What Is A Dog Carrier?
A Dog Carrier is precisely what it claims to be and that is a ‘carrier’ for a dog.
When Is A Dog Carrier Useful?
The use of a dog carrier is becoming increasingly popular with dog owners. A dog carrier can make life much easier when there is a need to transport or travel with a dog. It provides a safe and (hopefully) comfortable space for your dog while leaving you stress-free and able to enjoy the journey.
Travelling with a dog that is ensconced in a dog carrier helps reduce the stress of the situation and can ensure everyone arrives safely.
Of course, there are a couple of conditions that need to be met first.
- Firstly, it is a prerequisite that a dog needs to be trained to see the dog carrier as their safe place. Read our article on the fundamentals of dog crate training.
- Secondly, the dog carrier needs to be of a size and quality appropriate to and fit for, the purpose for which it is to be used. Read more at crates for dogs and DIY dog crates.
Not every dog carrier is made to fit every purpose, so let’s look at the different types of dog carriers currently available and then we’ll identify what you need to look for in a dog carrier to ensure the safety and comfort of your dog.
Dog Carrier Types And Uses
1. Walking and Hiking
A dog carrier designed for use when walking can take many shapes and styles.
The Dog Stroller.
The Dog Stroller is a very handy and versatile option for dog owners. Read our recent article for an in-depth examination of the uses and benefits of a dog stroller.
Versatile Dog Bag, Dog Chest-Pack, Dog Backpack and Dog Sling.
The Dog Bag
The Dog Chest-Pack
The Dog Sling
The Dog BackPack
These are all very practical as they leave the dog owner’s hands free. Your dog remains involved with his surroundings including you, yet remains safe and protected in the dog carrier.
A Dog Wheelie Case.
The Dog Wheelie Case can double up for easy travel when travelling by plane, if it complies with the specific airline’s regulations.
A dog carrier that attaches to the bike can be used for smaller dogs. Medium sized and larger dogs don’t need to miss out either. Dog wagons or dog trailers can be attached to the rear of the bike just like a trailer to a car!
3. Car Travel
For the safety of all road users, your dog should always be secured when travelling in a moving vehicle. Read our in-depth article on how and why a dog car seat will save the lives of all occupants in a car or any vehicle.
Your dog doesn’t need to miss out on fun with you and the family when you go camping anymore. Collapsible crates for dogs are perfect for giving your dog his own safe place out in the wilderness (or trailer park!). It is also very convenient for you to pack and unpack without taking up too much valuable space.
5. Airline Travel
Many dog carriers are designed for airline travel and claim to meet airline regulations. However it is always best to check with the airline you intend to travel with beforehand for specific dog carriers.
Some airlines allow dogs to be brought on-board with the dog owner. Some airlines also allow a dog to travel in the ‘live cargo’ area of the plane. These allowances, when granted, must be in strict accordance with the airline’s rules. The rules will include their requirement to carry your dog in their approved dog carriers.
Your dog should not be stressed when travelling. To avoid stress, anxiety and the behavior that will result, it is essential that your dog has been crate trained. The training must happen early in the travel plans. You must ensure your dog is comfortable with his dog carrier. Do not just place and lock your dog in a dog carrier to be loaded into the ‘live cargo’ area. Read our article on crate training and start the training well before any travel is booked!
Dog Safety First
When your dog travels on an airplane, the dog carrier you have selected must be designed to protect your dog from getting stepped on or getting lost in transit. The dog carrier will also provide your dog with protection in the event that there is any impact on the dog carrier including from other suitcases, carriers and carts. Also consider that the more durable and stable your dog carrier is, the less likely it will be that your dog can escape from it, even if he tries. Avoid flimsy materials that don’t feel secure during transit as they won’t protect your dog.
Always check with the airline beforehand and ensure you fully comply with their requirements and regulations to avoid any disappointment at the gate!
Always Contact your Airline in Advance.
The majority of airlines have strict guidelines when it comes to both the size and weight of a dog carrier whether it’s for carry on or to go in live cargo hold. Durability and stability will be important factors in selecting the right dog carrier.
Airlines will require that a dog carry-on be small enough to fit beneath the seat in front of you so this will clearly only be an option when you have a small dog. A medium to larger dog will be referred to the cargo area so a hard plastic shell carrier would be more protective for your dog if there’s a bumpy journey. A carry-on dog carrier should also protect your dog with plenty of padding so that your dog isn’t harmed by the rigidity of seat construction under which he will be placed or by any movements in the airplane. Mesh panels are a must to provide proper ventilation and the fabric will need to be soft and water-repellent. Airflow is important as you don’t want your dog to be too warm and become dehydrated when travelling.
6. Bus and Train Travel
Similar to airline travel, check with the transport operator prior to embarking on a trip with your dog.
What to Look For In a Dog Carrier
The most important factors in a dog carrier will vary based on the purpose of intended use. Check out of useful Guide to Crates for Dogs designed to help you quickly and easily determine which crates and carriers may be right for your dog – before you buy!
Consider future needs even if your primary purpose for a dog carrier today may be for short walks. You may need to travel by an airplane, bus or train with your dog at some future point. It would be better to buy one good quality dog carrier to serve you and your dog for most travel scenarios.
Consider each of these components of a dog carrier and how they will impact on the protection of your dog.
External Covering. Durable, Padded, Hard-cover, and washable. Always buy the best quality that you can. This is because the external part of a dog carrier is the most vulnerable to the environment.
Handles and Straps (where relevant). Ensure that the handles are sturdy with high quality stitching, preferably double stitching for additional security.
Bottom/Underside. Durable so it can withstand different surfaces as well as heat, cold, moisture, and dampness.
Ventilation. Airflow is essential for your dog’s comfort and health. Look for mesh panelling at the top, sides or front. Well stitched zipper openings are essential so look for double stitching. Check that the zipper is comfortable to hold and access for you. Make sure they are not in a position where your dog can play with them or accidentally detach them.
Additional pockets. Consider if they securely attached and can you detach them if required. These can be great for storing dog toys or leashes.
Lockable. What mechanism is used for locking and securing your dog? Make sure the mechanism is practical and safe. You need to secure your dog from the outside. Your dog should not be able to reach to play with, or chew, on the mechanism.
Training is Always the Answer
At DIY Dog Projects, we think that teaching your dog good behavior is the most important and most rewarding project you can do for and with your dog. We hope this article has helped you to decide which dog carrier is right for your and your dog. You will need to train your dog to be comfortable in the dog carrier. Click on the Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer link below and let him be your guide to dog carrier training.