What Size Should an Animal Carrier Be?

Cat sat in a bike luggage carrier

If you’re going to be transporting pets or animals, then you’ll need an animal carrier. Animal carriers come in all sorts of sizes and designs, with the perfect size depending on the animal in question.

Here’s a useful guide to a variety of animal carriers, their sizes and the animals they’re most suited for.

Animal carriers are an extremely useful piece of equipment for occasions when you need to transport small animals.

For example, they’re commonly used for getting animals to the vets, if you’re taking a pet to a cattery or kennels, if you need to take a pet on a journey by plane or train, or simply to use whilst an animals usual home is being cleaned out or altered.

If you’re taking a pet with you whilst you’re travelling by air, then the airway you’re travelling with may have specific requirements regarding the size of carrier needed.

If you’re in any doubt, always check with them in advance, as otherwise having the incorrect pet carrier could delay your pets journey.

Soft-side carrier with handles and accessories
morpilot Pet Carrier Bag
A versatile soft-carrier with a shoulder strap, washable mat and water bowl. Available 3 colours and 2 sizes.
Available from amazon.co.uk

Cat Carrier Sizes

A good cat carrier should be well designed and made from hardwearing plastic. It should have a secure latch for fastening the carrier, entry points for your cat at either the top, side or front and plenty of air holes to circulate air to your cat.

Cat carriers are usually available in a choice of sizes and when you’re buying a cat carrier you should first make sure that you know the size of your cat, even if it’s just a rough measurement.

The ideal size carrier for a cat is one in which your cat can comfortably lie down in, stand up in and turn around in if it wishes.

Cat carriers measuring about 53cm by 40cm by 38cm, and supporting a cat of up to 10lb in weight, should be suitable.

There should be room in the bottom of the cat carrier for you to place a towel or small blanket, so your cat will be comfortable.

If you’re intending on using the carrier for air travel purposes, then a larger carrier will provide more comfort, giving your cat more room to move around and for air to circulate.

Blue fabric animal carrier
AVC Portable Soft Fabric Pet Carrier
This fabric carrier with mesh sides comes in a range of colours and 3 sizes.
Available from amazon.co.uk

Dog Carrier Sizes

Like cat carriers, good quality dog animal carriers should be made from a heavy duty plastic, with sturdy wire or mesh doors and plenty of air holes for proper ventilation.

Depending on the size of your dog, the perfect sized animal carrier should provide ample space for your dog to lie down comfortably, stand up and turn around whilst instead the animal carrier. The size of the carrier depends in part on your dogs size and weight. As a rough guide:

  • For a small dog, such as a Chihuahua, weighing up to 10lbs in size, a small animal carrier measuring 53cm by 40cm by 38 might be suitable.
  • For a medium sized dog, such as a Cocker Spaniel, that weighs between 20lb and 30lbs, an animal carrier measuring 68cm by 50cm by 48cm might be suitable.
  • For a large dog, such as Labrador, which weighs between 50lbs and 70lbs, an animal carrier measuring 90cm by 60cm by 65cm in size might be suitable.
Top-load pet carrier
Amazon Basics Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel
Features a front door or top-load access with a hard plastic body and carry handle.
Available from amazon.co.uk

Other Small Animal Carriers

Other small animals, such as hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs can all be transported in animal carriers too. Small carriers designed for their size can be purchased from specialist pet shops, or you can use a standard sized cat carrier.

The main thing when choosing an animal carrier for a small animal is to ensure they will be safely contained within the carrier during transit.

Hamsters, for example, could squeeze through the bars on the front of some animal carriers, so you need to check the carrier is not too big for them.

See Also
Rabbit sat in a straw-lined cage
How Big or Small Should Your Rabbit Hutch be?
What Size Should Your Hamster or Small Animal Cage Be?