Things To Consider When Selecting a Dog Carrier

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When you’re traveling with your pup, one of the items you’ll need is a dog carrier. With so many options to choose from, how do you pick the best carrier for your pup? There are a number of things to consider when making your selection and a few different ways to make sure the carrier is the right fit for your pup.

In this article, we’re going over the different types of dog carriers and the things you need to take into consideration when picking your next travel carrier.

The Different Types of Carriers

Dog carriers are available in a few different styles, each with its intended uses. Take some time to get acquainted with the most common kinds of carriers available on the market. Knowing about the different types can help inform your decision.

Hard-Sided Carriers

The most common kind of carrier is the traditional hard-sided carrier. Hard-sided carriers are available in most stores that carry pet supplies. They’re made of hard plastic, making them durable and easy to clean in case of accidents.

These carriers are considered to be more protective of your dog than some of the other options on this list but are less easily stored and transported due to their rigidity.

Soft-Sided Carriers

Soft-sided carriers are designed with smaller dogs in mind. They’re typically light and portable, being made of mesh and fabrics rather than hard plastics like hard-sided carriers. Many soft-sided carriers are airline-approved, allowing you to bring your small dog onto an airplane with you while traveling.

They have very specific size and weight limits that need to be adhered to, as well, so that they can function properly.

Wearable Dog Carriers

Another option for smaller dogs, wearable dog carriers, allow you to carry your dog nearly hands-free. They can be worn across the body or on a shoulder. These dog carriers follow the trend of soft-sided carriers, as they’re lightweight and specifically made for the dog that’s on the go!

These really allow you to take your dog anywhere and are almost always airline-approved since they’re almost entirely meant for traveling with your pup.

Wearable dog carriers is a term that also applies to carriers in a form factor that’s more similar to a front pack or a backpack. They look similar to baby or child carriers and share many designs with them. While they’re still a wearable carrier, they’re worth mentioning as their own niche because of how different the design really is.

Wire Crates

Wire dog crates are a type of dog carrier that is only designed for much larger breeds of dogs. These dogs need more space, and for that reason, they need a larger design to suit their needs. Wire crates are only really suitable for road tripping with your dog, as they are not airline compliant due to their open-air design.

Wire crates are also commonly seen in homes as overnight kennels or “dens” for dogs of all sizes, though their original intent was for travel by car.

Making Sure You Choose the Right Carrier

Now that you’ve been acquainted with all the types of carriers available on the market, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about the style of carrier you’ll need. When selecting a carrier, you’ll need to take into consideration two main concerns.

  • The first concern is in relation to your dog and making sure that the carrier you want is the right size.
  • The second concern has to do with the main use that your carrier will see.

Making Sure Your Carrier Measures Up

When shopping for a carrier, you’ll need to know quite a few things about your dog to make sure that the carrier is appropriate for them. For both hard and soft carriers alike, you’ll need to make sure that your dog can comfortably stand up and turn around once inside. These are the basic requirements for sizing a dog carrier.

That being said, if you can try a carrier with your pup in person, that’s the easiest way to make sure that they’re comfortable. If not, take the following measurements before beginning your search.

  • Measure your dog’s length from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail.
  • While standing, measure from the top of their head to the ground.
  • Weigh your pup and round up to the nearest pound.

Once you have these measurements, add three inches to each. These are going to be your minimum length and height for a carrier. The width for dog carriers is determined by these two dimensions, so no need to measure that. Hard-sided and soft-sided carriers will have a maximum weight, but it’s unlikely that if your dog fits in the carrier that they will exceed the weight requirement.

The Rules Are Different for Wearables

Wearable carrier measurements are less based on the length and height of your dog and more based on their weight. Wearable carriers are designed to prevent your pooch from moving. Any shift in weight can throw the balance of the carrier off, causing it to dislodge from the worn position.

Keeping pups tucked in tight to wearables is important, and it should be noted that the weight restrictions on them need to be strictly adhered to.

What Are You Using Your Carrier for?

Most times, dog carriers are exclusively used when traveling a long distance, be it by car or by plane. There are some different requirements in each case, and some carriers happen to abide by the standards for both.

When traveling by car, you want to make sure that your dog carrier allows for restraint points like seat belts to be woven through. Being restrained in a moving vehicle is just as necessary for dogs as it is for humans, and a good carrier will be able to be strapped down. This makes sure that it stays firmly in place during travel.

In some cases, the carrier in question can actually be more dangerous in the vehicle than other methods of restraint, especially if the carrier is not restrained properly.

If you’re planning to travel by air with your dog, you’ll need to make sure that the carrier you’re using is airline-approved. Nearly all carriers that fit the bill for air travel market themselves as such, since it’s an important criteria to be met.

Many wearables and soft-sided carriers are airline-approved, which allows for your pet to travel with you via plane. It’s important to remember that even if your dog carrier claims to be airline approved, you should check with the airline before arriving for your flight, just to be sure.

Get Ready To Travel With Your Pup

Traveling with your pup can be an incredibly rewarding experience when done right. A key factor in getting dog travel right is selecting the right dog carrier for your pup. Make sure that the carrier’s measurements fit your dog’s needs and that the carrier fits your travel needs.

It’s important that the carrier you choose is not only comfortable but that it’s also safe. We only want the best for our pups, and a luxurious dog carrier can improve their quality of life immensely!


How to Choose the Best Dog Carrier for Your Canine Friend | American Kennel Club

What Type of Dog Carrier Do You Need? | Pet MD

How to Choose the Best Dog Carrier | American Kennel Club