The 10 Best Airline Approved Dog Carriers

Updated January 25, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

10 Best Airline Approved Dog Carriers
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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Just because you're going on vacation doesn't mean you always have to leave your furry companion behind. Any one of these airline-approved dog carriers make it possible for Fido to come along for the ride. Many of our options include zippered pockets, padded interiors, and collapsible frames that fit under most airplane cabin seats without sacrificing a pet's safety or comfort. 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. Sherpa Deluxe

The Sherpa Deluxe features a patented soft wire frame and fiberglass support rods that, when pushed down, conform to most under-seat airline requirements. But it doesn't have a lot of space for Fido to move around inside it, so it's not ideal for long flights.
  • roll-down privacy flaps
  • slip-resistant shoulder strap
  • top zipper is difficult to close
Brand Sherpa
Model 11721
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Natuvalle 6-in-1

The Natuvalle 6-in-1 is constructed from a durable and water-resistant Oxford fabric. Three available walk-through doors will give your dog easy access to its interior, while the flexible frame allows it to fold down completely for convenient storage.
  • rigid wooden floor
  • reflective stripes for nighttime use
  • zippers are a bit flimsy
Brand Natuvalle
Model pending
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Smiling Paws Portable Kennel

If you're flying across the country, the Smiling Paws Portable Kennel is a formidable option. A 4-way expandable design and a washable fleece pad ensure warmth, comfort, and reduced anxiety for any small pet forced to deal with periods of extended confinement.
  • reinforced stainless steel hinges
  • waterproof laminated fabric
  • a bit on the bulky side
Brand Smiling Paws Pets
Model pending
Weight 4.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Mr. Peanut's Travel Tote

In addition to a waterproof nylon exterior, Mr. Peanut's Travel Tote is equipped with both heavy-duty zippers and metal locking clasps that keep your furry friend safe, secure, and accessible at all times. A portion of profits are donated to animal welfare organizations.
  • soft fleece-padded bed
  • available in several colors
  • strong odor when it first arrives
Brand Mr. Peanut's
Model FBA_9902102
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Texsens Bubble Backpack

While it's not a rocket ship for flying puppy to the moon, the futuristic look of the Texsens Bubble Backpack still sets it apart from the competition. Its semi-sphere window has a switchable mesh panel, giving your dog a clear view of the outside world.
  • strong polyurethane 'leather'
  • built-in security leash
  • it's a pain to clean
Brand Texsens
Model pending
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Teafco Argo Petagon

Shaped like a purse, the fashionable Teafco Argo Petagon has five built-in storage pockets for accessories, and reinforced windows that provide proper ventilation to your precious canine cargo when its placed under most airline passenger seats. However, it's rather pricey.
  • lightweight design
  • top-loading opening
  • it's very small
Brand Teafco
Model AC9D0638M
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Sport Pet Designs Kennel

Protect any large canine at 35,000 feet by keeping it in a fortified shelter like this Sport Pet Designs Kennel. Its durable poly shell withstands heavy impacts, while the built-in floor gutter facilitates quick cleanups of puppy's potential pee accidents.
  • the wheels are removable
  • attachable water dish is included
  • assembly instructions are confusing
Brand SportPet Designs
Model CM-2004-CS01
Weight 31.2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Snoozer Wheel Around

Available in this handsome black and grey color combination, the Snoozer Wheel Around supports dogs weighing up to 15 pounds. It can be used as a rolling airline carrier, a backpack, a bed, or even as a handy car seat, depending on your needs and mode of travel.
  • convenient telescoping handle
  • multiple storage pockets
  • integrated seatbelt loop
Brand Snoozer
Model 86210
Weight 7.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Jet Sitter Luxury

Consider the Jet Sitter Luxury as a portable home away from home for any small to medium-sized pooch. A top-loading design ensures easy access to your pet, while the expandable sides make it possible for puppy to stretch out during those extended flights.
  • mesh material is scratch-resistant
  • crossbars for structural integrity
  • floor is completely leakproof
Brand Jet Sitter
Model pending
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Sleepypod Air

Ensure a stress-free airplane experience for Fido by keeping him in the Sleepypod Air for the ride. Adaptable to a variety of under-seat storage requirements, the contractible design allows it to fit securely between your feet during takeoff and landing.
  • crash-tested for safety
  • ballistic nylon construction
  • supports pets up to 15 pounds
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 January 25, 2018 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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