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Best Dog Carrier for 2021

Carriers for pets are mostly associated with cats and small animals, but there is the odd occasion when you may need one for your small dog – for instance, if you’re going on public transport, on an aeroplane, or simply if they need to rest their legs.

You can get varied carriers, whether you have a particular breed of dog or need it for a reason. From material choice to size and weight, it is a big decision and one which will hopefully only need to be done once in your dog’s life.

We’ve looked through products from big brands and small businesses to find the best dog carriers on the market, which your pampered pooch will be more than happy to spend some time in.

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    Our Top Picks

    Image Product Details
    Scruffs Wilton Dog Carrier
    • Really strong handles
    • Travel bowl included
    • Washable
    Check Price
    Sherpa Original Deluxe Travel Bag
    • Breathable
    • Easy to carry
    • Can fold down to fit under seats
    Check Price
    Sleepypod Medium Mobile Pet Bed, Blossom Pink
    • Secure and durable mesh dome
    • Crash-tested
    Check Price

    The Top 8 Dog Carriers & Bags Reviewed

    1.
    Scruffs Wilton Dog Carrier

    Want your dog to travel in luxury? This Scruffs carrier not only looks the part but will ensure your dog is more than happy to be carried around.

    The complete carrier is washable at 30 degrees, which is perfect if you like to keep things fresh and hygienic at all times. It’s been lined with a luxurious plush fur and has a removable inner base for cleaning.

    It isn’t all about your dog, though. Adjustable shoulder straps will ensure they are being carried at the right height and you are comfortable too, and there is a little fold-out water bottle so you don’t have to remember to take one with you.

    The non-slip outer base is good for when they are placed on the ground, too.

    Features

    • Really strong handles
    • Travel bowl included
    • Washable

    Specifications

    • Size: 38 x 20 x 24cm
    • Material: Velvet

    2.
    The Richmond Blue And White Floral Dog Carrier

    This bag is the epitome of luxury with a soft blue and white floral pattern and a royal blue velvet lining.

    This luxurious lining will keep your dog happy and warm without making them overheat, and the handles are a nice length to either carry or put over your shoulders. They’re reinforced with webbing for strength, which is perfect for anyone worried about weight.

    A removable cushion sits at the bottom of each bag, and this has canvas on one side and velvet on the other to match how cosy they have to be. We liked the zip, which opens fully across, meaning they have easy access in and out of the bag.

    It also means it can work as a travel bed when they are out and about, and a clip is sewn into each bag so you can safely attach them and keep them secure. The maximum weight is 8kg.

    Features

    • Rich design
    • Velvet inner is soft

    Specifications

    • Size: 45 x 20 x 30cm
    • Material: Canvas and velvet

    3.
    Mutts And Hounds Macaroon Check Tweed Dog Carrier

    Stylish and practical for small breeds who tire easily, this carrier doubles up as a handy travel bed when opened up.

    Each carrier is handcrafted in Somerset and is made with Yorkshire Tweed with a soft cream fleece lining for warmth and comfort. You can also pick small or medium sizes, depending on your breed.

    Strong webbing on the handles means it can be worn over your shoulder and will still remain substantial, and both the zip and internal collar clasp will keep your dog escape-free.

    Features

    • Doubles up as a travel bed
    • Bespoke material and print

    Specifications

    • Size: S 38 x 25 x 27, M 43 x 27 x 33
    • Material: Tweed

    4.
    Sherpa Original Deluxe Travel Bag

    This won’t work for every airline, especially if they need a hard case. But, it is great when it comes to internal space and ventilation.

    The machine-washable faux lambskin liner is perfect for keeping them warm and comfortable and can be taken out when you arrive home again to freshen it up. The spring wireframe allows you to push the rear end of the carrier down a few inches to conform with the size of under the seat in front of you.

    They will have top and side entry, and the zippers lock for safety too. A non-slip carry strap goes right over your shoulder, and there is a rear pocket which is good for keeping essentials like treats and poo bags to hand.

    Features

    • Breathable
    • Easy to carry
    • Can fold down to fit under seats

    Specifications

    • Size: 48 x 29 x 29 cm
    • Material: Nylon

    5.
    Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack for Small Dogs

    This backpack is made with dogs who love the outdoors in mind, but perhaps don’t have the legs to carry them as far as you want to go!

    It has a water-resistant fabric top with a waterproof Armorsole bottom, and there is a hole which allows them to have a full view of what’s going on. It’s practical for humans too, however, with pockets which will keep essentials like keys safe.

    The backpack is actually airline-approved if it fits within your chosen airlines regulations and an interior carabiner clip will attach to their harness. Mesh ventilation for air circulation is present, and it’s so safe that you can use it for when you’re cycling too.

    Features

    • Interior swivel tether latches onto harness
    • Colour option
    • Waterproof

    Specifications

    • Size: 33 x 53 x 25 cm
    • Material: Polyester

    6.
    Sleepypod Medium Mobile Pet Bed, Blossom Pink

    With raving reviews and a crash-test certification from the Center for Pet Safety. The Sleepypod is by far one of the safest carriers around. It contours around your pet and gives them privacy to comfort and ease their travel anxiety. The inside is quilted, and thanks to its luxurious ultra-plush and foam, it can be used as a bed in the car and at home.

    The carrier is made from sturdy luggage grade, water-resistant nylon that’s both durable yet breathable and ensures complete security in the car with seatbelt straps to attach the seatbelt around it.

    For added convenience, the bed is also removable and machine washable just in case any accidents happen on the journey.

    Features

    • Secure and durable mesh dome
    • Crash-tested

    Specifications

    • Size: 43.2 x 43.2 x 33cm - Certified by the Center for Pet Safety for pets 15 pounds and under
    • Material: Nylon

    7.
    Ferplast Atlas Wire Door Carrier for Cats and Small Dogs

    This is a hard-case carrier just in case you need something for vet trips or car journeys.

    It’s available in various sizes, but the Size 70 will probably be the one for most dogs who need a bit of space. The wire door allows them to see out, and the carry handle is simple for you to pick up and hold. It comes complete with a water bowl which clips onto the door too.

    It’s tall enough for most puppies and small dogs to stand up in, and the top half can also be unclipped in case this is the easiest way to get them in and out.

    Features

    • Choice of sizes
    • Water bowl included

    Specifications

    • Size: 101 x 68.5 x 75.5cm
    • Material: Plastic

    8.
    Sightseer Backpack Pet Carrier

    Something a little different…Cat backpacks are becoming more and more popular but can be too small for dogs, so this one is ideal for small dogs.

    If you’re off on an adventure, the backpack will be easier to carry than a shoulder bag. There’s a large, pop-up mesh roof which allows your pet to see what is happening outside, and also means they can sit up if required to not feel restricted.

    At the front is an entry porch in case they don’t want to be lowered down into the bag. The bottom of the bag is also covered in Sherpa fleece, which is soft and luxurious yet can still be washed.

    Features

    • Mesh roof
    • Rain cover
    • Handy pockets

    Specifications

    • Size: 32 x 21 x 46 cm
    • Material: Polyester

    Buying Guide

    Size

    First of all, dog carriers should only be used for smaller dogs. You’d struggle to carry a Bernese Mountain Dog in a bag on your shoulder, but you’d also struggle to find a carrier large enough!

    Ensure your dog has enough room in their carrier to sit comfortably, but you don’t want to be too generous here. After all, if it is too large, they will be moving about when you do. Dogs should only be in carriers for very short periods of time, so having little room is fine.

    Types Of Carrier

    A ‘carrier’ is a broad term – most people would think the hard or soft carriers most commonly associated with cats, which are used to go to the vets, but you can also buy dog carrier bags for smaller breeds.

    You can buy large versions of hard or soft-shell pet carriers for small dogs and puppies, and they’re mostly used for when you will be carrying your dog to a destination in a car and then containing them in there for a time too.

    However, carriers can also come as shoulder bags in which small toy breeds of dog are often seen in. These have less room and space, and should only be used for short periods of time, but can be better as they’re a) cosier, b) warmer and c) allow you to be closer to them for reassurance. Perfect for nipping to the shops.

    Backpacks are also available, and while these don’t allow you to keep as close an eye on them, it can be good for more active pursuits such as hiking, or if you’re concerned your back needs help with their weight!

    Which is for you depends on your needs and preferences, but a dog who is nipping to the shops with you will be best in a bag, and a dog off camping or in a car will need something larger and more sturdy.

    Material

    In most cases, soft material will be ideal. This way, it is more cushioned and warmer for your dog, and easier for you to carry too. Many are lined for warmth, and the soft material can adapt to your dog’s shape and size easily.

    Some airlines may require a hard case carrier, and you may even prefer this to a soft case if your dog is a bit of a wriggler or you need help with their weight.

    Other Buyers Ask...

    What makes a carrier airline approved?

    Taking pets onto aeroplanes is usually not recommended. It is stressful, in most cases unnecessary, and there are better pet-friendly alternatives to get from A to B.

    Airline approved carriers can either be for the hold, or for use in the plane. But either way, the size rules vary slightly here – they will be in this carrier for a few hours, so there must be enough room in there for them to lie down, stand up and sit as and when they wish.

    All airlines require different things from the carriers and animals/owners, so check before you buy, but in general, an airline-approved carrier should be a material which is hard to chew through, fit the maximum dimension limit, and be leak-proof and well-ventilated. You will also want to make sure it is simple to carry.

    Are dog carrier bags safe?

    Yes, if used for shorter periods and if you ensure they are safely inside and comfortable.

    They’re a good way to keep your dog close to you, and also make sure they’re warm and safe. It should be long enough to allow them to get comfortable, with a hole to let them look out.