The Best Dog Carriers in 2023
Those warm loving eyes look back at you as if to say, “Don’t leave me behind. I will miss you too much.” It can tug at your heartstrings and maybe even make you feel a bit guilty for even considering the option of leaving your pet home while you travel.
Luckily many destinations and travel services cater to people like us and make it possible to take along our four-legged family members. To help your pet travel safely, comfortably, and maybe even with a little style, we have compiled some of the top dog carriers available.
So, whether you are going on vacation, out for a hike that is longer than your pooch can handle, or even just to the vet, there is a dog carrier option that will provide you with the ability to keep your pet near.
Our Top List
Last update on 2023-03-12 at 18:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. Premium Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier
Pet Peppy has created a carrier worthy of being “top dog” among our picks. It is an extremely versatile option for dogs and other pets less than 14 pounds. When you are on-the-go, this soft-sided carrier’s size is convenient and compact. For those times you are waiting in line or for your flight to be called, both of the sides expand outward to give your pup some added room while still keeping them safely enclosed.
This pet carrier is also very well ventilated and includes many thoughtful extras for ease of use and your pet’s comfort. My favorite feature has to be the handy side pockets where I can stash treats for my furry friend, or me. Most importantly, the Expandable Pet Carrier was built to last. It is durable and even has a nice thick wireframe to help it keep its shape even when expanded.
- Approved for use on most major airlines
- Fits under the airplane front cabin seat
- The thick wire frame keeps the carrier from losing its shape
- Two-sided expansion for extra roaming room
- Well ventilated
- Side pockets for treat and toy storage
- Folds to a compact size for storage
- Bottom fleece base for additional comfort
2. EliteField Soft Sided Carrier Bag
If you are looking for a bag with more options to customize it to your pet and your sense of flair, the Elitefield carrier is a high-rated choice to consider. It comes in multiple sizes and colors to suit any scenario and taste. It is durable, lightweight, and keeps not only the comfort of your pet in mind but yours as well.
There is a removable support board that can be inserted underneath to help the bag keep its shape and to support the weight of your pet. The padded shoulder strap and convenient handles make it easy to carry this bag in different ways. Safety is also a key feature of this carrier. EliteField has added buckle loops that allow you to secure the carrier with a seatbelt and a built-in leash to keep your pet attached to the carrier.
- Multiple sizes to accommodate most pets
- Fabulous color choices
- Comfy removable fleece base
- Built-in leash
- Seat belt restraint loops
- Durable and water-resistant making it strong and easy to clean
- Mesh areas for plenty of ventilation
- Dual storage pockets
- Padded straps and carrying handles
3. Sherpa Travel Airline Safe Carrier
For many pet owners traveling by air is their preferred method. The Sherpa Travel Carrier takes all the guesswork out of finding a carrier that conforms to the guidelines regarding size, dimensions, and weight that most airlines require. Top and side entry options give you the flexibility to easily get your pup into the carrier the way they are comfortable and without added stress.
The wireframe is springy and made to fit the under-seat requirements. It does this by allowing the rear of the carrier to be smushed down a few inches for travel without permanently disfiguring the original shape and without compromising your pet’s safety and comfort. Added safety can be seen with features like locking zippers, seat belt or luggage straps and fold-down cover flaps.
- Carries pets up to 16 lbs
- Dual entry
- Side storage pockets
- Padded shoulder strap and handles
- Locking zippers
- Privacy flaps that roll down
- Seatbelt straps
- Faux lambskin liner that is machine washable
- Airline approved and guideline conformed
4. AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Travel Carrier
Sometimes all you need is a simple product to complete a simple function without all the add-ons and bells and whistles. AmazonBasics has brought a nice basic carrier to market that does just that. This carrier is soft-sided and made mostly of mesh making it perfect for a quick ride to the vet. The seatbelt straps add security during the car ride.
However, this soft-sided carrier can be used for more than just a drive. It is composed of a springy wireframe that can also be conformed to airline requirements. This carrier gives you three sizes that accommodate up to 22 lbs so that you can find the perfect fit for your pooch. It comes with a removable fleece pad for your pet’s comfort and padded adjustable straps for yours.
So, if you are on a budget and simple functionality is all you need, this AmazonBasics carrier is a great choice. It will give you what you need without sacrificing quality, safety, or durability.
- Budget-friendly option
- Multiple sizes available
- Can conform to air travel under-seat regulations
- Comfy fleece pad
- Tons of ventilation
- Top and side entry
5. PetsHome Premium Leather Carrier
Simple and basic may be right for some people but if you are anything like me, I like a bit of style no matter what the accessory is- even my pet carrier. PetsHome caters to your need for some flair to go with your functionality. This bag is a gorgeous way to tote your pet. It comes in two sizes with the small carrier handling a load of up to 22 lbs and the medium carrier maxing out at a whopping 33 lbs. With many color options, you can buy multiple ones to match your luggage.
This is a hard and sturdy bag composed of PU leather and mesh openings for ventilation. It is waterproof and cleans up easily with a quick wipe down. Even though it is a hard-sided option, it is still easily stored because it can be quickly detached and folded.
- Conforms to under-seat airline guidelines
- Soft padded mats for pet comfort
- Inner leash for safety
- Multiple fasteners allow the top to be opened to different sizes
- Foldable for storage
6. Petmate Two Door Top Load
If you do not need a carrier that can conform to carry-on rules and prefer the safety of a plastic carrier, Petmate has you covered. This carrier may be too big to bring as a carry-on but it is still airline approved for the cargo area. Their Two Door Top Load Crate will give you peace of mind that your pup is protected from bumps. It is also a great option for vet visits.
Soft carriers may be all the rage but you cannot beat the long-lasting durability of a plastic kennel. It is easily cleaned, very protective, and you can add a nice cushy pad to keep your pet comfortable. Two openings give you easy access to your pet and additional ventilation holes surround the top for optimal airflow.
- The small kennel size is ideal for pets between 10 and 20 lbs
- Approved for cargo air travel
- Durable and easy to clean
- Ergonomic handle
- Ventilated sides
- Dual entry with a large top opening for easy access
Traveling with your pet has become the norm. No one likes to leave their fuzzy family member behind. Even if you do not travel, there are still times you need a good carrier to cart your pet to a vet visit that is safe and comfortable.
Our list has showcased some of the top choices in dog carriers out there. They are full of functionality and features that make them stand out from the crowd. Making the top of this list as our most recommended choice is the Premium Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier by Pet Peppy. Not only is it airline conforming and safe for your pet, but the expanding sides give them some added space that is not found in most other carriers.
Should You Purchase a Carrier?
Carriers give pet owners a safe and comfortable way to transport their four-legged family members. Most will need one at some point in time whether it is to bring them along on vacation, go on a long road trip out of town, or to get safely to their vet appointment. Depending on your needs, it is important to consider certain features that will ensure the carrier you choose is the right one for you and your pet.
Carrier Features and Important Considerations
Your dog’s size: First and foremost you need to consider your pet’s size and weight. Double-check these measurements with the carrier’s recommended limits so that you can ensure a safe and comfortable choice.
Storage: If you plan to travel often or use the carrier as a crate for your pup inside your home, a hard plastic carrier could be a perfect option for you. However, if space-saving is your forte, then a soft carrier that can collapse and fold would be helpful.
Function: An important consideration would be to think about where and when you plan to transport your pet. A simple way to get your pet to and from appointments with the vet can be left up to preference. However, air travel comes with size regulations and rules to be considered.
Added safety features: Carriers come with all sorts of safety features. Locking zippers and fold down privacy flaps can keep your pet safe and cut down on anxiety. Some carriers include fixed leashes so that you can pop the carrier open and your pup will remain tethered. Other options have the means to attach the carrier to your luggage or to secure it with a seatbelt.
Ventilation: Being contained in a carrier can get pretty stuffy. A good carrier will provide ample ventilation through mesh openings or additional holes in its surface. Airflow is important for your pet to remain at a comfortable temperature and to breathe easily. Look for ones that have multiple openings on all four sides so your pet has access to plenty of air.
Pet comfort: A long stay in an uncomfortable carrier can make your pet miserable. Look for an option that takes comfort seriously. Added padding or liners can create a soft and safe space for your dog that will help reduce stress and keep them calm and comfy for the duration of their trip. Ensuring your pet has plenty of ventilation will also keep your pet cool, breathing easy, and comfortable.
Little extras: Sometimes circumstances and preferences are also considerations you need to make. Choose a style that is easy and comfortable for you to carry for prolonged periods. Padded straps, handles, and expandable sides for temporarily added space can be important if you have long lines to wait in. Storage pockets can come in handy for necessary medications or some treats to help keep your pet calm.
We are the Pet Dog Pals, a group of avid pet owners, bloggers, product testers, and writers for all your canine needs! We own a collective 16 dogs and 21 cats to help us test and review pet products. Our top lists and tips come from experience to help you be the best dog owner you can be!