Finding the best pet carrier

Looking for a pet carrier? There are various styles available for cats and dogs of all shapes and sizes. Here’s a few tips to help you narrow down the options.

As our society become more mobile, so do our animals. Most people move several times during their lives, and long-distance vacations and business trips are commonplace. Whether you’re traveling to another state, or just going around the corner to the vet, you need a convenient and comfortable way to transport your dog or cat. Finding a suitable pet carrier is the first step.

In response to this need, all kinds of innovative carriers, crates and even strollers for animals have appeared on the market. They’re designed to not only cater to your companion’s comfort and security, but to also make it easier to take your animal with you when you go places.

• Good quality crates, carriers and strollers are made from durable materials and fasteners so an animal can’t tear his way out or otherwise escape by accident.

• Many of the latest products are especially designed to be lightweight and/or streamlined for easy transport.

• Strollers allow you to easily move your animal without any lifting.

• Some crates and strollers are collapsible, making them easy to pack.

• Manufacturers haven’t forgotten fashion. Carriers and strollers come in lots of trendy styles, patterns and colors.

• Many products can be itted with special washable pads or liners to enhance your animal’s comfort and/or absorb urine in case of accidents.

Keep in mind that even the most luxurious pet carrier won’t make your dog or cat happy unless it suits him. Use the following tips to help him accept and even enjoy his mode of transport.

• Make sure it’s large enough for your animal to stand up, turn around, and stretch out in.

• Help him get accustomed to it by leaving it out with the door or entryway open so he can explore it on his own terms. If he only ever sees it when he goes to the vet, he’ll associate it with a negative experience.

• Put a few favorite toys and/or healthy treats inside the crate or carrier, along with a familiar blanket or piece of clothing. These items will help him see the enclosure as a safe and friendly place. In time, he may come to regard it as a comfortable haven that he’ll retreat to by choice. Leave these items inside the pet carrier when you set out on a trip.

• To get him used to being moved while he’s inside the pet carrier, practice taking him around the house or outside; if you have a stroller, take him for walks around the block.

• Avoid putting bowls of water or food in the pet carrier or crate while traveling. They’ll only spill, and your animal probably won’t feel like drinking or eating while in transit anyhow. Even if he does, you increase the risk of accidents by feeding him while on the road. It’s important to make sure he stays hydrated and nourished, of course, but wait until you make stops. If your animal doesn’t get motion sick, a few healthy treats en route can help cheer him up.

• If you’re taking your cat on a trip, and your pet carrier or crate is large enough, put a litter box in the back of it.

Happy travels to you and your best friend!