Taking your pet to the vet - or even to a friend's house - can often be stressful for your cat or dog, and that means stress for you. Making sure the trip is as comfortable as possible is surely important to any pet owner. Read on for some tips on how to choose the best pet carrier for your animal's comfort, safety, and happiness.
Room to Breathe
The first thing to consider is the size of the pet carrier. Of course, this important decision is ultimately up to you, but a good place to begin is with your pet's weight and body size. Pets vary widely in weight, length and height, and even within one breed, these characteristics can vary. Also consider how active your pet is. If you have a busy cat or a playful dog, they might want more room to frolic, even in a pet carrier. Also if you plan to add a mat or some extra bedding, consider a large pet carrier for that as well.
Measure your pet's height while she's standing. Measure from the floor to your pet's shoulder for the height. To get a length measurement, start the tape at the backbone of the animal and continue to the end of its tail. The neck measurement can begin where the pet's collar naturally rests. Don't forget about weight - pop Rufus on the bathroom scale; even a moment can give you a general weight reading, which you can then correspond to weight capacities of various pet carriers.
Pet carriers come in both soft and hard sided versions and have lots of special things to add on: shoulder straps, Sherpa bed inserts, pockets for toys, food or bags and name tags, so your carrier doesn't get lost at the vet or boarder. For airplane travel or if your pet is large, obviously a rugged plastic pet carrier is the best way to go.
Many pet carriers have top doors, for nervous kitties and dogs to gently be placed into rather than wrestling them into a front opening. Remember that it takes time for any animal to become accustomed to a carrier, so have patience. Open the door of the pet carrier at home and let your animal seek it out on its own. Put a blanket they've used inside the carrier for comfort and familiar scent. Then, when it becomes time to go, transport will be less stressful. Most of all, plan ahead so both you and your pet will be more relaxed about taking a trip.