Choosing the right carrier for a puppy is an important task. You’ll want a product that is safe and reliable, but also exceptionally comfortable. When also need to keep in mind that your puppy will need room to grow.
Picking out a puppy pet carrier is a little different than choosing one for a full-grown dog. Puppies have different personalities, and those personalities may change over time. One important thing to do is to get your dog used to a crate or carrier when they’re young.
When you do that, it’s easier to take them with you wherever you go, even as they get older. Think of it as another area of training. But, all the practice in the world won’t matter if you’ve purchased the wrong carrier for your puppy as they grow.
Many factors should go into choosing the right pet carrier for a young dog. The first thing to consider is what type of traveling you want to do. Different carriers work better for cars, air travel, hiking, walking, etc. Once you decide, you can take a look at carriers specific to those needs and determine which would be optimal for your little pup!
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Which Pet Carrier is Best for My Puppy?
This guide will feature several of the best pet carriers for puppies. We’ll cover different types of carriers so you can determine which one will work best for you and your dog. We’ll also go over some techniques you can use to get a puppy used to travel in a carrier.
It’s unlikely that you’ll find a pet carrier that is specially designed for puppies only. But, there are many carriers out there that are ideal for young dogs and will provide all the protection and comfort they need. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top products.
Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier
The Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier makes this list as one of the best soft-sided carriers on the market. It’s recommended by the ASPCA, Humane Society, and many veterinarians. As you might expect from those recommendations, it’s quite a safe option.
Safety should be the number one factor when choosing the right carrier for your puppy. Young dogs have different personalities, of course. But, many of them tend to be more energetic and curious. Keeping them safe inside a carrier is a big deal for your own peace of mind!
The safety features of the Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier include:
- Mesh sides: Mesh siding allows for proper ventilation and allows your puppy to see out. They’ll love being able to see around them wherever you go, and it can help to keep them busy, so they don’t get bored inside the carrier.
- Seat belt strap: Taking your pup on the road? You can keep them safe in the car with the included seat belt strap. It will keep the carrier from getting jostled around and sliding all over the car.
- Locking zippers: Little puppies are sometimes known to claw or chew on things, especially if they get bored. The locking zippers on this carrier will keep your young dog from breaking them off and possibly hurting themselves or escaping.
The other principal feature pet owners want in a good puppy carrier is for it to be comfortable. The Sherpa Original Deluxe fits the bill there, too! It has a faux lambskin liner that will keep your pup safe, warm, and comfortable at all times. Plus, the liner is removable for easy washing. If your young dog is getting potty trained, you can clean up their mess easily if they ever have an accident in the carrier.
This is considered a designer carrier because it looks great. When you have a small dog, it makes it easy to take them just about anywhere with you in style. But, as you can tell from the features, it’s much more than just a stylish bag.
Petmate Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel
If your new puppy does have a lot of energy, going with a hard-sided kennel is a great option.
The Petmate Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel is one of the best hard carriers available. It can double as both a crate/kennel and a carrier. So, you can use it in your home as a safe place for your puppy, as well as a durable method of travel for them.
The Petmate carrier is unique because it offers two entry points. Your puppy can either go in through the front door or be lowered down through the top. For dogs who are a bit anxious, lowering them into a carrier can help to keep them calm. Your puppy might be a bit nervous about going inside a carrier at first, so you can calm them down with this method.
The doors are made from metal bars, and the rest is made of a hard, durable plastic. The metal doors allow for a lot of ventilation, so your puppy will always stay cool. Unlike the mesh sides of a soft carrier, your puppy also won’t be able to chew or claw through them.
You might be worried about the comfort of a hard carrier for your puppy. The Petmate carrier doesn’t have a soft padding at the bottom. But, if you’re concerned about your dog’s comfort, you can always put a towel or plush mat in the bottom.
For your own comfort, this carrier has an ergonomic handle. Even carrying a puppy around can start to feel heavy after awhile and may hurt your hand. The comfortable grip on this carrier will allow you to hold it for a more extended period of time without getting a hand cramp.
Finally, this carrier meets airline approval standards. You can take your little pup with you on a long trip, on vacation, or to visit a family member across the country! You can feel good about their safety on an airplane because of the durability and strength of the carrier.
Pet Gear I-GO2 Traveler Roller Backpack
If you want a 5-in-1 carrier that keeps your puppy safe and works with your active lifestyle, you might want to try the Pet Gear I-GO2 Traveler Roller Backpack. This product can be used as a traditional carrier, a backpack, car seat, rolling carrier, or a tote. So, it can adapt to your travel needs quite easily!
It has two tethers that can attach to the car, so it doesn’t slide around. It also fits comfortably over both shoulders so your dog’s weight will be distributed evenly as you use it as a backpack. Why is a backpack a good option for a puppy? Even though many young dogs have a lot of energy, they can get tired quickly. They also might have smaller legs that have a hard time keeping up with you on your walk or hike.
Being able to put them in this backpack when they get tired or need a break can help you both. They’ll still be able to look out and see their surroundings, and you’ll be able to continue your walk or hike comfortably.
AT3 Generation II All Terrain Pet Stroller
You might not think your young dog would enjoy a ride in a stroller, but many of them do! Plus, you can use them for the same reason you might use a backpack. On long walks, puppies can tire out quickly, or they may not be able to keep up. Taking your puppy on shorter walks is a great idea to help them burn off some energy. But, if you have a long walk ahead of you, a stroller is a great option.
One of the best strollers for small puppies is the AT3 Generation II All Terrain Pet Stroller. It features 11.5-inch tires that have shock absorption. So, you can take your puppy for a long walk on all types of terrain, any time of year!
This stroller also has its own fair share of safety features for your young dog. These include a quick-lock security brake so that it will never roll away from you. It also has a large mesh window. By now, you already appreciate the criticality of mesh siding for proper ventilation.
This is a great stroller that can grow with your puppy. It holds small dogs well but can carry an animal up to 40lbs in weight.
Alfie Pet by Petoga Couture Pet Sling
If you have a new puppy, they may be quite clingy at first. It’s normal for a dog to want to spend a lot of time with you as they adapt to you becoming their ‘pack leader.’ Once again, it isn’t always easy for young dogs to keep up with you, even around the house! Some puppies can also get nervous easily, while others are just cuddly by nature.
No matter the reason why your dog wants to be close to you, a great way to make it happen is with the Alfie Pet by Petoga Couture Pet Sling. This sling goes on your shoulder and across your body to rest on your hip. This even weight distribution makes it easy to carry with you almost anywhere and keeps your hands free.
Your young dog will be extremely comfortable in this sling thanks to the soft fleece interior. It also has a safety collar hook inside that you can attach to your puppy. If your little dog is a bit energetic or curious, this will keep them from jumping or falling out of the sling.
Buying the Right Carrier Size Pet Carrier
One common question that comes up when choosing a carrier for a puppy is how to pick the right size. You might automatically go for a smaller carrier, but as your dog grows that small size may not be the best fit.
The rule is that they should be measured from the floor to the top of their head. For length, you should measure from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail.
Do your research ahead of time. If you buy or adopt a puppy that will end up being much larger, you’re not going to want to choose a small carrier. But, you also don’t want something so big that your dog will get jostled around while they’re young and small. That’s why it’s vital to select a carrier with extra safety features. These include things like harnesses or clips that will keep your dog secure inside.
You shouldn’t have to buy a bunch of different carriers just because your dog starts to grow up. Decide on a carrier that will work for them even as they get bigger. They should have enough room to turn around comfortably, but not enough room to get tossed around if you hit a bump somewhere.
When your dog is a puppy, be sure to pay more attention to them while they’re in their crate/carrier. It won’t take long before they start to grow and fill out space quickly.
Are Hard or Soft Carriers Better for Puppies?
The carriers we listed in this guide are great for dogs of any age. But, as stated above, it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s personality and temperament. That’s the best way to determine which type of carrier will work best for both of you.
Many new pet owners might find themselves wondering if they should choose a hard or soft carrier/crate for their pup. Most of the time, it’s a personal preference.
- Provide extra comfort and padding, which can be a big plus for extremely young dogs
- Mesh siding for plenty of ventilation
- No hard, plastic edges for your pup to chew on
- Easy to carry – many come with shoulder straps
- Dogs can look out at their surroundings and you can see them at any time
- Most come with removable liners for easy clean-up
- Exterior or other interior parts may be harder to clean
- Puppies with sharp teeth may be able to chew through the mesh windows
- Durable and built to last
- Can be used as a home kennel
- Metal bars provide proper ventilation
- Good for plane and car travel
- Metal bars can damage a puppy’s teeth if it starts chewing
- Hard floor for the dog to lay on
- Harder to carry with only a handle and no shoulder straps
As you can see, there are pros and cons to both types of carriers. Choose the strengths that most appeal to you and the type of travel you plan on doing with your dog. There is no ‘perfect’ carrier, but the one you choose should be a reflection of what your dog is most comfortable in.
How to Choose a Puppy Carrier Tips
The thing that sets some quality carriers apart from others is the extra features they include. There are many crates and carriers on the market that are safe and durable. But, you’ll want the absolute best for your dog, and yourself. With that in mind, there are specific features you may want to look for that can help to make your decision easier.
Some features to consider include the following:
- Easy to clean: Everyone knows puppies are prone to having accidents. It will be easier to have a carrier that has a removable insert you can throw in the washing machine. Or, use a hard-sided carrier that can be wiped clean with a rag. Until your dog is fully house-broken, there’s a good chance you’ll be cleaning out their carrier quite a bit. So, you’ll want something that makes it easy to do so!
- Waterproof/leakproof: It will be easier for you to choose a carrier that is leakproof. Then, if your puppy does have an accident, it won’t get all over the place and will remain in the carrier itself.
- Safe for them: Choose a carrier based on your dog’s personality. If they are quite hyper, a carrier with mesh sides might not be the best thing for them. If they love to curl up and sleep, a carrier with a soft, plush liner might be perfect.
- Convenient for you: You won’t use a carrier every day if it isn’t easy for you to use and store. Choose something that is simple to travel with and comfortable for you. The easier a carrier is for you to operate, the more likely you are to take your puppy with you anywhere you go.
Making the Transition to a Puppy Carrier
The good news about training a puppy to use a carrier is that you can develop positive habits early on! With older dogs, it can sometimes be challenging to get them used to a carrier. Puppies might be a bit nervous about it at first. But, with a bit of training, you can get them to love their carrier and traveling in it.
Use these techniques to help you:
- Take your time: Don’t expect your puppy to love their carrier instantly. They will probably be curious about it at first and may even do some exploring. Let them walk in and out on their own for a few weeks by leaving it in your house. Once they know it’s something safe, they’ll be less likely to get nervous when they’re put inside.
- Make it comfortable: Puppies love to be cozy and comfortable, so make their carrier an inviting place. Many soft-sided carriers already feature plush flooring. If you have a hard carrier, you should put in a small blanket or towel to keep your dog comfortable on long trips.
- Make it appealing: You can use a reward system to get your dog to start associating positive things with their crate. An easy way to do this with puppies is to place a few yummy treats in the middle or back of the carrier. Or, place their favorite toy in there. The more they can associate the carrier with something positive, the more likely they are to get into it on their own.
Finally, you should continue to take your time even after your dog feels comfortable in their carrier. Don’t take your puppy on a cross-country road trip immediately after they finally feel safe in their crate. Take shorter trips in the car or on foot to see how they do before taking the plunge with longer travel.
Puppies are cute, cuddly, rambunctious and full of love! As a pet owner, you want what’s best for your new little fur-baby. Any of the carriers listed in this guide can give them safety and comfort, no matter what type of travel you may be doing.
We hope this guide has been helpful if you’re on the hunt for the perfect carrier that will last a long time. Use the above tips to make the entire experience less stressful for both you and your puppy! Before long, they’ll love traveling with you everywhere, and you’ll like the constant companionship.