoulder bag style is designed with a padded handle carrying straps for more comfort and lightweight to carry anywhere. 

Plus, it’s manufactured to meet TSA and most airline standards because of its soft-sided feature that is small enough to fit almost anywhere. 

What’s more, this small, square ergonomic pet carrier is compact and comfortable with breathable mesh windows for ventilation as well as a machine-washable and removable soft, cozy, and comfy mini-mattress pad for your pup to sleep on. 

The best part is–it has a leak-proof dog bottle securely strapped outside the bag and side pockets to hold your essentials.

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Let Your Pet Travel in Safety

Benefits Of Using A Dog Carrier

A pet carrier for Fido is a useful thing for the user’s day-to-day activities. It’s not only beneficial for dogs but dog owners as well. Some of the benefits are:

Keep Dog Secure On Road Trips

Many carriers include durable seat belt loops, interior harness clip, and secured locks that help dogs to be contained and safe in a car or on public transport.

Keep Dog From Running Around In Crowded Areas

These carriers are compact and convenient to hold your little pup even in crowned places, giving you more peace of mind.

Can Be Used In Air Travel

Airlines will have no doubt allowing you to carry your furry friend around as long as you have an airline-approved carrier for dogs and met their requirements.
 

Helps Prevent Getting Chills and Catching Colds

Depending on the brand, some carriers are made with water-resistant fabric and zippered openings that can be covered or uncovered to protect the pet from cold weather. Plus, they include a soft, removable fleece bed to provide warmth and more comfort for Fido.

Dogs Enjoy Road Trips Inside Carrier

Kinds Of Dog Carriers

Pet carriers come in numerous basic styles, and you should choose the type that suits your pet and your dog:
 

Soft-Sided

These are the most popular style for transporting smaller breeds, and some brands are airline-approved to fit under your seat. They are commonly portable and lightweight, and they fold up for easy storage.

Hard-Sided

They are sometimes preferred for their rugged construction and durability. The hard shell provides a bit more protection and is easy to clean. If your dog’s size does not comply with the under-the-seat requirement, some hard-sided carriers are approved by the airlines.

Wearable

This kind of dog carriers became popular for mimicking the trend in baby carriers. They are a convenient hands-free way to carry your dog anywhere. Unfortunately, they’re only used for little dogs. They can be in a form of dog carrier sling, front packs, and backpacks. 

Important Features To Consider

Before purchasing a pet carrier for your dog, here are some important features to consider first:

Ventilation

Make sure that the carrier has plenty of ventilation for your dog to breathe well and feel comfortable.

Durability

For both soft and hard-side carriers alike, you want to ensure that the carrier is well-built and has proper internal supports to keep it from collapsing on your dog. Check to see if the seams and corners are reinforced and that it lies even to the ground without a tilt that could easily become annoying to your pup.

Comfort

If you know you have an anxious pup, you might want to consider whether more or less visibility will be calming. Some pets might really like the openness of a mesh carrier while others are more comfortable in a private environment, in which case you’ll want to find a carrier with zip-up windows.

Ease Of Cleaning

If you have an old small dog with a continence problem or pets who can’t always hold it, then soft-sided might not be a good option since they’re difficult to keep clean. If it’s possible, you might want to opt for a hard-sided style that has plastic sides that are much easier to wipe clean.

Airline Approved

Bear in mind that there is no one official airline-approved pet carrier, as carrier requirements vary between airlines. Thus, you should still need to contact your airline prior to booking a flight to guarantee that the carrier you chose meets its pet regulations [1].

Bring Fido to the Mall in a Carrier

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Pet Carriers Good for Dogs?

Yes, pet carriers are good for dogs especially when you’re going elsewhere. While some carriers make animals feel safe and secure, others may see this as a traumatic experience in their first encounter. That’s why it’s important to get them comfortable first through training with a lot of positive reinforcement to ease this problem.

What Size Pet Carrier Do I Need For My Dog?

The pet carrier should be large enough for your dog to curl up, to turn around easily, or stretch out when lying down. Measure his back from his neck, where his collar sits, to the base of his tail. 

Measure his height as well from the top of his shoulders to the ground. Then add a few inches to that measurement. For soft-sided styles, add two-to-three inches to the shoulder height. As for hard-sided carriers, add three-to-five inches.  

Compare your measurements afterward to the manufacturer’s sizing guide. For wearable carriers, the dog should be supported against your body, not by the carrier itself. In addition, weigh your pup to check if the carrier is sturdy enough to support him.

How Long Is It Okay To Keep A Dog In A Carrier?

The duration of how long a dog should be kept in a carrier depends on their age. For example, adult dogs shouldn’t be left contained in a carrier for more than 6-8 hours. Puppies of 17 weeks, on the other hand, and older can only handle up to 4 or 5 hours at a time. Leaving them longer can hurt their mental and physical health.

Conclusion

A hands-free feature or a pet carrier with a luggage grade material–no matter what style, characteristics, or perks offered, the necessary features mentioned above should be noted for a better user experience with no stress or hassle.

Hopefully, after reading this review, you feel more than prepared now to select the right carrier for your dog to travel with you. If not, however, we have plenty of pet sitters, watchers, and walkers who can take care of your pup while you’re away.

Comfortable Dog Sling Carrier

Editor's Choice

EliteField Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Dog Carrier Bag