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The 12 Best Carriers For Dogs

At some time in their dog's life, most dog owners will need to locate a carrier for their greatest friend, whether they're transporting a small puppy to the veterinarian or a 100-pound dog across the country.

Carriers, like dogs, come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but how can you choose the ideal one for your pet? This might depend on the size of your dog as well as the purpose of the carrier.

In these evaluations, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) will help you make sense of all the options so you can choose the best carriers for dogs.

There are several alternatives for pet carriers, ranging from simple plastic kennels to posh designer bags for pampered dogs. Let's examine a handful of our top options!


Frisco Plastic Two-Door Top-Load Dog and Cat Kennel

This popular and useful Frisco Dog Kennel is our top pick all around. It comes in two sizes and two colors, so both puppies and small dog breeds can wear it. The carrier is easy to put together because it has two halves that lock together.

It also has wire mesh doors and a lot of holes for airflow. It’s made of strong recycled plastic, so it’s good for the environment and easy to clean, and it has doors on both the front and top to make it easy to get in and out.

Some customers said it was hard to open and close this carrier because the two halves didn’t always fit together right.


  • Plastic that is strong and hard
  • Front and top access
  • Easy to put together
  • Two choices for size and color


  • Not for larger dogs
  • Sometimes hard to lock.


Soft-Sided Dog Bed by Petmate

The Petmate soft-sided bag is the best dog carrier for the money. This lightweight, multipurpose dog carrier has mesh sides to let air flow and keep your dog cool.

It has easy-to-use openings at the top and on both sides. It has a handle and a shoulder strap, and it also has a nice outside pocket where you can put treats and other things.

Even though this carrier is light, it is not at all good for bigger dogs. Dogs that are more than 5 pounds can easily turn over the crate.


  • Can be used for flying on an airplane
  • Lightweight
  • The top and front are open.
  • There’s a handle and a shoulder strap.
  • Inexpensive


  • Not for larger dogs


Dog Shepa Forma Frame

This Sherpa Forma Frame Bag is a great choice if you want to get your dog something nice. The bag has soft sides and is framed for extra strength, so it is light and strong.

It’s made for safe travel in a car and has been crash-tested to 35 pounds to make sure it’s safe. This bag uses standard car seat tether systems and comes with straps that look like seat belts for extra strength and safety.

The carrier comes in two sizes, and the extra-large size can hold dogs that weigh up to 35 pounds. Even though this carrier is on the more expensive side, the safety and durability more than make up for it.


  • Designed for safe car travel
  • With soft edges and a strong frame
  • Lightweight
  • There are two sizes.


  • Expensive


Jespet Sport with Soft Sides

This Jespet Soft-Sided Carrier is great for both puppies and small adult dogs. Even though the carrier has soft sides, it is made to keep its round shape and not fall apart. It is also waterproof and easy to clean.

The top and sides are both made of a tough EVA material with mesh windows for air flow. The carrier is easy to fold flat so it can be stored anywhere.

It also has a fleece mat, a padded handle, pockets on the outside for treats and supplies, and openings on the side and front.

The zippers are the only thing we don’t like about this bag. They tend to stick together and are hard to open and close.


  • Comfortable fleece mat and padded handle
  • Waterproof
  • Windows with mesh to let air in
  • Front and side holes


  • It’s hard to open and close a zipper.


Frisco Plastic Dog Kennel

Frisco makes this Kennel-Style Carrier in six sizes. The extra-large size is over 39 inches long and can fit large breed dogs. It’s made of hard, 95% recycled plastic, has a steel wire mesh door, and a lot of holes for air flow.

It’s also easy to put together because the two halves lock together easily. It has a unique moat inside that keeps paws dry in case of accidents or leaks. The plastic is easy to clean and good for the environment.

Some customers said that this carrier’s latch is cheap and breaks easily when pressure is put on it.


  • Multiple sizes to accommodate almost all dogs
  • Plastic that is strong and hard
  • Eco-friendly design
  • Easy to put together
  • Accidents on the inside


  • Some customers have said that the latch is not safe.


Pet Gear I-GO2 Traveler

The I-GO2 Traveler from Pet Gear is a carrier that can be used as a tote bag, a rolling carrier, or a backpack carrier. It comes in four great colors and has a handle that can be folded up and telescopically extended.

It also has a fleece top liner and a pad that is easy to take off and wash. It can hold dogs that weigh up to 15 pounds and has mesh windows to let air in and out.

We like that this carrier can be used in different ways, but as a backpack, it’s not very comfortable because it’s heavy and has a plastic frame.


  • Changes to different carrier styles
  • Telescoping handle that can be folded up
  • Fleece top lining and a removable pad
  • Mesh windows


  • Not as easy to carry as a backpack


Pet Life 360

The Vista View House Pet Life Carrier comes in five sizes so that it can fit all kinds of dogs. The largest size can hold dogs that weigh up to 80 pounds. It has soft sides, mesh windows, a panoramic sunroof, and a strong frame to hold it up.

It’s easy to store because it folds flat to just 4 inches. It’s made with thermal heat retention technology to keep your dog warm, scratch-resistant ballistic nylon for durability, and soft Sherpa padding on the bottom.

This carrier isn’t made to be used in a car, and the bigger sizes won’t fit in the backseat anyway.


  • Can hold dogs that weigh up to 80 pounds
  • 4 inches when folded flat.
  • Large holes in the mesh
  • Durable construction
  • Sherpa padding


  • Not made to be used in a car


HDP Paw Style Dog

If you want a cute carrier that looks like a purse, this one from HDP is a good choice. The design lets your dog’s head hang out of the carrier so it can get a good view of the world while still being safe inside thanks to tethers for the collar or leash.

The medium size has two openings, one on each end, so that a second pet can fit inside. It has a soft shoulder strap, a waterproof bottom, and an inside pillow that you can take out.

This carrier is good for casual use, but it’s only good for small dogs and isn’t very safe unless you carry it the whole time.


  • Opening for the head with safety straps
  • Waterproof
  • Removable pillow
  • Shoulder straps that feel good


  • Only for toy breeds
  • Not that safe


Paws and Friends Dog

This soft-sided carrier from Paws & Pals can be taken on airplanes and is easy to secure with a car’s seat belt. It can hold dogs up to 22 pounds, and the fleece bed comes off so it’s easy to clean.

It also has pockets for treats and accessories and mesh panels to let air flow and keep the dog cool. You can carry it easily with the handle or the padded shoulder strap, and you can choose between two sizes and two colors.

Several customers said that this bag’s zipper is of low quality and easily breaks. Also, there is no way to load from the top, and the design is overall weak and easy to break down.


  • OK to fly on an airplane
  • Bed made of fleece that can be taken off
  • Mesh screens
  • Storage pockets


  • Poor quality zippers
  • Only side loading
  • Flimsy design doesn’t keep its shape


For the best carriers for dogsThe Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Dog Kennel is BestForPets‘ (bestforpets.org) choice for a practical carrier with hard sides. It is also our top pick overall. If you want a high-quality dog carrier, the Sherpa Forma Frame Dog & Cat Carrier Bag is a strong, soft-sided carrier that has been crash-tested to make sure your dog is safe in the car.

Buying Guide

There are a lot of carriers to choose from if you have a small dog, but fewer if you need to carry a big dog in a carrier. The number of carriers available goes up as your dog gets smaller.

Hard plastic kennel carriers are the best choice for big dogs, but for small dogs, you can choose from a wider range of materials and styles.

How do you choose between all the different dog carriers? You might want to think about how you will use the carrier. Are you going to fly somewhere? Will your dog spend most of its time in the car?

You might want a stylish bag to carry your best friend with you everywhere. There are many options if your dog is on the small side.

Airline Carriers for Dogs

If you’re going to be flying with your dog, the type of carrier you choose is very important. If you want to take your dog on an airplane with you in the cabin or as cargo, you’ll need to follow the rules for pet carriers.

Before you buy a travel carrier, check with your airline to make sure it follows the rules of that company. Most airlines have a plan that shows what kinds of carriers are okay.

Usually, if you want to use a carrier in the cabin, it has to fit under the seat in front of you. Hard-sided or soft-sided, in-cabin pet carriers need to be small enough to fit under a seat.

If your dog is too big to fit in a small carrier for travel in the cabin, you’ll need an airline-approved hard-sided kennel carrier for pet travel in the plane’s cargo area.

Whether your dog travels in the cabin or the cargo area, the carrier must be big enough for it to stand up and turn around comfortably.

How to Choose a Carrier for Your Dog

When choosing a carrier for your dog, there are some important things to think about. Make sure your dog can fit comfortably in the carrier by measuring both your dog and the carrier.

Also, make sure your dog’s weight is within the range given by the manufacturer. Remember that your dog needs space to move around, especially in a hard carrier, which can’t bend as much as a soft one.

You also need to be comfortable in the carrier. Look for things like comfortable handles and shoulder straps for carrying. You might also want to think about a bag with wheels and a handle that can be extended, like a suitcase.

Depending on your needs, you can also find carriers that work like purses, backpacks, and baby slings.

Plastic carriers that look like kennels don’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but soft carriers can be a good choice if you want options like exterior pockets and sides that can expand.

Many carriers also come with a cushion that can be taken out and put in the bottom to make it more comfortable. The carrier should be made of good materials and be easy to clean. It should also have plenty of airflow and ventilation.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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