Whether you want to take your cat to the vet or on an extended road trip, a pet carrier is the best option for keeping your cat or dog safe during the trip. The small confined space makes the pet feel secure, and allows you to transport it with ease.
Choosing the right pet carrier is bewildering, considering the different styles and designs of pet carriers available in the market. What is important is to find the carrier in which your pet is comfortable. Here are some tips that allow you to select the best pet carrier.
Parameters for Choosing the Best Pet Carrier
▸ Quality and Design
▸ Safety and Stability
▸ Temperament of the Pet
▸ Airline Requirements (in case of carrier use during air travel)
Types of Pet Carriers
Based on the construction, there are three basic types of pet carriers available in the market, two of which have been depicted in the images below. They include:
Soft Carriers: These gym-bag-like carriers with their soft nylon fabric and hard bottom are more durable than cardboard boxes. The bags have mesh-like ventilation on the sides and zippered openings at the sides and top. These carriers often have shoulder straps which are great for easy transport, and unlike hard crates they are easier to carry. The only downside is that cleaning these bags is extremely time-consuming and difficult.
Hard Carriers: Made of durable polypropylene and high-impact plastic, these sturdy pet carriers are well-ventilated on the sides. These type of carriers are easier to clean and often require just a wipe or rinse. They are best for big cats and small dogs.
hard pet carrier
Cardboard Carriers: These basic carriers are made of cardboard boxes. While they may be fine for short trips, they do have the disadvantage of being extremely prone to wear and tear especially by an overenthusiastic dog or a crabby cat with sharp claws.
cardboard pet carrier
Most of the carriers in the market have handles to ease carrying and loading. In addition to the above-mentioned types, there are sling-front carriers which look like backpacks or sling bags that your cat or dog can travel in. However, the safety of these carriers is an issue.
Size is an important consideration when buying a pet carrier. Check the pet’s height when standing and its length in order to find the best size. Ideally, the pet should be able to stand, turn around, and flex its limbs without having to crouch. This is especially important for long trips. Carriers for long road trips should also be able to accommodate the pet’s food, water, and bedding.
This does not mean that you need to buy a huge, state-of-the-art cat carrier. The carrier space is not supposed to be too much either, as the goal is to make the pet feel cozy and secure while traveling.
Quality and Design
Checking the quality and design of the carrier is vital, especially if you are planning to take the pet on long trips. Good carriers may be expensive but they do have the benefit of better safety and sturdiness. It is also important to consider the design such as openings on top and mesh panels for ventilation. Some additional design features like pockets for food and toys can come in handy during emergencies.
Safety and Stability
While choosing the carrier, check the support structure. This carrier should be able to protect your pet and provide a stable interior. The closure fasteners should be secure enough to avoid any chances of the cat or dog making an accidental runaway. Check for stability by ensuring that the structural pressure points are reinforced, and the carrier is balanced and leveled. It is also advisable to check if the materials used for pet carriers are safe, and whether they are adequately padded.
Pet’s Type and Temperament
Different pets have different habits and you should choose a pet carrier, based on your pet’s temperament. While a calm pet would adjust well to a small-sized carrier, a curious, hyperactive pet would need more space.
If you want to fly with your pet, make sure that you know the airline policies. They often have specific regulations about the pet size and whether they are allowed in the cabin. If your pet is small enough for traveling in a cabin, then choose the softer travel pet carrier which can fit under your seat. In case the pet needs to travel in the cargo, you will need a hard case or large metal crates.
pet carrier under seat