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Going on a trip whether holiday or formal can be stressful for most people especially in 2023 where the airline regulations are so tight. Having a dog to carry along your journey will only make things more difficult for you if not prepared.
One sure way of streamlining your travel experience is getting the best airline-approved dog carriers to cage your pet throughout the journey.
Every airline company has its own set of regulations describing how passengers can carry their pets. Be sure to check your airline choice laws on the compatibility of the carrier you bring on board.
Good airline-approved pet carriers will offer comfort to your pet while keeping him safe throughout the journey.
You might already have a pet carrier, the one you use to take your pet to the vet on routine checkups but it might not be convenient to use during a flight. But what you need is a travel carrier.
When you are going on a long journey with your pet, you need to be very careful about their comfort.
An uncomfortable carrier will give you a hard time during a flight because of the disturbances your dog might bring about in the course of the journey.
Our selection of the best airline approved dog carriers:
- Katziela Pet Carrier with Removable Wheels, Airline Approved
- Kurgo Backpack for Small Dogs & Cats, Airline Approved
- Kurgo Backpack for Small Pets
- Sherpa on Wheels Pet Carrier
- Teafco Argo Large Aero-Pet Airline-Approved Pet Carrier
- Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier
- Mr. Peanut’s Expandable Pet Carrier-Airline Approved
- One for Pets Deluxe Cozy Carrier
- ROVERLUND Pet Travel Bag Carrier
What are the Top Airline Approved Dog Carriers
1. Katziela Pet Carrier for Small Dogs with Removable Wheels, Airline Approved
This one comes with two color options, grey and black. It has a soft-sided material and it is convenient for carrying small dogs.
At the base of the pet carrier, there are removable wheels which are useful when you want to pull the bag along a smooth surface.
To aid you in pulling, there’s a telescopic handle that can extend up to a maximum length of 35 inches. This carrier can support a maximum weight of 20 pounds.
Ventilation in this one is sorted out by including a breathable mesh with transparent windows on the sides and top of the bag. The zipper can be opened easily to access your pet at any time with convenience.
On the sides of the bag, several pockets can be used to hold leashes, collars, toys, and even treats.
There is a removable bag inside the carrier that you can use to give your dog a comfortable sleep when the need arises. The bag also ensures that your pet gets maximum comfort when in the carrier.
This carrier is airplane approved and it passes the TSA (Transport Safety Authority) standards. Being a soft-sided carrier, you can place it under your seat in a plane or just by your side when you remove the wheels.
- Great overall design.
- The soft-sided material is of good quality.
- The wheels can tip off especially when carrying a larger pet.
- Not sturdy enough.
2. Kurgo Backpack for Small Dogs, Airline Approved
This is a backpack-designed carrier that comes with two color options; red and black. The maximum weight you can carry with this carrier is 25 pounds, meaning that it is unsuitable for large dogs.
The top part of this backpack is water-resistant while the bottom part is waterproof. This means that you can now go out to places where you may encounter water or rain while keeping your dog safe.
The backpack is generally lightweight and is made of padded material with ventilation to keep the airflow running smoothly inside. There are many pockets in this bag that you can use to store the needed gear when going out.
You can carry your leash, collar, water, and food alongside your pet, all hands-free. The backpack also has a laptop storage facility inside where you can safely put your laptop during a trip. This carrier has been approved by the TSA for pet travel standards.
- The design is outstanding.
- It is comfortable to wear
- It has many storage facilities.
- The straps can easily break.
- Your dog might escape easily.
3. Kurgo Backpack for Small Pets
This is another product from Kurgo and it has two color options; heather brown and heather grey. This carrier has a box-shaped design and it is still a backpack.
You can comfortably carry your small dog in this backpack and the recommended maximum weight is 25 pounds. There is an interior tether in the carrier that can be attached to the harness hence making your dog more secured while inside.
You should not be worried too much about placing this carrier on a dry surface because the bottom part is made of waterproof material that is key in ensuring water cannot access the interior parts of the carrier.
The interior pad is comfortable and can be removed easily and it is machine washable.
The back part of this carrier is also padded well enough to ensure that it is more comfortable to wear and walk with. The breathable mesh panels ensures that your dog has a constant air supply while staying inside.
When traveling with using this product, you don’t have to carry a separate bag for your laptop since this carrier has sleeves where you can safely put your laptop and iPad.
- Has many storage facilities including iPad and laptop sleeves.
- Improves the safety by attaching a harness to an interior tether.
- Comfortable to wear and comfortable for the pet.
- Might be too bulky for some users.
- Only comfortable when wearing.
4. Sherpa on Wheels Pet Carrier
This one from Sherpa has the black color option only. The carrier is made with a mesh material that allows for air to flow freely into the inner compartment.
The inner bottom part of this carrier is made with a soft material that gives maximum comfort during long journeys.
There are windows throughout the sides of this carrier that ensure your dog joins in the adventure when being carried along.
The windows also give you a chance to monitor the well-being of your dog while inside the carrier. If you need to keep them enclosed e.g. when they are asleep, the windows have roll-up flaps that can cover them. This also secures your privacy.
You can let your dog in this carrier either through the side or from the top. The maximum weight that this carrier can support is 22 pounds.
There is a shoulder strap that you can use conveniently for this carrier. The dimensions are approved by several airlines.
- Sturdy with many windows.
- Provides enough room for your dog to turn around
- Zippers may break off easily
- It has relatively small wheels compared to the size of the carrier.
5. Teafco Argo Large Aero-Pet Airline-Approved Pet Carrier
This one from Teafco comes in four color variants; Berry Blue, Kiwi Green, Orange, and Tango Orange.
It has been made with a light yet rugged nylon material that is strong enough to carry your small dog. Its small size means that you can perfectly put this carrier on the side or bottom of the passenger seat in a plane.
The carrier has mesh windows that provide ventilation for your dog inside the carrying chambers. We do not get a transparent window with this product hence you will not get the chance to monitor your dog while inside the carrier.
The top zipper provides quick access to your dog and you can carefully carry him in or out without any complications.
There are several side pockets in this carrier that can be used to store and carry several gear including leashes, collars, and food. The shoulder strap is strong enough to withstand the recommended weight. It is also easy and quick to replace.
- Good design and construction
- It has a soft internal material and is comfortable
- The strap is sturdy
- Not so much ventilation.
- Storage space is minimal.
6. Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier
This product from Sherpa comes in seven color variants to choose from. The carrier has mesh windows that provide a free flow of air for your dog in the inner chamber.
The zippers allow for both top and side entry hence increasing the convenience of how you get your dog in the inside chamber.
The material used to make this carrier is strong enough to carry the maximum recommended weight of 22 pounds.
The side of the bag has several storage facilities that you can use to carry the gear during your trips.
The dimensions have been approved by most airline companies and it follows the TSA standards for pet travel. You can also use it in a car, there are provisions for fastening it to a seat belt.
- Smart design and well stitched
- Provides good ventilation
- The zipper can easily break off.
7. Mr. Peanut’s Expandable Airline Approved Soft Sided Pet Carrier
This soft-side carrier bag comes in 5 color variants to choose from. It is convenient to carry small dogs with a maximum weight of 15 pounds.
With this bag’s dimensions, it might not be possible for your dog to stand or jump while inside, it is specifically designed for carrying a pet lying down.
It is an expandable pet carrier that gives your pet more space.
This carrier is airline approved and you can comfortably place it under the seat in your front while in an airplane.
The carrier has breathable mesh on all sides to ensure maximum ventilation with additional ventilation on top that makes it a perfect choice for airline travel.
The carrier has a soft padded plywood base that provides a strong base. The double shoulder strap is comfortable to put on and does not put much strain on your shoulder.
The material is waterproof which means that you do not have to worry about minor water spills when traveling with this carrier.
- Has a side expandable space.
- Comfortable for your pet.
- It has a good design.
- May easily become floppy.
8. One for Pets Deluxe Cozy
This pet carrier comes in 4 color variants to choose from. It is made with a material that offers maximum comfort while on a long journey.
There is a zippered mesh top cover that can be altered to give you different angles or you can as well remove it completely to create more space.
When removing the zippered mesh, make sure your dog is safely secured inside and that he cannot escape. It is recommended not to do this for a more active dog.
The interior pad is soft and offers a comfortable space where your dog can spend some quality time. You can also remove the pad and wash it separately with a machine.
The nylon material is cool from the outside but provides the required warmth to your dog from the inside. This one includes a top handle and a strap for carrying.
- It has a top handle.
- Offers good ventilation
- Might be bulky to carry
9. ROVERLUND Pet Travel Bag, Car Seat & Airline Compliant Carrier
This soft-side padded carrier comes in a good combination of colors. When buying this product, you will get a bonus leash that you can use to attach to your dog harness or collar and it also doubles up as a strong padded shoulder strap.
This carrier is compliant with the requirement of several airline companies and you can also use it to transport your dog in the car. You can use it with your small pet of up to 6 pounds.
The carrier is comfortable and it has meshed windows that give enough ventilation to your dog. There are several storage facilities in the carrier that can be used to carry the pet gear during a trip.
You will also get a removable fleece interior bed which you can later use to give your dog a comfortable sleep.
- Quality product with a beautiful design
- The shoulder strap can be used as a leash
- It has a top handle that you can use
- Has a low recommended maximum weight.
5 Common Types of Dog carriers
Pet carriers come in different styles, shapes, and sizes to serve the diverse consumer needs that we have. You need to choose a style that serves you best having the dog’s comfort in mind.
1. Backpack Carriers
These types are good for small to medium-sized dogs and they are also very portable and convenient.
If your dog enjoys site viewing with you when walking him, then this backpack is a good option to make sure he enjoys everything with comfort.
Aside from traveling, this backpack can effectively be used when walking your dog. It might be tiresome for them to walk through long distances without getting fatigued.
If you have this type of carrier, you can hop him once he gets tired and ensure he enjoys the rest of the adventure comfortably.
2. Carriers with Wheels
Pet carriers fitted with wheels at the bottom are more convenient to use when you want to relieve your back or shoulder from the task of bearing your dog’s weight.
For this reason, it is more appropriate to use this carrier for large dogs rather than small ones.
When using airline-approved carriers with wheels, be sure to pull your dog along a smooth surface e.g., in city walkways and airports.
Subjecting the carrier to rough terrain will make him uncomfortable and eventually he can be sick with aching joints.
Hard-sided pet carriers offer the best protection during a journey. Due to their characteristic toughness, this type is mostly used during long journeys where your dog’s safety is kept a priority.
If you have a dog that likes chewing on things, this one is suitable for him because it is made with a strong material that cannot be chewed.
These ones include bags and they are mostly used to carry small to medium-sized dogs which are not so heavy.
This carrier serves best the dogs which are compliant with traveling and do not offer a lot of disturbance during a journey.
If you have a nervous pet or one who likes chewing a lot and digging, then this will be a misfit for him.
Soft carriers are more portable than hard ones and they are perfectly used when you will have your dog within your custody throughout the journey.
For this convenience, you can use this type of carrier to carry your dog along to restaurants, parks, malls, and such places.
5. Slings for Carrying Dogs
These types of pet carriers can be worn across the chest or supported through one shoulder. Some of these kinds resemble ladies’ handbags and they are convenient to carry small dogs.
A sling carrier bag can be bumpy when worn and your hand might introduce disturbances to your dog while inside.
Always make sure that your dog remains comfortable in this carrier and you walk steadily having in mind what you are carrying.
A sling carrier is perfect for small dogs who always like to be on the side of their owners. With this carrier, your dog can feel the calming effect of your hand hence feels more secured.
How To Choose The Best Airline Approved Pet Carriers
Getting the best product is not a walk in the park. You need to be sure what your dog likes and also keep in mind the nature of the intended journey you wish to have with them.
Once you have those, find one with the features that matches your requirements.
Get your dog’s measurements
The first thing you ought to do is find the exact size of your dog in terms of body measurements and weight. Get the length from the nose tip to the end of the tail and add a minimum of 3 inches to that.
Do the same for the height and add a minimum of 3 inches. The added measurement is taken into consideration to give them enough room to turn around, sit or stand while within the carrier.
Find the exact weight measurement of your dog and compare it to the maximum recommended weight that your carrier’s choice can bear.
Their weight should not exceed the maximum weight your desired carrier bag can bear.
The purpose of the carrier bag
Secondly, you need to consider what you will need it for. If you need one that can also be used for walking your dog, then for this case you can go with the backpack carrier.
A hard side carrier is not ideal for purposes other than using to cage your dog for journeys.
For flights, your first consideration is to get an airline-approved product. Have in mind that the regulations governing the transport of pets differ from one airline to the other. Be sure to acquaint yourself with the regulations of your airline of choice.
If you are using your carrier in a car, make sure that it is made with a material that has passed crash tests from a third party alongside being certified by the center for pet safety.
Consider your dog’s habits
The habits of your furry friend whether positive or negative play a major role in determining the type of travel carrier you will get for him.
If your pet likes chewing, you need to get him a carrier that cannot be torn apart easily by his teeth. If they play a lot, get a carrier with much space and ensure they cannot easily escape.
Above all, make sure you check your Airline company’s pet travel requirements to know what is expected of you before departure. This will give you a piece of mind during travel and guarantees that you will sit close to your furry companion.
5 Reasons Why You Need an Airline Approved Pet Carrier
1. You can take a flight with your dog
Airline-approved travel pet carriers guarantee you the possibility of using them to carry your dog in an airplane. This is better than having one that is not approved by any airline company which only limits you to home usage.
2. Secures your dog during travel
You can securely have custody of them right from the waiting area, during the journey up to your destination.
There are many instances where owners lost track of their pets in an airport because of using poor-quality carriers or crates.
3. Gives your dog a comfortable journey
The same way we crave comfort in our travels is the same way they need a comfortable journey too.
It gives room for your them to stand, sit or turn around comfortably during a journey while being cushioned by a padded material.
4. Used to conveniently carry your dog
It is not only useful when it comes to air and road travel, you can also use it to take them to a vet or conveniently carry them alongside you to the restaurants, malls, parks, and such like places.
5. Can be used to walk your dog
It is useful when you want to walk them when they are sick or very tired. You can also carry it with you when giving them a normal walk then when he gets tired, you can hop him in the travel carrier and give him the chance to enjoy the adventure while resting at the same time.
In the quest to get a good airline-approved pet carriers, pet parents may end up buying different types for different occasions and styles. It is a good thing to have a variety in your house that you can use when you want to travel with your furry friend.
The golden rule is always to check for the compatibility of you carrier with the airline of your choice if you intend to go with your dog on a flight.
Have a look at the video below by KK Keiki where she shows ‘How to fly with your Dog’.
Thank you for reading through my buying guide, out of the 9 choices I listed, I hope you found one that can suit your needs.
If you’re looking for more dog products, then click here to check out our different products categories.
If you have any concerns or questions, please leave a comment in the section below.
Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a pet expert with more than 20 years of experience working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals since a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.
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