Best Pet Carrier for Cats & Dogs in Canada
When it comes to choosing a carrier for your pets, you want something that’s reliable and safe, while being a preference you both enjoy. Our curated list below will help you choose the best pet carrier to keep your cat or dog safe – and even if you have multiple running around the home.
We’ll help you take the guesswork out of an otherwise daunting task and take all of the stress out of searching for top-rated pet carriers in Canada so that you can enjoy more time with your new best friend.
Read on for our full pet carrier buying guide.
Our top picks
What to look for in a pet carrier
Size – This is one of the most important factors when purchasing a pet carrier. If it’s too small or too large it can cause safety risks to you and your new furry best friend. If it’s too small they can be cramped and cause injury to themselves. Likewise if it’s too large, as they can move around too much or if there is ever an accident of some kind, they won’t be as secure.
Be sure to account for growth as well though or get multiple carriers as they are getting larger.
Hard or soft carrier – The choice between a hard-shelled carrier or a fabric one can be tricky. Depending on your preference, the preference of your pet, and what is safer for them – can take a bit of trial and error.
Some animals that are more reactive/aggressive when going to the vet can benefit from a hard carrier, ensuring safety for everyone, including your pet.
Soft carriers are great for short travel, for being easier to store away when at home, and ease stress in some pets as the mesh design is easier to see out of.
Style/Material – This category falls under the previous hard or soft carrier section. There are several designs and types for each – though they don’t differ too much. The main factors are how much your pet can see through mesh or holes, and how the pet carrier sits or folds (for soft carriers) Some pets prefer to see more and are relaxed, while others are calmer in more enclosed spaces.
Multiple pet use – In an emergency, it’s good to have a carrier that is either large enough for multiple cats (if they get along well enough to do so without causing any fighting) or having separate carriers on hand for each pet. Plan accordingly to how many pets you have or will be getting and ensure that you have an extra carrier just in case.
Top pet carrier in Canada
AmazonBasics Large soft sided mesh Pet Carrier
This Amazon Basics pet carrier has you covered whether you need to bring a dog or cat with you on a trip or to the vet. The mesh is sturdy and is resistant to any teeth or claws that may come its way.
It comes in multiple sizes with a caveat from most reviews to size up and get yourself a large carrier, as the smaller ones seem to be too small for most cats and dog breeds unless they are Chihuahua and other toy sizes for dogs or are kittens. All the sizes are airline approved and users have had no issues flying with their pets in the cabin.
Like all carriers, your pet may be more particular with how much they can see and experience while inside. For dogs and cats that prefer more of a view, the mesh takes up most of the carrier’s build, while still being sturdy and protected against most chewing and any claws or teeth that gets thrown its way.
Be sure to introduce your pet to their carrier and associate it with good things, give them treats, positive affirmations, and even leave it open in the living area or wherever you’d prefer when you’re home so that they know that it’s not a scary place to be.
- Great durability.
- The mesh is sturdy and won’t tear easily.
- Size discrepancies;
- Large seems to be more like a Medium.
Best budget pet carrier
AmazonBasics Hard Carrier
This hard-shell carrier is a basic pet carrier that works great for both dogs and cats. It’s easy to clean and the top pops off if you or your vet needs an easier way to reach your pet.
It’s an inexpensive carrier that can handle small to medium breeds, from toy poodles to French bulldogs, and will work for most cats as well unless they are large breeds such as Maine coons. It comes with additional screws for extra reinforcement if needed, such as on trips or during travel. The door is a steel-wire, while the carrier itself is durable plastic.
The top door can open left or right, which is a nice touch as some top-loading carriers don’t allow for the flexibility.
- Easy to use and clean.
- Can take up more space.
- Some pets don’t like enclosed plastic carriers.
Best dog backpack carrier
Lekesky dog backpack
Another affordable option for dogs up to 15 lbs. is the Lekesky dog backpack that has mesh details for ventilation and is great for hikes and walks.
It folds flat when not in use for easy storage. When out and about, it can be set down and expanded, with the backside of the carrier being able to extend for your dog to lay down in. It’s perfect for hiking, camping, or travelling.
The carrier has two entrance points – the main center zipper and a top-loading section. Material is waterproof, scratch resistant, and non-toxic, while the soft inner padding is detachable and washable, for whatever messes or fur your pet ends up getting into and tracking inside. The carrier can be wiped down with a damp cloth otherwise.
- Great design.
- Not suited for large breeds.
Best cat backpack carrier
Oakcat pet backpack
This affordable backpack is a great choice for a cat, and it even suits larger breeds well that are up to 15lbs. It has mesh ventilation and the top unzips, as well as the main compartment.
The fabric is an eco-friendly material that has no smell out of the bag and comes with a mat that is washable. Each side has a small pocket for treats, leashes, harnesses, and whatever else you might need. This backpack folds down easily for storage when it isn’t being used and there is a built-in seatbelt as well that prevents your pet from jumping out.
- Good size.
- Not suited for large cats or dogs.
Best dog carrier for cars
Honest Outfitters dog seat/carrier
If you’re looking for a dog carrier for your pets in the car – the Honest Outfitters carrier and dog seat might be the ticket you’re aiming for.
It takes a few short seconds to install or remove and the collapsible design makes it easy to store when not in use. The interior leash safety straps are adjustable and two of the sides are made from a strong mesh, allowing them to look around while laying down. It’s easy to clean and well supported.
It fits dogs up to 20lbs, but won’t fit larger dog breeds, so that is one caveat to keep in mind.
- Great design.
- Durable structure.
- Adjustable safety leash clips.
- Not suited for large dogs.
Best cat carrier for cars
Petluv travel carrier
Reinforced seams, locking zippers, and adjustable seatbelt loops make this a fantastic purchase for your pet, and especially for any travel-savvy cats.
Three sides have adjustable window sections that can be rolled up all the way to be fully opened, halfway with just the mesh showing, or all the way closed entirely. Loading and unloading your cat is easy with four-way access points and a top opening as well. It has adjustable shoulder straps for you while carrying it outside the vehicle.
This carrier also includes a padded soft bed that can be washed and air dried.
- Has multiple points of entry.
- Durable materials that are easy to clean.
- Adjustable seatbelt straps/loops.
- May not fit large breeds such as Maine Coons.
Best carrier for large dogs
Petsfit portable crate for large dogs
Finding a portable crate or carrier for large dogs is tough. Whether it’s for travel or to the vet, getting yourself a carrier for big breeds can be a pain. The Petsfit portable crate works great for travel, camping, or as a crate for them at home.
It’s available in three sizes, multiple colours, and the weight capacity for this model is up to 100lbs and fits dogs under 70lbs, give or take. The top and side door sections are easy to open and close, while the zippers are self-locking from the inside, meaning that your dog can’t open them accidentally.
The mesh sides allow for plenty of vision, and they can be rolled all the way up as well, which is perfect for when at home or out camping. It sets up in seconds and can be folded down just as easily for storage.
- Great durability.
- Perfect for large breeds.
- Cover and cushion are washable.
- May not fit in all vehicles or spaces.
- May not suit the largest of breeds.
Best carrier for small dogs
SlowTon Pet Dog Sling
If you have a very small breed of dog and find it difficult to get a carrier that isn’t too large – there are pet slings available that act as small carriers for little dogs.
This one comes in multiple colours and has a sturdy bottom base for your dog to lay down and sit comfortably without the carrier sagging while it’s being used. Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and other small sized pooches are perfect for this carrier – as it suits dogs (or cats) up to 7lbs.
The strap is adjustable for your height as well so that you can comfortably carry for your best friend without the sling being in the way, or too high/low. The back of the sling is breathable, and the entire thing is washable, it just needs to be left to air dry afterwards.
- Perfect for small breeds.
- Adjustable and washable.
- May be too small for some breeds as well.
Petsfit Safety bike carrier for pets
This adjustable safety carrier for bicycles is a great addition if you want to take your smaller dog or cat on a bike trip or run some errands.
It fits dogs or cats up to 12lbs, an included bottom fleece pad offers your pet a comfortable place to lay down or sit up without any worry of it sagging or sinking down. It is removable and washable. Side pockets allow you to bring leashes, treats, and bags without fuss and there are reflective strips that make it good for nighttime as well.
A tether for the leash/collar and a drawstring top provides safety for your pet so that they don’t jump out while you’re stopped or cycling.
- Easy to install and take off.
- Reflective strips are great for evening rides.
- Not suited for larger breeds.
Best cat carrier for two cats
Double layer cat carrier
This double layered cat carrier is perfect for multiple cats that may not fit well into a single carrier, or just need their own space. You can switch between the double layers and a single layer as well by removing the spacer.
There is mesh around the front and sides of the carrier and the backside is breathable as well. A padded shoulder strap helps when you’re carrying your pets, and there is a thickened handle on both the top and sides. They’re adjustable as well so you can freely switch it for your height.
Since it is a double-layered design, it’s more suitable for kittens and smaller dogs such as puppies. Cats that aren’t too heavy or large breeds will also do well in it. Be aware that if you’re getting a single carrier for two cats that they get along and don’t fight within confined spaces.
- Double or single-layer design.
- Durable and easy to wash.
- Fits cats up to 15lbs.
- May work best for kittens.
Best luxury pet carrier
Mr. Peanuts Double Expandable Carrier
This double-sided expandable carrier is a great design for when you’re out camping or to set your dog with their own space to hang out at home.
It includes a leash tether, seatbelt attachments, SBS self-locking zippers, ID holder, and an added fleece pad that is washable. It’s sturdy but lightweight with durable mesh for proper ventilation being designed in. The padded shoulder strap makes it easy for you to carry, and the additional pockets have enough space for everything including extra leashes, poop bags, treats, and even food and a water dish.
It doesn’t fit large breeds but works great for pets up to 15lbs.
- Great design.
- Suits cats and dogs up to 15lbs.
- Not for larger breeds.
- Cats may be able to claw through the mesh sides if determined enough.
Cloverpet luxury bubble backpack
If you’re in the market to make a statement while going for walks, travelling, or taking them to the vet – this spaceship designed carrier backpack might be what you’re looking for.
With a high price tag but glowing reviews from pet owners, you can’t go wrong if you’ve been wanting a ‘bubble backpack’ for your cat or dog. It comes in two colours and has a built-in security leash, ventilation holes, a washable soft pad for your pet to lay down on, and top and side entryways.
- Looks fantastic.
- Comes in multiple colours.
- Highly rated.
- Fits pets up to 15lbs.
- Some pets may not like the enclosed space.
For this article, we considered top-rated user reviews from Amazon, as well as other trusted peer-review websites that focus on pet related goods and services. Along with an unbiased personal use being a factor. Other considerations were based on multiple types of pets, budget, and availability at the time of writing this article.
Frequently asked questions
Are pet carriers safe for cats and dogs?
Pet carriers are an imperative purchase when owning pets and are safe for cats and dogs. It’s important to do your research on which ones are suitable for your needs and work with your pet (or pets). Not all carriers are built the same, and pets may prefer certain ones over others – such as a hard-shell case over a soft fabric one. More mesh for them to see through, or more enclosed.
How much does a pet carrier cost?
Pet carriers can range in cost from inexpensive to expensive. Starting from $20 for a basic carrier upwards to hundreds of dollars. They do not need to be the most expensive to ensure quality and an inexpensive one will work just as well – if you and your pet are satisfied and safe with it, that’s all that matters.
How strict are airlines about pet carriers?
It depends on the airline – they can be incredibly strict about pet carriers. Most have allowed pet carrier dimensions listed on their websites, and if you follow those guidelines there shouldn’t be issues. They also should state which type of carrier, as some don’t allow soft material and only prefer hard-shelled carriers, for example.
Can a pet carrier be used as a crate?
Absolutely, if you’re using it as an always open crate or if it’s large enough. From the personal experience of this article’s author – her cats both like to sleep in their carrier while at home.
Dogs can also get used to their carriers as crates, if there is adequate space and that it’s used as a sleeping spot, not an actual crate – there generally isn’t enough room for food, water, or bathroom space.
What carrier do cats like the best?
It is entirely dependent on your cat’s personality and likes/dislikes – some may prefer a more openly mesh soft carrier they can see outside; others may prefer a hard carrier with less outside interaction. Try what you think is best based on their (and your) comfort plus safety first, and from there you should find out quickly whether they like it or not.
How to make cats like their carrier?
Some cats may never like carriers, despite slow introductions and treats. A good start to get a cat to like their carrier is give them treats while around and in it, and to let it stay around the home where they can be accustomed to it. My cats personally like to sleep in their carrier as a bed.
Along with treats and praise when they do go into their carrier, try using catnip or other such toys to get them to associate it with a good thing – not just a one-way trip to the vet.
How to make dogs like their carrier?
Dogs and cats are very different, but when it comes to making pets like their carriers – the basics are the same. Treat your dog with goodies and praise when they are around and in it, along with leaving it around for them to become accustomed to it – so that they associate it as a good/normal thing, not a scary box they only go to the vet in.
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