Even though you love your pet to pieces, it's understandable if you don't exactly love transporting them around — especially when long-distance travel is required. Taking your pet on a trip is no easy feat, considering the fact that in addition to keeping your furry pal calm in a confined environment, you've got to support their weight on your back or shoulders. But there are dog carriers out there that can simplify this process.
Depending on the size of your animal and the type of journey that lies ahead, there are a number of options online that dog owners — whose top priority is the safety and security of their four-legged family members — have given a big cyber stamp of approval. From carriers that are cozy enough for naps-on-the-go to nifty features for delivering reassuring pats and treats, there are all sorts of styles designed to improve travel conditions for you and for your dog. In true Hype Machine form, the suggestions we've assembled ahead don't come from us — they come for a bevy of opinionated animal parents committed to finding and recommending the best of the best when it comes to all things pets.
So check out ten of the top-rated dog carriers we've rounded up with the help of these enthusiastic cyber shoppers, and go ahead and let us know how you get your pup from point A to B.
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The Airline-Approved Option
For the pets with an airplane trip or two in their future, this choice makes a lot of sense. The style is approved by most airlines (check with your airline to be sure!), it's easy to transport, has a back pocket for convenient storage and even includes a seatbelt strap to help keep your dog or cat safe.
The hype: 4.7 out of 5 stars and 517 reviews on Chewy
What they’re saying:
“This carrier is so good, I bought a second. It is exactly the right size and construction for transporting two puppies to the vet, and when they get a little older it works well for transporting via airplane. I’ve also used the rear strap on the carrier with the seatbelt. Now that my puppy has gotten bigger, I’m using it as a comfy car seat in conjunction with a seatbelt tether on his harness. He actually snuggles down inside it to snooze for car rides. I do recommend that if you use this as I do, get a Sherpa liner, and I also got the larger shawl-style comfort strap. Really worked for me in multiple airports bringing puppy home!” — Fumte, Chewy review
Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier, $, available at Chewy
The Cozy Carrier
The two-way entry and mesh windows make this sturdy backpack easy to use and to carry, but it's the thick, cozy, sherpa-lined bedding that makes it an obvious choice for your sweet furry friend. With enough space to move around plus the comfort of being able to rest and relax, your pet will definitely be pleased. (This is also our Shopping Director's personal pick. Her cat McGregor is as happy as a clam inside this pack.)
The hype: 4.6 out of 5 and 1,239 reviews on Amazon
What they're saying:
"We did a lot of research for backpacks that would be comfortable/safe/fun for hiking with our cat. We wanted something that would be breathable, and cool so he wouldn't overheat. We wanted it to be fully enclosed, but have the ability to unzip a window so he could put his head out. This backpack had everything we were looking for. I love the extra pockets so we could carry water and treats. It fits comfortably. There is a board that sits at the bottom to give the cat support. It does dig into the lower back a bit, but if the straps are fitted right it isn't as bad." — Josh & Hannah Amazon review
PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack, $, available at Amazon
This stylish option is also sturdy enough to ensure safety for pets between 11 and 25 lbs. It's an extra-portable option for both short and long trips.
The hype: 4.7 out of 5 stars and 24 reviews on Wayfair
What they’re saying:
“Well padded, sturdy strap, and great neutral colors. Gave as a gift and was well received.” — Kate, Wayfair review
Tucker Murphy Pet Travel Tote Pet Carrier, $, available at Wayfair
The Shoulder-Friendly Style
The fleece bed cover and the insertable hardboard will keep your pet comfy and secure in this carrier, with the added protection of a built-in leash. It's a durable, lightweight style with adjustable padded straps that'll help ease the strain on your shoulders.
The hype: 4.4 out of 5 stars, 1,520 reviews on Amazon
What they're saying: "This is indeed airline approved, and had everything necessary to be in compliance (the waterproof pad, soft sides, reinforced bottom, etc.). The long strap combined nicely with the Velcro wrap-around, and made it easy to carry. We chose this particular carrier because it was the tallest one available that still fit within the dimension restrictions (which is nice since she's a tall tiny girl). It's rugged enough (but still "cute") and has continued to hold up when she had to go to the vet, and as it's been loaned out over time. I would definitely recommend this carrier, and even if you have to pay for upgraded shipping, it's tons cheaper than you can find locally!" — T.L., Amazon review
EliteField Soft Sided Pet Carrier, $, available at Amazon
Keep your pooch close to your heart with this adorable pouch. Made for small animals only, this pup pack means your dog will be ready to join you for whatever adventure awaits.
The hype: 4.4 out of 5 stars and 414 reviews on Chewy
What they're saying: "I bought this partially as a joke (haha I have a tiny dog I can put it in a pouch) but turns out it’s great! I have a three-pound chihuahua who loves to be right next to me all the time. I like to go on long walks and hikes at parks but she tires out pretty quickly on long hikes. So after. A little while I pop her in and the walk continues! She gets to see everything and take in smells and sounds and I get to walk at my own pace! Perfect size for a teeny doggo like her. Very happy with my purchase!" — ChiMom, Chewy review
Outward Hound PoochPouch Front Dog Carrier, $, available at Chewy
The Easy-Access Option
This option was made for everyday use and travel, with a roomy interior and semi-collapsible design to fit smaller spaces. Its mesh panels allow for ample airflow, and the addition of a small zippered window means easy petting and treat-giving access.
The hype: 4.6 out of 5 stars and 364 reviews on Chewy
What they're saying: "This carrier is really great because it folds down for storage, unlike the classic hard plastic ones. There are pockets for treats and brushes and it's mostly mesh so lil kitty can look around, but not rip through it. I love the zipper doors on both sides and the little window so you can stick your hand into pet your buddy. No complaints here!" — Gabbi, Chewy review
Frisco Basic Pet Carrier, $, available at Chewy
The Top Loader
Users of this product are in overwhelming agreement that its best feature is the top-loading door which simplifies the process of getting even the fussiest pets settled. Since it's a hard-sided carrier, this option offers extra protection throughout your journey and is simple to assemble, too.
The hype: 4.7 out of 5 stars and 610 reviews on Chewy
What they're saying: "This carrier is not only lightweight, but simple to use, as you can easily lift your pet into the top. Very user friendly for trips to the vet!" — Prince, Chewy review
Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Kennel, $, available at Chewy
The Alway On-The-Go Option
Perfect for travel with medium-sized pets, this carrier has lots of nifty features to make your life on the go just a little bit more seamless. In addition to its convenient zippered side pockets and ID slot, its fleece-lined interior makes it comfortable for your dog to lay down for a snooze.
The hype: 4.8 out of 5 stars and 27 reviews on Petco
What they're saying: "I bought this about a week ago and I love it. It really makes transferring my little friend around easier in a comfortable and stylish way. Plus, easy to clean if any accidents occur as well!" — Madison7, Petco review
Good2Go Ultimate Pet Carrier, $, available at Petco
The Convertible Style
Whether your travel plans call for a carrier, a car seat, a backpack, a roller or a tote, this option does it all — so you can carry your fluffy pal wherever and however your want.
The hype: 4.3 out of 5 stars, 156 reviews on Chewy
What they're saying: "This cat carrier is amazing. It is so easy to get your pet in and out and I love the wheels. The price is great and so is the product." — Char12, Chewy review
Pet Gear I-GO2 Traveler Backpack & Rolling Pet Carrier, $, available at Chewy
The Taylor Swift-Inspired Option
Remember when Taylor Swift was carrying her cat in a backpack while walking down the aisle of a private jet and everyone wanted to get one? This Amazon option is a similar, fish-bowl-slash-space-capsule concept but has also been known to be a good option for tiny dogs, too.
The hype: 4.4 out of 5 stars, 513 reviews on Amazon
What they're saying: "I needed a dog carrier for riding the public transit. I bought this style because I didn't want to make it obvious that I have a little dog with me. I do not use the bubble, I use the black screen insert for even more privacy. My dog loves riding in her 'spaceship'! Most people have no clue I have my dog with me. She is 6 lbs and has plenty of room. I even tuck my purse in there and she sleeps on a blanket on top of it. This product is everything I could have wanted. Great quality. The only addition that would've been nice would've been a chest strap in addition to the shoulder straps. But it really is perfect the way it is." — Faydra, Amazon review
Blitzwolf Space Capsule Backpack, $, available at Amazon
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