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Whether you’re planning to take your pooch on an airplane, a hike, a bike ride, to the vet, or just want to tote them around town, a dog carrier is essential. The best carriers will keep your pet safe, comfy, and contained when you’re on the go, and they’ll have a lightweight, easily transportable design. Plus, many carriers are designed to meet air travel regulations.
Of course, the right carrier for you depends on the size and breed of your canine, as well as your lifestyle and where you’re headed. Some are better for small dogs, while others expand to accommodate larger pups. Some carriers are ideal for flying, and others are suited for biking, hiking, or car rides.
Here, the best dog carriers for every type of adventure.
Best Overall: EliteField Soft Sided Pet Carrier
For an affordable, versatile, and high-quality dog carrier, check out the EliteField Soft Sided Pet Carrier. This impressive doggie tote is approved for air travel and has a built-in leash for extra security. The removable support board and fleece bed cover help maintain its shape while keeping your pet comfortable during both short and long trips. It has duffle-style carrying handles and a padded shoulder strap, and when you’re in the car, you can strap a seatbelt to the exterior belt loops.
This dog carrier also has a side zipper, allowing you to quickly access your pooch, along with two accessory pockets. It comes in two sizes, medium (17 x 9 x 12 inches) and large (19 x 10 x 13 inches), and six color options. Not only that, but it’s notably lightweight and waterproof, and the mesh netting on the top and sides provide breathability and natural light for your pet. Plus, EliteField backs this carrier with a three-year warranty and a 100 percent money-back customer satisfaction guarantee.
Best for Air Travel: Sleepypod Air
If your pup is accompanying you on an airplane, you’ll need a carrier that meets all the requirements for air travel while also keeping them comfy on the ride. We recommend the Sleepypod Air, a TSA-approved tote with tons of excellent features. This plush dog carrier fits pets up to 17.5 pounds and fits underneath most airplane seats during takeoff and landing.
It comes with removable and machine-washable Ultra Plush doggie bedding, so your fur baby will be comfortable when they sleep and rest on the go. You can also get a Sleepypod Warmer Kit to keep your pet extra cozy. The bedding is made of soft polyester, and the exterior is a luggage-grade nylon in your choice of six colors.
The Sleepypod Air has a convenient, padded shoulder strap for easy carrying, and it folds flat when it’s not in use. Tear-resistant mesh panels provide airflow and visibility. Additionally, the top and sides zip open for easy access, and there are sizable accessory pockets on each side. It also serves as a canine car seat and travel pet bed.
Best for Small Dogs: YUDODO Mesh Travel-Safe Sling Carrier
Small dogs are generally easier to carry around than larger breeds, as they fit in most carriers. While there many options to choose from, the best carrier for small dogs is the Pet Dog Sling Carrier from YUDODO. It comes in three sizes, small (up to 5 pounds), medium (up to 10 pounds), and large (up to 15 pounds). This carrier is ideal for miniature pinschers, chihuahuas, pomeranians, toy poodles, Yorkshire terriers, and other tiny breeds. Your dog can poke their little head out of the convenient opening, and the hands-free design allows you to multitask while carrying them around.
The durable mesh material is soft and breathable for your pooch, and the extra-wide and padded sling-style shoulder strap is comfortable for you. Not only that, but the shoulder strap has an adjustable buckle and a handy phone pocket. The majority of the carrier is a medium gray color, but you can choose from eight accent colors.
Best Backpack: PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack
Backpack-style dog carriers are convenient, comfortable, and versatile. The best one currently on the market is the PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack, which can fit small-to-medium pups and even cats. It measures 12.5 x 10.2 x 16.3 inches—about the size of a standard backpack, but with a little more depth. Also, the super-plush shoulder straps are comfortable to wear for extended periods, and you can attach the chest and waist buckles for added security.
This backpack-style doggie tote is made of dependable polyester and comes in a whopping eleven colors. Thick, sherpa-lined bedding will keep your pet comfy-cozy as they sleep or relax, and the firm, reinforced structure ensures a roomy environment, even as you move around.
The ventilated design of this carrier backpack provides airflow and temperature control. Plus, it has a zip-up mesh window for added headroom and visibility, as well as a safety strap to keep your pet secure when you’re on the go. You can store pet accessories or personal items in the various pockets and feed or water your dog using the included collapsible bowl.
Best for Bikes: BARKBAY Bicycle Basket Bag Pet Carrier
If you’ve got a small-to-medium pup and love to ride your bicycle, a bike carrier is a no-brainer. So, what’s the best one? We suggest the Pet Carrier Bicycle Basket from BARKBAY. The easy-install carrier has quick-release buckles, allowing you to take it on and off your bike quickly when you’re out and about. An attached tether prevents your dog from jumping out, and a drawstring mesh cover can be tightened for extra security on the road.
BARKBAY’s Pet Carrier Bicycle Basket is suitable for canines up to 19 pounds. The sheepskin-lined bottom keeps your furry friend comfortable as you ride, and the removable floor panel makes cleaning easy. You can roll up the front “window” to make sure your dog doesn’t overheat when it’s hot out. Also, this multi-use dog carrier converts into a shoulder bag, backpack, and pet car seat. And when you’re not using it, it collapses into a flat position for easy storage.
Best Soft-Sided: Sherpa The Original Sherpa
Soft-sided dog carriers are comfortable and versatile. They come in a broad range of styles and price points, but the best one on the market is The Original Sherpa by Sherpa. This duffle-style doggie tote is approved for on-board air travel by most major airlines and its flexible design easily fits underneath plane seats. Soft mesh panels provide ventilation and make it easy to fold up when it’s not in use.
The adjustable shoulder strap can also be used as a leash, which is convenient for when you need to pop your pet out of the carrier for bathroom breaks. One standout feature is the removable and washable faux-sheepskin liner, a Sherpa signature for plush pet transport. The Original Sherpa comes in two sizes: medium (for dogs up to 16 pounds) and large (for dogs up to 22 pounds).
Best Roller: Pet Peppy Premium Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier
Roller carriers are super convenient, especially for air travel, and the Premium Airline-Approved Expandable Pet Carrier from PetPeppy stands out among the competition. This product has four wheels that rotate 360 degrees and a fully retractable handle. It’s easy to maneuver and offers a smooth, level ride for your four-legged friend. And the wheels are detachable, allowing you to use it as a regular dog carrier if needed.
With a two-way expandable design and double zippers on the sides and top panel, this carrier can adapt to your varying needs. It’s super easy to expand the carrier—just unzip the sides and fold them down. Inside the roller bag is a plush washable liner and a leash ring for added comfort and security. Also, a ventilated roof prevents overheating and promotes airflow during long flights or car rides.