By Nancy Cope
If you and your small dog are flying then you have a couple of choices.
Dogs on planes have to fly in an airline-approved carrier. However, if your dog or puppy is small enough and you make arrangements in advance, dogs in their carriers can fly in the cabin as long as the soft-sided carrier will fit under the seat in front of you.
Each airline has slightly different requirements about the size of the carrier but as long as it is soft-sided and you can slide it under the seat with your dog inside it, it should be all right. It’s best if the carrier has mesh sides or openings to allow good airflow for your dog. Pockets on the side are also a plus so you can keep important papers and your leash in them. Be sure to call ahead and speak to the airline before you travel to make sure your carrier is approved and they have room for your dog in the cabin. Airlines limit the number of dogs that they allow to fly in the cabin on each flight.
Carriers for this kind of travel can be shoulder bags, carry-on style travel bags, or duffle-style bags. They can even match your luggage.
Your dog can also fly in a small airline-approved kennel as baggage when you travel together. These kennels are made of hard plastic and have a wire door.
They will keep a dog secure during the flight. Pets fly in a pressurized, heated compartment of the plane with other pets. Many pets fly this way each year and it is normally safe.
However, if you have a brachycelphalic (short-nosed) breed, most airlines will not accept your breed for flights during summer months because of the higher risks to them.
There are all kinds of fun carriers for small dogs when you just want to zip around town.
Handbag-style carriers. One popular type of pet carriers is made like a handbag or shoulder bag for women. Small dogs can easily fit inside these bags with room to spare. You often see their heads poking out when they are having a look around.
Shoulder bags and slings make good carriers for dogs. Some of these bags are sherpa-lined for extra comfort for your dog. These bags can be as deluxe as you like. They can have side pockets, handles, and shoulder straps. Bags can be made of leather, canvas, faux croc, and other designer styles.
Baskets are another popular kind of carrier, especially if you like to ride your bike with your dog. Baskets can fit between your bike handle bars. Or you can use a basket that you carry with your dog inside. Baskets come in many attractive styles.
Backpacks also make popular pet carriers. You can walk, hike, jog, go shopping, or do anything you normally do with your small dog secure in your backpack carrier.
There are all kinds of styles of carriers for dogs. If you haven’t seen the kind of carrier you like yet, you can probably improvise one. As long as it keeps your dog safe and secure, then it will probably make a good carrier.
Nancy Cope is the owner of four rescue dogs and Pampered Dog Gifts.