Your dog deserves to see the world just as much as you do. To make sure your pup can travel safely and comfortably you’ll want to have a high quality dog carrier. With tons of options on the market, it’s definitely difficult to choose. There’s not a single best option. It will depend on the type of travel you’ll be doing and the type of carrier that will work best for you and your dog.
Our guide will teach you what to look for so you can choose your favorite from the best dog carriers on the market.
Quick Answer: Best Dog Carriers for Travel
- Best Hard-Sided: AmazonBasics Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier
- Best Soft-Sided: AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier
- Best Sling: Yudodo Pet Dog Sling Carrier
- Best Backpack: PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack
- Best for Hiking: Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack
- Best with Wheels: Pet Peppy Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier
- Best Purse: PetsHome Dog Purse Carrier
What to Look for in a Good Dog Carrier
Here are a few things to consider, before you go off and buy your new dog carrier.
1. Style of Carrier
The style of carrier will depend on your personal preference and type of travel. If you’re going to be flying, then you need to search for pet carriers approved by airlines. Be sure to check your airline’s size restrictions for doggie carriers before booking your ticket to make sure your puppy can travel with you.
- Soft-Sided: These carriers are popular because they’re lightweight and easy to travel with. When you’re not using them, they’re simple to store. Many of the best airline approved dog carriers are soft-sided as they can easily fit under your seat.
- Hard-Sided: If you need durability then the best dog travel carrier for you will be hard-sided. These offer more protection for your dog and make cleaning easier. If you have a larger dog that has to go in an airplane’s cargo hold then you’ll need a hard-sided case.
- Wearable: Not only do these allow you to keep your dog close to you, but they also allow you to keep your hands free. A wearable carrier for puppy dogs is similar to a baby carrier and it allows you to wear them on your front or back. Just make sure you and your dog feel comfortable and safe with a wearable carrier. It’s a good idea to make sure there’s some added security like zippers.
2. Size of Your Dog
When choosing a carrier for pets it’s important to know their weight as well as their length, width, and height. The carrier needs to be large enough for them to stretch out, move comfortably, and turn around. If you choose a hard-sided carrier, you’ll want to give your dog a few more inches of height and moving room than you would in a soft-sided, expandable carrier. For example, with a soft-sided carrier, consider adding three to four inches to their shoulder height or five to six inches with a hard-sided crate.
Backpack and wearable carriers are naturally designed to be tighter than standard carriers. These are geared toward smaller dogs. While some large dogs might think they’re lap dogs, you don’t want to put them in a wearable carrier and risk injuring yourself.
One of the most important things to ensure is that your carrier isn’t too small for your dog. Carriers for large dogs might take a little more research, especially if you want them to work for air travel. However, it’s more than worth it to find the right carrier for your precious pooch.
3. Ease of Cleaning
Hard-sided cases are typically the easiest to clean because you can simply wipe them down. If you choose a wearable or soft-sided carrier, getting one that is machine washable will make your life easier as dogs will inevitably make a mess at some point. Even if the carrier isn’t machine washable, some come with removable and washable pads that are easy to clean.
The best pet carrier for you will be one that is easy to transport and that you have no problem carrying. If you’ll be flying with your dog often then it’s important for you to be able to comfortably carry your dog through the airport. If you’re heading on a road trip and want to keep your dog in a carrier to keep them safe, then portability may not be as important if you won’t be carrying or moving it often.
5. Pockets / Storage
Some dog carriers have compartments to store things like treats or waste bags. Especially if you’re not traveling with your dog’s travel bag, the extra storage can really come in handy. Soft-sided cases may have one or two pockets while backpack carriers may have even more storage.
If you intend to get a wearable carrier to do outdoor activities with your dog such as hiking, then storage is very important. The compartments will allow you to store necessities like a leash and toys for your dog as well as your dog’s water bottle and travel dog bowl.
Best Dog Carrier Reviews
Now that you know what to look for, here are the best dog carriers for cars, planes, and everything in between.
Best Hard-Sided Dog Carrier
As the best hard-sided dog carrier, the AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier combines durability and convenience. The crate has ventilation on the top, sides, and back, and the two doors let you load your dog through the top or side. It’s made with durable plastic and the front door is made of steel-wire. For added reinforcement on the top and bottom, there are additional screws included. The carrier weighs about 4.5 pounds and you can choose between a 19” x 12” x 10” carrier and a 23” x 15” x 13” carrier. For hard-sided crate lovers, the AmazonBasics Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier is one of the best carriers for dogs.
Best Soft-Sided Dog Carrier
This small dog carrier is one of the greatest soft-sided carriers you’ll find. The AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier has an adjustable shoulder strap for you and a luggage and seat belt strap so you can transport your dog safely. The fleece pad is removable and machine washable. There’s mesh ventilation on all sides and you can load your dog through the top or on the side. The spring wire frame allows the carrier to fit under some airline seats, just check the dimensions in advance. The small size measures 13.8” x 8.7” x 8.7” and is for pets up to eight pounds. The medium size measures 16.5” x 9.4” x 9.8” and has a recommended weight limit of 16 pounds. The large carrier has a max load of 22 pounds and measures 19.7” x 10.2” x 11.2”. For a high-quality soft-sided carrier, you can’t beat the AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier.
Best Dog Carrier Sling
The Yudodo Pet Dog Sling Carrier is made of mesh and leather and is breathable, soft, and durable. It has a zipper and buckle which is reinforced for added security. The adjustable strap measures 38.6” – 46.5” to comfortably adjust to your body. The smaller carrier has a max recommended weight of five pounds and measures 15” x 3.9” x 7.8”. The larger carrier is 17” x 5” x 11” and has a max recommended weight of ten pounds. There’s a leash in the carrier to make sure your dog doesn’t get out, and the sling allows your pet to look around while you’re on the go. The Yudodo Pet Dog Sling Carrier is one of the best travel carriers for dogs if you want to go hands-free.
Best Backpack Dog Carrier
If you want to leave your daypack at home so you can travel, hike, or walk with your furry best friend on your back then consider the PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack. The best backpack carrier for dogs, it weighs 3.6 pounds, measures 12.5” x 10.2” x 16.3”, and has a weight capacity of 18 pounds. It has a well-ventilated design to maximize airflow and a two-way entry. For your comfort, the backpack has waist and chest straps and three pockets for things like your phone and water bottle. For your dog there are three safety buckles and a safety strap to prevent them from escaping, and the sherpa-lined bedding will keep them comfortable. Made with a durable 600D polyester, the PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack is among the best travel bags for dogs.
Best Dog Carrier for Hiking
This dog carrier for travel is perfect for those who love hiking. The Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack is made for pets up to 25 pounds and measures 13” x 21” x 10”. It’s lightweight yet durable and comes with plenty of zippered pockets for extra storage. It can be used as a backpack while you’re hiking or a standard carrier for other trips. The bottom is waterproof, it has a roll-up mesh window, as well as a laptop sleeve. For added comfort and convenience when hiking, there’s a hip belt and sternum strap, a ventilated back panel, and two water bottle sleeves. If you want to explore the outdoors, leave your hiking backpack at home and bring along the Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack.
Best Dog Carrier with Wheels
When it comes to dog carrying bags, the Pet Peppy Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier is beloved for its wheels. The mesh sides allow air to freely circulate, the wire frame adds support on both sides, and the two zipper doors are easy to access. The comfortable liner is washable and the interior leash ring helps keep your dog secure. Removable wheels and a retractable handle make it easy to roll through the airport and store on the plane. To travel with your dog stress-free, go with the Pet Peppy Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier.
Best Purse Dog Carrier
The PetsHome Dog Purse Carrier is the best purse to carry your dog. With more than ten design options, you can travel in style with this bag. These carriers are made of a premium nylon material and are studded with gold hardware. There are three breathable mesh windows and the interior is lined with waterproof material. The two soft pads are machine washable and there’s a back pocket to store small items. This dog carrier for travel packs away easily thanks to its detachable and foldable design. The small purse measures 15.7” x 7.9” x 9.5” and has a max load of 13 pounds while the larger purse measures 17.3” x 10.2” x 10.6” and has a max load of 17.5 pounds. For a high-quality and fashionable pet purse, check out the PetsHome Dog Purse Carrier.
Best of the Rest
As one of the best airline carriers for dogs, the soft-sided Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier was designed for comfortable and safe travel. It has mesh windows, side and top entry, locking zippers, and an adjustable carrying strap. The lambskin liner is machine washable and the carrier includes a pocket for small accessories. The small carrier is for pets up to eight pounds and measures 15” x 10” x 8.5”. The medium size carrier measures 17” x 11” x 10.5” and can hold pets up to 16 pounds. The large carrier measures 19” x 11.75” x 11.5” and was created for pets up to 22 pounds. Coming in a variety of colors, the Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier is definitely one of the best carrying bags for dogs.
The Henkelion Soft Sided Collapsible Puppy Carrier will always appear on the list of the best pet carriers for dogs. It’s an airline-approved carrier that comes in several colors and is durable and waterproof. The carrier is made of polyester and the mesh sides will allow your dog to travel comfortably. The medium size measures 17” x 11” x 11” and is for pets up to 15 pounds while the larger size measures 20” x 13” x 13” and has a max weight of 25 pounds. The carrier has a three-sided entrance, a side pocket for treats, and a machine washable fleece bed. When you search for the best dog carrier bag options, you’ll see the Henkelion Soft Sided Collapsible Puppy Carrier is a fan favorite.
This is one of the best travel dog bags because it’s airline approved and can easily be attached to your rolling luggage. The Tirrinia Soft Sided Pet Travel Carrier for Small Dogs comes with the option of a round (19” x 10” x 13”) or square top (19” x 10” x 12”) and fits dogs up to ten pounds. The soft-sided carrier includes safety buckles to prevent escape as well as a window to feed your dog and an ID tag. It’s equipped with mesh panels, a removable pad, and an exterior pocket. High-quality pet carriers for travel are hard to find, but you won’t be disappointed by the Tirrinia Soft Sided Pet Travel Carrier for Small Dogs.
Safety and comfort are so important when traveling with a dog. You need an option that’s practical for you as well as for them. Choosing from our list of the best dog carriers for travel will ensure you have a high-quality, comfortable, and durable travel home for your pup.