So you’re contemplating carriers for your favorite canine…but the options seem endless. Do you go hard sided or soft sided? Top load, front load, or side? And since your pooch is part of the family, safety is key…but so are comfort, style, and durability. Is it even possible to find the best dog carrier, or is this a mission that’s bound to go to the dogs?
Before you make yourself dog-tired sifting through hundreds of options, trot on down the page to see our top picks for your four legged friend!
Considerations When Choosing Your Carrier
- Purpose. Will the main purpose of your carrier be for quick trips to the vet and play dates in the park or lengthily trips for which extra protection might be needed? Will they be rolling in the car or flying on a plane? If the answer is quick trips here and there, then soft sided carriers are the way to go. Likewise, if you’re considering a carrier for a trip through the air, then soft-sided is also probably your best bet. They offer easy maneuverability of your pooch and are cinch to store. If you are planning longer trips or longer periods of time where your pup will be in the carrier, then hard sided carriers may be for you. Made with heavy duty materials, they offer a more secure space for travel.
- Size. When searching for the perfect transportation method for Fido, size matters. Pay attention to the weight and length parameters given for the carrier you’re considering. You won’t have a dog’s chance of getting your pooch into a carrier that’s three sizes too small. A special note on size: if you are planning a plane trip with your fury pal, make sure to check that your carrier is friendly skies approved!
- Door Placement. This may seem like an odd one, but if you’re able to easily lift up your dog, then getting a carrier that has a top load option is the way to go. It’s less traumatic for your dog than trying to shove them in through the front. If top load isn’t possible due to your dog’s size, consider one that offers both a front and side entrance, as a side entrance gives your pup more room to saunter in.
Top 10 Dog Carriers Chart
|Picture||Name||Sizes||Airline Approved||Price||Rating (1-5)|
|Picture||Name||Sizes||Airline Approved||Price||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Petmate Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel||Two sizes. The large holds pets up to 20lbs.||Yes*||$$||4.7|
|2. Sherpa Delta Deluxe Pet Carrier||Comes in S/M/L. The large holds pets up to 22lbs.||Yes*||$$||4.6|
|3. Sturdi Products SturdiBag Large Pet Carrier||One size. Holds pets up to 25lbs.||Yes*||$$$||4.6|
|4. Petsfit Expandable Foldable Travel Dogs Carriers||Comes in S/M/L. Large holds pets up to 20lbs.||Yes*||$$||4.6|
|5. Pet Gear Signature Pet Car Seat||One size. Holds pets up to 20lbs.||N/A||$$||4.6|
|6. Sleepypod Medium Mobile Pet Bed||One size. Holds pets up to 15lbs.||No||$$$$||4.6|
|7. Suncast 23-Inch Pet Carrier Round||Two sizes. Holds pets up to 30lbs.||N/A||$||4.5|
|8. Soft-Sided Pet Carrier, Comfortable Carrier||One size. Holds Pets up to 22lbs.||Yes*||$||4.5|
|9. Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier, Jet Black||One size.||Yes*||$$$||4.5|
|10. Soft Sided Pet Travel Carrier||One size.||Yes*||$||4.5|
*Check with individual airlines for approval.
What Makes the Perfect Dog Carrier?
The answer to this question can seem as daunting as which breed of dog to choose, but just like asking the right questions led you to your perfect pup, the same can be done for finding the perfect canine carrier.
Here is a list of questions to help you find just the right fit!
- How much does your dog weigh?
- Will this carrier be used for airline travel?
- Is it for quick car trips or long road adventures?
- What’s your budget?
- Does your dog go easily into cages and carriers or are they resistant to the notion?
Taking the time to consider these few simple questions will help guide you in your search for the best dog carrier for your pooch and lead you to one doggone amazing purchase!
3 Best Dog Carrier Reviews
The Petmate Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel comes in two sizes with a sturdy design to transport your dog in safety and style. It has both top and side load capability. The top load feature is great for panicky pups who can’t be easily coaxed into traditional carriers. Not only does the design make it easy to get your pooch securely in the carrier, it also makes it a cinch to get them out. We found this to be particularly helpful when our pup had to be taken to the vet. We didn’t have to struggle to get our dog into the carrier and the vet didn’t have to struggle to get him out!
We liked that the larger of the two sizes could accommodate a dog up to 20lbs without compromising leg room. Fido was definitely less finicky when presented with enough leg room to stand up and stretch! The carrier is well ventilated on all sides and boasts a spring loaded latch that can be opened with one hand.
The carrier is made of metal and plastic and comes in four fabulous colors to fit your pet’s personality. It’s a snap to put together and even comes with extra parts in case you need them down the road!
With standout features like a top load design, a modest price tag, and plenty of leg room, we definitely give this carrier two paws way up!
The Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier was just a half a muzzle behind our first place winner. This soft sided bag features top and side entry ability. With a quick swipe of a zipper you can have your canine in and out of the carrier in a flash. Fiberglass support rods help the carrier to maintain its shape, while the soft frame design gives the bag flexibility. We found this to be a bonus when flying the friendly skies. The bag’s non-rigid design made fitting our furry friend comfortably under the seat in front of us a much more manageable task!
Another feature we appreciated about this stylish carrier was the padded shoulder straps. Whether we were carrying our pup through an airport terminal or into the vet, these straps made the task much more manageable.
Last but not least, we applauded this bag, and our pup did too, for its machine washable faux lambskin liner. It allowed our pooch to travel in comfort, while giving us the peace of mind that comes with knowing that should our pal make a puddle it only needed a lap in the laundry to make it good as new.
This top load, airline friendly, carrier with its padded handles and cozy liner is certainly worth its slightly higher price tag as we think it’s a doggone great buy!
Rounding out our top 3 is the SturdiBag Large Pet Carrier. With 20 different colors and designs to choose from there is definitely a bag for every type of barker.
We liked this bag for it cushiony interior that could be easily removed and thrown into the washer. We also liked its easy to hold handles that made transporting our pet from car to plane to train and beyond a breeze.
Due to its sturdy yet flexible design, this carrier was perfect for airline travel. Its easy zip features made sneaking a quick ear scratch while in the air a cinch.
The slightly higher price tag than our first and second place winners and the absence of a top load feature were the only thing that kept this bag from being best in show.
With a plethora of color choices and a pillowy interior that lets your dog fly the friendly skies in comfort and style, we think this carrier has the bark to back up its bite!
Just remember, taking the time to ask yourself a few simple questions will help you find the best dog carrier for the best dog in the world…yours!