Traveling With Your Pet: A Guide to Choosing the Right Carrier

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dog carrier
source: nymag.com

Pets, especially dogs, are a big part of our life and an important member of the family, so we want to make them happy, as they make us. We all love travelling and visiting new places. But if you own a dog, you know that leaving them home or at day-care for a week or two is not something you’d gladly do. We’d all rather take our furry friend with us everywhere we go.

But to make that happen, we need to take into consideration a few things before going on the road with them, maybe even doing a short test trip. Is our friend an anxious traveller? How will he cope with new places? Does he like meeting new people? Think about the weather conditions, the longevity of the trip, and more. And of course, to make the trip as comfortable as possible we need to have the proper equipment and all the essentials.  

Tips to Choose the Best Carrier 

pug in a dog carrier
source: thestylishdogcompany.com

One of the main pieces of equipment to have is a dog carrier. In this article, we will help you decide which one is the best option for your dog considering his size, needs, temper and places you will visit. 

Measure Your Dog 

Just as he’s comfortable at home, we need to make sure he is comfortable during travels as well. Before choosing the best dog carrier, you need to measure your pooch. To see how long he is, start measuring from his neck, where the collar is, to the base of the tail. And to know his height, start from the shoulders all the way to the ground. Now, to ensure he’s comfortable, always add around 10cm for length and for height 10-15cm more. This way, he will have enough room to stretch, spin, lay down and stan up without any issues.  
The last thing you need to know is how much your dog weighs. This is an important factor because dog carriers have weight limitations. And if by any chance your dog is between sizes, it’s always a good idea to take into consideration the bigger size.

What Will You Be You Using It For? 

dog carrier
source: snoozerpetproducts.com

It’s important to take into consideration the purpose of the carrier, what will you need it for? If it’s just for car rides or to keep him contained while you go shopping or hiking, a lightweight and easy to carry one will be the best option. This type of portable dog carrier is in the soft-sided category, but it will surprise you with its sturdiness and durability. Backpacks and slings will be the right choice, but for practicality and space-saving, foldable ones will do the trick.  
But if you plan to fly then you need something sturdier. Before buying the carrier make sure you check the airline requirements and regulations. Not all airlines allow pets as their passengers and not all airlines have the same regulations. If your dog is smaller consider a soft-sided carrier that will fit under the seat. But if your doggo is bigger and flying as cargo, then getting a hard-sided carrier is a better and safer option that will provide ventilation and stability.  
Our advice is to make a list of the must-haves and let that guide you because the last thing you want is to get to the airport and realize your K9 can’t travel with you.  

Your Dog’s Temper 

It’s important to think about your dog’s temper, is he shy and calm or restless and wiggly. This will have a big impact on choosing the right carrier. If your pooch is shy and calm, he will be okay with a snuggly shoulder strap or a foldable one. But if he’s restless and playful a sturdier one will do better. Carriers with mesh walls will be the best, providing your dog with a good view and breathability at any time. This will make sure he doesn’t feel trapped in the carrier.

Types of Dog Carriers 

Generally, there are two types of dog carriers, hard-sided and soft-sided. Both have their downsides, perks and features they excel in. Let’s dig into them and see what they’re like. 

Hard-Sided Carriers 

dog carrier
source: klevering.com

These carriers are usually built from plastic materials or wire that provides a highly durable option. There are even metal dog carriers but they are rare. One of the advantages of hard-sided dog carriers is that most of them are airline-approved and perfect for air travel. Wire dog carriers are excellent for humid and hot climates, providing your dog with fresh air, breathability and ventilation. This mostly applies to dogs with long hair that tend to overheat fast. The visibility they provide allows you to constantly keep an eye on your dog. Furthermore, hard-sided dog carriers are easy to clean and dry, making escaping from it difficult and the sharp teeth and claws can’t really cause damage.  
However, there are some downsides to these types of carriers. First, they are heavy and not suitable for walks, biking, or lifting in and out of the car. Second, the plastic option provides poor air circulation and low visibility. Third, wire carriers are not suitable for cold weather and are not very comfortable in the interior. And last, intelligent breeds of dogs can find a way to open the latch and escape the carrier. 

Soft-Sided Carriers 

These carriers are popular among dog owners for many reasons. The main one is the comfort it provides to the dog because of its padded interior. They are lightweight making them perfect to carry around everywhere you go. They’re also storage savers. Almost all of them are foldable and small in size so storing them in the car or the house won’t be a problem. Also, when it comes to price and affordability, these carriers are cheaper and easily replaceable. Finally, they are available in a great variety of sizes, colours, materials and patterns so you can adjust to any style and trend available. 
But, as we said, everything has its downsides. Firstly, the cleaning process of these carriers is not that simple, and drying them can take some time. Secondly, unzipping and escaping from it can be an easy task for some pooches, so you may want to put a small lock on the zipper to prevent this from happening. And lastly, they can get damaged easily if the dog is a biter and a chewer.

To Sum Up 

Dog carriers are essential when travelling with your furry friend. Accidents happen, whether we like it or not, so never compromise on your dog’s safety or yours, and get the best quality carrier. Feeling safe throughout the entire trip is a must. A great addition to these carriers would be pockets, allowing you to take some additional accessories like blankets, toys, food and water.