The 6 Best Dog Carrier Purses & Totes of 2023

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Dog in Lands’ End Canvas Tote Pet Carrier

The Spruce Pets / Kristin Kempa

Sometimes you don’t need a full carrier when traveling with your dog, such as when they’re on a leash but need to be carried on public transport. Especially with small dogs, it’s possible to travel with something less than a fully featured or hard-sided carrier (though we do have recommendations for those too!). You might even be tempted to try out a repurposed Ikea bag, or some other tote designed more for groceries than your Pomeranian. 

“A makeshift bag or standard tote will not offer your pup the ideal comfort they will need if they are being ported around,” Heather Byron, owner of and an adoption facility manager for A New Leash On Life rescue in Huntsville, Alabama told The Spruce Pets.

But the right tote is more than just a bag, which typically won’t have the necessary ventilation for your dog to breathe easily. Byron also noted how crucial it is to pick a tote with “safety features such as a leash attachment point or safety strap to keep your dog secure and prevent them from jumping out.”

Our favorite dog carrier for short trips and commutes is the Roverlund Out-And-About Pet Tote, which is roomy enough for even medium-sized breeds, with a neck scoop that gives your dog a cheerful vantage and big padded straps for easy carrying.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Roverlund Out-And-About Pet Tote

Roverlund Commuter Pet Tote


What We Like
  • Two sizes, including a large that can accommodate medium breeds

  • Heavy duty straps

  • Durable fabric

  • Structured bottom and neck scoop so your dog can stand and observe

  • Fun color combinations

  • Exterior pocket and carabiner

What We Don’t Like
  • Straps aren’t adjustable

  • Limited ventilation

  • Exterior pocket is a little narrow

This stylish pet tote is comfortable for small to medium dogs, providing ample room with a semi-structured design, which has a padded, canvas bottom that’s both comfortable enough for lying down and stable enough for standing. 

It’s comfy for the human carrier too, thanks to beefy, padded shoulder straps that can be worn independently, or buckled together with a velcro fastening. Designed to secure your dog against your body, the straps are flexible enough to hand-carry too, which is good, since they’re sadly not adjustable. The straps are extremely durable, however, since they are made from climbing rope. 

Similar durable is the body of the tote, which is water-proof 1200D polyester—stiff enough to hold its shape as your dog stands and pokes his head through the neck scoop. It’s also equipped with reflective detailing on the fabric for nighttime trips. Other safety features include a built-in leash that will keep your dog in the bag, and a sturdy, zippered closure across the top. There’s also an exterior zippered pocket for treats, toys, and poop bags. It even includes a carabiner for attaching your poop bag holder or anything else.

The Roverlund Out-And-About Tote is available in several color configurations, with desert camo, camo, and black fabrics combined with blue, magenta, yellow, and orange straps. The Out-And-About is also available in two sizes, a small one suitable for pups up to 15 pounds, and a large version of the tote for dogs up to 30 pounds, making this one of the most size-accommodating tote carriers we’ve seen.

Price at time of publish: $149

Sizes: 15 x 8 x 10 inches (small), 17 x 8.75 x 13 inches (large) | Colors: Desert camo with blue straps, black with magenta straps, black with yellow straps, camo with orange straps, camo with magenta straps

Best Budget

Lands’ End Canvas Tote Pet Carrier

Lands’ End Canvas Tote Pet Carrier

Lands’ End

What We Like
  • Durable canvas is flexible but also has structure

  • Hook for attaching collar and zippered top closure

  • Fleece bottom is removable for washing

  • Customizable with name or monogram

What We Don’t Like
  • Only fits dogs up to 20 pounds

  • Straps aren’t adjustable

The Lands’ End Canvas Tote Pet Carrier boasts a similar design to our favorite overall carrier bag from Roverlund, but with a more classic tote look and a much lower price. 

Made from thick canvas, this Lands’ End pet tote has a structured base, so that your dog can stand and observe the world through the neck cut-out. It’s also got an attachment point for a collar or leash, plus a zippered closure across the top, so you can secure jump-prone dogs. The handles have a 14-inch drop, which means you can carry this as a handbag, or loop the double canvas straps over your shoulder to hold your dog against your side. The Canvas Tote Pet Carrier also has a fleece bottom, which is removable for cleaning (spot cleaning only unfortunately—no throwing it in the washing machine).

The Lands’ End is available in two colors—”Rich Red” and “True Navy”—and can be personalized with custom lettering, so you can get your dog’s name embroidered on the side. It’s only available in one size, however, making it only suitable for dogs under 20 pounds and 11-inches tall.

Price at time of publish: $53

Size: 16.5 x 8 x 12.5 inches | Colors: Rich red, true navy | Closure: Zip Top

Best High-End

Shaya Pet Carrier

Shaya Pet Carrier

Shaya Pets

What We Like
  • Airline-approved dimensions

  • Interior storage pocket

  • Optional shoulder strap

  • Handmade in Italy

  • Waterproof nylon interior

What We Don’t Like
  • Specific sizes and colors often out of stock

The Shaya Pet Carrier is handmade in Italy, with a combination of both luxurious and practical features, exemplified by the premium leather exterior and the waterproof, nylon lining interior, which is easy to wipe down. The structured bottom panel can be removed for cleaning too.

Your dog can ride by either poking their head out the top, or by observing through the mesh window on the front of the bag, allowing you to fully enclose them with the zippered mesh top—either way, their trip will be well-ventilated. The front paneled window can be covered with a leather flap, which rolls up and snaps out of the way. Even the mesh window can be unzipped, rolled, and stored inside the bag, allowing your dog to enter and exit via the front as well as the top. 

With zippered pockets on the outside and the inside, the Shaya carrier offers enough storage space for treats, poop bags, and even a collapsible water bowl. It’s available in two sizes—petite and tall—with the larger size suitable for dogs up to 18 pounds. There’s also a vegan leather version, as well as color options like cobalt, blush pink, and ruby. 

The only downside to the bag’s handcrafted manufacturing process means that certain sizes and color configurations are often out of stock.

Price at time of publish: $795

Sizes: 15.5 x 8.5 x 8.85 (petite), 16.75 x 8.5 x 11.25 (tall) | Colors: Cobalt, blush pink, ruby

Best Leather

Fable Carrier

Fable Carrier


What We Like
  • Easy-to-wash nylon interior

  • Top-grain leather in multiple colors

  • Zippered exterior pocket

What We Don’t Like
  • No zipper for enclosing top of tote

If handcrafted Italian leather is a little out of your price range, check out the Fable Carrier instead. Handcrafted in Spain from top-grain leather, the Fable Carrier features a two-toned design that combines a supple leather exterior with a black nylon interior that’s waterproof and easy to clean—it’s even removable for full wipedowns.

The Fable Carrier also includes standard features like a tether for securing your dog, a low-cut neck for your pooch to peek out, and a zippered exterior pocket. Unlike similar designs, however, the top does not have a zippered closure.

The Fable Carrier is available in light blue, blush, and light grey color configurations.

Price at time of publish: $150

Size: 15 x 6.5 x 11 inches | Colors: Blush, light blue, light grey

Best for Toy Dogs

NewEle Fashion Dog Purse Carrier for Small Dogs

NewEle Fashion Dog Purse Carrier for Small Dogs


What We Like
  • Mesh ventilation in front and back

  • Removable shoulder strap and interior pad

  • Available in two colors

What We Don’t Like
  • No cut-out for your dog’s head

  • Limited retailer availability

This affordable hand-bag style carrier is ideal for dogs under seven pounds, which narrows its utility but makes it the perfect pick for toy dog breeds. Made from vegan leather, the NewEle Fashion Dog Purse features both hand straps and removable shoulder strap, with a top that can be zippered fully shut and mesh vents on the front and back for ventilation.

The design of the bag mirrors that of a much pricier designer option, thanks to its svelte structure, fade-resistant material, and sturdy straps. Inside the bag, there’s a lobster-style clip that attaches to your dog’s collar or harness. Sized to fit under the front seat for the majority of airlines, this bag is airplane-friendly too.

Price at time of publish: $55

Sizes: 14 x 6.7 x 11.2 inches | Colors: Black, pink

Best Sling

Cuby Dog and Cat Sling Carrier

 Cuby Dog and Cat Sling Carrier


What We Like
  • Reversible

  • Broad and comfortable strap

  • Useful storage

  • Multiple colors

What We Don’t Like
  • Unstructured, so no way for dog to stand

  • Only suitable for dogs 12 pounds and under

For a hands-free option that keeps your pup close at all times, consider a sling. This one is particularly well designed. It’s super soft and flexible. Plus, it’s reversible, so you can switch up the exterior as needed. It’s made from breathable polyester, which is both durable and easy to clean. You’ll also find a zippered pouch on the wide strap that is the perfect size for a phone.

The Cuby Dog and Cat Sling Carrier is available in eight colors.

Price at time of publish: $21

Sizes: 8.15 x 2.8 x 2.09 inches | Colors: Green, blue, grey, pink, noble grey

Final Verdict

Our favorite dog carrier tote is the Roverlund Out-and-About Pet Tote, which is large enough to fit even medium-sized dog breeds, with beefy construction to match. For something a little less stylish, but a lot more budget-friendly, check out the Lands’ End Canvas Tote Pet Carrier instead.

What to Look for in a Dog Carrier


“Look for quality durable materials that can withstand wear and tear, such as canvas or nylon, these will be the longest lasting fabrics,” adoption facility manager Heather Byron told The Spruce Pets.

But even more important than durable and easy to clean textiles is whether or not your dog can ride comfortably inside. For that, air flow is crucial. “Ventilation panels or mesh windows will ensure there is plenty of fresh air,” Byron said.

Dimensions / How Measure Your Dog

We spoke with James Davenport, founder of Dog Advisor HQ for advice on making sure your tote is large enough to accommodate your dog. He emphasized the importance of having enough space for your dog to adopt multiple positions, allowing them to sit, lie down, and change position as needed. “This is important for joint health mainly but also for all-around comfort of the dog,” Davenport said. 

“The tote or purse should be 2-4 inches longer than the number of inches from the dog's nose to the base of its tail,” Davenport told The Spruce Pets. “As far as the height of the bag or purse, measure the dog from floor to shoulder, then add 3-5 inches, just to give the dog room to move around comfortably.”

  • Are dog carriers safe?

    Yes, dog carriers are safe, assuming that the carrier you are using is actually designed for dogs and not a regular purse or tote. Also, make sure you measure your pup and abide by the tote’s sizing guidelines.

    “The most important [safety] consideration is fit,” Davenport said. “If the bag or purse is much too large for your dog, they will flop around in it, which could be dangerous, with the possibility of injuring joints or even their neck.”

Why Trust The Spruce?

Sophie Wirt is a writer for The Spruce Pets, a cat mom of two, and a dog aunt to a mini Aussie. 

While researching this article, Sophie spoke with Heather Byron, an adoption facility manager for A New Leash On Life rescue in Huntsville, Alabama. Byron is also the founder of

Additional insight was provided by James Davenport, founder of Dog Advisor HQ.