How to Choose the Best Dog Carrier for Your Pet—Plus, Some of Our Favorites on the Market Right Now
Headed somewhere? We asked an expert to weigh in on what to look for in a quality carrier for your four-legged friend including slings, hard-case kennels, and mesh-walled carriers.
A well-designed dog carrier should be secure and comfortable for both you and your pet. "Don't compromise on your pet's safety or comfort, or your own, and think about your entire journey, not just certain legs," says Minali Chatani co-founder of Wild One. "It should be sized properly, compliant with airlines requirements, and snug but with ample room for the dog to shift around."
So, how does one separate the stellar from the so-so when shopping for a dog carrier? Chatani suggests looking for carriers with your pooch's specific needs in mind. "If you have a pet that is squirmy and doesn't love being in a carrier, get one with mesh walls and zip-open flaps that's more breathable and has a way to 'buckle' them in," she suggests. "Also ensure it has easy access points (between you and them), so they know you're there and can provide them with constant reassurance." Of course, you'll also want to make sure that whatever carrier you settle on is easy for you to tote around, too. Chatani recommends seeking out a carrier with adjustable handles or one with both short handles and a shoulder strap, so you can carry it around comfortably depending on your commute. "This way both you and your pet have a pleasant on-the-go experience," she adds.
We rounded up the most reliable dog carriers in a range of styles and functions for your perusal. From a backpack-style carrier to one with a removable dog bed, here's what we found.
Why settle for a bulky dog carrier when you can have one that looks like a designer purse instead? This cute leather carrier boasts mesh side panels, a padded interior cushion, and a built-in leash for added security, and will only set you back less than a hundred dollars to boot.
Shop Now: PetsHome Leather Dog Carrier, in Beige, $59.99, amazon.com.
Prefer a dog carrier with a personal touch? Along with a built-in leash and a removable fleece liner, this chic nylon carrier can be monogrammed with your furry friend's name on the top for added flair and sophistication.
Shop Now: Mark & Graham Buddy Pet Carrier, in Ivory, $169, markandgraham.com.
If storage is a problem at home, then we found the carrier for you. This lightweight carrier is designed with a zippered hard top, bottom, and sides that quickly fold down when not in use so you can save space when storing it at home.
Shop Now: Pet Magasin Collapsible Dog & Cat Carrier Bag, $26, chewy.com.
The only thing better than a dependable dog carrier is one that's design-savvy, too. This super stylish travel carrier is roomy enough for dogs weighing up to 16 pounds, and it features an interior safety clasp (that attaches to your dog's collar), privacy panels (that zip up whenever your dog gets anxious), and an interior cushion that folds out to become a comfortable bed.
Shop Now: Wild One Air Travel Carrier, in Tan, $125, wildone.com.
Owners with a restless dog, this one's for you: Designed with breathable mesh side panels that expand and contract, this transforming carrier provides your dog with enough room to lay down and move around when it's inside.
Shop Now: Pet Peppy Flex Carrier, $43, amazon.com.
Daily Commute Carrier
Dreaming of a durable carrier that's fashionable enough to carry on your daily commute? This all-weather carrier looks more like a snazzy carryall that an actual pet tote, but boasts a soft cushioned interior, reinforced straps, and cut-outs (so your pup can see).
Shop Now: Fable Pets Carrier, in Light Blue, $150, fablepets.com.
Extra Cozy Carrier
Looking for a carrier that your anxious dog won't mind spending time in? This zippered nylon carrier features a removable bed you can use at home, so that your pet is familiar with the feel and the smell of it so traveling goes more smoothly.
Shop Now: Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed, in Arctic White, starting from $150, amazon.com.
This utilitarian tote is made with a double-layered waxed cotton duck canvas and is double topstitched for extra durability. There is a comfortable scoop for your dog's head and has two outside pockets in the front for you. The inside features a collar-to-leash attachment with solid nickel hardware and a removable sturdy foot pad.
Shop Now: Olive & Oak Waxed Canvas Pet Tote, $270, lovethybeast.com.
In the market for a carrier that pulls double duty? This clever soft-sided carrier features a detachable fiber board roller bottom, so it can transition from a sturdy wheeled travel carrier to a comfy portable crate in seconds.
Shop Now: Petluv Pull-Along Rolling Cat & Dog Carrier & Travel Crate, $90, petluvshop.us.
If you like to travel with your pooch on your back, then this is the carrier for you. Designed with custom fit straps to evenly distribute the weight of your dog and a ventilated back panel, this waterproof zippered backpack carrier also offers an on-strap bottle opener and a foldable water bowl so you can both stay hydrated on the go.
Shop Now: Timbuk2 Muttmover Backpack, $118, timbuk2.com.