One of the great joys of having a dog is being able to take it everywhere you go, and experience new adventures together. But travel with your dog – whether by car or plane – can often seem daunting.
The answer is to get the right pet carrier: one that’s comfortable for both of you, and suitable for the type of trip you’re taking.
The good news is there are plenty of pet carriers in the market at the moment, and this means that the days of carrying that bulky and heavy crate to carry your canine friend are over. You should start thinking of getting yourself a nice pet carrier in advance of your next trip – with plenty of time for your dog to get used to it before you set off.
Getting just the right fit for your dog can prove bewildering sometimes because of the plenty of options to choose from – but the most important thing is to make sure that you choose a pet carrier that your dog will feel most comfortable in.
Table of Contents
What You Need to Know About Pet Carriers
The underlying principles in choosing the right pet carrier are durability, comfort, safety and affordability. These are the four things you should keep in mind whenever you’re evaluating potential carriers.
You also need to consider size. The right carrier should leave enough room for your pet to turn around, sit and stand. This makes them feel comfortable and less trapped.
A good rule of thumb is that a carrier should be one and a half times the size of your pet. This ensures that the carrier is neither too big nor too small but just the right amount of size for your dog. An extra-large carrier can make your dog feel unsettled and hard to get comfortable, even though you might think giving him the most space possible is the best idea. It’ll also get heavy quickly for you!
Just a heads up, always make a point of lining the bottom of your carrier with a thick towel. This will go a long way in preventing your pet from slipping around during your trip.
Four Tips For Choosing The Right Carrier
There are a lot of parameters to be considered and choices to be made when choosing a pug carrier. Here are some tips to make your pet carrier hunt less daunting.
Weigh and measure your pet
The first thing you need to do is measure its height – especially the distance from the shoulder to the floor and not from the head. You do this because it will spend most of its time curled up, lying down or stretched. This measurement will help you get a carrier that has ample room for the it to freely turn around.
The weight of your pet matters too because it will determine the way your plan your trip. For instance, if your dog weighs more than 15 pounds, it might not be allowed to travel in-cabin since there are some airline companies that have strict maximum weight requirements. A nice carrier you could opt for in-cabin travel is the EliteField Soft Sided Pet Carrier.
Check for quality
A good quality carrier is expensive, but will make every trip so much easier. A good quality carrier is meant to be sturdy and have additional features that come in handy in making your pet feel a lot more comfortable than a budget carrier.
You will not only have a peace of mind but also enjoy an extended service life far into the future of your trips. Some features to look for include mesh ventilation panels, sturdy, good quality zippers and some visual access from the upside of the carrier. A good quality carrier on a budget you could consider is the Paws & Pals Airline Approved Pet Carrier.
Also make sure your carrier is described as “airline approved”. This isn’t an official designation and doesn’t guarantee it being accepted on any given trip, but it means it meets the main requirements of the majority of airlines.
Wheels or no wheels?
You are bound to get tired at some point while carrying your pet around. Wheels are not only a nice touch to a carrier but also make it a lot more convenient to push it around in case you feel tired from carrying it around.
For instance, you have a long flight that needs a layover, a wheeled carrier will save you some energy when moving around from a tiring flight. The Gen7Pets Geometric Roller-Carrier Backpack is a good choice for wheeled carriers.
However, wheels do add a lot of weight to a carrier – so if there will be parts of the journey where you’ll need to pick it up (such as going up and down stairs, or over cobbles) it might be better to go for something more lightweight with a shoulder strap.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Depending on your pet’s temperament, it might bound happily into its new carrier at first sight or be extremely wary. Unless you’re totally sure that your pet loves adventure, it’s a good idea to buy your carrier well in advance to allow time for it to get used to it before the trip.
Start by just leaving it around the house for your dog to explore and sniff. Let it wander in and out freely, and consider putting treats or a favourite blanket inside so it starts to associate the carrier with positive experiences.
Then when it’s time for the trip, make sure you put in a favorite toy – perhaps one you’ve kept away for a week or two so it’s novel and keeps your dog more occupied. Another tip is to put in an unwashed t-shirt of yours, so your dog can be calmed by your scent throughout the trip.
Getting the right carrier doesn’t guarantee a stress-free trip, because so much depends on your pet’s personality. But it certainly goes a long way to making your pet feel comfortable – and arrive ready to explore its new surroundings with you!