Like I said in Dog Supplies -- The Best Stuff it can be hard to find the good stuff. When you are looking for the best shampoo or dog toy a certain amount of trial and error is fine, but if you need a small dog pet carrier it has to work well the first time.
Small Dog Travel Bags
A soft sided carrier, especially one with wheels, is the best way to go for in-cabin air travel. They can also be used for car travel and just generally bopping around town, especially when you are planning on hanging out in places where dogs aren't usually allowed, (like your mother-in-law's).
Yes, a determined small dog can try to chew or bite his way through the cloth and mesh. But a soft-sided carrier usually has lots of airflow so that your dog can breathe easily and the bag can be squeezed into a small spot if needed.
If you try putting your dog in the bag – well in advance of your trip, of course -- and he acts like a lifer trying to escape from Alcatraz, he needs basic crate training. Instructions for this are in Crate Training for Dogs That Hate Crates. I'm always surprised that even the most active of my dogs seem to understand and accept the travel trade-off, specifically:
They have to stay in a somewhat restrictive spot for a while BUT then....
They get to come along.
My resident live wire Rocket was fine on a trip to Poland in 2006. Safely ensconced under my seat, he turned around 3 times and went to sleep. He was so quiet that my concerned seat mate woke me up at 4 am to ask me:
“Hey, lady, is your dog DEAD?”
(By the way, there is no better alarm clock.)
Rocket of course was fine, just gently puzzled. I wasn't that polite.
This is the best small dog pet carrier. It's called a Snoozer 4 in 1 Pet Carrier. The link takes you directly to the listing on Amazon. Their description says that it's good for dogs up to about 20 pounds, but in my experience, things get pretty tight in there above 15 pounds. I've been using the medium of this carrier for years. Rocket used it going to Poland.
It is triangular in shape. This means that when it is upright your dog can sit up fully. When you lay it on it's side, like under the airline seat in front of you, your dog can stretch out almost completely.
Here is a happy Rocket in his carrier. The bag has a telescoping handle and wheels so you can pull it behind you at the airport.
You can also take your dog along in the carrier to places that wouldn't allow a dog on a leash.
You can also use it as a small dog car seat; strap it into the seat belt. Always put your dog in the back seat – in the front, he could be crushed by the airbag in an accident.
At discount pet shops you can sometimes find triangular small dog pet carriers for much less. These tend to collapse and not work well.
Sherpa On Wheels
If your dog is a too large to fit comfortably into a Snoozer Carrier, the next best thing is a large sized Sherpa On Wheels, available from Cherrybrook. It doesn't go upright like the other pet carrier, but otherwise works well.
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This is the front of our card "Papillon Kisses". Ten 5 x 8 cards are $18.50. To pick up your set, click on
The Store At About Small Dogs.
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Small Dog Shopping
While we get often get inundated with demands to buy buy buy from questionable sources, About Small Dogs has found a couple of quality stores that really do deliver great products at reasonable prices. They also have great Christmas gifts.