The 10 Best Airline Approved Dog Carriers

Updated November 28, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

10 Best Airline Approved Dog Carriers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Just because you're going on vacation or traveling the world you shouldn't be forced to leave your pet behind. One of these airline-approved dog carriers makes it possible for Fido to join in on your adventures. Available with multiple zippered pockets, removable wheels, and durable constructions, they'll keep your pet safe, secure, and raring to go once you've reached your destination. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best airline approved dog carrier on Amazon.

10. Bergan 88918

The Bergan 88918 boasts its exclusive Pet Connect side compartment that allows for easy interaction with your dog during long flights. Its reflective strips, locking zippers and seatbelt loops will prevent both injuries and losing track of your companion.
  • lead and phthalate-free
  • insert panel maintains overall shape
  • it's a bit on the pricey side
Brand Bergan
Model 88918
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

9. Aspen Pet Porter

Good for small breeds like Chihuahuas and even kittens up to 9 inches tall, the Aspen Pet Porter is a simple and reliable transportation option complete with a solid plastic shell, spring-locking metal door, and 2 integrated storage compartments for food and supplies.
  • good for all major airline cabins
  • designed in the usa
  • assembly takes a while
Brand Aspen Pet
Model 21094
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Pets Go2 Expandable

Available at an affordable price, the Pets Go2 Expandable delivers completely meshed sides for increased airflow and easy viewing of your pet while traveling. Its ergonomically-designed shoulder strap and Velcro top handle make it super easy to carry.
  • rubber feet for superior stability
  • money-back guarantee is provided
  • the floor needs additional padding
Brand PETS GO2
Model pending
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Natuvalle 6-in-1

The Natuvalle 6-in-1 is constructed from sturdy 600 Denier Oxford fabric that is both durable and water-resistant. The combination of its 3 entrances, walk-through doors, and faux lambskin bed provide for superior comfort and ease of access for your furry friend.
  • non-bendable wooden floor
  • reflective stripes for nighttime use
  • plastic components are a bit cheap
Brand Natuvalle
Model pending
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Teafco Argo Petagon

Although the Teafco Argo Petagon lacks a bit in practicality compared to its competition, it makes up for this with its unobtrusive appearance. Shaped like a lady's purse, it offers 5 external zippered pockets and rear-fitting over upright handles for easy mobility.
  • lightweight at just 2 pounds
  • top-loading mesh opening
  • it's very small
Brand Teafco
Model AC9D0638M
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Smiling Paws Pets 4-Way

Remove your pooch's stress from any travel situation when toting him or her around in the Smiling Paws Pets 4-Way. This soft-sided and expandable travel solution extends in 4 different ways, giving your pet ample room to move around when under a car or airplane seat.
  • fleece pad is machine washable
  • reinforced stainless steel hinges
  • a bit on the bulky side
Brand Smiling Paws Pets
Model pending
Weight 5.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Snoozer Wheel Around

The Snoozer Wheel Around supports dogs up to 30 pounds and is available in this handsome color combination of khaki, black, and blue. Its multifunctional design allows it to pack flat for convenient storage, while its microfiber materials easily wipe clean.
  • convenient telescoping handle
  • multiple storage pockets
  • can be used on wheels or as backpack
Brand Snoozer
Model 86303
Weight 8.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Sport Pet Designs Kennel

Ensure the highest level of protection for your large canine when flying using the Sport Pet Designs Kennel. Its sturdy, ultra-durable poly shell withstands heavy impacts, while the built-in accident moat directs liquids away from the dog and toward its own edges.
  • locking snaps for easy assembly
  • metal slats withstand chewing
  • tie-down holes for bungee cords
Brand Sport Pet Designs
Model CM-2004-CS01
Weight 31.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Bark and Meow Premium

The versatile Bark and Meow Premium offers the benefit of a detachable 4-wheel trolley system to accommodate a variety of transportation needs. Its integrated short leash prevents your dog from jumping out during the flight or in transport to and from the airport.
  • folds down for easy storage
  • includes a silicone pet bowl
  • sleek black color won't show dirt
Brand Bark & Meow
Model pending
Weight 8.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Sleepypod Air

Make your dog's in-cabin airplane experience as stress-free as possible by housing him in the Sleepypod Air for the trip. Adaptable to a variety of under-seat storage requirements, its contractible design makes it easy to keep between your feet during takeoff and landing.
  • rigorously crash-tested for safety
  • ballistic nylon construction
  • includes a removable privacy panel
Brand Sleepypod
Model pending
Weight 4.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

What To Look For In An Airline Dog Carrier

Traveling through airports and riding on airplanes can be a rather stressful experience for dogs. Some airports have taken pains to accommodate pets, even creating rest areas for them, but they can still be hectic environments for animals. If your dog doesn't fly regularly, the sounds and movement of an airplane can scare them, not to mention the close proximity of dozens of strangers. For that reason, it's important that the dog carrier you choose lets your pet feel that they have personal space on a plane. Make sure it's large enough for your dog to be able to stand up and fully turn around.

Dogs like to stick their heads out of their carriers for many of the same reasons they love to stick their heads outside of car windows. So, look for a carrier with an opening in the top, so your dog can pop their head out. Owner comfort is important, too. One might have to walk for up to twenty minutes when traveling between terminals. Carrying a dog for that entire length of time can be exhausting. Fortunately, some airline dog carriers come on wheels and work very much like a rolling suitcase. If you decide to get a carrier that you actually need to carry, make sure it has padded shoulder straps.

If you prefer to have your hands entirely free during travel, then get a carrier that you can wear like a backpack. Airlines usually require passengers with dogs to put their carrier under the seat and in front of them, just like a regular carry-on item. But this means your dog will be next to other passengers' bags and feet. To keep your dog safe from other passengers' bags that could shift during the flight, invest in a carrier with sturdy walls.

How To Keep Your Dog Calm On A Plane

If your plane isn't very full, try to find a mostly-empty row to sit in with your pup. Most animals prefer to be away from the commotion on an airplane. It's a good idea to fly on light travel days for several reasons, actually. The fewer passengers the flight staff need to attend to, the more attention they can pay to keep your pet safe and comfortable. If your pet suffers from severe anxiety on a plane, causing them to urinate in their crate and cry for hours, you can try several natural remedies, including giving them natural herbal supplements or even getting them a massage beforehand.

Put an unwashed sweatshirt or t-shirt that you wear a lot in your dog's carrier. They'll be calmed by the scent of your pheromones. There are even various pheromone products, like sprays, that you can place in your dog's crate. Remember that your dog looks to you for cues on what to feel, so if you're nervous, your dog will be, too. Act as if flying on a plane is as common as sitting on your couch.

It can help to sign up for priority seating so that you can board the plane as early as possible. This can help your dog get used to simply being on the plane before all of the sounds and the commotion of takeoff happen.

How To Prepare Before Flight Day

Most airlines only have a limited number of spots available for dogs. Call the airline long before your flight to reserve a seat for your dog; if you show up the day of your flight hoping to bring your dog, you may be turned away. Each airline has its own rules on dog carrier sizes, but most allow carriers between 16 and 19 inches tall. Have all of your dog's paperwork organized and packed before leaving for the airport. Some airlines require that you have a proof of vaccinations with you.

If you are flying during the summer, check the forecast for your day of travel before your trip. Some airlines that take pets in their cargo put an embargo on animal travel on hot days. This is in your dog's best interest, but it can interfere with your plans, so plan ahead for this inconvenience.

Don't feed your dog too close to takeoff. It's best to give food three hours before the flight, so your dog doesn't fly on an empty stomach, but doesn't face any digestive issues in-flight. You can, however, give your dog water right before, and during the flight. Make sure your dog's water bowl is secured to the inside of his crate so it doesn't slide around during the flight. Some carriers have built-in water bowls. While you may not typically use these for grownup dogs, pee pads are great to have on hand for a flight. Line your dog's crate with these in the case of an accident.

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Last updated on November 28, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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