11 Best Dog Carriers To Bring Your Pup Anywhere

Keep him comfy on the go!

best dog carriers

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You want to find the perfect carrier for your dog, but with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to pick just one.

There are a bunch of things to consider when searching for the best dog carrier, too, like size, material and design.

The Dodo spoke with Julie Burgess, a certified dog trainer for SeniorTailWaggers.com, to help you find the best dog carrier for you and your pup.

Why use a dog carrier?

You should use a dog carrier to keep your pup safe whenever you have to take him somewhere farther than a walk.

“Dog carriers are essential when traveling, especially in a car,” Burgess told The Dodo. “It’s critical to have your dog restrained when in a vehicle because you may need to stop quickly. When dogs aren’t secured, they can be injured easily and can end up being flying objects in the car, causing injury to you as well.”

Beyond car travel, a dog carrier is also required if you’re flying with your dog on a plane.

A dog carrier can also be super useful in case of an emergency. It lets you have total control of your pup’s whereabouts so you can keep him safe by your side if you ever need to leave the house ASAP.

When should you use a dog carrier?

You should use a dog carrier whenever your dog’s going to be riding in a vehicle. And if you’re flying with your dog, you’ll need an airline-approved carrier so he can go with you.

“To be safe, you need a dog carrier anytime you move your dog in a vehicle from one place to another,” Burgess said. “It’s easy to be complacent about using a dog carrier consistently, but accidents happen in an instant, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

How to find the best dog carrier

Finding the best dog carrier is all about knowing what your pup needs.

“A carrier that looks good online might not be a good fit for you or your dog’s needs,” Burgess said. “Try several for you and your dog because you’ll be using it frequently, and it’s better to make sure you find the perfect fit.”

Those needs can determine the casing, design and size of your dog’s carrier.


Casing refers to the carrier’s exterior. There are two types of casings for dog carriers: soft-sided and hard-sided.

If you have a little dog, you might want to opt for a soft carrier.

“Soft-sided dog carriers are generally a better choice for smaller dogs,” Burgess said. “Smaller dogs often prefer soft-sided carriers made of nylon or polyester with a bed inside.”

If your pup’s a bit bigger, a hard carrier might be the right choice.

“Hard-sided carriers tend to be more durable and offer additional shock protection, but they can be more challenging to carry because they are less flexible and weigh more,” Burgess said. “They are a better choice for larger dogs, and airlines may require them for cargo transportation.”


Dog carriers come in all sorts of designs.

“Many come with a shoulder strap for easy maneuverability, while others have wheels and a long handle so you can roll your dog alongside you,” Burgess said. “Some carriers fold for easy transport when not in use, making them very convenient.”

Other dog carrier designs include:

  • Backpacks
  • Slings
  • Folding crates
  • Purses


Getting a carrier that’s the right size is crucial because you want to make sure your pup has enough space to be comfortable while he’s inside.

That’s why it’s so important to measure your dog before you get a carrier so you know which dimensions you need.

“To choose a carrier for your dog, you must know your dog’s height and length,” Burgess said. “Take a tape measure (ideally one that’s very flexible) and measure from the back of your dog’s neck right under his collar to the base of his tail. Add 3 to 5 inches to this measurement to determine the size of the carrier you need.”

If you don’t measure properly, you could end up with a carrier that’s too small and makes your dog feel cramped.

“Just like a regular crate, the carrier needs to be big enough that your dog can move around comfortably and stretch out when laying down,” Burgess said. “When in doubt, go bigger.”

If you’re flying, you’ll want to make sure the carrier fits the airline’s required sizing specs, too, otherwise your pup won’t be allowed on board. So if you plan to use this carrier on a flight, make sure it’s the right size and keep an eye out for carriers labeled as “airline-approved.”

Best dog carriers

Here are the best dog carriers, according to pet parents who tried and reviewed them.

Best overall carrier: Henkelion Dog Carrier

This carrier has over 22,000 5-star reviews on Amazon, so it’s pretty beloved by pet parents. It comes in two sizes: medium (which is airline approved and can hold dogs up to 15 pounds) and large (which isn’t airline approved but can hold dogs up to 25 pounds).

Best soft carrier: Sherpa Original Dog Carrier

The mesh sides of this soft carrier give your pup plenty of visibility and ventilation while keeping him safe and comfortable.

Best hard carrier: Amazon Basics Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

This hard carrier has multiple doors, making it easy to get your dog in and out. It also has more than 23,000 5-star ratings, so you know it’s a hit with other pet parents.

Best expandable carrier: Siivton Expandable Pet Carrier

This carrier expands on all four sides to give your pup extra space.

Best backpack carrier: Kurgo G-Train Backpack

This high-quality carrier will let you carry dogs up to 25 pounds on your back. We tried it out on our own pups and loved it so much that we gave it our official Paw of Approval.

Best carrier with wheels: Coopeter Dog Carrier With Wheels

This dog carrier has wheels and a handle so you can give your back and shoulders a break.

Best foldable carrier: Amazon Basics Folding Portable Dog Carrier

This portable crate is easy to assemble and break down. Our pets felt so comfortable in it that it earned our Paw of Approval.

Best sling carrier: Cuby Dog Sling

This sling is reversible and available in a bunch of colors.

Best bag carrier: Wild One Everyday Carrier

This bag carrier has two different length straps and a ton of pockets. Plus it’s totally Instagram-worthy and keeps our own dogs nice and secure. That’s why we gave it our Paw of Approval.

Best carrier for big dogs: SportPet XL Kennel

This hard-sided carrier comes in XL and XXL sizes to accommodate bigger breeds. And since bigger dogs are pretty heavy, it comes with wheels that pop on and off.

Best airline-approved carrier: Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier

This soft carrier is made with luggage-grade nylon and is specifically designed for air travel.