Jet Set Puggle
November 26, 2012 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Our 24-lb puggle (for scale: I am 5'6") needs a soft-sided carrier and also to get stuffed into said carrier.

NB: We will not be taking her on airplanes any time soon. This will be for the bus/subway and extended car trips.

What's a good carrier for a 25-lb puggle?

Amazon is having a Pet Tuesday event tomorrow, so I intend to buy it there and then and get it shipped next-day (we need it for Friday.) The problem is that I cannot for the life of me figure out how big the actual carriers are, nor what would be a comfortable size for the dog. The same carrier will have reviews saying "too big!" and "too small!" for the same sized animal, and very few of these seem to be made for a dog >22lbs., which is confusing. One company's "large" is another's "medium" and we tried to compare in person at the pet store and we're running into the same issues. Right now all we have to go on is "Sherpa makes good ones" and that's about it.

How do you get a dog in a carrier?

While she doesn't mind tight spaces (she cuddled up REAL tight with people and hangs out in her kennel sometimes) we have yet to figure out how to get her into a carrier. We had a test run at the pet shop on Saturday and hoo-boy she was just not having it. What are some good tips to get her to at least not absolutely HATE her new carrier by Friday?
posted by griphus to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The Sherpa ones really are great, though. You can open them from the top and from the front, and the mesh sides give your pet a 360 view so they don't feel too trapped. Since you don't plan on flying with her you don't need to worry about getting the airline rated ones, which IIRC are more expensive.

I got my (admittedly extremely unafraid of everything ever) puppy to agree to a carrier by letting him explore it for a couple of hours before the flight. There was also some bacon bribery.
posted by elizardbits at 8:42 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

We had a soft-sided carrier for the kittehs, when they were little. Then I bought a second one when they got too big to share.

1. You leave the carrier out and make it the BEST PLACE EVAH for a few days before traveling. Play games with it, put treats on and in it. Put favorite toys in there. Spray with Rescue Remedy (feliway if it's kitties). Your Puggle will be happy to hang in there.

2. Moving around with it? All kinds of issues. Our kitties love to nap in their carriers. Being taken somewhere in them. Not so much. Be prepared for your animal to make all kinds of heinous noises.

3. Soft sided, good in theory, not so much in practice. We had Eartha in her carrier and were working with oven mitts and tongs to get Malcolm in his. Just as we were leaving, he pitched a fit and TORE UP THE CARRIER. I mean, the Wolverine claws came out and the zippers separated, parts of the fleece lining came up and the cat emitted a werid, noxious odor. Thank goodness it happened in the house.

4. We went to Wal-Mart and got the hard sided ones. Cats still don't like to be moved in them, but they're much sturdier than the soft sided ones.

I think YOU'LL Be happier with something like this Convertable Dog-Stroller although you may feel a bit foolish.

Happy Travels!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:47 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love the Sherpa carrier I have for my cat(s). Using the top zipper opening is a lot easier for getting them into it - I can pick up the cat and lower him/her into the opening, rather than trying to get them through the front door.

Can't advise on exact size since I have cats and a 55 lb dog.
posted by wens at 8:49 AM on November 26, 2012

If you are going sherpa I would go large. I have the medium for my 10lb dog and while there is definitely extra space for him I could not even come close to imagining getting 26lbs of dog into that.
posted by magnetsphere at 8:51 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

The medium sized hard crate from Petsmart's house brand fits our 24 pound pug perfectly. Are you sure that you're sold on a soft carrier? We use our hard carrier every time our pug comes in the car with us. I'm not sure what the rules are for carriers on buses and subways, but a hard carrier seems more safe to me.

With regards to getting your Puggle unafraid of the crate, use treats and favorite toys. Put treats or their favorite toys inside the crate and let them explore it and feel like the crate is a fun place to be.
posted by bluejayway at 8:54 AM on November 26, 2012

so.. to get my cat in her carrier.. I pick her up, tilt the carrier so the opening is facing up and let gravity help me get her in there. Then I close it and slowly tilt it until it's sitting flat on the floor.
posted by royalsong at 8:55 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had an 18 lb dachshund who tolerated the medium soft-sided Sherpa, but it was definitely a tight fit. If you have time/inclination, take the pup to Petsmart/PetCo/other pet store to try out the carrier sizes before ordering.

Lots of treats must be involved, YTMMV but the Trader Joe's soft treats (like these) are very helpful.
posted by Flamingo at 8:55 AM on November 26, 2012

I have been trying to make the same decision, but I don't have a tight deadline. Here are my thoughts so far:

Err on the big side. My guy is a bit bigger than Apple, but not much. I don't want to stuff him in something he'll feel cramped in. I can't find a sherpa big enough for him.

I've been thinking about this one.
posted by trip and a half at 9:10 AM on November 26, 2012

We have and we love the extra large SturdiBag over at Our 20 pound Chug doesn't have a problem with it and it conforms to the space under airline seats if you're ever going to do that in the future...

As far as getting your puggle to like it, have you tried Quiet Moments? It seems to work on our dogs quite well... that and slipping them lots of treats during the course of travel...
posted by ryecatcher at 9:24 AM on November 26, 2012

Most soft carriers are made for travel in-cabin to fit under the seat in fron of you. Your pup is too big for that, so you're hitting the upper weight (and size) limit for the carriers. You might need a soft sided crate and a little collapsible luggage cart with wheels. Or a hard-sided crate - are you married to the soft duffle-style carriers?
posted by barnone at 9:25 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Honestly I think I want to change my vote to the dog stroller.
posted by elizardbits at 9:26 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is rated to 25lb but you'll have to check the dimensions. This is the type of soft crate I was suggesting above.
posted by barnone at 9:31 AM on November 26, 2012

We have a Snoozer for our 18-pound dog. It's the best pet-related purchase we have made. They come in different sizes, I believe.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:34 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Like ryecatcher, I have a SturdiBag. I also have several hard sided carriers. I have the XL, and it is used for a cat that is approximately the size/weight of your dog. It works great and it's easy to clean. I wear it crossbody and use the handles on either end for support. It is kind of unwieldy due to its size vs my size (given your picture, I'm two or so inches shorter than you but I'm a fat chick) so I don't know how it's going to work for situations where you have to carry it for a long distance.
posted by crankylex at 9:42 AM on November 26, 2012

I just stopped in to say that you have a very shiny floor.

And to reinforce the advice to leave the puppy container out for a few days with wonderful things in it to make it a good place in said puggle's puppy brain.
posted by HuronBob at 9:48 AM on November 26, 2012

I can not recommend strongly enough that a pet stroller is SO much better than a carrier. I have this one for my 30lbs half-beagle half-whoknowswhat, and she is quite snug in there, so while I wish it had a bit more room, she curls up and sleeps or sits down most of the time she's in it. And really, I was thinking it would look and feel ridiculous to have a dog stroller, and it kinda is, but damn man, the convenience it offers over just a carrier is incredible! I'd never go back to a carrier, unless I had a <10bls dog.
posted by Grither at 10:11 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and did I mention that there is storage space for doggy stuff underneath that stroller?

But the absolute best part is the cup holders! That's right, you can stroll around with your coffee mug sitting all comfy in your doggie stroller while getting on and off LIRR, NJ Transit, Subway, Metro North, even the PATH train! It's pretty fantastic.
posted by Grither at 10:34 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

What are some good tips to get her to at least not absolutely HATE her new carrier by Friday?

Leave the carrier or stroller in the room she normally hangs out in. Leave her favorite treats in or on the carrier / stroller, so she has to climb in to get them (put it on its side if needed). You want her to sniff it and determine that it is not a dangerous, scary object, and make the association that being near the carrier = extra treats.

(I have not actually tried this, but in general it works very well for introducing dogs to strange objects, people, etc.)
posted by insectosaurus at 11:06 AM on November 26, 2012

I haven't read the other responses yet, but since I just took my puppy on a plane last week, I feel like I'm basically an expert. Here was my experience:

-I used a Sherpa carrier, size Medium. This one, I believe. My dog is about 14" tall at the shoulders, 15" long, and 17.5 lbs, which means the medium carrier is technically too small. In practice, it was plenty big because he just curled up and napped the whole time. At 24lbs, you may want to get something that has wheels. I was getting pretty tired of schlepping my guy around by the end of the day.

-If you do plan to ever fly with him, the medium fit fine under my seat (Southwest) with some slight squishing, even though Southwest warns that it'll only fit small Sherpa carriers. I have never seen a large, so don't know its dimensions or squashability.

-In the days leading up to travel, I sprinkled some shredded cheese on the floor of the carrier to entice him inside. I was worried, because he looked huge next to it and never actually went in the whole way, but he didn't seem scared about being in the carrier. (Cheese solves a lot of problems. Except dog farts.)

-I learned a lot the first day of travel. I discovered that the best way to get my dog in the carrier was to put the carrier on its end and drop my dog in from the top, standing. Then I waved a nice, smelly treat in front of his nose and dropped it into the carrier. He stooped to get it, I zipped up, then I carefully righted the carrier while he shifted around. This was way easier than trying to force him in.

-During the trip, I gave him sips of water through a straw (put my finger over the end to trap some, then wedged it in through a gap in the zipper), fed him a few treats, and dropped in a small rawhide chew, just to keep him occupied.

-Benadryl. If your dog is active (I have a terrier, so yes, he's active), you may want to slip him a half a benadryl about an hour before traveling. It's safe, keeps him from getting motion sick, and makes him drowsy.

As I type all of this, it seems like it could have been a pretty traumatic experience for my dog (getting drugged, being dropped into the carrier, tricked, then flipped around, being crammed under a seat), but he did really, really well and seemed to enjoy it. Last night, while we were sitting and chilling finally back at home, he actually went into his carrier and curled up to nap, completely voluntarily. So it couldn't have been all bad.
posted by phunniemee at 11:49 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I discovered that the best way to get my dog in the carrier was to put the carrier on its end and drop my dog in from the top, standing.

I SUSPECTED THIS. I will try it again with a little more elbow grease.
posted by griphus at 11:51 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am Griphus's ladyfriend. Apple is about 25 inches long and and about 14 inches tall at the shoulder. Also, she weighs between 20 and 22 pounds.

thanks for all your suggestions so far!
posted by Blisterlips at 12:54 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

We have a GIANT dog that is not easily manhandled. Our trainer taught us to get him in his crate this way:

Call him to the crate and put him in a sit/stay.

Toss the most high value treats you have into the crate while reminding him to sit.

Once he is drooling give a release command.

Our giant puppy throws himself into his crate with such enthusiasm that he often hits the back of it.

If you can avoid ever forcing him that is ideal.
posted by Saminal at 6:07 PM on November 26, 2012

Watch some crate games videos. In a couple hours, using clickers and high value treats, we got our golden retriever to happily leap into his crate, stored in the back of a Honda Pilot, from the driveway. He would then sleep comfortably in it for most of a car trip from NY to FL, with breaks to stretch his legs, give him some water, and let him go potty, of course.
posted by xyzzy at 6:52 PM on November 26, 2012

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