Dogs that are small or medium-sized can be easily carried around with you. The best pet carriers for dogs up to 30 pounds need to be fit for purpose, simple to carry and have comfortable straps that don’t dig into your neck and shoulders.
A dog of any size needs to be kept as safe in their crate or carrier. One size definitely doesn’t fit all! Choosing a dog carrier that is far too small or large for your pet is potentially dangerous for your pet. That’s why measuring your dog is so vital.
And you’ll need to buy the right carrier based on the type of traveling that you intend to do. If you want to carry your pet with you wherever you go, you’ll probably need to select a product that’s different than if you were to take your dog on an airplane.
But, with such a wide variety of pet carriers that can hold dogs up to 30lbs., it’s not as hard as you might think to make an informed decision!
Pet Carriers for Dogs Under 30 lbs. Based on Transport Type
If your pet is nervous or hesitant, making sure they’re comfortable and used to the crate will make life easier for everyone.
Let’s dive into some of the best dog carriers, so you can decide which type would work best for you.
What is the Best Dog Carrier for Air Travel?
It’s common for dog owners to want to take their pets with them on vacation or if they have to travel somewhere via plane.
- Important: Unfortunately, not all carriers meet airline standards! There are many crates and carriers on the market that make it clear they are okay to use on most airlines. But, you still need to call the airline you’re planning to fly with to ask about their specific pet carrier policies.
One of our favorite soft-sided carriers for taking your dog with you on a flight is the Sherpa Pet Carrier. You can slide this carrier right underneath your seat during a trip. So, your dog can stay with you at all times.
It is recommended by the ASPCA and the Humane Society. Many veterinarians also recommend the carrier because of its safety features. These features go above and beyond to ensure your dog is secure at all times.
Some of the premium safety features include:
- Mesh sides for ventilation
- Locking zippers so your dog can’t break out
- Seat belt strap
- Reinforced handles and bottom to ensure it won’t break with your pet inside
On top of being a top dog carrier for air travel, the Sherpa Original Deluxe is often considered to be a designer pet carrier. People with smaller dogs often look for designer carriers they can tote around with them.
Another recommendation for a soft-sided carrier is the Petsfit Comfort Expandable Foldable Travel Carrier. As the name suggests, it expands to give your dog a little extra room and comfort on long trips. This is especially convenient for dogs around 30lbs, so they don’t feel too cramped or crowded.
What is the Best Carrier for Traveling with a Nervous Dog?
Not all dogs like traveling right away. Others can get nervous when it comes to getting into a crate or carrier. Travel anxiety is common. We’ll talk about things that you can do to help your dog feel calm and comfortable while traveling later on in this guide.
But, it starts with choosing the right carrier for a nervous dog. Whether your dog is small or has a medium build, it’s crucial never to force them into a carrier against their will. That can be a traumatic experience for your pet and will make matters even worse.
- Pro Tip: A suitable carrier for a worried dog is the Petmate Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel. Many features make it a top-quality crate. But, if your dog is anxious, the best feature is the top-loading option.
Some dogs don’t like going into the front of a crate. But, when they’re lowered down into it, they usually remain calm. You don’t have to worry about forcing them inside, and they’re less likely to make a fuss when they’re being lowered in.
Once your dog is safely inside, you can rest assured that they are safe and secure. The doors are made of steel. Your dog won’t be able to scratch or bite their way through and get out of the carrier. It’s also made of a heavy-duty, durable plastic that won’t fall apart over time.
One of the safety features is that the steel doors allow your dog the opportunity to check out their surroundings. They’re more likely to stay calm if they can see where they are and what they’re doing. It’ll also mean that they can see you, which can make them feel more comfortable. The steel-barred doors also provide ventilation. This will keep your dog refreshed and calm.
The Petmate Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel is durable, so it’s perfect for all types of travel. It meets airline approval standards. This means that you can take your dog on a plane with you. It also doubles as a kennel.
So, if you’re staying somewhere for a period of time, your dog can safely use it as their home away from home. This allows you to take your dog with you wherever you go, rather than having to board them.
- Important: Some dogs can feel anxious about traveling that they can try to bite through the steel bars of crates. If you’re concerned that your dog might get hurt in trying to do this, you might want to choose a soft-sided crate. Many feature dual-entry options.
What is the Best Dog Carrier for Hiking?
It’s understandable that you’d want to be more active with your dog. But, not all dogs are built for long walks, hiking, or running. You may have a senior dog who doesn’t get around as easily. Or, your dog may have a medical condition that keeps them from being able to walk far. Some dogs tire out faster than others.
Whatever the case, you don’t have to give up your long hikes, and you don’t have to leave your dog at home. A great way to carry your dog with you is by using a pet backpack.
If you have an active lifestyle, a pet backpack is a perfect way to make sure your dog gets some fresh air and has the opportunity to spend time with you. Our pick for the best backpack for dogs up to 30lbs is the Pet Gear I-GO2 Traveler Roller Backpack.
This backpack is a 5-in-1 product. It can be used in the following ways:
- Rolling carrier
- Traditional carrier
- Car seat
So, no matter what your travel needs might be, it can adjust to fit them!
It’s a wonderful as a pet backpack for several reasons. First, it’s easy and comfortable to wear. If you want to take your dog on long hikes, you need something that isn’t going to weigh you down. The straps on the backpack help to distribute your dog’s weight evenly. So, your shoulders and back won’t get sore over time.
It’s also comfortable for your dog. It features an interior pad for extra cushioning. That pad can be easily removed for washing as needed. The backpack can also expand up to three inches to give your dog extra room if they need it.
The mesh siding will allow for proper ventilation. It will also give your dog the chance to look around. If your dog has a hard time walking long distances, they’ll love being able to be outside and to see their surroundings while being carried.
Best Pet Carrier for Car Travel
You should never let your dog ‘walk free’ in the car. You might think you’re giving them a lot of room to relax, but it could be dangerous for both you and your dog. They should always be secured somehow, and preferably with a durable carrier.
We also love the Pet Gear I-GO2 Traveler Roller Backpack for car travel. Again, it’s a 5-in-1 carrier, and one of its top features is that it can be used in the car. There are two tethers on the carrier that make it easy to attach to your car. This will keep the carrier from sliding off the seat while you’re driving.
There is also a tether inside the backpack that you can hook to your dog’s collar or harness. Even if you hit a bumpy patch of road, the tether will keep your dog from getting jostled around too much. They’re less likely to hurt themselves this way. They’ll also have enough room within the backpack to lay down and get some rest in the car.
You might think that because it has so many different functions, the Pet Gear backpack would be hard to use. But, there aren’t any extra parts you have to worry about, and it’s easy to switch from one type of carrier to another in a matter of minutes.
Plus, now you know once you use the carrier in the car, you can easily make the switch to using it as a backpack. That makes it an excellent carrier for taking your dog camping, to your favorite hiking spot, and more.
What is the Best Rolling Dog Carrier?
Choosing a carrier on wheels allows you to be more hands-free since you don’t have to hold onto the carrier at all times. If you’re traveling through a busy airport or other building, a rolling carrier allows you to move quickly while keeping your dog safe.
One of the best carriers with wheels is the Pet Gear I-GO2 Escort Roller Backpack. Like the Pet Gear Traveler backpack, it has several different functions. But, as the name suggests, it’s a roller that can be pulled behind you or pushed in front of you for convenience.
Rollers are also ideal for people who may not have the grip to hold a traditional tote. They also work well for children or seniors who may otherwise have a hard time lugging around a dog carrier with a dog nearing 30lbs.
This carrier features a mesh window for your dog to look out, so even in busy buildings they’ll be able to check out their surroundings and feel more comfortable. You can turn the carrier from a roller into a backpack. It also works well in the car or as a carrier with handles.
Which Dog Carrier is Right for Senior Dogs?
Older dogs are usually a little calmer, but they also may not do well traveling long distances unless they’re in a comfortable carrier.
For a senior dog, you need something that will work just as well taking them to the vet as it will travel across the country. Older dogs still want to travel with you. But, choosing the right carrier for their comfort and safety should be your top priority.
We recommend the NOZTONOZ Soft-Krate Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home for older dogs. It isn’t a carrier like the Sherpa Deluxe. But, it can act as a kennel for your older dog no matter where you go. If you have to travel and stay overnight somewhere, you can take comfort knowing your senior dog will be comfortable in their own little ‘home.’
Because older dogs often have to go to the vet more often, this is a perfect option for the car. It will keep them comfortable and secure on a trip that might otherwise cause them to be somewhat anxious. If you have to go out of town and leave your older dog somewhere, allowing them to stay in the NOZTONOZ crate can also calm their nerves, especially once they’re used to it.
This crate is easy to set up and take down. It comes in various sizes, including one specifically designed for dogs around 30lbs.
Getting the Right Size of Dog Carrier
Most dog carriers will suggest a weight limit when they’re marketing their product. While the weight limit is vital to know, it shouldn’t be how you determine the right size for your four-legged friend.
Instead, the best solution is to measure your dog the right way. Then, compare those measurements with the inside measurements of the carrier you’re looking at. Why is this important? You may have two 15lb dogs, but if one is much longer than the other, they may not fit in a carrier as well. Height and length matter, even sometimes more than weight.
Use these tips to measure your dog correctly for their carrier:
- To measure height, start at the floor and go to the base of your dog’s ears.
- To measure length, start at the tip of your dog’s nose and go to the tip of their tail.
Your dog should have a couple of inches of extra space in whatever carrier size you choose. This allows them to be able to turn around and lay down comfortably. If the carrier is too small, your dog will be cramped and uncomfortable. If it’s too big, they could get jostled around easily and hurt themselves.
How to Choose a Good Pet Carrier for Your Dog
As you can see, there are many different types of dog carriers and crates to choose from. We broke them down into different types of travel categories so you can have a better idea of which carrier fits your needs.
But, there are extra features you should always look for, no matter what type of traveling you do:
- Comfort: Make sure the carrier is comfortable for your dog. This includes getting the right size and understanding their personality. Some dogs might not mind a hard crate. Others will prefer something soft and padded to lay on while they’re traveling.
- Safety: Safety should never be compromised because of comfort. Things like proper ventilation, harnesses and straps, and reinforced zippers or locks are always great ‘extras’ to look for. The more a carrier boasts about their safety features, the better.
- Extra features: Once you know a carrier is safe and will be comfortable for your dog, consider what they might like and what might make it more convenient for you. Most carriers have different ‘extra features.’ This could include an ergonomic handle to make carrying it easier for you. Or, it might have several pockets and pouches to hold your dog’s treats.
- Durability: Depending on the type of travel you plan on doing with your dog, you want to make sure you have a carrier that can hold up to car rides, air travel, etc.
How to Get a Dog to Like Their Crate
Not all dogs like getting into a crate or carrier right away. Even if you choose the perfect carrier, it can sometimes be a struggle to get them used to it. Thankfully, most dogs can be trained to go into a crate without too much trouble.
It doesn’t matter how old they are, but it does take time and patience. Use these tips to make your dog’s experience with a carrier easier for you both.
- Don’t expect your dog to be comfortable with their carrier overnight. Dogs are natural den animals so once they are familiar with a crate or carrier, they can learn to love it. But, it can take some time. To start, put the carrier in a place where they are familiar. Leave it out in the open so that they can smell and explore it.
- If your dog doesn’t go into the carrier after a few days, you can try to lure them in with their favorite toy or treats. Put the treats near the back of the carrier so that they go all the way inside. They may go in and back out again. But, they’ll associate the carrier with something good. They’ll also realize it isn’t going to hurt them.
- Put something that belongs to you in the carrier when your dog is in there. An old t-shirt is perfect. Your familiar smell will bring them comfort and help them to stay calm. This is especially effective if you’re going on a long trip with the carrier for the first time.
- Speaking of trips, it’s not a good idea to plan a long trip the first time your dog seems comfortable in their carrier. Try taking them to the park or just around the block. You also shouldn’t make their first trip somewhere they don’t like, such as the vet. The more you can associate positive things with the carrier, the better.
You know your dog’s personality better than anyone. These tips are just in place to get you started. Remember, you shouldn’t force your dog into a carrier. You also can’t force them to like it. For some dogs, it can take longer to get used to the process than others.
Most dogs love being with their owners. For many pet owners, dogs quickly become a part of the family. So, it only makes sense that you want to take your dog with you to different places. Even running a few errands with your dog can be easier if you have the right dog carrier.
We hope this guide has given you some ideas about which dog carrier would be the best fit for you and your pet. Yes, there are many options, but that isn’t a bad thing. It just means you can be more specific when it comes to your dog’s needs, your needs, and the type of traveling you plan to do. By making sure your dog is safe and comfortable, you can make traveling with them so much simpler.