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Best Dog Carrier Bags for Pups Traveling on the Go

Our team independently researches and recommends the best pet products for you and your furry friends. Note: This post may contain affiliate links.

You travel. Even if you just roam the city, you cover a lot of ground. Why shouldn’t your dog accompany you? After all, new sights and sounds are just as refreshing for them as they are for you. Certain locations – airplanes, busy city streets, crowded public parks – aren’t the safest for small dogs, though. How to bring your furry family member along for the trip and still keep them protected? Dog carrier bags to the rescue!


Dog carrier bags have come a long way over the years. Instead of the rigid plastic carriers used to transport pets to veterinary appointments, designs have evolved into elegant creations that cater to every activity and function. People use “carriers” to bring their dogs along on all of their adventures:

  • Lunch dates in the city
  • Jet-setting around the globe
  • Hiking trips through the mountains
  • Contemplative bike rides through the park

Types of Dog Carrier Bags

Depending on your lifestyle and your particular needs, you can find a dog carrier bag that fits.

  • Backpacks: Adventure awaits! Whether across your back or held on your chest, backpacks allow you to venture into the wilds.
  • Purses: Dog purses bridge the line between fashion and function. Often embellished with quilting studs or bows, your dog gets to accompany you in style.
  • Slings: Your dog’s your baby, so why not papoose them like one? Slings cradle your dog across your body.
  • “Standard” Carriers: The humble carrier ditched the harsh plastic in favor of soft sides and shoulder straps. Far from boring, you can find pockets, fold-out panels, and plenty of other features to jazz up your dog’s transportation.

Choosing a Dog Carrier Bag

Once you’ve settled on a type of dog carrier bag, you need to focus on the features. The function’s important, and there ARE adorable options out there, but you need to keep some rational thoughts in mind before you make that purchase.

  • Size: Your dog needs to fit in the carrier bag comfortably. This means measuring from chest to tail, from the top of the head to toes, AND checking their weight. You don’t want to squash your dog into a carrier that’s too small.
  • Collar Connector: Even if your chosen carrier zips closed, you want the security of an inside collar connector. Zippers and Velcro closures CAN come open. Do you want the risk of your dog escaping?
  • Ventilation: Your dog needs air circulation. This means mesh panels on the sides. It’s okay if there are flaps that roll down when it’s chilly out (no doggie popsicles), but you don’t want your dog confined in a stuffy carrier.
  • Carrying Assistance: You’re getting a dog carrier bag, right? While handles are chic on a purse, you should aim for a shoulder strap, as well. Remember, you’re going to add your dog’s weight to the bag, and your hands WILL get tired.

Fly Dogs

If you plan to use your dog carrier bag for airline travel, you need to keep a few other things in mind. Airlines set restrictions on carriers that are allowed in the cabin. While every airline is different (check their websites for specific regulations), most share some generalities:

  • Must be small enough to fit beneath the seat
  • The carrier HAS to have two-sided ventilation
  • A waterproof bottom is mandatory (just in case of an accident)
  • Your dog carrier bag must zip fully closed

Best Dog Carrier Bags

Having the option to take your dog with you wherever you go provides relief to many owners. Whether you rely on an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or just like keeping your dog close, dog carrier bags let your dog travel at your side. Choose your type and style, and let the fun begin!

Best Standard Dog Carrier Bags

Calling these dog carrier bags “standard” doesn’t do them justice. These carriers come with bells and whistles any dog owner would love. Whether you’re making a trip to the vet or jetting across the country, you can rest assured knowing your dog is safe and comfortable.

Do you want to make sure your dog carrier bag stays secure during car trips? EliteField provides the perfect option. Their carrier comes with buckle loops on the outside you pass seatbelts through, keeping your dog safe in the car. A fleece bed in the bottom lets your dog lounge in comfort, while a rigid base retains the carrier’s shape. Instead of just a padded shoulder strap, you get padded handles, too, easing the strain on your hands.

Downsides? While the bottom retains its shape, the sides collapse inward. Also, the mesh panels are much smaller than other carriers, limiting ventilation.

The Good

The Bad

If you’re a frequent flyer, Paws & Pals offers you an affordable dog carrier bag. The carrier comes in two sizes and an array of color options. Mesh windows ensure your dog stays ventilated while affording them unobstructed views. Both the small and large sizes fit under airline seats. Both handles and a padded shoulder strap let you switch between carrying modes with ease. Are you finished with travel? The carrier collapses down for easy storage (after you toss it into the wash for cleaning).

The downsides? The carriers run to the small size. Also, people complained about the carrier’s durability.

The Good

The Bad

Want to give your dog plenty of room? Pet Peppy has the answer. Both sides of this dog carrier bag fold out to create an expansive retreat for your dog. Mesh windows allow for plenty of viewing and ventilation. Ready to hit the road? Collapse the sides in, and you’re set! You get the option of handles or a shoulder strap for easy portability. Best of all, you get a handy pocket and collapsible food and water bowls!

So what are the downsides? This carrier only works for dogs up to 14 pounds. People also questioned the carrier’s durability.

The Good

The Bad

If you hit the airlines regularly, Sherpa is the best dog carrier bag for you. TSA knows and recognizes these carriers, and airlines approve them for use under the seat. If TSA refuses the carrier for any reason, Sherpa will reimburse you for the cost of your flight AND the pet travel fee! (You can’t beat that!) Mesh panels on all sides provide proper ventilation and allow your dog to see what’s going on around them. The wire spring frame retains its shape, even after getting pushed under a seat. Locking zippers guarantee safety, while seatbelt straps provide reassurance in the car. You get an adjustable shoulder strap and a convenient pocket for storing travel documents or treats.

Downside? The reason we stopped using these carriers for our cats: while the frame retains its shape, the top sags inward, and you can’t fix it (no matter how hard you try).

The Good

The Bad

Best Purse Dog Carrier Bags

Whether you opt for a tote or purse, this style of dog carrier bag provides a discrete option for your canine family member. Purses have a traditional zippered closure, while totes favor a cut-out for your dog’s head and an open top. You have plenty of options to reflect your style, letting your dog bask in the chic atmosphere they crave.

Do you want the look and feel of a purse? Kenox provides the answer. The striped exterior print pairs beautifully with an interior animal print. Two zippered mesh panels offer proper ventilation, with Velcro flaps available for colder months. The top panel zips closed, or you can leave it open for your dog to poke their head out.

Downsides? People felt the Velcro flaps weren’t reliable for holding the side panels open. Also, this is a SMALL carrier, and people struggled to get even small breed dogs into the side opening.

The Good

The Bad

Not sure if you’d prefer a purse or a tote? MG Collection combines the best of both worlds. The quilted exterior comes in fashionable shades of black, purple, or turquoise. Two closeable panels feature mesh for ventilation, with the top adding a zipper for additional closure. Two Velcro pockets give you all the extra storage you could want when traveling. Hate setting your dog’s carrier bag in the dirt? This carrier comes with four metal studs to keep it off the ground or floor.

The downsides? People hated all of the Velcro; they wanted something more secure. One end of the top panel is ONLY secured by Velcro, which means crafty dogs can easily escape.

The Good

The Bad

Wild One combines sleek design with comfort. The interior quilted cushion folds out into a mini-bed for your dog whenever you stop and relax. Vented mesh panels on the side feature retractable privacy screens for when your dog wants some alone time. If your dog wants a more unobstructed view, there’s a handy cut-out where they can poke their head out. Two built-in pockets provide the perfect storage space for your cell phone or extra dog treats. The padded shoulder strap doubles as a leash, negating the need to carry a spare. Worried about safety? The zippers button-lock to prevent accidental escapes.

So what are the downsides? This beautiful carrier is expensive. You do have a top-end weight limit of 25 pounds. Also, you have to hand-wash this carrier – no machine washing.

The Good

The Bad

Best Sling Dog Carrier Bags

Dogs provide a lot of comfort for us. Their presence is calming, reassuring, and soothing. For some, that means having their dog’s body tucked close to theirs. Slings snuggle your dog, freeing up your hands and shoulders while still protecting your dog from crowded situations.

Alfie Pet provides a lightweight cotton sling in a variety of colors. Want a change? Just flip it inside out for an entirely new look! The adjustable strap allows you to ensure your dog remains completely stable while keeping you comfortable. You can set the sling to the front, side, or back with ease. A safety hook attaches to your dog’s collar, reassuring you of your dog’s wellbeing. The fleece lining is cushy for your dog, and the entire sling is machine washable.

Downsides? Your dog needs to weigh less than 12 pounds to take advantage of this dog carrier bag. Also, while comfortable, this design fails the airline approval test.

The Good

The Bad

Are you looking for a sling with a little more functionality? TOMKAS provides the answer. You still get the hands-free sling design, but you also get side pockets to carry your cell phone, treats, and keys (seriously, who doesn’t love pockets?). The reversible material is soft, comfortable, and completely machine-washable. The opening adjusts to your dog’s head, keeping them from feeling trapped, while a collar lock maintains their safety.

The downsides? Unhappily, we’re getting a little smaller – your dog can only weigh up to 10 pounds. Also, again, this sling won’t get airline approval.

The Good

The Bad

Are you worried about providing crucial ventilation? YUDODO heard you. Their comfortable sling comes with breathable mesh. The strap hooks into a sturdy rock ring for added stability, making sure the sling stays in place regardless of whether you’re hiking, strolling through the park, or riding your bike down a trail. The padded opening lets your dog view the world in comfort, and a safety ring ensures they won’t escape.

So what are the downsides? Again, it’s designed for the smaller breeds – no dogs greater than 10 pounds. And, once again, the airlines won’t approve this dog carrier bag.

The Good

The Bad

Best Backpack Dog Carrier Bags

You like the idea of keeping your hands free and available, but you want the possibility of taking your dog carrier bag on longer trips. Or maybe you have an active lifestyle, exploring hiking trails and heading into the mountains. Backpacks fill that niche perfectly, letting your dog join in on the adventure.

If you like the idea of a backpack but are nervous about having your dog on your back, Outward Hound is the choice for you. This backpack is worn on your front, keeping your dog in sight at all times. The water-resistant nylon is durable and protects your dog from the elements. Padding on the straps, back, and bottom means YOU stay comfortable throughout your trek. Mesh sides provide suitable ventilation, while the inner mesh lining keeps your dog comfortable even in higher temperatures. Best of all, you get two pockets to carry any necessities!

Downsides? This dog carrier bag is designed for dogs of up to 15 pounds. Also, the clip that attaches to your dog’s collar sometimes comes loose – just be careful.

The Good

The Bad

Do you want ALL the bells and whistles? Then invest in Pet Gear. This dog carrier bag is a backpack, a carrier, a car seat, a tote, AND a roller bag! Adjustable straps keep you comfortable when you’re carrying your dog, and a telescoping handle makes rolling the bag a breeze. Mesh windows on the front and sides provide ventilation and give your dog a clear view. An interior tether attaches to your dog’s collar for added safety. And (of course) you get side compartments for storage.

The downsides? Your dog needs to weigh less than 25 pounds (not as bad as other carriers). You DO need to be careful of the straps when using the carrier as a roller bag (they tangle in the wheels). And while this carrier is super-functional, it’s not airline-approved.

The Good

The Bad

Do you appreciate a simple, practical design? PetAmi provides the answer for you – in a stunning array of colors. Multiple mesh panels offer ventilation and lots of opportunities for your dog to peek outside. Fleece padding on the bottom keeps your dog comfortable. YOU get extra thick padding on the back and shoulder straps for long trips. Are you anticipating long hikes? You also get chest and waist buckles. An attached lead inside connects to your dog’s collar, while the zippers lock closed for extra security. As a bonus, you get a storage pocket AND a collapsible water bowl!

We use these carriers for our cats and LOVE them (Greyhounds are a tad too large to carry).

So what are the downsides? The weight limit tops out at around 25 pounds. Also, the airlines don’t approve of this carrier (size exceeds standards).

The Good

The Bad

“Adventure is Out There!”

With so many dog carrier bags out there, you shouldn’t have to leave your dog behind. Your dog appreciates a change of view and the chance to breathe fresh air just as much as you.

Instead of bidding them farewell, tuck them into the carrier bag of your choice and bring them along. You’ll both enjoy the trip.

Bon, voyage!

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria grew up in a pet-friendly household. On weekends, the family made trips to zoos and aquariums in the area. So it wasn’t a surprise when she gravitated toward a career with animals.

After six years working among the background operations at the Philadelphia Zoo, she gained a unique insight into the veterinary world. The vet staff provided her first lessons in terminology, the identification of medical equipment, and glimpses of radiographs (x-rays). She also enjoyed plenty of opportunities to talk with everyone, including the veterinary technicians. And they offered an alternative for someone NOT interested in surgical pathways: Namely, their course of study.

Andria enrolled at Harcum College. Philadelphia boasts two programs for vet techs, but only Harcum works with the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and New Bolton Center (University of Pennsylvania’s small and large animal facilities, respectively). Harcum’s vet tech students receive six months of hands-on teaching and experience alongside Penn’s vet students.

With the opportunities and connections available with one of the top veterinary schools, the decision was easy for her to make.

New Bolton Center: Large Animal Medicine
Andria ended up trudging through snow up to the knee and shivering in subzero temperatures during her winter semester, but she wasn’t disappointed with her choice. New Bolton provided a thorough grounding in large animal medicine. A horse-lover as a child, the experience renewed those old emotions.

And a few memories stood out and remained to this day:

  • Standing alongside a Clydesdale and feeling TINY
  • Holding the reins of a horse galloping at top speed on a treadmill
  • Nursing tiny foals through the first days of their life

Ryan Veterinary Hospital: Small Animal Medicine
Veterinary students can legally work at a practice while studying. Andria took advantage of the opportunity, gaining “real life” experience while attending class. It provided a slight advantage when she entered her three months at the small animal hospital.

However, as Ryan Veterinary Hospital offers treatments unique to the veterinary community, she continued to gain valuable experience. For instance, she spent a day working alongside their Chemo Team. The positivity of everyone she encountered – staff, clients, and patients alike – left a lasting impression.

Additional standout moments included:

  • An afternoon spent with the head of the feline kidney transplant program
  • A day serving as the anesthesia technician in their new radiation unit
  • Recognizing a radiograph of a giant elephant shrew (applying her previous zoo knowledge)

Emergency/ICU Veterinary Technician
Accompanying her Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology, Andria received a passing score on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The two led to her certification/license as a veterinary technician – first in Pennsylvania (CVT) and later in Virginia (LVT).

Emergency medicine appealed to her from the beginning. The flux of ailments, injuries, and even species kept her mind sharp at all times. The knowledge required to handle cats, dogs, exotics, and even wildlife is highest in an ICU setting. When a vet tech never knows the patient’s stability coming back to the treatment area, skills and the ability to respond in an instant always stay in peak shape.

With treatments evolving at a constant basis, Andria sought out the best Continuing Education opportunities. She attended the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (IVECCS) Conference whenever possible. This allowed her to discuss the latest wound treatments, medications, and advancements in diet formulations.

Cardiology Veterinary Technician
With the increased knowledge and experience, Andria noticed gaps in her abilities. Her grasp of cardiology remained at the basic level. She wanted to boost her skills and understanding as much as possible, improving her patient care. When an opportunity within the practice arose to move into the cardiology department, she accepted.

She sharpened her ability to read ECGs, recognizing arrhythmias of every type. Speaking with the cardiologist, she learned to read echocardiograms, picking out the most common disease processes. And, courtesy of her position in the department, she took in everything she could regarding the grain-free diet concern.

And throughout her ten-year career, she built her store of client interactions. She learned stories of heartbreak and hope. In the middle of the night, she shared touching and humorous conversations. Every moment taught her to engage with people. And the skill blended into her writing ability, capturing the interest of pet-lovers everywhere.

Check out Andria’s LinkedIn here

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