The 6 Best Dog Carriers Australia: Tested & Evaluated 2023
Travel has changed in dramatic ways and in the coming years, we won’t know what international travel may look like. That hasn’t stopped the wanderlust of many though. Australia is a beautiful place and there are surely corners you haven’t visited. When it is safe to have a staycation, why not take your pooch with you? (1)
Or perhaps you are thinking of relocating and need the perfect dog carrier to keep your dog secure during the move. Whatever your reasons for being here, you are in the right place!
To find the best dog carrier Australia offers, we teamed up with veterinarians, canine behaviourists, and dog parents to research the top options out there. After several months, and dozens and dozens of dog carriers tested, we finally agreed on the list below.
We will also go through what features you should be looking out for in the perfect dog carrier for your dog before diving into our favourite dog carriers on the Australian market. We hope this guide will help you find the ideal dog or puppy carrier for your pup.
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
Mr Peanut's Airline Approved Soft Sided Pet Carrier
- Money-back guarantee
Runner Up -
K9 Pet Carrier
- Excellent size range
Third Choice -
Aivituvin Soft-Sided Dog Travel Carrier
- 10-year satisfaction guarantee
Australia's Best Dog Carriers Reviewed
So now we have gone through the many nuances of choosing the right dog carrier for your dog. Next, we share our list of recommendations. These are the carriers that impressed each member of our team of independent experts and their dogs. We tried to get a decent mix of styles, sizes and special features so you can make the right selection for you!
What sets this product apart from the rest?
Mr Peanut’s carrier is such a fantastic product. It is stylish, functional and safe.
First of all, let’s discuss the construction before we dive deeper. There are many parts to this stellar carrier. The overall carrier has a sturdy removable fleece pad base. This pad is fully washable too to keep fresh for multiple uses.
I especially loved how one side has a breathable window mesh that allows your dog to see out whilst also providing ventilation.
The Mr Peanut's Airline Approved Soft Sided Pet Carrier being tested by our independent expert team.
Inside, there is also a leash tether to keep your dog secure if you so choose.
On the exterior of the carrier, there are seatbelt hooks, self-locking zips, and two handle placements. You can use the padded shoulder strap they provide or the handles on the top for your convenience.
Unlike our second choice ahead, this carrier has so many pockets that you can keep documentation or treats for your pup. There is also an identification tag which is essential if you plan to fly with your fur baby.
It is a hardy little bag that has a high build quality. It is made of a strong Oxford nylon.
A huge plus to this product is the design. It is beyond fashionable. Many carriers can look extremely dull, but this one has a shine to it. The Mr. Peanut’s carrier comes in four different colours: blue, purple, dark grey, and pink.
The con here is the sizing. Everyone on our team of independent experts noted that this carrier is pretty small. Measuring 45.72 x 26.67 x 27.94 cm, it is only really suitable for toy or small dog breeds. Puppies can also use this carrier. Our medium or large pups will have to use alternatives. But don’t worry, we will get onto great options for them later.
If the sizing is right, this airline-approved, stylish dog carrier is a fabulous purchase you won’t regret!
Our runner up luckily has a bit more of a size range to it. Happy to present you with the K9 Pet Carrier. It may not be quite as fancy as the Mr Peanuts, but it certainly ticks many of the boxes you need ticked if you are intending to travel with your dog.
This is a durable plastic travel cage that has all of the basic features you need. It has a removable washable tray at the base. It also has a handy feeding bowl and water funnel for your pup’s bare necessities.
Onto sizing, K9 offers this particular carrier in an impressive range of sizes. The smallest is the Small which measures 53 cm x 37 cm x 37 cm. The largest is the XXLarge which measures a whopping 94 cm x 62 cm x 74 cm. In between, you have three other sizes: Medium, Large and Extra Large. No doubt you will find the best fit for your pup regardless of age or breed.
Best of all, this is an Australian made product! Wonderful all around.
So why didn’t our panel of independent experts put this in the top spot?
Well, a couple of reasons. For one, it doesn’t have the same comfort level as the Mr Peanuts does. By that I mean you will need to buy extra blankets and creature comforts to keep your special creature comfortable in this career. That isn’t a bad thing at all, but it is worth mentioning.
Another con is that it doesn’t have many - well, any - pockets or storage spaces for your dog’s documentation or even an identification tag. These are all helpful if you are going on any trip where your dog may be separated from you. That said, you can label the carrier in other ways. It’s just worth noting that the carrier doesn’t automatically come with those features.
But these are teething snags rather than dealbreakers. This is a great basic, IATA-approved (airline approved) dog carrier that is suitable for all dogs. We are pleased to recommend it!
It’s fair to say that most dog travel carriers are a little pricey. For good reason, honestly. Carriers need to be secure, durable, and getting IATA approval requires a few essentials.
With all that said, it is entirely possible to find a good carrier that isn’t quite so pricey or premium. For those on a budget, our team of independent experts recommend the Aivituvin Soft-Sided Dog Travel Carrier.
It is a sweet little carrier that will do the job with enough bells and whistles to suit your travelling needs. The Aivituvin has a removable, washable fleece bed that will give your dog some extra comfort. There are also mesh windows for ventilation.
The Aivituvin Soft-Sided Dog Travel Carrier being tested by our independent expert team.
For storage, there is one side pocket. Like with our number one choice, this pocket is suitable for holding treats or paperwork you may need if taking your doggy across borders. There is an inner leash attachment for extra security and self-locking zippers. Sounds fab so far!
The issue here again is sizing. If you have read my other reviews on Gentle Dog Trainers, you’ll know how offended I get by the sizism in the pet world. Unfortunately, this dog travel carrier measures 44.45 x 27.94 x 27.94 cm. Great for small dogs and almost no one else. Hmph!
In fairness, I think it is because of the shoulder bag nature of this travel carrier. You can’t exactly tuck your Great Dane under your arm and away you go. But as a puppy carrier, the Aivituvin would be more than adequate.
As an extra bonus to an already economical product, the manufacturer offers a 10-year satisfaction guarantee. That is a pretty lofty claim but hopefully gives you the peace of mind that you are making the right decision.
Okay okay, we have enough options for small dog carriers, don’t we? What about our large and extra-large pooches?
We are all about representation here so here is a soft carrier that is suitable for large dog breeds. Introducing the Bono Fido Kennel. For one, we should give this the best name award. This reviewer appreciates good naming when she sees it!
Let’s start with the sizing then. This extra-large dog carrier is huuuuuge. It measures 106 cm x 71cm x 69 cm. A truly fantastic size for large and giant breeds alike.
The Bono Fido Kennel being tested by our independent expert team.
The best part is that it is large without compromising on the comforts of the smaller pet carrier bags. It has storage pockets, a soft fleece base and breathable mesh windows. Tick, tick, tick.
This does have handles on either side, but this is likely a great carrier for the car. Long road trips will be supremely comfortable for your pup in this carrier.
Members of our expert testing panel also noted that it also doubles up as a fantastic crate if your pooch takes a liking to it.
The cons are that this isn’t an airline-approved carrier, so if you intend to fly with your giant pup, the K9 Pet Carrier in our number two spot will suit you best. Other than that, this safe, comfortable, portable kennel is a pretty fabulous option for carrying your pup by car.
Moving away from the bags and onto the more specialty carriers. It is safe to say that dog bike carriers and backpacks are most likely to be used with small dogs. Still, the option should be there if you did want to strap your Labrador to your back! Finding a backpack like that in Australia is hard to find but think we have found one.
The K9 Sport Sack is the doggy backpack you seek. This vet-approved carrier is a great all-round product.
The K9 Sport Sack being tested by our independent expert team.
There are 4 sizes ranging from extra small to large. The largest is for dogs up to 58 cm. The smallest is for dogs up to 33 cm. So, there is a decent size range there.
I think the design is quite cool too. There are 8 different colour schemes to choose from for a personalised look.
The shoulder straps in the inside are lined with sweat-resistant foam for a more comfortable ride for you. The side pockets are also adjustable.
Our team of experts appreciated most how the sides of the backpack are ventilated to keep our dogs cool. You can also hook their collar to the safety D-ring for extra security.
You can tell K9 built this backpack with longevity and security in mind.
You may notice that there are mixed reviews about this product because the truth is, backpacks are not for every dog. It’s quite a strange sensation for them to be carried in a cocoon on their human’s back. But if your dog loves the backpack life, this is a wonderful product to start with.
The final review we have for you is a bike carrier. Maybe your dog would prefer not to be on your back as you bike ride, like with our fifth choice, but they still want to go on the adventure with you.
The BARKBAY Basket carrier fits over your handlebars so your dog has a front-row seat to the passing world.
This carrier has all the core features of a comfortable, soft travel carrier for your dog. It features a washable fleece base, ventilated mesh windows, and an inner leash attachment.
For rainy days, it has a waterproof cover.
Like most in this category, the carrier is made of a sturdy Oxford nylon fabric. It has a colourful design and reflective strips for use in early mornings and late evenings alike.
The size of this carrier basket is 36.83 x 36.19 x 8.89 cm.
The small sizing of this product would ordinarily be a con (you can see how passionate I am about sizing) but in this case, it’s not a bad thing. Imagine riding a bike with your medium or large dog at the front of it? Hazardous for all involved.
All in all, if you are looking for a dog bike carrier, this is the one for you.
The Criteria To Follow When Choosing The Best Carrier For Your Dog?
As always, whether you are looking for beds, collars, harnesses or crates, there are many factors to consider making the perfect purchase for your pup. Here are the factors our team of independent experts think you should consider before buying a dog carrier.
Sizing is of the utmost importance when it comes to travel carriers. The size of a dog carrier is a prime source of comfort. Too big and your dog doesn’t feel snug and secure as they would as denning animals. (2) Too small and your dog will feel claustrophobic and trapped. Especially true if the travel you are embarking on it long-haul.
To start, it is best to measure your dog's height before you even begin your search.
PRO TIP: “Measure his shoulder height from the top of his shoulders to the ground. For soft-sided carriers, add two-to-three inches to shoulder height. For hard-sided carriers, add three-to-five inches. Wearable carriers, like backpacks and slings, are meant to be snug and cozy; the dog is supported against your body, not by the carrier itself.” – Jan Riesen from the American Kennel Club
Anything that is carrying precious cargo should be safe and secure to do so. That is a given. Your dog is no different. You want the dog carry bag you choose to be made of hardy materials. Most use and Oxford nylon material with a fortified inner lining to withstand your dog’s weight.
Some carriers are made of plastic which is very durable and easy to clean.
You are looking for words like “scratch-proof” and “waterproof” (or at the very least water-resistant).
Reviews will also help you to know how sturdy the build quality is in real life. Don’t just take the manufacturer’s word for it!
Airline-approval (if applicable)
Of course, if you are intending to use your dog’s carrier as a vessel for moving or road trips, then airline-approval is not important.
But for overseas flying, there are guidelines for both cabin travel and hold travel. It is best to consult the specific airline you are intending to fly with to get the best information straight from the horse’s mouth.
There are two aspects to the weight conundrum.
One is the weight of the bag. If you intend the carrier to be a cabin airline bag with your globetrotting pooch, then it needs to be lower than a certain weight to qualify. As mentioned before, each airline should have clear guidelines as to what they will allow in-cabin or in the hold.
You also don’t want the weight of the bag to be too heavy as it’ll be difficult to carry with your dog inside.
The second aspect to the weight issues the amount of weight the carrier is able to carry. The manufacturer should be clear in the description the maximum amount of weight it is able to carry safely. So, although your dog may measure perfectly for the medium size of the product, if your dog is a little rotund for their breed, you may need to opt for the large size simply for the added weight support.
Many manufacturers have your dog’s comfort in mind when making dog carry bag, backpacks or even bike baskets. They often come with ventilated “windows”, dark interiors for restful sleeping, and a washable, soft mat that feels snuggly on your dog’s skin. Wonderful!
Comfort is important for your pup but this is at the bottom of the list for a reason. Whilst it is far more convenient to have all of these bells and whistles included in your dog’s carrier bag as a standard, it isn’t essential. You can always use crate mats or blankets to create a more cosy environment for your pooch.
PRO TIP: If you have a long-haired breed, you may prefer to customise the comfortable items you use anyway, as the fleecing already included in some dog cases may be too warm and sweaty for your dog.
So, yes, comfort is essential, but you can DIY it if the product you choose is lacking in that department.
What Are The Different Types Of Dog Carrier?
As soon as we started our testing phase, we soon realised that there are many different types of dog carrier you may want to consider. (4)
Hard-sided carriers and crates
Hard-sided carriers are often made of plastic. They are a little lower on the comfort scale overall, but you can trust them to be durable and waterproof. Both important features!
Soft-sided carriers are usually made of nylon or some other sturdy waterproof material that has some flexibility. They tend to look less like a cage than hard-sided cases do if that is important to you. Higher on the comfort scale certainly. They don’t tend to come in many large sizes though.
Bicycle baskets are fitted carriers that sit on the handlebars of your bike. This is a comfortable and easy way to carry your dog whilst you ride around.
They tend to have the same features as soft-sided carriers, like padding, flexible sides and quite comfortable.
They are also very small as it would be dangerous to ride around with a huge carrier in front of you!
It is not for every dog. Some dogs will find being in a carrier on your bike quite a scary experience. Do consider your pet’s comfort before buying one.
Dog backpacks are carriers that are very similar to backpacks in their construction. They work by essentially swaddling your dog in the bag, keeping their legs in the bag snugly inside. You can also have your dog have their front paws out of the bag but generally, this is not as safe.
They are super convenient for walking around or bike rides with your pooch. It’s really important to note that they certainly aren’t for every dog.
For one, they are only suitable for tiny dogs. Diana Miller from Top Dog Tips writes,
PRO TIP: No matter which pet carrier you choose, both backpack carriers and dog slings are good only for small and toy/teacup dog breeds. In fact, most pet carriers, including slings and dog purses, are only rated to carry pets only between 8-15 pounds. (5)
Also, some dogs just don’t like to be carried in that way or swaddled. They may feel claustrophobic or fearful of being so high off the ground with limited mobility for a time. In fact, members of our panel noted it is quite anxiety-inducing for some dogs. It’s safe to say that if your dog doesn’t like to be carried in the best of times, a backpack may not be for them.
My Final Thoughts
For style, comfort and airline-safe travelling, every member of our team of independent experts agreed that Mr Peanut’s carrier is a clear winner. Of course, the major issue is that it only fits tiny dogs, but if your dog fits, it is surely the best dog carrier on the Aussie market and beyond.
For more size versatility but still, with airline approval, we also think the K9 Pet carrier is fabulous. You’ll need to pimp it a bit with some soft blankets and identification tags, but it does come in an impressive range of sizes, so you can travel coast to coast with your loveable canine.
Generally speaking, carriers are safe for dogs providing the following criteria:
- Your dog is measured correctly for the carrier
- You have provided adequate comfort for the length of time they will be in the carrier
- You have purchased a durable carrier that can hold their weight
- There is good ventilation and airflow in the carrier
- Meltzer, M. Lagrave, K. Kuta, S. “Everything to Know About Flying With A Dog”. November 2, 2020. Conde Nast Traveller. Retrieved February 8, 2023. https://www.cntraveler.com/story/flying-with-a-dog-everything-you-need-to-know
- Leigh, P. November 30, 2015. “Crates are Forever – Not Just for Puppies”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved February 8, 2023. “https://www.akc.org/canine-partners/crates-are-forever-not-just-for-puppies/
- Reisen, J. August 2, 2016. “How to Choose the Best Dog Carrier for Your Canine Friend”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved February 8, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/how-to-choose-the-best-dog-carrier-for-your-canine-friend/
- “What Type of Dog Carrier Do You Need?”. January 14, 2019. PetMD Editorial. Retrieved February 8, 2023. https://www.petmd.com/dog/pet-lover/what-type-dog-carrier-do-you-need
- Miller, D. April 23, 2017. “Pet Carriers: Dog Backpack or Dog Sling? It’s a Matter of Convenience”. Top Dog Tips. Retrieved February 8, 2023. https://topdogtips.com/dog-backpack-or-carrier-sling/