The Complete Guide to Buying a Dog Carrier

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The Complete Guide to Buying a Dog Carrier


The kind of dog carrier you buy will depend on how you intend to use it. You need to give this some thought before you start comparing makes, models and prices. This eBay  guide is here to help you.

Here are a number of potential uses:-

  • Creating a Safe Refuge for a Dog at Home
  • Creating a Safe Refuge for a Dog on Holiday
  • Carrying the Dog with You as You Walk
  • Transporting the Dog by Car
  • Transporting the Dog by Air

Creating a Safe Refuge for the Dog at Home

For a dog that’s new to the household, the purpose of the carrier is to provide a controlled living area while you establish a training routine. Even when the dog is fully house trained, the carrier may still be useful in protecting certain areas of the house, for example food preparation areas, or restraining the dog from over-zealous contact with visitors.  

For this kind of use you should consider either wire framed carriers or those with solid plastic sides and a wire mesh door. The benefit of wire framed carriers is that they offer full visibility of the animal inside. Some models also fold flat for transportation which gives them added versatility.

Plastic carriers are easier to clean but can be more easily damaged as a result of chewing. They are robust in appearance and more convenient to carry but offer restricted vision to the pet inside, which, admittedly, can be an advantage.

Creating a Safe Refuge for the Dog on Holiday

There are more options here depending on the type of holiday you’re taking. Hotels and guest houses will have their own rules, but if dogs are accepted, you’ll probably need a wire-framed or solid plastic carrier as above. 

If you’re self-catering or camping, you may prefer a carrier which takes up less space in your luggage (on the assumption that you’re going by car). Have a look at a folding soft fabric carrier or a ‘pop-up’ fabric kennel, both of which can be packed flat for the journey.   

Carrying the Dog with You as You Walk

For smaller dogs, say up to 20 pounds in weight, there are three products to consider:

  • a tote bag
  • a back-pack
  • a front-pack

Tote bags drape over one shoulder, offering a lot of convenience but little protection for the pet inside.

The best back-packs will include useful comfort and safety features including an internal frame, air vents, safety harness attaching to the pet’s collar and tension adjusting chest and shoulder straps.

Front-packs (like kangaroo pouches) offer the same features as back-packs but enable you to keep your pet in full view at all times, a useful feature for young dogs and puppies.   


Transporting the Dog by Car

For transportation by car you should again consider either wire framed or plastic carriers. These are both preferred to the soft fabric alternatives, mainly because they offer greater protection in the event of an accident. In a car, the more enclosed environment of a solid plastic carrier may be more reassuring to a nervous pet.

Whichever you choose, please make sure that they are strapped securely to the car interior.

Transporting the Dog by Air

This is a more complex area although IATA provides comprehensive information. It’s important that you talk to airlines well in advance to check out the availability of baggage space and specification requirements for dog carriers.

Carriers Suitable for UK Airports

For flights departing from UK airports, dogs must be carried as accompanied baggage in the hold of the aircraft, where a suitable environment can be maintained. There are guidelines governing the construction and specification of suitable dog carriers or crates.

They need to be sturdy enough to withstand the rigours of baggage handling with an internal design which offers both comfort and protection to the pet inside. Bear in mind that dogs will spend many hours in the hold of the aircraft and, in an unfamiliar environment, the temptation to damage their surroundings will always be there. The carrier must be escape-proof to avoid the possibility of injury to this and any other animals in transit. Approved materials include:

  • Fibreglass
  • Metal
  • Rigid plastics
  • Weld metal mesh
  • Solid wood and plywood.

If plywood is part of the construction, this must be a minimum of 12mm thick. The door, which can be hinged or sliding, should form the whole of one end of the container and have secure fasteners. 

The sides should be strong and well ventilated – ventilation holes can cover all surfaces as long as they don’t weaken the structure. The minimum ventilation requirement is 16% of total surface area. The floor of the carrier should be padded for comfort and the handles strong and well placed to make lifting as easy as possible for baggage handlers.

The interior needs to be smooth so that no protrusions can be bitten or attacked.

There must be a water container inside the crate with access from the outside in case it needs replenishing.

 Food supplies should be securely attached to the outside of the container in case of flight delays.

Acceptance of any design is at the discretion of the individual carrier. Some may feel that rigid plastic carriers are less suitable for large or aggressive dogs because of the risk of gnawing or attack from within. This may be judged to compromise the strength and safety of the unit.

Carriers made entirely of welded mesh or wire mesh are not acceptable, although this type of construction is perfectly adequate for car transport or use in the home. For more detailed specifications and diagrams covering dog carriers please visit

Carriers Suitable for US Air Transport

For internal flights, most US airlines allow smaller dogs to travel in the cabin with their owners.

If you see ‘Airline Approved’ as part of an eBay item description, this is more likely to refer to dog carriers suitable for air transportation in the USA.

Over there, there is no standardised acceptable carrier size so the best advice is to check with the airline before you travel.

As a rule of thumb, dogs heavier than 15lbs will be too large to travel in the cabin.  The carrier you buy will be determined by the dog’s physique. Its height should be, as a minimum, the distance from the floor to the top of he dog’s shoulders. There is no point in any extra height since the dog will spend most of the trip lying down.

An important airline requirement is that the animal should be able to turn freely in the carrier. The carrier should be manufactured from water repellent fabric with plenty of vents on both sides and good quality zips.

Padding will improve comfort and help to cushion the pet as the carrier flexes to fit its environment on the floor of the aircraft cabin.

On take-off, your dog will need to fit under the seat. In flight, the carrier can be positioned under your knees. A covered or padded strap will make it easier to carry your dog on and off the plane. For the benefit of other passengers and cabin crew, it’s also advisable to minimise the visual impact of the dog carrier by choosing the colour black.     

Selecting the Right Size of Carrier

The carrier you pick should be neither too big nor too small. If too big, the dog will be tempted to create a separate toilet area. If too small, there will be insufficient room to make a complete turn with ease. 

As a guide, the carrier height and depth should be 12” more than the corresponding measurements for the dog. The ideal width is approximately three quarters of the depth. If you’re buying for a puppy, you can modify the carrier with a divider which can be adjusted as the pet grows.   

How to buy a Dog Carrier/Crate on eBay

Now that you know which dog carrier/crate you want you can find them quickly and easily on eBay. To start shopping, go to the Pet Supplies category the Dogs portal. Click on the Carriers & Crates sub-category portal.

While you shop, don't forget Harnesses, Coats, Leads,  Treats and Collars.


The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for material: Metal, Fabric, Plastic, Rope and Wooden

Product Finder

Use the Dog Carrier/Crate Finder to quickly narrow down item listings by brand, model and condition (new or used).

Keyword Search

Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find New Dog Carries/Crates, type the keywords "Dog Carries/Crates New" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click, "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try browsing eBay Stores or tell the eBay Community what you’re looking for by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a matching item becomes available.

Buy Dog Carriers and Crates with Confidence

Make sure that you know exactly what you’re buying and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know Your Item

  • Read the details in the item listing carefully.
  • Remember to add delivery costs to your final price. If you’re buying a high value item, check that the seller will insure it until it is delivered to you.
  • If you want more information, click the “Ask seller a question” button on the seller’s profile or the “Ask a question” link at the bottom of the item listing page.
  • Always complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy it Now or Best Offer) otherwise you will not be covered by eBay Buyer Protection.
  • Never pay for your eBay item using an instant cash wire transfer service like Western Union or MoneyGram. These are not safe ways of paying someone you do not know.

    Know Your Seller

    Research your seller so that you feel safe and positive about every transaction.

  • What is the seller’s Feedback rating? 
  • How many transactions have they completed?
  • How many positive responses do they have?
  • What do buyers say in their Feedback?  
  • Are they positive about the seller?

    Most top eBay sellers operate like retail shops and have a returns policy.

  • Do they offer a money-back guarantee? 
  • What are their terms and conditions?

    Buyer Protection

    In the very unlikely event that you do not receive your item or it is not as described, eBay Buyer Protection covers your purchase price plus original delivery cost.

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