How Big Should A Dog Carrier Be?

Choosing a carrier for your dog can be a stressful step. There’s always the fear of the carrier being too small, too heavy, or not comfortable enough for your pet. Still, it can be a way to get to know your dog better and what it enjoys.

In this article, we’ve compiled for you all the details that you need to consider when getting a dog carrier. Generally, there is a number of factors that determine how big should a dog carrier be. They depend on your usage, your preferences, and your dog type.

What Are You Using The Carrier For?

This is one of the main factors that affect your choice. Where you’re going to use the carrier and for how long are two elements to put into consideration

If you need a carrier to take your dog to the vet, run some errands with your pet, or just go for a walk or hiking together, you are likely to need a carrier that is easy to carry around.

Yet, a carrier for traveling with your dog by any means of transportation like car, airplane, train, boat, etc. will be different. You’re likely to need a comfortable carrier where your dog can stay for long hours.

Also, having an energetic dog or one with a medical condition, such as arthritis, is another case. It may lead you to put safety or comfort as priorities.

What Kind Of Dogs Do You Have?

In order to pick the most suitable carrier for you and your pet, you must measure your dog.


  1. Start with measuring your dog’s height.
  2. Add a few extra inches to the number.
  3. Your dog should be able to stand comfortably inside the carrier.
  4. Next measure your dog’s length.
  5. Add a few extra inches.
  6. Your dog will need to be able to turn around in a circle when inside
  7. Then measure your dog’s weight.

The Carrier’s Specifications

After measuring your dog, you’ve to compare these numbers to the carrier specifications.

  1. Check the carrier’s height and length to make sure it fits your dog’s size.
  2. Make sure the carrier’s maximum weight is suitable for your dog.
  3. Put in mind that you’ll be carrying both weights.

A carrier that’s too big or too small will end up hurting your dog more than protecting it. Larger isn’t always better when looking for a carrier. Even in case of multiple pets, you’ll need more than one carrier to make sure they’re all safe.

Types of Carriers

These are the main types of dog carrier you can choose. Still, notice that depending on the product, there could be a number of additional features concerning comfort and safety.

Hard-sided Carriers

Hard-sided carriers are strong and durable. Therefore, they’re often made of metal or hard plastic. These carriers are usually used for bulky and large dogs. They’re safe and hard and so suitable for long-distance traveling.

Concerning their materials, the hard-sided carriers aren’t the most comfortable option.

They’re also heavy to carry around and best used when using transportation.

Soft-sided Carriers

Soft-sided carriers are best for small-sized and medium-sized dogs. They’re comfortable for your dog to sit and stay in.

These carriers are also portable and lighter to carry around than the hard-sided ones. Moreover, they sometimes come with a shoulder strap, which makes them suitable for many outings with your dog.

Sometimes a soft-sided carrier can be hard to clean regularly. They’re not as durable as hard-sided ones. Especially, if your dog isn’t used to being in a carrier and may chew or dig to get out.

Wheeled Carriers

Wheeled carriers are more controlled and easier to pull around compared to others. They’re suitable for short walks in the streets and also indoors like in a shopping center.

Some of the wheeled carriers may have detachable wheels in case you want to carry them instead. Yet, these carriers aren’t suitable for rough ground, like when hiking. They’re also not suitable in very crowded places where people can accidentally push the carrier.

Backpacks And Front Packs

Some people like to carry their dogs like how some can carry a baby in backpacks or front packs. They’re great practical options for dogs of small and medium sizes. They’re also portable in case you want to tuck in your dog later when it’s tired.

Though they offer less protection for your pet, it’s more fun for some dogs to see things from a higher view. Yet, the experience may be overwhelming if the place is overly crowded.

Shoulder-sling Carriers

Shoulder-slings are another easy option for little-sized dogs, and puppies who are too young to walk next to you. They’re suitable for walks and running errands more than traveling a long distance.

When using a shoulder-sling carrier you need to make sure of placing it right not to bounce your pet when walking. It’s also important to close it well so your dog doesn’t jump out. It may be a tiring option compared to the backpack due to the weight placed on your shoulders.

The Quality Of The Carrier

In addition to the main types of carriers, the quality of your carrier is just as important. A bad quality carrier, even if the right type, may not offer you what you and your dog need.

The Materials

Your carrier needs to be made of durable and safe materials. For soft-sided carriers, the material should be comfortable and breathable. Mesh sides are preferred for your dog to see through and enjoy the view. They can also reduce the anxiety that can get your pet.

While hard-sided is made of metal or hard plastic, it’s crucial to make sure it’s durable with no harmful edges anywhere in the carrier.


Some hard-sided carriers can have two doors, one in the front and another on the top. This 2-door option makes it easy to get your dog in and out.

This feature is most useful when pets tend to sit in the far corner out of fear or simply to sleep and so it’s easier to get them out from the top.

Zippers, Snaps Or Locks

In case of a shoulder-sling or a backpack, zippers need to be large and strong. They shouldn’t open easily if your dog tries to get out.

In the case of hard-sided carriers, snaps can be a useful way to lock them well. Yet, if they’re so loud the sound can scare your dog. The locks should be strong and firm not to open easily.

Final Thoughts

Measuring things right before getting your dog carrier can save you a lot of time, money, and effort. Moreover, understanding what your dog needs and likes can turn the carrier into an enjoyable means of transportation for your pet.