Whether you’re planning a plane trip or an excursion across town, transporting your small dog in a carrier can make traveling together more convenient and less stressful. However, considering that there are thousands of results for “best small dog carriers” on Amazon, shopping for one is no easy task.
The first thing to consider when narrowing down the options for carriers is your dog's size. While most carriers give you a weight capacity for which sized dogs can fit inside, some rely on dimensions, so it can be helpful to know your pup's exact height, length, and width, as well. For background, most small dog carriers cater to dogs under 15 pounds. So if your dog is a bit on the larger size (or is going to grow), consider a medium-sized dog carrier.
As you peruse dog carriers, don't forget to think about where and when you'll use it. If you plan to use it mainly for air travel, then you may want a rolling bag with wheels that makes zipping through an airport a breeze. Need a carrier for taking your pup on errands and to the vet's office? Consider one that is crash-tested for safety, and can fit in nearly any car.
Whatever your answers to the above questions may be, these are the best small dog carriers suited to your needs and your pup.
1. The Best Overall, All Things Considered
Natuvalle 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack
This small dog carrier's versatile design makes it perfect for travel as well as everyday use and outdoor activities, thanks to its reconfigurable straps. It's made of water-resistant fabric with reinforced stitching and zippers for safety. The doors on both sides of the bag make it easier for your pet to walk in and out, and there's also a top zipper that allows you access to your dog from above — perfect for giving your pup a treat or a scratch. Amazon reviewers have rated this carrier 4.5 out of five stars and have praised it for its high-quality construction, spacious interior, and thick padding. It's also available in four sizes, from extra-small to large, which cater to dogs up to 12 pounds and up to 18 pounds respectively. So whether you want to carry your dog on your back for a day hike or keep her comfy and secure during a layover, this carrier would be a great choice.
- Available sizes: XS-L
2. The Best Investment
Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier
If you're a frequent traveler or just want to invest in a great dog carrier for your pup, then this Sleepypod air in-cabin pet carrier is the best money can buy. While pricier than the other options on this list, the features of this carrier, like the large zipper side pockets and removable privacy panel, make it well worth the purchase. It also is crash-tested for safety in cars and planes, and approved by the Center For Pet Safety. For dogs up to 15 pounds, this carrier provides a safe and comfortable mobile pet bed while traveling by car or plane and can fit under most airplane seats. (It also comes with a padded shoulder strap and carry handles for day-to-day use.) Available in six different colors, this carrier is made with only the best materials, including a luggage-grade nylon exterior, a plush, washable interior, tear-resistant mesh panels, and zippers that can open at the top and ends of the bag.
- One size only
3. The Best Rolling Carrier
YOUTHINK Pet Carrier With Wheels
While all rolling carriers can spare your shoulders and back the weight of carrying your dog around, this carrier from YOUTHINK has the advantage of a smart design that doesn't require you to tip your dog upright in order to pull it. Instead, an extendable metal rod handle and 360-swivel front wheels allow you to maneuver the bag in a similar way to a four-wheel rolling suitcase. Other notable features include roll-up flaps that go over the tear-resistant mesh side panels as well as a removable base platform that enables you to transform the carrier into a hand-held bag or fold it flat when not in use. Because this carrier is on wheels, it also can cater to the largest-sized dogs of any option on this list, and can fit pups up to 25 pounds.
- One size only
4. The Best Wearable Carrier
FurryFido Reversible Pet Sling Carrier
A sling-style carrier, like this best-selling carrier by FurryFido, is a great choice for carrying a small dog in a way that's comfortable for you both. Not only is it made of a super-soft, machine-washable cotton material that your dog will love, but it features a collar hook to keep her secure inside, freeing up your hands to do other things, worry-free. Amazon reviewers have also noted that this carrier, which is recommended for dogs under 13 pounds, is great for anxious pups, since the ergonomically-friendly design lets your dog stay close to your body. It also comes in three different reversible color options.
- One size only
5. The Best Expandable Carrier
mypal Expandable Soft Pet Carrier
Dogs don't love being cooped up any more than humans do. That's why this expandable carrier is the perfect solution for both traveling and waiting at airports with a small pup. When unzipped at the sides, the carrier expands to give your dog much more room to maneuver around or relax in, and when needed, it can zip back up to meet the requirements to fit under most airplane seats. Recommended for dogs up to 14 pounds, this carrier also features double entry points on the top and side, as well as a washable, soft inside liner.
- One size only
6. The Best Handbag-Style Carrier
PetsHome Dog Carrier
For those occasions when you'd prefer your carrier look more like a purse and less like a hulking piece of luggage, this handheld PetsHome dog carrier has you covered. Made from waterproof nylon material with nice hardware, this handbag-style carrier is both stylish and practical. It has a soft-padded, waterproof interior with a fixed leash to prevent your dog from running out. The bag also features three rows of fasteners, allowing you multiple options for the size of the opening on top. And with over 27 designs and color options to choose from, there is sure to be one that accessorizes perfectly with your style.
- Available sizes: S-M
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