It’s hard to find good, unbiased reviews of pet carriers, and believe me, I’ve looked. I travel a great deal with our dog Chloe, a small Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and I write a dog travel blog (Dog Jaunt), so I’m always either looking for, or buying, dog gear. I travel less frequently with one or more of our four cats, so I keep an eye out for feline-friendly products. Nearly all of the carrier reviews I see just quote the manufacturer’s description and praise of its own product. The few reviews that are based on personal experience are scattered far and wide, and are hard to access.
So I decided to start this blog and give you my take on the pet carriers I own and encounter. You and I may not react to a product in the same way, but after you’ve read a few of my posts you’ll get a sense of what I value in a carrier and — as with any individual reviewer — you’ll figure out how my opinions can help you decide which of a huge array of products will work best for you.
Types of carriers
For big dogs, there are relatively few choices: Dog carriers will be either a sturdy plastic Vari-Kennel type of crate, with a chrome grille door and a squeeze latch; or an all-metal crate with a slide-bolt latch. There is also at least one soft-sided, collapsible travel crate that works for all but the giant breeds.
For cats and small dogs, by contrast, there are a world of choices. You can find carriers with backpack straps, carrier that look like messenger bags, carriers that clamp on to bicycles and motorcycles, carriers that roll, and carriers that convert from one task to another. Most common, of course, are in-cabin airplane carriers, but even in this category there are many options and features to choose from.
The smallest pets have the most choices, since they can fit into bags that are no larger than a regular purse — and look just like one. A good pet carrier will always have a leakproof bottom and plenty of ventilation, but in a well-designed purse carrier, those important features are hardly noticeable. And then there are the exotics — carriers that are more like pet jewelry than anything else!
In this blog’s sidebar, you’ll see listings for “Types of Pet,” “Types of Carrier,” and “Manufacturer.” Click on the categories you’re interested in to focus on the carriers that will serve your purpose.
Chloe as a reference point
I’ll try to take as many pictures as possible that show our dog, Chloe, in a particular carrier or crate, so you can use her as a reference point. She’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and she weighs about 13 lbs. She’s about 12″ tall at the shoulders and about 15″ long from shoulders to rump. She’s about the size of a typical Jack Russell Terrier, a Pug, or a largish Boston Terrier. She’s a pretty big small dog, in fact — any larger, and she’d be a medium-sized dog, along with Shelties and Cocker Spaniels, for example.
Just under the heading for each review are a couple of subheadings that indicate what type of pet will fit in the carrier and what type of carrier it is. At the beginning of each review, I include a short paragraph telling you what kinds of activity the carrier is best suited for, and what I think of its usefulness for those activities and its overall quality. Here is my rating system:
★★★★★ = Terrific, loved it, no complaints
★★★★★ = Very good, no serious complaints
★★★★★ = Good, but some complaints
★★★★★ = Flawed, but acceptable
★★★★★ = Not good, complaints outweigh the positives
★★★★★ = Abysmal, avoid it
I will also give you a rough idea of its price:
$$$$ = Seriously expensive
$$$$ = Expensive
$$$$ = Reasonable
$$$$ = A good deal
I want readers to value my opinion, so I am careful to recommend only products that I think are useful for people traveling with pets. I will tell you when a product has been sent to me for use or review by its manufacturer. Otherwise, I’ve either bought the product or found it in a store or catalogue and think it’s interesting.
If you represent a company with a relevant product that you think is a good fit for Pet Carrier Reviews, email me at m-a [at] petcarrierreviews [dot] com to have it considered for review. Accepting a product does not guarantee a review and coverage may or may not be positive. Reviews of any received products will disclose the source of the item, and products valued at over US$50 will be (a) returned to the manufacturer, (b) given away to readers, either through this blog or through my dog travel blog, Dog Jaunt, or (c) donated.
Advertising with Pet Carrier Reviews
If you sell a carrier or crate or related accessory and would like to place an ad promoting it on Pet Carrier Reviews, please contact me at m-a [at] petcarrierreviews [dot] com. PCR is a young blog, but it has a targeted online audience and a very respectable PageRank 3 in Google.
I welcome and value your comments. Please let me know how a carrier has worked for you, or tell me about a carrier I haven’t yet reviewed, either by commenting on one of my posts or by sending me an email: m-a [at] petcarrierreviews [dot] com