The 8 Best Dog Carriers of 2022

The EliteField Soft Sided Pet Carrier is our top choice for your next trip

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Best Dog Carriers

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

Reviewed & Approved

We think the EliteField Soft Sided Pet Carrier is the best overall for most dogs. But if you want a backpack-style bag, check out the PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack

The best carriers will keep your dog 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.

Here, the best dog carriers for every type of adventure.

Our Top Picks
In This Article

Best Overall: EliteField Soft Sided Pet Carrier

5
 EliteField Soft Sided Pet Carrier

Courtesy of Amazon

For an affordable, versatile, and high-quality dog carrier, our top pick is 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

5
Sleepypod Air

Courtesy of 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

YUDODO Pet Dog Sling Carrier Breathable Mesh Travel Safe Sling Bag Carrier

Courtesy of Amazon

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

PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs

Courtesy of Amazon

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

Pet Carrier Bicycle Basket Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

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

Sherpa The Original Sherpa

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

Premium Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier

Courtesy of Amazon

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.

Best Hard Shell: AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Pet Travel Carrier

AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

Courtesy of Amazon

Hard-sided carriers and kennels are great for travel because you don’t have to worry about the material collapsing and giving your pet less space. So if you’re looking for a sturdy, hard-shell dog carrier, check out the AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier. This best-selling product can be opened from the top or side, making it easy to load and unload your pup.

You can open the top door from the left or right by pulling back the handles, and quick-release, spring-loaded latches are both secure and user-friendly. This dog crate comes with screws, which you can use for extra security during longer trips. Also, all sides are adequately ventilated, so your pooch will stay cool and breathe easy.

Final Verdict

The EliteField Soft Sided Pet Carrier is lightweight, waterproof, and offers dogs plenty of ventilation and visibility thanks to mesh netting on the tops and sides of the carrier. The backpack-style PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack is a comfortable, hands-free way to transport your pup. 

What to Look for in Dog Carriers

Hard-Sided Versus Soft-Sided

Dog carriers come in either rigid or soft-sided styles, which are made from nylon fabric similar to duffle bags, usually with mesh windows to provide ventilation and visibility. Hard-sided carriers may be made of plastic or wire, or both. Some dog carriers are a hybrid of both styles, made of sturdy nylon with rigid sides. Some hard-sided carriers collapse and fold for easy storage. As you look at these materials, consider your travel needs and what will be best for your dog and family.

Style

Dog carriers come in many different styles, from simple “duffle bag” styles with handles or a shoulder strap, to crossbody sling-style carriers or even backpack carriers. Some dog carriers have wheels so you can pull them along like a roller suitcase and some are even designed to be attached to a bicycle. Again, you might not require a carrier with all of these features, depending on your travel needs.

Size

Check the dimensions of any dog carrier you’re considering to make sure your dog will fit comfortably. Most carriers list a maximum recommended weight limit. If you plan to fly on an airplane and use your dog carrier to transport your small dog in the cabin with you, the dog carrier must meet certain size requirements for air travel and must be TSA approved. Look for these designations when choosing a dog carrier. 

FAQ
  • Are backpack dog carriers safe?

    Backpack-style dog carriers are safe when used properly to transport small dogs. Only purchase backpack carriers made for dogs and follow all manufacturer recommendations regarding the use of safety straps and buckles. Choose a backpack rated for your dog’s size and weight. Always take the backpack off before putting your dog inside or taking him out, and keep the backpack zipped up while wearing it to ensure your dog does not jump or fall out. If your dog's weight or size changes, remember to evaluate whether his bag is still the correct fit.

  • Are baby carriers safe for dogs?

    Although baby carriers are designed to safely carry human babies, they are not suitable for carrying dogs, which have very different body anatomy. To ensure your dog’s safety, only use carriers designed for dogs, and follow all manufacturer recommendations regarding their use. Dog carriers come in many different styles, including slings and backpacks.

Updated by
Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown is dog and cat breed expert. She's an award-winning writer with over two decades of veterinary medicine and pet publishing industry experience. Jackie has overseen many leading pet magazines, including <em>Dog World</em>, <em>Cats Magazine</em>, the award-winning <em>Rescue Proud</em>, and contributed to &#34;National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Pet Health.&#34;
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