How To Pick The Best Pet Carrier For Your Shiba Inu

While travel is an everyday thing the same isn’t true for my Shiba, and unless you’re comfortable with your dog sitting in their lap, you’ll want a pet carrier to help keep your Shiba safe.

The best pet carrier for your Shiba Inu will allow them to comfortably turn around, lay down, and stretch out. A good rule of thumb is to measure your dog, then add a few inches. Ideally, you’ll want something durable, typically a tough plastic or metal, with plenty of ventilation.

The right type of pet carrier for you also depends on your exact use case. Generally speaking, larger tougher carriers are best when traveling by air, but smaller softer cloth pet carriers tend to do better on car rides. 

aisle of dog carriers

How Do I Choose A Travel Carrier For My Dog?

As a puppy, Shiba Inus fit in almost every travel carrier. It’s when they grow up into adults, that things start getting tricky. While the type of carrier, soft or hard-sided (more on that in a moment), depends on the type of travel you are planning on.

  • Soft-sided pet carriers are easier to store and carry, making them a great choice for frequent car rides. 
  • Hard-sided dog carriers are best for lengthy stays and air travel because most adult Shiba Inus won’t be allowed to go in-cabin due to their size and weight.

Regardless of the type of carrier, you’ll want to ensure you get the right size for your Shiba so they’re comfortable and as stress-free while traveling as possible. A great way to check if a travel carrier is too small is:

  • Can your Shiba turn around comfortably?
  • Can your Shiba lay down and stretch out?

If yes, then the size is just right. You don’t want a pet carrier that’s too big, or you run the risk of your pup getting tossed around while you travel. Increasing the odds of injury and leading to stress that may cause them to panic. Making things even worst.

While most people are used to traveling by air, our pets aren’t, and there are a series of hoops you, your Shiba, and your carrier have to jump through before they’re even allowed near an airplane.

What Is A TSA Approved Dog Carrier?

The TSA, transportation security administration, has a series of rules and guidelines pet carriers must follow regarding air travel. All TSA-approved dog carriers follow the following guidelines:

  • Must have a waterproof bottom
  • Must have adequate ventilation
  • Must have a way to securely fasten your pet
  • The carrier must fit under the seat in front of you
  • Your pet must fit in the carrier, with no limbs sticking out
  • Your pet must be able to comfortably turn around in the carrier

Carry-on pet carriers must also be able to fit under the seat in front of you, generally, there’s enough room for a 18x11x11 inch soft-sided kennel. And yes, you Shiba would still have to fit and stay in the carrier for the duration of your flight.

Due to these size restrictions, most airlines have a carry-on pet weight cut-off of 20 lbs. While a Shiba Inu puppy will have no issue falling under those restrictions, most adult Shibas are right at, or just over, the size and weight restrictions. To avoid any last-second surprises, I would call your airline ahead of time and get their opinion so you can prepare accordingly.

Some airlines may allow you to place your Shiba’s carrier on the seat next to you, if the flight is fairly empty or if you purchased an extra ticket.

If your airline of choice isn’t going to allow your Shiba Inu to fly in-cabin, as carry-on, they’ll be placed in the cargo hold along with the rest of that flight’s large luggage. If this is the case, you’ll want to bring, or buy, a hard-sided pet carrier. It’ll still have to follow the guidelines listed above.

Should A Dog Be Able To Stand In A Travel Crate?

Your Shiba’s travel crate should be large enough for them to comfortably sit, stand, and turn around without worrying they’ll get tossed around too much while traveling. It should be made out of sturdy materials, like tough plastics or metal, and have adequate ventilation.

The Best Pet Carriers For Shiba Inus

Best Soft Carrier – Zampa 28” Collapsible Pet Travel Carrier

zampa portable pet carrier

Soft-sided carriers are a bit tricky, but with the variety of sizes, Zampa’s collapsible pet travel carrier comes in it’s hard to go wrong. Soft pet carriers are really meant for smaller pets, like cats or puppies, but if you want something a bit more flexible and user-friendly, Zampa is the best option on the market.

Best Hard Carrier – Petmate Sky Kennel 28″

petmate sky kennel travel carrier

Petmate’s sky kennel is one of the best hard pet carriers on the market. It’s durable, making it a great replacement crate in a pinch, and has plenty of ventilation for those traveling by air. And with most adult Shiba’s sitting around 16 to 17 inches tall, their 28-inch option strikes that perfect middle ground between roomy, but not too big that you’re Shiba will be jostled during your trip.

How Long Can A Shiba Inu Stay In A Carrier?

As long as your Shiba’s pet carrier is the correct size for them they can stay in a carrier for the same length of time they can stay in their crate, anywhere from 6 to 8 hours max. It’s best you keep an eye on your pet to ensure they aren’t overly stressed, and take frequent bathroom breaks.

Can You Use A Travel Carrier As A Crate?

Most pet carriers are made out of sturdier materials, similar to regular crates, and work perfectly fine as your dog’s daily crate. However, softer travel carriers should not be used as a dog’s regular crate. They’re made with softer materials that don’t stand up to well to daily wear and tear.

Are Soft Or Hard Dog Carriers Better?

Soft dog carriers are easier to store and carry, making them a fantastic option for car rides. Hard pet carriers are bulkier and less portable, but significantly more durable making them the best option for extended trips or cargo-based air travel.

Summary Of How To Pick The Best Pet Carrier

Because Shiba Inus sit right on the line between what is and isn’t acceptable for airlines to allow them as carry-on, picking a pet carrier for your Shiba can be tricky. Soft-sided pet carriers are really designed for smaller pets, like cats, but are fantastic while your Shiba is still a puppy. Hard-sided pet carriers are my go-to option for the breed as a whole.

They are durable and pass the TSA’s guidelines while making an excellent replacement for your Shiba’s regular crate on longer trips. Just be sure you measure your pet in case they’re on the larger or smaller side.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can A Shiba Inu Fit In A Carry On?

Shiba Inu puppies are usually safe to go as carry-on, but adults generally aren’t. Adult Shiba Inus are considered a medium-sized dog breed and weigh in between 18 lbs to 20 lbs, most airlines’ cutoff for carry-on animals is around 20 lbs. Most airlines are also worried about noise and aggression.

How Do I Choose A Dog Carrier?

The ideal carrier for your dog gives them enough room to comfortably turn around, lay down, and stretch out. Take your dog’s measurements, noting their height, from the floor to their back along with the distance from their neck to the base of their tail, adding a few inches to each measurement.

Are Shiba Inus Good Travel Dogs

Shiba Inus are a high-energy, alert, cat-like dog breed that does well in most environments and prefers cooler weather. They adapt well to new situations and environments, are loyal, and are affectionate toward their owners. Making Shiba Inus an excellent travel companion.

Colby Adkins

I am a proud Shiba Inu owner who is just looking to share any tips, tricks, or advice I have to help others.

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