At some point in your pets life, you’ll have to transport them somewhere. Whether for a holiday, moving to a new house or just a yearly visit to the vet, a safe secure, comfortable pet carrier is an essential purchase for any pet owner.

Finding the right carrier can, however, be difficult.

It might seem like a large carrier is best because it gives the pet more room to stretch out, and a soft carrier might seem like it would provide extra comfort. But a large carrier can seem daunting to a small animal, as they can feel like there is nowhere to hide in the large space. Similarly, a soft carrier might seem like it provides more comfort, but a soft carrier is vulnerable to knocks and may not be waterproof.

These problems are just the beginning.

A pet owner also has to consider how hard is to get the pet in, or out of the carrier? Is the viewing window the right size? How heavy is the carrier, and so on.

Here at farmandpet.co.uk we’ve created a handy guide to help you navigate the huge range of pet carriers currently on the market.

What are you going to use the carrier for?

The first thing to consider is what you’re using the carrier for. Your circumstances and when and where you use the carrier will have a huge impact on which is right for you.

For a single use over a short distance, you may get away with a cardboard carrier, however if you travel a lot, or are taking a long journey a hard case might be better.

Another thing to consider is your transportation situation. A carboard carrier is very light which is good for carrying, but soft and easily broken which is not ideal if you don’t have a car. A hard carrier is secure but heavy, but heavy, and so perhaps not perfect for carrying. In this case you may want to go for a soft sided carrier.

A lot of picking the right carrier is going to come down to your individual situation. So lets take a look at the types of carrier and their advantages and disadvantages.

Cardboard Carrier

You might well come across a cardboard carrier when you first buy your pet. Pet shops and rescue centres often give customers cardboard carries to take their new pet home.

While they are useful for a single, short-term use, cardboard boxes are probably not the best carriers for regular, permanent use.

Advantages

Cardboard carriers are light weight and inexpensive. Making them a useful option for people on a budget who only intend to move their pet once.

Disadvantages

Cardboard will not be able to stand up to a pets scratching. After a couple of uses you may find that your pet has opened up holes in the carrier in an attempt to escape.

Cardboard carriers are also not good with liquids. Urine, spilled water, or other liquids will weaken the cardboard, and it is not possible to adequately clean them off for future use. Similarly in the rain a cardboard carrier will become soft and spongy and can offer a quick escape.

Soft sided carrier

Soft-sided carrier. These types of carriers are usually made of nylon, and they are lightweight and easy to use. Some things to keep in mind about soft-sided cat carriers are.

Advantages

Soft sided carrier are much easier to clean than cardboard, and due to their hardier build are suitable for repeat use.

Soft sided Carriers are a lot lighter and easier to carry than solid sided carriers making them a good choice for people who use public transport or don’t want to be lugging around anything too heavy, while still being reasonably sturdy.

Disadvantages

While a lot hardier, this popular style of carrier is perhaps best for calm pets who are used to travelling. The nylon mesh while sturdy, can still be torn by a particularly determined, or distressed pet.

Another disadvantage is that the soft sides do render your pet slightly more vulnerable to knocks and bumps.

What to look for

One of the most important things to look for in a soft-sided pet carrier is that it the right size for your pet. The animal should be able to stand and turn around, but there shouldn’t be so much space that they get thrown around during a car journey.

Cats in particular prefer small, cosy spaces, that make them feel safe and secure.

If you’re expecting to take your pet on longer journeys it’s worth checking if there is room for a little food or drink, in case the little guys get thirsty of hungry

One of the most important things to look for in a soft pet carrier is that it doesn’t sag in the middle. Most soft carriers have a light frame to prevent sagging, but it is a good idea to test the carriers effectiveness so that your pet has a nice solid floor to walk around on, and is comfortable to lie on.

 Hard pet carriers

Hard-sided carrier are usually made of solid, hard plastic, which makes the very durable and provides excellent protection for your pet.

Advantages

As they are made of plastic, hard carriers are the easiest type of carrier to clean. Liquids wont soak in to any fabric and fur wont stick either. A quick wipe will take care of most problems.

Hard sided carriers provide the most protection for your pet. Most bumps or reasonably heavy object falling on the carrier should bounce off without hurting the carriers occupant.

The solid sides and door makes a solid sided carrier incredibly secure. A pet would have a hard time breaking out of a hard sided carrier, even if they are distressed and panicking.

Disadvantages

Hard sided carriers are the heaviest form of pet carrier, so are perhaps not the best for travelling long distances on foot.

Being solid also makes the carrier slightly harder to store, as they have no give. You can’t squish the carrier in to a smaller space for storage.

What to look for

A good sturdy handle is essential to cope with the weight of the carrier. Make sure the handle is heavy duty and well attached so it doesn’t break off when transporting your pet.

As with the soft sided carrier, sizing the hard-sided carrier is essential. Being able to, stand, lie down and turn around, without being dwarfed by the space will make your pet much happier when being transported.

A little space for food and water is also a good idea for longer journeys.

Conclusions

There are many more things to consider when buying a pet carrier, but many will only become apparent when you consider you own circumstances, but hopefully this has given you a starting point to navigate your way to the perfect pet carrier.