The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Airline Pet Carrier for Dogs

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Travelling with your furry friend can be a heartwarming and rewarding experience, but it comes with challenges. One of the most critical aspects of travelling with your canine companion by air is ensuring their safety, comfort, and security. This is where the best airline pet carriers for dogs come into play.

The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Airline Pet Carrier for Dogs

Choosing a suitable pet carrier is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the importance of selecting the best airline pet carrier for your dog, the factors to consider, and a list of top options. Whether planning a short domestic flight or a long international journey, you’ll find all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Why You Need an Airline Pet Carrier

Before we delve into the specifics of choosing the best airline pet carrier for your dog, let’s first understand why it’s a crucial investment for any pet owner who wishes to travel by air with their furry companion.

Safety and Security

Safety should be your top priority when flying with your dog. Airline pet carriers are designed to keep your dog securely contained throughout the flight, ensuring that they don’t wander or get injured during turbulence. The carrier’s sturdy construction protects your pet from accidental bumps and jolts.

Airline Regulations

Most airlines have specific regulations and guidelines for travelling with pets. Using an approved airline pet carrier is often mandatory to ensure your pet’s well-being and comply with airline policies. Choosing a page that meets these regulations will save you the hassle of last-minute adjustments or rebooking your flight.

Comfort and Well-being

An airline pet carrier isn’t just about confinement; it’s also about providing your dog with a comfortable and stress-free travel experience. The suitable carrier can keep your dog calm and cozy, reducing travel anxiety and ensuring they arrive at their destination in good spirits.

Peace of Mind

Travelling may be an anxiety-inducing occasion for both you and your pet. Investing in a high-quality airline pet carrier will give you peace of mind, knowing that your beloved companion is safe, secure, and comfortable throughout the journey.

Critical Considerations for Choosing the Best Airline Pet Carrier

Now that we understand the importance of an airline pet carrier let’s explore the key factors to consider when selecting the perfect one for your dog.

Size and Fit

The first and most crucial consideration is the carrier’s size. It should provide enough space for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie comfortably. Please measure your dog’s length from nose to tail and height from the ground to their shoulder to ensure a proper fit. Airlines have specific size requirements, so check and adhere to them.

Material and Durability

The carrier components should be long-lasting and easy to clean. Opt for pages made from high-quality materials like nylon, polyester, or hard-sided plastic. Look for reinforced seams and ventilation holes for breathability.


Proper ventilation ensures your dog gets enough fresh air during the flight. Ventilation slots or mesh windows on the carrier are necessary, as they help regulate temperature and provide comfort.

Security Features

Safety should be a top priority. Ensure the carrier has secure locking mechanisms and escape-proof features to prevent your dog from accidentally getting out during the flight. Look for carriers with solid zippers, latches, or locking doors.

Comfort and Padding

A comfortable interior is vital for your dog’s well-being. Ensure the carrier includes a soft, padded floor or mat for your dog to rest on during the journey. Some carriers also come with removable and washable liners for easy cleaning.

Easy to Clean

Accidents can happen during the flight. Make sure the carrier is easy to clean and maintain, either by having removable and machine-washable components or by being simple to wipe down.


Consider the weight and portability of the carrier, as you’ll need to transport it to and from the airport. Look for carriers with padded handles, shoulder straps, or wheels for easy maneuvering.

Airline Approval

Ensure the carrier is compliant with your chosen airline’s regulations. Contact the airline or check their website for specific requirements, such as the type of carrier, size restrictions, and any necessary documentation.

Types of Airline Pet Carriers

There are several types of airline pet carriers, each with features and benefits. Let’s explore the most common options:

Soft-Sided Carriers

Soft-sided carriers are lightweight and comfortable for your dog. They are typically made of durable nylon or polyester with mesh windows for ventilation. These carriers are easy to store and often come with pockets for accessories. However, they may not be as sturdy as hard-sided carriers, and some dogs may be able to chew their way out.

Hard-Sided Carriers

Hard-sided carriers offer superior protection and security. They are typically made from durable plastic, providing a solid structure that can withstand rough handling. These carriers are easy to clean and provide a level of insulation. However, they tend to be heavier and may have limited ventilation.

Wheeled Carriers

Wheeled carriers are designed with convenience in mind. They come with wheels and a telescoping handle, making them easily transported through airports. Wheeled carriers are often available in both soft-sided and hard-sided variations, combining the benefits of both types.

Backpack Carriers

Backpack carriers are a hands-free option for small dogs. They allow you to carry your pet, freeing your hands to handle other luggage. These carriers are typically soft-sided and offer good ventilation and comfort for your dog.

Comparison of Top Pick Airline Pet Carriers for Dogs

Pet Carrier

Entry Points

In-Cabin Approved

Machine Washable

Safety Strap


Henkelion Pet Carrier

Top and Side




Check Price

Sherpa Original Deluxe Travel Pet Carrier

Top and Side




Check Price

Morpilot Portable Pet Bag





Check Price

Prodigen Airline Approved Pet Carrier

Top and Side




Check Price

Amazon Basics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier

Top and Side




Check Price

Seclato Airline Approved Pet Carrier

Top and Side




Check Price

Top Pick Airline Pet Carriers for Dogs

Now that you know what to look for in an airline pet carrier, let’s explore some of the top options available in the market. We’ve curated a list of carriers known for their quality, safety, and features.

Henkelion Pet Carrier:

The Henkelion Cat and Dog Carrier is a versatile soft-sided pet carrier suitable for cats and dogs. It is designed for in-cabin travel and meets most airline requirements. This carrier features a sturdy construction with reinforced seams and durable zippers. It has multiple mesh windows for ventilation and visibility and includes a soft and comfortable fleece pad. The carrier offers two entry points and a pocket for pet essentials.


  • Suitable for both cats and dogs.
  • Well-ventilated design for your pet’s comfort.
  • Reinforced seams and durable zippers for safety.
  • Soft and comfortable fleece pad included.
  • Multiple mesh windows for visibility.
  • In-cabin approved for most airlines.


  • Limited colour and size options.

Sherpa Original Deluxe Travel Pet Carrier:

The Sherpa Original Deluxe Travel Pet Carrier is a premium soft-sided airline-approved carrier. It offers a cozy and secure environment for your pet during travel. It features mesh windows on three sides for ample ventilation and visibility. Pet access is made simple with the top and side entries. The carrier includes a machine-washable faux lambskin liner for comfort and a safety strap for securing it to a seatbelt during car travel.


  • Top and side entry for convenience.
  • Mesh windows on three sides for ventilation.
  • Machine-washable faux lambskin liner.
  • Safety strap for car travel.
  • Multiple size options are available.
  • Trusted and famous brand.


  • Slightly more expensive than some other options.

Morpilot Portable Pet Bag:

The Morpilot Portable Pet Bag is a soft-sided pet carrier for small dogs and cats. It features a foldable design for easy storage and a removable, machine-washable mat for comfort. The carrier has multiple mesh windows for ventilation, and visibility and a sturdy construction with a reinforced frame. It meets most airline requirements for in-cabin travel.


  • Foldable design for easy storage.
  • Removable and machine-washable mat.
  • Sturdy construction with a reinforced frame.
  • Multiple mesh windows for ventilation.
  • Affordable option.
  • Meets most airline requirements.


  • It may not be suitable for larger dogs.
  • Limited size options.

Prodigen Airline Approved Pet Carrier:

The Prodigen Airline Approved Pet Carrier is a durable, well-ventilated, soft-sided carrier suitable for small and medium-sized pets. It features a robust mesh design on three sides, providing excellent airflow and visibility for your pet. The carrier has a safety strap and seatbelt loops for car travel. It also includes a cozy fleece pad for your pet’s comfort.


  • Durable and well-ventilated mesh design.
  • Safety strap and seatbelt loops for car travel.
  • A cozy fleece pad is included.
  • Multiple size and colour options.
  • Affordable price.
  • Meets airline requirements for in-cabin trips.


  • Some users may prefer more colour choices.

Amazon Basics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier:

The Amazon Basics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier is a budget-friendly option for small pets. This soft-sided carrier features a well-ventilated mesh design for airflow and visibility. It includes a machine-washable fleece pad for comfort and has top and front entry options. The carrier meets most airline requirements for in-cabin travel.


  • Budget-friendly price.
  • Well-ventilated mesh design.
  • Machine-washable fleece pad.
  • Top and front entry options.
  • Multiple size options.
  • Meets airline requirements for in-cabin travel.


  • Limited colour choices.
  • It may not be as durable as premium options.

Seclato Airline Approved Pet Carrier:

The Seclato Airline Approved Pet Carrier is a versatile, stylish, soft-sided carrier suitable for small dogs and cats. It features a well-ventilated design with mesh windows on three sides for airflow and visibility. The carrier includes a soft, padded mat for your pet’s comfort. It also has a pocket for storing small essentials and meets most airline requirements for in-cabin travel.


  • Stylish and well-ventilated design.
  • Soft, padded mat for pet comfort.
  • Convenient pocket for essentials.
  • Multiple size options are available.
  • Meets airline requirements for in-cabin travel.
  • Durable construction.


  • Limited colour choices.
  • Not suitable for larger pets.

Remember that the choice of an airline-approved pet carrier depends on the size and needs of your pet, as well as your specific preferences and budget. It’s essential to carefully consider your pet’s comfort and safety when selecting a suitable carrier for your travel needs.

Preparing Your Dog for Air Travel

Before you embark on your journey, preparing your dog for air travel is crucial to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience.

Familiarize Your Dog with the Carrier

Introduce your dog to the carrier well in advance of your trip. Place their favourite toys and treats inside to create a positive association. Allow your dog to enter and exit the carrier freely, gradually increasing the time they spend inside.

Visit the Veterinarian

Schedule a pre-flight visit to your veterinarian to ensure your dog is in good health for travel. Ensure your pet’s vaccinations are current, and obtain any necessary documentation the airline requires.

Exercise and Bathroom Breaks

Before your flight, engage your dog in exercise to help them release excess energy. Offer bathroom breaks to minimize accidents during travel. However, avoid feeding your dog too close to the departure time to prevent motion sickness.

Keep Your Dog Calm

Create a calm and relaxed environment for your dog on the day of the flight. Talk to them soothingly and provide familiar items like their favourite blanket or toy. Stay away from loud noises and stressful circumstances.

Double-Check Documents

Ensure you have all the necessary documents for your dog’s travel, including health certificates, vaccination records, and any special permits required for international travel.

Tips for a Smooth Air Travel Experience

To wrap up our guide, here are some essential tips to ensure a smooth air travel experience for you and your dog:

Check Airline Policies

Always check the specific airline’s pet travel policies and regulations to avoid any surprises on the day of your flight. Every airline has different guidelines and specifications.

Arrive Early

Make sure you have enough time to go to the airport. This will allow you to review the check-in process calmly and avoid any last-minute rush.

Stay Calm and Confident

Dogs are susceptible to their owners’ emotions. Stay calm and confident; your dog will likely remain relaxed throughout the journey.

Avoid Sedatives

While it might be tempting to use sedatives to calm your dog, it’s generally not recommended. Please consult your veterinarian before using any medications, as they can have unpredictable effects at high altitudes.

Be Prepared for Security Checks

When you go through security checks, you’ll need to remove your dog from the carrier. Ensure your dog is wearing a secure harness and leash to prevent accidental escapes.

Best Airline Pet Carrier for Dogs


Choosing the best airline pet carrier for your dog is vital when planning air travel with your furry friend. It’s a matter of safety, security, and ensuring your dog’s comfort and well-being during the journey. By considering the carrier’s size, material, ventilation, security features, and airline approval, you can select the perfect transport for your dog’s needs.

In addition to the carrier itself, the preparation and care you provide to your dog before and during the flight play a significant role in ensuring a successful travel experience. With a suitable carrier and proper preparation, you and your canine companion can embark on a memorable journey together, creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime.


Are all pet carriers suitable for airline travel?

No, not all pet carriers are suitable for airline travel. Airlines have specific regulations and requirements for pet carriers, including size restrictions and construction standards. To ensure your carrier is suitable, check with your chosen airline and ensure the carrier complies with their guidelines.

Can I use any pet carrier for in-cabin travel with my dog?

No, not all pet carriers are suitable for in-cabin travel. In-cabin carriers typically need to be soft-sided and fit under the airline seat. Ensure that your chosen carrier is approved for in-cabin use and meets the size requirements specified by your airline.

What size carrier should I choose for my dog?

The size of the carrier should allow your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Please measure your dog from nose to tail and from the ground to their shoulder to determine the appropriate size. Additionally, check with your airline for their specific size requirements, which may vary.

Are there any safety features I should look for in an airline pet carrier?

Yes, safety features are essential. Look for carriers with secure locking mechanisms, well-ventilated designs, and escape-proof elements. Reinforced seams, strong zippers, and durable materials are all crucial for your dog’s safety during air travel.

How can I prepare my dog for air travel in a pet carrier?

Preparing your dog for air travel involves getting them accustomed to the carrier well in advance. Allow your dog to explore the carrier, place familiar items inside, and gradually increase their time. You should also visit the veterinarian for a pre-flight checkup and ensure your dog is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. Finally, practice short trips in the carrier to help your dog adjust to the travel experience.

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