How To Choose A Pet Carrier

A cat in a a Pet Carrier

If you're like most pet parents, you want the best for your furry friend. That means providing them with everything they need, including a safe and comfortable way to travel. When it comes to pet carriers, there are many options available, so how do you choose the right one? Keep reading for tips on how to find the perfect carrier for your pet.


What Is A Pet Carrier?

A cat in a pet carrier

Before choosing a carrier, it's important to know exactly what one is. A cat or dog carrier is simply a bag or container that's specifically designed to transport animals. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can find one that's perfect for your pet. Some carriers even have features like wheels and handles, which make them easier to transport.

Benefits Of Using A Pet Carrier

A man carrying his pet in a pet carrier

There are many benefits to using a pet carrier, especially if you're planning on traveling with your pet, carriers can help keep your cat or dog safe, and they can also help reduce stress. 

If you're worried about your pet getting lost, a carrier can give you peace of mind. Additionally, carriers can protect your pet from the elements and other hazards.

How To Choose A Pet Carrier

A woman carrying a dog in a backpack carrier  

Now that you know what a pet carrier is and the benefits of using one, it's time to choose the right one for your pet.

Measure Your Pet

Two dogs in a box 

The first step is to measure your pet. You'll need to know their length, width, and height in order to find the right size dog carrier. Another variable to consider is the cat or dog's weight. Carriers are designed with size and weight limitations in mind, so if your dog falls between sizes, go for the larger option.

How To Measure Your Pet

The best way to measure your pet is to have them stand on a flat surface. For length, measure from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail. For width, measure from one shoulder to the other. And for height, measure from the top of their head to the ground.

If you're unsure of your pet's measurements, err on the side of caution and choose a carrier that's slightly larger rather than smaller. That way, they'll have plenty of room to move around and be comfortable.

What Are You Using The Pet Carrier For?

The next step is to decide what you'll be using the pet carrier for. Are you looking for something to take your dog on a plane? Or do you need a carrier for road trips? Perhaps you're in need of a carrier for everyday use, like taking your cat to the vet. Knowing how you'll be using the pet carrier will help you narrow down your options.

Choose The Right Material For Your Needs

 A woman with her dog posing for a picture on the road

When it comes to materials, there are a few different options available. The most common materials used for pet carriers are plastic and fabric. Plastic carriers are typically more durable and easier to clean, but they can be bulky and heavy. 

Fabric carriers are usually lighter and more portable, but they might not be as sturdy as plastic carriers. Ultimately, the material you choose should be based on your needs and preferences.

Choose A Style

A woman walking on the street with her pet in a pet carrier  

Once you've decided on a material, you can start looking at different styles. There are hard-sided carriers, soft-sided carriers, and even carrier backpacks.

Hard-sided Carriers

Hard-sided carriers are the most common type of pet carrier. — These are typically chosen for their durability and rough construction. They are usually constructed from wire or plastic materials. The hard shell also offers more support, which is ideal for pets who are anxious or have a history of escape attempts.

Pros of Using Hard-Sided Dog Carriers:

  • If you're looking for an airline approved carrier, this is your best bet. Many hard-sided dog carriers are airline-approved and can be kept under airplane seats.

  • Wire pet crates are excellent for warm or hot climates.

  • Due to slippery and solid inner walls, it's tough for pets to get out of a hard-sided carrier.

  • Wired pet carriers are excellent, especially for long-haired breeds and other pets that easily overheat because they give your pet room to breath.

  • The transparency of wire crates allows you to see your four-legged companion easily.

Cons Of Using Hard-Sided Carriers:

  • Hard-sided carriers are usually heavier, making them unsuitable for walking, attaching to bikes, and lifting into and out of cars for trips.

  • Wires can make a nervous dog feel exposed and chilly. In a wire carrier, your dog has a greater chance of crying out.

  • Some wire carriers do not have a lot of padding, which may cause your dog to become uncomfortable during long car rides.

Soft-sided Carriers

Soft-sided carriers are usually made from fabric, and they're often lighter and more portable than hard-sided carriers. These carriers typically have more ventilation than their hard-sided counterparts.

Pros of using soft-sided carriers:

  • A soft-side carrier is often lighter than a hard-side one, making them easier to carry.

  • They're typically more comfortable for pets since they have more padding.

  • Many soft-sided carriers have plenty of storage pockets, which can be useful for carrying treats, toys, and other essentials.

  • Some soft-sided carriers can be easily folded up for storage.

Cons of using soft-sided carriers:

  • Soft-sided carriers might not be as durable as hard-sided carriers.

  • If a soft-sided carrier is made from mesh, it might not provide enough ventilation for your pet.

  • Cleaning the carrier may be tough, especially if a potty accident occurs. Furthermore, because many soft-sided pet carriers are made of fabric and foam, they do not dry as quickly as hard-sided carriers.

  • Pets can sometimes escape from soft-sided carriers if the zipper isn't secure.

Other Carrier Styles Include

Cardboard: Cardboard carriers are a great option for small pets, like kittens and puppies. They're lightweight and easy to assemble, and they can usually be recycled once your pet outgrows them. However, cardboard carriers are not as durable as other types of carriers, so they might not be the best choice for travel.

Carrier backpacks: Backpack style dog carriers are a great option for pet owners who are active and on the go. These carriers allow you to keep your hands free while still keeping your pet close by. They also allow your pet to enjoy the scenery while you're hiking or walking.

Wheeled carriers: Even a tiny pet can grow weary when carried far. Wheeled carriers are comfortable for both owners and pets. They ease the burden of carrying a cage and prevent your pet from being jostled about. Although they're not recommended for rigorous hiking, they're ideal for city walking and in airports.

Check The Safety Features

When it comes to pet carriers, safety is always a top priority. Look for carriers with safety features to help ensure that your pet is safe and comfortable during travel.

Some common safety features include:

Ventilation Holes: All carriers should have ventilation holes to ensure that your pet has enough air. The number and size of the holes will vary depending on the carrier, but they should be large enough to allow your pet to breathe easily.

Leak-Proof Bottom: A carrier with a leak-proof bottom is essential for preventing potty accidents. 

Padded Shoulder Strap: A carrier with a comfortable shoulder strap will make it easy to carry your pet, even over long distances. Look for a strap that is adjustable and padded for your comfort.

Zippers for extra protection: Some carriers have zippers that offer extra protection for your pet. This helps keep your pet safe and secure during travel.

Consider Your Pet's Personality

Another important factor to consider is your pet's personality. If your pet is anxious or nervous, you might want to choose a carrier that has more ventilation to help them feel more comfortable. If your pet is playful or curious, you might want to choose a carrier with a lot of windows so they can see their surroundings. Consider your pet's personality when choosing a carrier to help them feel as comfortable as possible.

Look For Extra Features

When you're shopping for pet carriers, look for extra features that might be helpful. For example, some carriers come with storage pockets where you can store treats, toys, or other supplies. Other carriers have removable pads that can be washed in the washing machine. These extra features can make your life easier and help your pet travel more comfortably.

Extra Features Include:

Storage pockets: Many carriers come with storage pockets where you can store treats, toys, or other supplies.

Removable pads: Some carriers have removable pads that can be washed in the washing machine. This helps keep your pet clean and comfortable during travel.

Water bottle holder: A water bottle holder is a great way to ensure your pet stays hydrated during travel.

Washable pads: Many carriers come with washable pads that can be machine-washed. This helps keep your pet clean and comfortable during travel.

Stroller attachments:Some carriers can be attached to a stroller, making it easy to take your pet with you on walks or errands.

Read the Reviews

Before you make your purchase, be sure to read the reviews. This will help you get an idea of what other pet owners think of the carrier. Reading reviews can also help you spot any potential problems with the carrier.

Good reviews will often mention things like:

  • The carrier is easy to use

  • The carrier is comfortable for both the pet and the owner

  • The carrier is sturdy and well-made

  • The carrier is safe and has all the necessary safety features

  • The carrier is easy to clean


When you're shopping for a pet carrier, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. Consider the size of your pet and the amount of space they will need.

  2. Look for a carrier with all the necessary safety features.

  3. Consider your pet's personality to help them feel comfortable during travel.

  4. Read the reviews to get an idea of what other pet owners think of the carrier.

With these tips in mind, you'll be sure to find the perfect carrier for your pet. Thanks for reading! This article was brought to you by Print Our Pet, your one-stop shop for printed pet items and gifts.

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