7 Best Pug Carriers For Air Travel, Camping, And Road Trips [2022]

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When it comes to choosing a dog carrier for your pug, there’s a few important things you need to consider. Pugs have specific needs due to their shape, size, and common health issues – so many carriers for small dogs aren’t going to be suitable for your pug. We look at some of the best pug carriers for air travel, road travel, and camping to ensure your pug has a safe, comfortable journey – wherever you travel to!

Having a quality dog carrier for your pug is essential, whether you’re going on a long drive, or jumping on a plane. A good carrier is worth every cent you pay for it, as it ensures your pug feels comfortable and safe at all times in their small space.

So what do you need to think about when you’re buying a pug carrier? We’ll cover everything you should know to help you make the right decision for your lifestyle and your pug’s specific needs.

Benefits Of Using Carriers For Pugs

Putting your pug in a carrier lets you travel more easily, and prevents your pug running away or getting scared if they’re in big crowds such as airports. And if you’re planning a plane trip with your pug, airlines will require that your dog is in an airline-approved dog carrier that gives your pug room to move, is the right size to fit on the plane, and has good ventilation for the fllight.

Dog carriers are also great for going about daily activities with your pug, including:

  • Trips in the car
  • Going to the vets or groomers
  • Camping and hiking excursions
  • Carrying your pug around town
  • Helping your senior or sick pug travel safely with you
  • Keeping your new pug puppy safe
  • Keeping your pug safe in crowded areas

When you’re choosing the best carrier for your pug, think about what you’ll typically use it for, as this will help you narrow down the size and style of carrier that will work best for you and your dog.

best pug carriers

Best Dog Carriers For Pugs – Our Top Picks

Quality dog carriers have plenty of ventilation, are easy for your pug to get in and out of, and are robust and durable to ensure your pug is safe and can’t escape.

We’ll look at all of these carriers in more detail below. But first, here’s what you need to think about before you buy your new pug carrier.

Different Types Of Pug Carriers

There are two main types of dog carriers suitable for pugs. Hard carriers are made of rigid plastic that can provide extra protection for your pug in transit, and they wont bend in the middle when you carry them if your pug is on the chunky side!

Soft carriers tend to be the carrier of choice for pugs, as they’re light, comfortable, and have great ventilation for your pug so they won’t have difficulty breathing, and won’t overheat. On the downside, they’re not as durable and may not be suitable for big pugs.

  • Soft carriers – these are soft sided, with mesh inserts. We recommend these types of carriers for pug puppies, and pugs that are smaller in stature. Most of these styles of carrier are suitable for pugs up to 15 pounds. Many of these carriers are collapsible and fold flat for easy storage.
  • Wheeled Carriers – if you have a lot of gear, or you’re planning to take your pug through an airport, a rolling carrier might be a great choice to avoid you having to physically carry your pug over long distances.
  • Hard Case Carriers – if your pug is on the larger side, a soft carrier might have a tendency to sag in the middle when you pick it up, which can be uncomfortable for your pug, and cause them to get stressed. Hard carriers are also a lot more durable and last longer than soft carriers.
  • Expandable Soft Carriers – these are a great option as they function as a standard carrier but can be folded out to give your pug extra space to move. They’re ideal if you have long airport layovers, or if you take your pug on a long trip, or go camping as they won’t feel so cooped up.

  • Backpack carriers – these are typically used for smaller dogs, and not so much for pugs. But if you have an elderly or disabled pug, or a smaller pug, a backpack might be the option you need for smooth travel.

What size dog carrier should I get for my pug?

Pugs are typically considered a medium sized dog. So when you’re looking at the right size carrier for your pug, you should get one that’s around 24 inches in size. This should be suitable for most adult pugs.

Your dog carrier should be big enough for your pug to turn around in and stretch out to lie down. It’s important that you check the weight limits of the carrier to ensure it will hold your pug’s weight. Otherwise, you could end up with broken bags and straps when you’re at an airport or in the middle of nowhere where you can’t find a replacement carrier.

Weigh your pug before buying your carrier, and measure their length and height to ensure your carrier will leave plenty of room to move once they’re inside.

How To Choose The Best Pug Carrier

It’s best to choose the most high quality carrier that fits your budget. Cheap carriers don’t tend to last as long, and if you’re travelling frequently with your pug, it’s more economic in the long run to buy a more expensive bag instead of buying cheap ones that you’ll need to keep replacing.

All dog carriers have different features, so decide how you’ll most likely be using the carrier with your pug.

Travel By Air

Flying with a pug is one of the most common reasons to buy a dog carrier. Airlines require your pug is in an approved carrier when it’s on board with you – both for your dog’s comfort and safety, and the safety of other passengers.

best pug carriers

For air travel, your pug’s carrier must:

  • Fit under your seat (around 8 to 10 inches high for most planes)
  • Not exceed the weight of a carry-on bag
  • Comply with the airline’s specific regulations for pet travel. Make sure you check your airline’s rules before traveling with your pug

Pugs can have problems with air travel due to their brachycephalic build, so you need to ensure their carrier has very good ventilation to make it as easy as possible for them to breathe properly at altitude.

Soft carriers are generally recommended for air travel, as they fit neatly under your seat, and most come with airline-approved dimensions. Again though, you need to check that the dog carrier you choose meets the requirements of whichever airline you fly with.

Road Trips And Camping

Keeping your pug in a carrier can make life easier on long road trips, or if you’re camping and worried about them running away. Your pug will grow to feel like their dog carrier is a safe place when they need to sleep or have some time out as well.

During long car journeys, your pug might need to be in their carrier for hours at a time. So it needs to be as comfortable as possible for them to enjoy the ride. But no matter how comfy their carrier is, it’s important you make regular stops to ensure your pug is cool, hydrated, and gets regular toilet breaks.

A pug carrier that’s suitable for camping and car trips should:

  • Be roomy enough for your pug to stretch out and turn around
  • Have a clip for your pug’s harness or leash to attach to
  • Be able to attach to your car’s seatbelts for extra security on the road
  • Have good ventilation to prevent overheating, especially in the summer
  • Have extra space to put their food and water bowl inside

How to choose the best dog carrier for your pug

Once you’ve decided how you’ll most likely be using your pug carrier, it’s time to think about choosing the best one for your pug’s specific size and unique needs. For the most part, you’ll be making a choice between a soft carrier and hard carrier.

Here’s a quick video guide on how to choose the best pet carrier for your pug:

Pug size

Pugs grow to around 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder. Female pugs tend to be a little shorter and smaller in stature.

Don’t guess how tall your pug is though! Measure them and look for a dog carrier that’s tall enough so they can stand up inside it. The carrier should also be wide enough to fit your pug’s stocky build easily and allow them to turn around.

Expandable carriers are ideal for bigger pugs, as they have extensions that fold out to give your pug more room to move around.

As well as a carrier being too small for your pug, buying a carrier that’s too large can cause problems too. If you buy oversized carriers, your pug can slide around and move too much when they’re in transit, which can cause injuries and reduce the comfort of their journey.

Pug Weight

Your pug might weigh anywhere between 10 to 20 pounds (or more!). Check the manufacturer’s weight recommendations before you buy a dog carrier to ensure the carrier can safely transport your pug. If your pug is borderline for a carrier’s weight limit, it’s safest to choose the next size up to avoid your pug breaking the carrier handle.

If your pug is on the heavier side, consider a carrier with a shoulder strap instead of a carry handle. This will help distribute your pug’s weight – as they can become very heavy if you need to carry them for a while! A carrier with wheels can also be a sensible choice for larger pugs.

And if you’re travelling with a pug puppy, make sure you buy a carrier that leaves room for them to grow.


The main reason you’ll buy a pug carrier is for your pet’s safety. So check out the built in safety features of a few carriers before you make your buying decision. Are the straps and zippers sturdy? Can your pug chew through the side of the carrier and escape? Are there any small parts they might nibble off and choke on?

Ensure you buy the best carrier you can afford – for your pug’s safety.


Pugs love to look around and see where they’re going. A carrier with good visibility and ventilation will make their journey with you a lot more enjoyable.

Many dog carriers also have built in pockets and compartments to store your pug essentials such as bowls, treats, and leads. And good carriers should have attachments to clip your pug’s harness or lead to for extra security.


Durability is key when you’re deciding on the best pug carrier for your pet. If your pug is a chewer, make sure the fabric of the carrier you buy is robust enough to withstand your pug’s munching behavior. This can make the difference between choosing a hard carrier or soft carrier for your pug as well – a soft carrier may not have as much longevity.

Easy to use and carry

Look for carriers that you can easily get your pug in and out of for ease of use, and for your pug’s own comfort.

In addition, your carrier should have a comfortable handle or shoulder strap so that your hands and arms don’t get sore if you’re carrying your pug for a long time.


Pugs can have trouble breathing at the best of times due to their skull shape, so they need a carrier with a lot more ventilation than other dogs. Ensure any carrier you buy has adequate airflow such as mesh vents or top vents so your pug stays cool and can get enough fresh air while they travel.

How Long Can Your Pug Spend Inside A Carrier?

Most pugs will be fine in a carrier for a few hours. Just don’t leave them alone for too long, and make sure you give them regular breaks from their carrier to get out and stretch, have a drink and a snack, and go to the toilet.

If you’re flying, most airlines will require that your pug stays in their carrier for the entire flight. This can be a long and uncomfortable journey for many pugs, so consider the length of your flight before taking your pug on the plane with you.

Best Dog Carriers For Pugs

Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier

The Sherpa Original is our top pick for pug carriers. It’s the perfect all-round dog carrier for taking your pug to the vet, carrying them around town, or taking them on an airplane with you.

The spring wire frame of the carrier allows the rear end of the bag to be pushed down so it conforms to the under-seat requirements of most airlines. This carrier has lots of mesh panels for ventilation, lockable zippers to prevent your pug from doing a disappearing act during your journey, and it has a seatbelt strap that doubles as a padded luggage strap.

The Sherpa also features a large zippered pocket for your pug’s travel documents and essentials.

For your pug’s comfort, this carrier comes with a soft, washable faux-lambskin liner to keep your pug extra comfortable on trips.


  • 3 sizes to fit pugs 8lbs to 22lbs
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Lockable zippers
  • Padded, comfortable, washable liner
  • 3 color choices
  • Approved carrier for most major airlines


  • Destructive pugs can easily chew up the interior

There’s also a Sherpa with wheels if you prefer your pug to roll in style!

SleepyPod Air Dog Carrier

The Sleepypod Air is a fantastic choice of carrier for in-cabin pug travel. It’s built with high safety standards and quality features, which is reflected in the price. Although it’s not the cheapest dog carrier for your pug, you’ll see where the extra money goes compared to some of the more budget dog carriers.

The Sleepypod has an innovative design which gives your pug plenty of room inside. It compresses from 22 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches down to 16 x 10.5 x 8 inches to fit under airline seats.

It has a trolley pocket which allows you to attach it to your other luggage (a bonus if you need to go through airports) and a seatbelt strap which allows you to secure the carrier safely in a car seat.

Like the Sherpa, this carrier comes with a plush, removable and washable liner for your pug’s comfort. Both the top and ends of the carrier open for easy access to your pug, and easy cleaning of the interior. The tough, durable nylon construction ensures the carrier can withstand years of travel with your pet.

The Sleepypod Air is certified by the Center for Pet Safety for dogs under 18 pounds.


  • Ideal for pugs under 18lbs
  • Available in a range of fashion colors
  • Good ventilation and visibility for your pug
  • Approved by most major airlines
  • Folds flat for easy storage


  • More expensive than other pug carriers

AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Dog Carrier 

The Amazon Basics pet carrier is a favorite with dog owners, with over 18,000 buyer reviews and a 4.5 star rating. It’s affordable for most budgets, and is a great choice if you don’t have much time to choose a carrier.

It’s design is similar to the Sherpa bag above – but it doesn’t include the handy zippered pockets which can be useful for carrying treats and accessories for your pug.

The two handles on this carrier can be used in conjunction with your car seatbelt for road trips, and as an adjustable shoulder strap for carrying your pug.

It has plenty of ventilation, and also includes a washable fleecy liner for your pug’s comfort. You can put your pet into the carrier from the top, or from the side.


  • Fits under-seat requirements of most airlines
  • Recommended for pugs under 22 pounds (10kg)
  • Available in 3 sizes


  • Not suitable for very large or heavy pugs

Henkelion Soft Dog Carrier

With 27,000 glowing customer reviews, this soft-sided dog carrier is suitable for most pugs. Although it’s not approved for many airlines’ under seat requirements, it’s perfect if you want to take your pug in the car, to the vet or groomer, or carry them around in busy places.

Made of durable polyester fabric, the Henkelion soft-sided carrier has sturdy mesh on all sides so your pug has plenty of fresh air. This carrier also has a fleecy liner that’s easy to remove and wash.

The Henkelion comes in different sizes, so ensure you measure and weigh your pug before buying a carrier to ensure you get the correct fit for your dog.


  • Adjustable shoulder strap for hands-free carrying
  • Comes in a range of colors
  • Side pockets for treat storage
  • Safety leash
  • Sturdy zippers
  • Excellent ventilation


  • Not approved for all airlines
  • Not suitable for very large or heavy pugs

Siivton Expandable Dog Carrier

If your pug needs to stay in a carrier for longer periods of time, the Siivton pet carrier is a great option. It has four expandable mesh sides that give your pug plenty of room to stretch out in.

With sturdy construction and a great design, the Siivton has plenty of ventilation and visibility for your dog, and it’s easy to get your pet in and out of.

When you’re not using it, this carrier folds flat for easy storage. It also works well as a playpen for pug puppies, or to prevent your pug roaming when you’re camping or at the beach.

It also comes in a backpack model.


  • Airline approved
  • Removable fleecy liner
  • Reduced confinement anxiety for your pug
  • Maximum ventilation
  • Lightweight and foldable
  • Shoulder strap


  • Can be too bulky to fit under some airline seats
  • Mesh may not withstand a destructive pug!

Midwest Spree Travel Carrier For Dogs

The MidWest Spree is a popular choice for hard carriers. It’s easy to assemble, easy to clean, and comes in three sizes which accommodate most pugs.

 It’s best suited for short trips with your pug rather than long road trips or flights. The door opens in two directions, plus you can put your pug inside from the top as well.


  • Durable plastic that’s sturdy and easy to clean.
  • Plenty of ventilation and visibility
  • Easy to assemble
  • Comfortable carry handle
  • Fits pugs up to 24 pounds
  • Available in 3 colors


  • Boisterous pugs might be able to push through the door
  • Not suitable for very large or heavy pugs
  • Not ideal for long journeys

Petmate Two Door Hard Carrier For Dogs

Similar in design to the Midwest hard carrier above, the Petmate carrier has more ventilation and visibility. which is a bonus for your pug. It’s also quite roomy compared to other hard crates.

Because this is a rigid design, it’s especially important that you read the manufacturer’s guide on size and weight to ensure you get the right fit for your pug.


  • Top and side exits for easy access
  • Durable construction
  • Plenty of ventilation and visibility


  • Runs small, so make sure to measure and weigh your pug before choosing a size!
  • Not suitable for under-seat airline travel

Getting Your Pug Used to A Dog Carrier

If your pug is anything like mine, they will greatly resist and protest about being put into a new carrier or bag that they’re not familair with! Buy your carrier well before you need it, and leave it lying around in your pug’s usual territory so they can get used to jumping in and out of it, playing in it, and eating the odd treat out of it.

The more familiar your pug is with their carrier, the more it will feel like a safe space. This will reduce your pug’s anxiety about being locked inside the carrier, and make the journey an easier one for both you and your pet.

In Summary – Best Pug Carriers

Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration in our picks for best pug carriers, and you’ve taken away some helpful advice on how to choose the right carrier for you and your unique pug.

While our top pick is the Sherpa for its affordability, and for being a great all-round multi-purpose dog carrier, there are plenty of other fantastic carriers on the market. Just make sure to do your research, and measure and weigh your pug before making a purchase desicion.

rachael barkzine

About the author

Rachael is the co-founder and editor at Pug Facts. Owner of one elderly Pug, she’s dedicated to helping other Pug owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.

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About PugFacts

PugFacts is a small team of devoted PUG owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

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Expert tips, advice, and inspiration to keep your PUG healthy and happy

PugFactsGuide is a small team of devoted Pug owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your Pug! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.