When the time for traveling comes, pet lovers transform into the most creative people in the world, doing anything to bring their buddies along.
What I find fantastic is the connection and generosity in the pet lovers' community.
Everyone is selflessly sharing their creative ideas, patented devices, and newly discovered products so that our little friends stay satisfied even when traveling.
My way to contribute to the community is with this article.
Here I'll talk about the best dog travel carrier you can find on Amazon, why they're a good option or not, and what is essential to know before using any of them.
Table of Contents
- Dog Travel 101
- 1. Airline Dog Carrier
- 2. Bike Baskets
- 3. Bike Trailers
- 4. Dog Strollers
- 5. Dog Slings
- 6. Dog Purses
- 7. Backpacks
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Dog Travel 101
Before using a travel carrier, we should ask ourselves: Do our dogs really like traveling?
In reality, what dogs enjoy the most is walking.
This is also the healthiest option for our pets because they need to exercise their muscles to stay healthy and active.
With that in mind, avoid carrying your dogs whenever you can, instead let them walk, run and play most of the time, and use the carrier only when necessary.
Let's discuss what means of transport you can use when traveling with your dog.
Basically, there are so many different products, specifically designed for convenient traveling with pets, that you can use to travel by bike, car, or airplane without any problems. Well, in most cases.
Confined space is a dog's worst enemy.
Most pets become anxious when they are closed in a small, confined space with limited air circulation.
So how can we conquer anxiety?
The first thing before using any dog carrier is to give them time to get used to it.
Practice with them, let them explore the carrier you will be using. Dogs are natural explorers, they need time to inspect everything you let them interact with, so you should always apply this principle.
The next big thing is to start with short sessions and observe how your dog feels in a carrier, and only when you're 100% sure they're comfortable with it can you use it for a longer trip.
The third and most important thing is knowing your dog.
A good pet owner knows his/her pet's temper, feelings, and tendencies. If your dog is prone to anxiety, fearful, and uncomfortable in unfamiliar environments, you should think twice before bringing him along.
After all, it's better to find someone to take care of your dog while you're on vacation than traumatize them.
Here is an instructional video with vet's tips to help your dog travel anxious-free, which I highly recommend watching.
There are seven basic types of dog travel carriers:
As you can see, the first kind of dog carrier is for air traveling, next two for cycling, the bottom four for walking. Slings and purses can also be used in buses, while backpacks are most frequently used for hiking.
Let's look into each category.
1. Airline Dog Carrier
Dog carriers and kennels are the best options for traveling by plane with your dogs.
I love both options, as they offer compact yet spacious room for their movement, and they are comfortable for pressure, stress-free, and softer travel.
So, your pups won't be too nervous, especially when you need to pass the airport and gate control. Therefore, the carriers and kennels will provide inner space for more privacy and security to reduce anxiety and panic attacks.
Moreover, both dog carriers and kennels can be placed in-cabin instead of the cargo area, which is the most dangerous place for placing your doggo.
Also, you have to pay attention when you're choosing the crates and kennels - they are different in sizes for a pomeranian, chihuahua, etc., and for bulldogs, for instance.
Another great benefit is that the crates and kennels may have wheels for more convenience and movement, especially at the airports.
Still, most of them also have shoulder straps and handles for better portability and better keeping your dogs close to you. They will be secure.
Of course, most of the dog carriers and kennels for air travel come with breathable materials, providing maximum comfort, ventilation, airflow, and circulation. Therefore, your pups won't feel pressured or limited inside their carriers, and they can breathe freely.
I always check whether the carrier contains more oversized pockets to place numerous items, pup gear, and other necessities inside and keep them close.
However, the disadvantage is that you have to be picky since not all airlines will allow all carriers - we need to check whether the dimensions fit the in-cabin part to place them under the seat.
And, below are the benefits & disadvantages of the carriers and kennels.
The Henkelion soft-sided dog carrier is perfect for all travel types since it's an airline-approved carrier.
So, you can effortlessly pass the airport control and embark on the plane. But, you can always ask your airline for additional info.
Moreover, the soft-sided carrier is easily maneuverable, portable, and easy to carry around.
It offers two connection loop handles, working as a dual seat belt, or you can use a luggage strap to secure transport and make it more convenient for carrying.
Also, the handles and strap will provide more safety and security for your pet, as they can be close to you and omit stress, anxiety, and panic attacks. Thus, you will find it more convenient to travel, as the pup won't misbehave.
As you will see, the soft-sided carrier is lightweight but durable, thanks to the polyester fabric.
In addition, it includes four mesh walls, so it will offer maximum comfort and ventilation for your pet and provide a better insight into their behavior.
You will also love the Henekelion soft-sided dog carrier because it's easy to clean and maintain.
Namely, the carrier has a cozy fleece pet bed that you can remove, detach and wash in the washing machine. So, it saves your time and energy.
However, the unit will be comfortable for you as well, as the handles and shoulder strap are full of soft pads so that the carrier won't cause pressure, pain, or discomfort for your body.
As a result, you can carry it longer.
You will love the hard-sided dog carrier since it's a perfect option to take your smaller breeds on the go.
As you will, the hard-sided dog carrier is an ideal model since it's convenient and easy to carry around.
So, you will find the built-in carrying handle suitable for travel and easy maneuverability.
You can go wherever you like with your pup, as the hard-sided dog carrier contains FAA approval; therefore, you can set off across the ocean as well.
However, your doggo will enjoy all travel types due to the design.
Namely, the carrier has ventilated sides and a wide-wire door for a substantial open space letting your pet look around while permitting maximum ventilation and airflow.
In addition, you will find the four tabs on the door, allowing you to decide which way you want to open it. All you have to do is turn the tabs on one side and open the door in the most convenient direction.
The hard-sided unit comes in a variety of colors and three sizes, so you can check the size chart for your pet and airline.
But, if your doggo makes a mess, you can easily clean and maintain it with a spray of water and a damp cloth, and a mild pet-safe cleaner.
Finally, the hard-sided dog carrier comes durable and sturdy, made of polypropylene plastic. Thus, it cannot break or crack easily and fits all life stages.
What's so specific about the Snoozer dog carrier? Well, unlike the two previous models, this one has wheels!
So, you can pull it around and use it more conveniently than carrying it on your shoulder or hands.
However, with the 4-in-1 design, you can use it as a backpack, car seat, carry-on, or rolling carrier. Therefore, the carrier with wheels is the most versatile and flexible for more extended use and a perfect travel companion.
The wheeled dog carrier is perfect for small pets and small dog breeds, up to 15 pounds, offering an ultimate travel experience with all means of transport.
Moreover, the rolling carrier is exceptionally flexible and versatile, serving you for running errands, hiking, vet visits, walking in numerous high-traffic areas, etc.
We know how dogs can be stressed and anxious when it comes to traveling, but the Snoozer rolling dog carrier helps reduce pet anxiety and pressure.
Thus, the wheeled carrier offers a breathable mesh design, with maximum ventilation and the cover, to keep your pet comfortable and accessible yet safe and secure from noise. But, check the airline rules before you go to the airport.
Although the dimensions fit only small dog breeds, the carrier with wheels will provide them with inner space and enough room for sleeping, standing, or sitting in the unit.
Thus, your doggos won't be limited or repressed inside the rolling carrier. And, you will find enormous pockets for your valuable items and other gear.
2. Bike Baskets
Dog bike baskets are pretty much the standard bike baskets with additional pads and extra pockets that make traveling more convenient for your dogs.
This pet travel carrier is the best for small dogs since the average weight capacity of these pet carriers is around 20 pounds.
We attach them to the steering wheel, and the installation is pretty straightforward.
Some models need screws and mounts, while others come with straps with buckles. These carriers are made of a wide variety of materials, from wicker to nylon and canvas.
What I love about them is the freedom that dogs have when they are placed inside.
There's no roof, so they can freely explore the environment and enjoy the fresh air. On the other hand, this can be a disadvantage in winter, but I guess not many people ride bikes in winter.
Some models come with rain covers and sunshades, so you can protect your dog from the elements.
Additionally, on the inside of the basket, a safety strap should be attached. You use it to restrict your dog's movement and prevent injuries.
I would use them only for small dogs and short trips since they can be very insecure for long-distance traveling.
Here are some basic advantages and drawbacks of dog bike baskets
Tips for the Buyers
Choose a basket with sturdy construction yet plush inside panels. Never buy baskets that are flimsy and unstable or the models without safety straps.
To guard your dog against the elements, buy rain covers or sun shades, and always, always keep them restrained.
Why should you opt for the PetSafe bike basket?
Well, the bike basket is an excellent option for your doggo, as you can easily attach it to your bicycle and set off on numerous adventures with your little friend.
As you can see, the bike basket contains weather and water-resistant content and materials. Therefore, it will be perfect for all outdoor adventures.
Your little four-legged friends will be thrilled to ride with you since they will be more cozy, soft, and comfortable inside the bike basket.
Namely, the bike basket contains a soft fleece liner, offering your furry friend more softness and more comfort while inside the basket. So, they can remain there for an extended period.
In addition, the bike basket will provide maximum safety and security features for our doggo.
The unit has safety straps, brackets, and buckles to attach to your bike's handlebar. Of course, you will also find a safety harness for your dog's safety and security during the ride.
You can also create more comfort for your little friend during your bike rides since the removable sunshade easily attaches to the basket and creates better weather protection and sun shield.
So, your dog remains calm, cool, relaxed, and comfortable inside the basket.
Of course, the soft liner is removable and machine-washable; hence you can easily wash, maintain and keep it fresh for more robust uses.
Due to proportions, the basket fits only pets up to 13 pounds.
3. Bike Trailers
As much as it sounds incredible, there are dog bike trailers available on the market.
They look like small tents with mesh windows, either a spring wire frame or solid construction, and wheels.
Now, you're probably wondering: How do we install a trailer to a bike?
Well, the trailers come with a hitch that we need to attach to the rear axle of the bike. Don't worry; it doesn't interfere with your regular riding. Then we extend and lock the tow arm of the trailer and attach it to the hitch of the bike. And that's all the wisdom to it.
Trailers are more stable than baskets, so they are often used for long-distance traveling. Yet, they are more enclosed as well; hence if your dog is prone to anxiety, you might want to choose some other carrier.
Unlike dog bike baskets, bike trailers can withstand up to 100-120 pounds, so they are also pretty convenient for larger breeds.
What I don't like about them is the temperature regulation.
These tents usually include mesh windows, yet when you're traveling for a long time, the air circulation can either cause drafts, or if there are no windows, it can get too hot.
Another negative aspect is that your dog is behind you all the time, which significantly limits your control of the situation.
Here are the positive and negative features of the bike trailers.
Tips for the Buyers
Look for trailers with a solid construction, excellent ventilation, and a durable hitch.
With these carriers, it is of crucial importance to install them properly so that there's no chance for the trailer to fall off during your trips.
Regarding the PetSafe dog bike trailer, the unit is an ideal model for your furry friend, as the unit is lightweight.
Yet, aluminum frame and construction, so it will be solid and reliable for longer rides, and even bumpy ones.
Furthermore, the dog bike trailer offers complete visibility for your friends to observe the world around them.
As you will find, the dog bike trailer contains all side ventilation windows - front, back, and side, for maximum ventilation and airflow while protecting them from the sun.
Of course, your pets will have the ultimate protection inside the bike trailer, as the inner part has a safety tether that attaches to the harness to keep them safe on the road, and the bike trailer has reflectors for extra visibility.
Also, it will be effortless for you to attach the trailer to your bicycle, so when you want to remove it, you can easily disconnect it and collapse it for better storage options. This way, the bike trailer shows flexibility and versatility, offering you better maneuverability.
Thanks to three pockets outside of the trailer, you can bring a dog's leash, poop bags, treats, water, dog gear, and other necessities required for trouble-free rides.
However, you need to know that the bike trailer cannot attach to any tricycle bikes; the unit only works well with bikes that have a Shimano gear seat. So, pay attention when choosing this unit.
4. Dog Strollers
Strollers are the most secure and the sturdiest dog carriers one pet owner can buy.
They have the highest weight capacity, up to 150 pounds, being thus great for larger breeds. These pet strollers are also fully enclosed, so dogs generally don't like them.
I do find them quite useful for injured pets and smaller breeds that often get tired and need to be carried.
However, larger breeds are often very energetic, so they might feel anxious inside.
This travel carrier is very adjustable, with a heavy-duty structure; hence the price corresponds to the quality. The pads inside are usually soft and comfy, so your fur baby can snuggle up conveniently.
There are many additional pockets for your items, water, or whatever accessories you need for your strolls. Some models allow you to detach the seat and use it as a car seat for your pet.
Here are the positive and negative features of the dog strollers
Tips for the Buyers
Choose multi-functional dog strollers that allow you to detach the seat and use it either as a carrier or as a car seat.
Also, pay attention to whether you can partly lower the roof, so you can help your dog feel freer and whether the canopy is weather-resistant.
If you like jogging with your little friend, then the Paws & Pals is the best solution for your needs!
The jogging stroller will astonish you as you can place or take out your pet with ease via the front footboard and zipper entry, or you can use the zippered back door to load or unload your little doggo.
For more safety, when you're strolling around in the convertible mode of use with the canopy down, you have to use the leash clip to prevent your pet from escaping and causing trouble.
So, they will be safe and protected inside the jogging stroller.
Furthermore, the four-wheel pet stroller will fold compactly and conveniently for more extended use. You just have to press the button on the handle and make the stroller convenient for your needs.
Also, folding it is an excellent option when you want to travel, as the stroller takes minimal space to store it when you fold it completely.
Additionally, the stroller is full of breathable mesh windows for maximum ventilation, airflow, and circulation, keeping your little friend cool, calm, relaxed, and comfortable inside the stroller.
Also, the mesh windows will provide your pets a nice view, protect them from insects and bugs, and offer plenty of sunshades when in need.
Finally, the dog jogging stroller comes in a variety of colors and designs so that you can choose a pink, blue, beige, or gray color for your needs.
5. Dog Slings
Dog slings are the simplest and the most convenient dog carriers for small dogs. They are soft-sided, well-ventilated, and easy to use.
Essentially, dog slings are small bags with a shoulder strap and either a fully open roof or a specially designed opening for your dog's head.
These pet carriers are made from either mesh or canvas, and they can support only the smallest breeds up to five pounds in weight.
What I love about these carriers is the simplicity.
Pet owners don't need to deal with complicated installation or adjustments. You simply adjust the shoulder strap to fit your shoulder height, put your little friend in, and you're good to go.
This soft-sided carrier is usually machine-washable, so you can keep it clean at all times, and there are even reversible models that save you time and money you'd spend on frequent washing.
One negative feature is durability.
They are not sturdy at all and really can support only the smallest dog breeds. Also, most models have a zipper opening that could catch your dogs' hair and hurt them.
Check out the pros and cons of this pet carrier
Tips for the Buyers
Opt for natural materials, breathable and soft.
Also, check if the shoulder strap is adjustable and padded so that your shoulders don't get hurt after a long day of carrying your pet.
Check if there's a safety zipper canvas protecting your dog's hair from getting caught.
Suppose your dog likes to stay near you all the time; you will need the best dog sling for his needs. So, feel free to purchase the YUDODO dog sling!
As you will notice, the dog sling will provide you maximum comfort, and it won't repress or cause pain to you while wearing it.
Namely, the dog sling contains adjustable straps measuring between 38.6 and 46.5 inches in length. So, it will fit smaller and higher persons conveniently.
But, concerning your pet's measurements, you have to measure them correctly, and find the size chart, to be able to find the best fit for your pets. Check everything twice.
Of course, the dog sling will be comfortable, soft, and convenient for you to carry around for an extended time.
It's durable, breathable, and smooth, made of mesh and leather. Thus, the dog sling won't cause pressure, shoulder, chest, or back pain to you, and you can easily adjust it to your needs.
In addition, the dog sling contains an enormous and wide padded shoulder strap and sturdy hook; hence, it's safe, easy to adjust, comfortable, and secure for your little friends to remain inside for an extended period.
However, thanks to the design and proportions, the dog sling supports only small pet breeds.
And, for your pet's more safety, you will find the safety hook that easily attaches to the inner dog's collar to ensure more security and stability while carrying your doggo around.
6. Dog Purses
Dog purses are the most fashionable dog carriers on the market, hence often bought by female pet owners. They do not have a large weight capacity, so they can only support the smaller breeds.
However, they are sturdier than pet slings, so you can also use them for car rides to keep your dog safely restrained.
Basically, this pet carrier looks like a large tote bag with a reinforced bottom and side pockets. Usually, there's a zipper, allowing you to open up the roof or one sidewall. There are mesh panels, ensuring high ventilation and breathability.
Also, some bags come with a fleece pad or sherpa insulation, which is fantastic for the winter, and they are often removable and machine-washable.
On the other hand, the weight capacity is around 30 pounds at best, so when compared to others, this pet travel carrier is not that strong.
Also, you need to carry it in your hands since the shoulder straps are not at all long, which can be tiring.
Let's look at the positive and negative features
Tips for the Buyers
When buying a purse, make sure it has a removable bottom pad so that you can regulate the temperature, and also wash the pad once it gets dirty.
Also, make sure it has many mesh models for high ventilation.
The PetAmi dog purse is definitely the best one for your traveling needs! Why?
Firstly, your little friend will travel comfortably.
As you might find, the design and materials offer maximum ventilation and constant airflow while your pet is inside.
But, you can also open the entire top for a more convenient entry and zipped cover flap for more privacy. Thus, your pet won't be reassured, stressed, and anxious.
Moreover, the dog purse also includes a snack or water bowl for more convenience, and you can hydrate your little friends while hiking or traveling longer distances.
Concerning its proportions, the dog purse is somewhat limited, offering only enough room for trouble-free traveling to small dogs and other pets.
Their maximum weight must be 12 pounds or less. Thus, before purchasing the dog purse, you have to measure your pet correctly.
Since the purse offers maximum safety and security features, it has safety zipper buckles and a safety hook to prevent your pet from escaping and secure him better.
In addition, the pet can travel in comfort since the flexible frame at the top contains the bag from collapsing.
You can carry the tote bag by hand or on your shoulder with the versatile and long strap. Also, you will find both front and back pockets for storing snacks and other essential and valuable items and supplies.
And, the unit is durable due to 600D high-grade polyester for full use.
Backpacks are the best dog carriers for hiking.
They are sturdy enough to provide the support your dog needs, still soft enough for them to feel comfortable. These backpacks look like ordinary hiking backpacks, just with mesh panels so that your dog can properly breathe.
There are also expandable models with a transparent wall and mesh tent in behind.
So, once you reach a desirable destination, you can expand the back and provide a small tent for your dog to enjoy.
These are the best dog carriers for small to medium-size breeds, yet they are honestly convenient for carrying and more durable than soft-sided slings and purses.
It's debatable how breathable these backpacks actually are, yet the more mesh panels they have, the better air circulation will be.
I wouldn't recommend using them when the weather is super-hot or for some challenging hiking adventures.
Here are the positive and negative features
Tips for the Buyers
If you're buying a backpack for your dog, make sure it's well-ventilated and comfortable. If it's not a soft-sided carrier, check if there's padding or sherpa insulation for winter.
Don't forget to check the shoulder strap adjustability so that you can carry your friend conveniently.
When you have a restless and adventurous pet, you should undoubtedly select the WOYYHO dog backpack.
As you might notice, the backpack suits only tiny pets, up to 10 pounds, but it will be comfortable and convenient for more extended use.
The backpack has longer shoulder straps that are extendable, and you can regulate their length for more convenient carrying.
Furthermore, the backpack contains breathable mesh and high-quality polyester fabric.
And, the top part allows dogs to keep their heads extended for more ventilation and visibility, for more interaction and communication with you.
As the dog backpack comes with a thick sponge and breathable mesh fabric, the design is ergonomic, reducing the burden from your shoulders and back.
Also, the soft and removable, easily washable pads and solid bottom offer more comfort, softness, coziness and are easy to clean and maintain.
In addition, the dog backpack contains a built-in security leash that quickly connects with a clamp and attaches to the pet's collar to prevent them from jumping out and offer more stability and safety.
Also, the backpack gives you both chest and waist buckles for more support and prevents falling. And, the front and side pockets will offer you substantial storage options for valuable items, essentials, dog gear, and other necessities.
Finally, due to its proportions, the inner part offers enough room for numerous smaller dogs and other breeds, including chihuahua, mini poodle, pomeranian, Yorkshire, and other small dogs and other pets.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose a carrier for my dog?
First of all, choose an appropriate pet carrier for your dog's size. If your dog is heavier than ten pounds, forget about slings and most purses.
Next off, choose a soft-sided pet carrier, either with padding or removable mats, for more comfort.
Pet travel in winter demands insulated pet carriers with either fleece or sherpa insulation.
Now, the most important of all features when choosing a pet carrier is breathability.
Both for car trips, cycling, or walking, you need to provide adequate air circulation for your dog, so opt for breathable materials with mesh panels and windows.
What size dog carrier can I take on a plane?
If you're planning on taking your furry buddy to the airplane cabin, according to United Airlines, the airline-approved kennel must be 17.5 x 12 x 7.5 inches(44 x 30 x 19 cm) is hard-sided, or 18 x 11 x 11 inches high (46 x28 x28 cm) for a soft-sided pet carrier.
For crates that go to the cargo hold, the requirements imply that the crate must be spacious enough for your buddy to stand up and turn around comfortably.
Can I buy a seat for my dog on an airplane?
YES and NO.
You can't really buy airplane seats for dogs, but you can bring along your pet in an airline-approved kennel to the cabin for a $125 service charge. This is the policy of United Airlines, so it can differ from one airline to another.
Different rules apply to service dogs.
Namely, service dogs can either be in an airline-approved kennel, or they can sit in the floor space in front of your assigned airline seat or within the personal space, you paid for when you bought a ticket.
Even though service animals are airline-approved, you need to keep your dog away from the other passengers and the airplane aisle.
Can I put my dog in a regular backpack?
A regular backpack is not a good pet carrier.
First of all, it is not ventilated enough, so you'd have to open up the zipper to allow your dog to breathe. Since there is no safety strap, your dog could easily jump out and get hurt.
Next off, regular backpacks are soft-sided with no support board in the bottom, so your little friend could be uncomfortable, not being able to find a suitable position.
Finally, with so many best dog carriers on the market, why would you improvise with a backpack that's not really a pet carrier?
How can I take my dog on a bike ride?
You can either use a bike basket or bike trailer.
Some people even use a pet carrier backpack since it's a hands-free pet carrier, but I wouldn't recommend it.
It adds extra weight to your body, putting you at risk of tipping over or losing the balance, so it's not the best solution.
My recommendation is to install a bike basket for short-distance travel or a bike trailer for long-distance trips.
Don't forget to bring water, check the carrier to make sure your dog is comfortable, and check the temperature inside the carrier from time to time.
How do you ride a bike with a small dog?
You simply put your dog in a basket or a trailer, make sure they are restrained with a strap, and comfortably seated.
Ride your bike, as usual, making occasional stops to check if your dog is fine and comfortable.
Can you use a baby sling for a dog?
It is not recommendable to use a baby sling for a dog or any other pet.
Baby slings are too soft-sided, and they do not conform to pets' anatomy. There are important differences between a baby and a dog to take into account.
For example, the natural position of dogs is standing on all fours, while babies spend most of their early life curled up, and a baby sling conforms to this position.
A sling tightly restricts mobility, which can be extremely uncomfortable for dogs and could hurt them.
Lastly, these carriers are not made with dogs in mind, so they shouldn't be used for them.
So, how do you feel now, pet lovers? Are you motivated to get the best dog travel carrier and travel the world with your buddy? I know I am.
Whether you decide to air travel, cycle, or hike with your furry friend, don't forget to check how they feel about it first, get them used to the carrier you will be using and be there for them throughout the entire trip.
Just for adding - the best traveling dog carrier is the Henkelion Cat Carriers Dog Carrier.
The carrier is ideal since it covers all travel types, offers comfort and softness for your doggo, and keeps them relaxed and calm during the outdoor adventure.
So, look it up, and obtain it while you still can.