As dog owners, one of our favorite ways to safely get our pup from point A to point B is on the end of their leash. It allows them to get some exercise and to smell the flowers (and everything else) along the way. However, sometimes a travel carrier is a necessity, whether your pup is going to the vet, heading on a long road trip or needs a pleasant refuge at home. Here are five tips to help you pick out the perfect travel carrier.
Make Sure It Measures Up
If your dog has already reached its adult height, choosing the correct-sized travel carrier is relatively simple. It needs to be tall enough that they can stand on all four paws without fear of banging their head on the ceiling. They should also be able to turn around completely while inside the carrier and when lying down, they should be able to lie on their sides with their paws stretched out comfortably.
The key is to not get a travel carrier that is too big for them. If it is too big, they will not have the sense of being protected that dogs need when inside a carrier. As well, one of the points of a travel carrier is that they will treat it like their own space and avoid using it as a bathroom. If it’s too big, they may use one end as a bathroom and the other as a space to lie down, which means a big mess that will need to be cleaned up.
Let Them Grow into It
If you have a puppy, the idea of buying them a new travel carrier as they grow can be a daunting one. From a cost standpoint, the best idea is to purchase a travel carrier that fits their expected size based on their breed. For mixed breeds, this may be a bit of a guess but you should be able to get a pretty good estimate with a little research.
To help your dog get comfortable in a travel carrier that they will grow into, it is best to purchase dividers that will block off a part of the carrier so they can still feel snug inside. Just don’t use something too comfortable like blankets to block off space as they will just use it as a bed.
One Word: Plastics
The most common type of travel carriers are the molded plastic ones with a handle on top and a wire gate that locks at the front. These carriers are easy to carry and provide great security for your pup if they prefer to feel snug and protected.
The downside for these types of carriers are that if you have a particularly furry pup or one who really feels the heat, they may find the lack of air flow inside to be a bit stifling. Additionally, if your dog likes looking around while inside, the plastic top will make it difficult for them to check out their surroundings.
Dream of Wires
Some dogs (and dog owners!) prefer wire travel carriers over the hard-plastic ones. They offer your pup the ability to see all around them, have much better airflow and is easy to clean.
For some dog parents, the major downside to these carriers is that they look too much like cages. Also, these types of carriers are the easiest type for dogs to escape from once they start working on bending the bars with their teeth. Another possible issue is that some pups will figure out they can relieve themselves while inside but not have to sit in their own filth afterward.
A Soft Touch
For smaller dogs, the preferable travel carrier is the over-the-shoulder soft sided type. They are perfect for little Chihuahuas or Pomeranians as they can fit in easily and comfortably and for owners, they come in many stylish colors and are easy to carry.
For owners that use these types of carriers, the biggest concern is that if their pup has an accident inside, they are difficult to clean. Also, for pups who are escape artists, these carriers can be easy to break out of either by chewing a hole in the sides or manipulating the zipper at the front.
The key to buying the perfect travel carrier is to ensure it fits your pup’s personality and size while still meeting your needs as the owner. Whether using the carrier solely for traveling or as a safe space for them to use at home, a travel carrier can make life with your dog even easier.