What is the Best Small Dog Carry-on Bag for Comfort & Pet Safety?

Many people take their pets with them when they go on vacation.  Hotels are getting more pet-friendly, and so are airlines.  There are always certain rules that you have to follow, though, to ensure everyone’s safety (especially your pet’s).  You want the best dog carry-on bag, and it needs to be comfortable, safe, and affordable.

There are different styles of bags for small dogs.  There are ones with soft mats, there are water / leak proof bags, there are ones with pockets that allow you to carry important documents in, such as vet and vaccination records, treats, medicine, etc.

It is essential to get the correct size carry-on bag for a small dog.  If it is too small, then your dog will be very uncomfortable, which will make for a miserable trip.  If the bag is too big, your dog will have too much room and may slip and slide, or want to play during the trip.  We will help you to choose the perfect size below.

In this article, we will talk more about carry-on bags for small dogs.  We will go into detail with some of the most popular bags, including ones that are approved by the major airlines and recommended by animal organizations, and vets.

What’s the Best Small Dog Carry On Bag for Flights?

Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet CarrierThe Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier is, by far, the best carry-on pet carrier, especially for small dogs.  The Sherpa name is well known for its high quality products.  This bag is not only recommended by vets, Recommended by the Delta Society, Humane Society, the ASPCA, and Veterinarians, for the safety and functionality.

You can read more about this carry-on bag in our full review by clicking on the link above.  This bag has both front and top entrances, and three mesh sides for good ventilation.

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The bottom of the bag and the handles are reinforced, making it sturdier than some other bags.

Sherpa pet carriers are the only carriers that are guaranteed on board.  That means that the carrier meets all of the specific rules and regulations of airlines.

It is leak proof, in case of an ‘accident’ while traveling.

It also has locking zippers, to ensure that you pet won’t be able to get out.

What’s the Best Small Dog Carry On Bag with Wheels?

For those of you who have shoulder or back problems, there are airline approved carry-on bags with wheels.  They are very much like regular wheeled luggage bags.  They have telescoping handles, and usually three sides are mesh.

What's the Best Small Dog Carry-on Bag?A good wheeled carry-on bag is the Snoozer Wheel Around 4-In-1 Pet Carrier.  You can click on the link above to read our full review, including the different sizes, but we will tell you a little bit about it here.

It has a multi-stage telescope handle, which will make it easy for you to pull along with you no matter how tall you are.  There is mesh on 3 sides, which makes the bag very well ventilated.

It is also a good travel bag, as it can also be used as a backpack, car seat, or pet bed.

What Does a Bag Need to Be Airline Compliant?

Different airlines have different rules, or guidelines that you have to follow.  We advise that you call ahead of time to find out your specific airline’s guidelines.  Some of them have special fares that you have to pay to travel with a pet, and some only allow a certain number of animals per flight.

You can see the regulations for Southwest Airlines by clicking on this link.

  • A bag must have adequate air circulation.
  • It must be small enough to fit under the airline seat.  You should get a middle or window seat, and those seats are higher than the aisle seat.  The bag must be put under the seat in front of you, so you should take this into consideration when traveling with your dog.
  • Travel tags are also good to have, to place on the bag with your dog’s name, your name, and telephone number.  An inside clip is also attached to most pet carry-on bags, and this should be attached to a harness.
  • You should have a harness instead of a collar, because many dogs can get out of a collar, and there is a chance that they could get loose.
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How to Accurately Measure a Pet Carry On Bag

Besides making sure that your small dog can’t escape the bag, you have to make sure that the bag isn’t too small or too big.  Most of the pet carry bags have inside as well as outside measurements, but not all of them.  Make sure to look for ‘inside measurements’.  If those words are not on the measurements, then you should deduct about an inch from the measurements, as this is how much room will be inside.

To measure your small dog for a proper fit, have him or her sit.  Measure from the top of the head to the feet.  The height should be about an inch above the head, depending on their ear size.  Next, have them lay down.  Measure from their nose to their tail.  This is the length that you need the bag to be.

Your pet has to be able to stand up and turn around comfortably.

Consider the Health & Anxiety of Your Pet

Before you take your pet traveling with you, we recommend that you talk to your vet if your dog is anxious or has health problems.  Although most dogs do fine, and like to travel with their owners, some dogs may not be able to handle a long flight, due to their health.  Pet owners don’t realize that their dog may not be able to do well with the change of altitude.

Taking your small dog with you can be a very fun experience.  When you have the best small dog carry-on bag, both you and your pet will have a comfortable flight.  Your dog will be comfortable, and you can be rest assured that no harm will come to them.