5 Best Dog Carriers to Keep Your Small Dog By Your Side 2019

Whether you live in the city and enjoy taking your pocket pooch with you during everyday outings or have a trip planned that requires you to bring your pup along, having the right dog carrier is key for you and your pet’s happiness.

With so many options on the market today, it can be overwhelming to find the right product to fit your needs and keep your dog comfortable. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the key features to look at when picking a dog carrier and then review our top five choices of the best dog carriers so you can find the right one for your pampered pooch.

Types of Dog Carriers

Before you can start shopping for the right carrier to transport your pooch in, you need to be aware of the many different types and styles available on the market. Below are the most common types of carriers small dog owners find useful.

  • Duffel Carriers – These types of carriers resemble a traditional duffel bag in shape and function and are carried by two short loop straps or one long strap over the shoulder.
  • Purse Carriers – These bags resemble large purses and are made for smaller dogs to travel discretely alongside their owner.
  • Backpack Carriers – These carriers are made to be worn like a backpack and are great for traveling long distances on foot, especially with a heavier dog.
  • Sling Carriers – These types of carriers are typically less expensive than the others and make transporting your dog on foot extra simple.

What Features to Consider When Shopping for Carrier

Even among the same types of carriers, you are likely to find widely varying features, so it’s important to consider what you want to use the carrier for before you choose one.

Are you hoping to use your carrier for airport travel as well as transporting your dog around town? Most sling, backpack, and purse carriers are not the right size or shape to be used on airplanes.

Also, keep in mind, most airlines have requirements regarding the age of your pet as well as specific requirements about the carrier used, according to United Airlines.

A duffel carrier would be better for your pooch in this situation, but make sure you consider what size will be best suited for your dog.

The number of storage pockets, strap type and adjustability, color, and material are all other features to consider before buying your new carrier. Some bags even offer features you may not have even thought of like loops for securing them in your car and expandable sides.

Reviews of The Best Dog Carriers

#1. Premium Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier by Pet Peppy- Two Side Expansion, Designed for Cats, Dogs, Kittens, Puppies

Best Overall

Pet Peppy Expandable Pet Carrier
Score: (5/5)

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Airline approved duffel carrier with comfy pad and expandable sides for maximum comfort.
Pros

Airline approved

Expandable sides

Comfy interior liner

Cons

Less airflow with sides closed

Somewhat bulky to carry

Our first choice for best pet carrier is the cleverly designed duffel carrier from Pet Peppy. This bag includes many of the great features of a duffel carrier with a little extra pizzazz that makes it a great choice for frequent travelers.

This carrier is airline approved so your dog can fly in the cabin alongside you when you travel. But what truly makes this our favorite duffel carrier is the expandable sides that transform this bag from a compact airline flier to a spacious crate where your dog can stretch out.

All this extra space also makes this the best puppy carrier on our list since it allows extra room for rambunctious youngsters to move around without needing to be let out.

This bag has multiple openings on the sides and one on the top. With the sides down, it has great airflow with mesh all around, though, once the sides are up airflow is limited to the mesh on each end and the top only.

Some additional features of this bag worth noting are the slide side strap to attach the bag to your rolling suitcase handle, the extra cozy washable insert, and the internal clip to keep your dog secure.

This bag comes in three colors and the option of adding a long external tunnel for even more space. For all the features, this bag is well priced, but toward the more expensive end compared to others on this list.

#2. EliteField Soft Sided Pet Carrier

Best Duffel

EliteField Pet Carrier
Score: (5/5)

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Simple airline approved duffel carrier with seat belt attachments for secure travel.
Pros

Affordable

Suitcase and seat belt loops

Airline approved

Cons

Moderate ventilation

Thin bottom pad

Soft sides can collapse while in use

Second on our list of the best pet carriers, is another duffel type carrier. The EliteField carrier doesn’t have as many features as the Pet Peppy, but the price point and custom options still make it a great choice if you want a simple option for transporting your dog.

This duffel carrier is also airline approved and the lightweight material and padded shoulder strap make it easy to haul around while you travel. It also comes with a slide strap to secure it to your rolling suitcase as well as seat belt loops to secure it in the car.

This pack isn’t as well ventilated as some, with mesh only on the top and small sections on each side. And the pad that comes with the duffel isn’t overly thick or cozy.

This pack does come in two different sizes though, which means it will be easier to get the carrier that fits your dog best. And this bag comes in six great colors.

This carrier is the second cheapest option on our list, but with the standard three-year warranty provided by EliteField, you can feel confident that you are getting a quality product.

#3. PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs, Puppies

Best Backpack

PetAmi Backpack Carrier
Score: (5/5)

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Backpack style carrier with three openings, padded shoulder straps, and pockets perfect for hiking.
Pros

Comfortable shoulder straps

Three openings for pet access

Easier to carry heavier dogs

Cons

Smaller area for dog to lay down

Not airline approved

Not ideal for long dogs

Third on our list of the best dog carrier bags, is a backpack style carrier. The PetAmi makes a great carrier if you’re needing to transport your small dog on foot long distances or just need an option to give your small dog breaks on walks and hikes.

With padded shoulder straps and a padded back, this backpack carrier was made with your comfort in mind. It also includes a waist and chest buckle for optimal fit and to prevent your dog from jostling around too much during travel.

And, for your dog’s comfort, this pack has a comfy fleece lined removable pad, large mesh windows for airflow, and large zip openings on each side to make it easier for your pup to enter and exit. One great safety feature of this pack is the extra buckles included on the zip openings to prevent your pooch from pushing his way out.

This pack is available in twelve colors and includes multiple storage pockets, a pet nameplate, and a bonus collapsible water bowl.

If you like this pack style, check out our article on the best dog backpack carriers.

This pack is moderately priced and a great option if you need to keep your hands free while transporting your dog. Though the shape of the bag makes it not ideal for longer dogs or those that prefer to travel lying down instead of sitting up and looking around.

#4. PetsHome Dog Carrier Purse, Pet Carrier, Cat Carrier, Foldable Waterproof Premium Leather Pet Purse Portable Bag Carrier for Cat and Small Dog Home & Outdoor

Best Purse

PetsHome Dog Carrier Purse
Score: (5/5)

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Elegant leather purse with beautiful design and multi-size opening for dog’s head.
Pros

Elegant design

Large opening

Multiple color and design options

Cons

Not ideal for long distances

Not ideal for heavier dogs

Limited airflow when zipped shut

Our fourth pick is the best dog carrier purse on the market. The PetsHome purse was made for dog owners who want to take their dog with them wherever they go and do it in style!

This fabulous bag is made with split leather for an elegant look that is also waterproof and easy to clean. Metal rivets and clasps and decorative stitching add to the sleek look of this bag and make it a great accessory for any outfit.

But don’t worry, this bag wasn’t just made for looks. Your dog will enjoy it almost as much as you will.

The inside is fitted with a thick, removable pad for your pup’s comfort. Both the top and end of the bag zip open to allow easy entry and lets this purse double as a cozy bed for your pup while you’re at the office.

There are only three small mesh windows, but the top flap can be opened to three different sizes allowing your dog’s head or full upper body to stick out.

The bag only has two leather hand straps and is meant to be carried like a traditional purse. It would not be ideal for carrying around a larger dog and is best suited for short trips around town.

This purse is available in two sizes, nine color options, and additional design layouts that offer features such as expandable sides and a wheeled platform. Depending on the options you choose, this product runs from moderately high to high on the price spectrum.

#5. TOMKAS Small Dog Cat Carrier Sling Hands Free Pet Puppy Outdoor Travel Bag Tote Reversible

Most Affordable

Tomkas Dog Sling
Score: (4/5)

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Simple, compact, and lightweight sling for short trips that can be easily stored.
Pros

Rolls up for easy storage

Lightweight

Affordable

Cons

Dog can escape easily

Not waterproof

Dog can fall out easily

Our final choice is for owners who want an option for transporting their small dog but are hoping to save on money and storage space. Like all sling type carriers, the Tomkas sling is light on features but heavy on utility.

This simple sling allows dog owners to carry their pooch around comfortably without occupying their hands. Unlike the other bags on this list, this sling carry supports your dog but does not confine them.

A tether keeps your dog secure while the fabric of the sling holds them in place. Your dog is meant to pop their head out the top so they can breathe easily and observe the world around.

The metal ring allows you to adjust the strap length to fit your body while the adjustable sling style allows you to increase and decrease the opening to better fit your pup. This sling comes in seven colors, some with reversible design so you can choose your style based on the day.

These simple cloth slings are perfect for short trips around town or to roll up and stuff in your purse or backpack if you think your dog might need a little help finishing the stroll or hike. Best of all, these carriers are the cheapest on our list and perfect for owners short on cash and storage space.

What is the Best Dog Carrier?

After reviewing dozens of dog carriers of all different styles, we have named Pet Peppy’s Expandable Pet Carrier as the best dog carrier. This duffel style bag is loaded with features that both you and your pup will appreciate.

The padded handles and shoulder strap and the rolling suitcase handle strap make this bag easy to transport. And the comfy pad and expandable sides mean your pup will enjoy the ride, no matter where you are headed.

If you’re looking for a bag to show your dog off around town or to take them on a hiking adventure, we found great options for those situations as well and have featured them in our list above.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I have an “airline approved” carrier will my dog definitely be allowed to fly in the cabin with me?
All airlines have different requirements and allowances when it comes to dogs flying in the cabin. Always talk to an agent of the airline before planning to fly with your dog.
Is it safe to use the tether inside a pet carrier?
The inner tether included in many pet carriers is there to prevent your dog from escaping should a door accidentally open. Always supervise your dog when a tether is in use, as it is possible your dog could become tangled.
Can my medium dog use a dog carrier?
Backpack style carriers are more conducive to hauling larger dogs, but the space in the pack is limited. Other carriers come with wheels, but may still be to tight to fit a larger dog.

Summed Up: The Best Dog Carriers

NamePet Peppy Expandable Pet CarrierEliteField Pet CarrierPetAmi Backpack CarrierPetsHome Dog Carrier PurseTomkas Dog Sling
Best FeaturesAirline approved, expandable sides, comfy inner padAirline approved, seat belt attachments, affordableComfortable straps, hands-free carry, bonus collapsible bowlFashion forward design, multiple configurationsCompact, light, affordable
Color Options361297
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Sources

  1. Various. “In-Cabin Pets” united.com.
  2. Various. “Traveling by Air With Your Dog” petmd.com.
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