When you have a pet dog, it’s really fun to play with them and take them on walks. But aside from that, you can also take them on a bike ride. Some dogs can happily run alongside their owners’ bikes while exploring around the park or in the woods. However, there are other dogs who are either too old or incapable to do this due to their physicality. But now, all kinds of dogs will be able to enjoy riding a bike with their owners through the use of bike trailers.
Bike trailers are pet rides you can attach to your bicycles. With the use of them, you will be able to take even your smallest or oldest dog with you when you go out for a ride. But before purchasing one, you need to know some things first.
Why Should You Use a Bike Trailer for Your Dog?
There are a lot of reasons why using a bike trailer is more convenient compared to having your dog run alongside you when you go biking. Here are some of them.
Your dog may lack the discipline to run alongside your bike.
There are some dogs who are very energetic and can run far when you take them outside. If you have this kind of dog, you might find it difficult to have him run alongside your bike. Aside from that, they can also be distracted easily, therefore, by giving your dog a lift, you both can enjoy a nice ride without worries.
To carry your tired dog.
Usually, bike rides take longer than your dog’s energy level. This means that when you let your dog run alongside your bike, there’s a tendency that he’ll get tired easily. With this, towing a bike trailer is great so that your dog can have somewhere to jump into when he gets tired of walking or running.
To take your not so active dogs outside.
If your pet is not into exercise, such as those short-nosed breeds like bulldogs and pugs, but you want to take them outside, trailers will make it easy for them to get some outdoor time and fresh air without getting very tired.
To give your older or sick dog some chance to go outdoors.
Dogs who are recovering from injuries or those who have illness would surely love to go out once in a while as well. Dog trailers will help you take them outside without forcing their bodies to expend much energy. This is also great if your dog is old and will not be able to keep up with your bike anymore.
Things to Look for when Purchasing a Bike Trailer
There are many types of dog trailers available on the market and sometimes choosing one can be challenging. When purchasing a trailer, you should make sure that it suits you and your dog’s specific needs. To help you out, here are some things you should consider.
Size and Capacity
Of course, you need a trailer where your dog will fit in comfortably. Therefore, you should measure your dog’s length and compare it to the dimensions of the trailer you will be buying. Dog trailers also have weight limits especially for dogs who weigh more than 30 or 40 pounds, so be sure to know your dog’s weight as well.
The Trailer’s Connecting Hardware
Dog trailers can connect to your bicycle in different ways and it’s important to choose one that can be easily connected. There are also some dog trailers that have a secondary strap which prevents it from rolling away if ever the primary connection fails.
Handling and Maneuverability
It’s also important to choose a dog trailer that is easy to handle and maneuver. Remember that a well-designed dog trailer is easy and fun to use and safe at the same time.
You should also see to it that the dog trailer you will choose is durable. Keep in mind that well-made dog trailers are safer and can last longer. Try to look for characteristics such as robust, air-filled wheels, high-quality connectors and fasteners, and a strong frame. These will ensure you that you and your dog are safe when you go for a ride.
Point of Entry
Different kinds of dog trailers also have different points of entry. There are some that will require you to load your dog in from the top while there are somewhere your dog can enter from the front or side. It’s generally preferable to choose those where they can enter from the front or side. You can also choose one with multiple doors for some extra flexibility.
There are dog trailers that feature some division. This is great for example you will take two small dogs with you for a ride because the divider can keep them safely separated. These will also allow your dog to ride in one side and you can place other items on the other side.
Dog trailers with kick-stands are also great because you will need to unhitch it from your bike once in a while. Kickstands will help support the front part of the trailer while it is not connected to your bike.
Safety Equipment for Dog Trailers
There are some safety risks when you tow your dog behind you in a trailer, therefore, it is important to follow some safety practices and choose a trailer with protective features. Here are some of the safety equipment or features for dog trailers.
- Reflectors: Having reflectors attached to the trailer will make it easy for motorists and other cyclists to see you especially in low-light conditions. This should be a mandatory equipment when you plan on riding in the dark.
- Flags: These are another great way to increase your visibility especially during the day. Safety flags are usually mounted on long poles, extending above the height of the trailer. They can be purchased in stores if your dog trailer does not come with some.
- Parking Brakes: While taking a break from a ride, you should make sure that the trailer will not roll around, most especially when you’re loading or unloading your pet. Therefore, you should look for trailers that have parking brakes.
- Safety Straps: These are usually incorporated with the hitch or connector’s mechanism. They are back up tethers to maintain the trailer attached to the bike.
Introducing Your Dog to the Trailer
After purchasing a dog trailer, you will have to introduce it to your dog first. There are dogs that have no problem in riding trailers but there are also some who can be nervous about them. You should also start slow and introduce it to them gradually.
You can first put the trailer in one place and let your dog sniff it or check it out. You can also give your pet praises and treats as he does this. If it goes well, you can then open the trailer and encourage him to enter it. But don’t force him to do so. Give your pet some time and lots of encouragements. Stay calm and praise him when he jumps inside.
When you find your dog comfortable in the trailer, you can strap him in and try to pull him around by hand. Keep it slow and gentle until he learns that he’s safe in it. When he becomes comfortable with that, you can now start hooking it up to your bike and go for some short rides. Eventually, your pet will get used to riding his trailer.
Just remember to not push your dog in riding the trailer because that will just make him more anxious. Make the introduction calm and enjoyable.
Precautions on Dog Trailers
Aside from the safety features that come with your dog trailer, there are also some steps you should follow to keep you and your dog safe when you go for a ride. Here are some of them.
Start Slow and Short
When riding a bike with a dog trailer, you should always keep in mind that you will be working a lot harder. Therefore, it’s more advisable to start slow so that you will not find yourself exhausted on the side of the road. Also, if it’s your first time to tow a dog trailer, make your trips shorter than normal first before trying extended distances.
Buckle Up Your Dog
Always make sure that your dog is securely attached to the trailer. This will keep him safe from possible accidents and can also keep your dog’s weight in the middle of the trailer which will make it easy for you to keep your balance.
Stick to Smooth Surfaces
Dog trailers are designed to be used on smooth surfaces that’s why you need to stick to roads, sidewalks, and bike paths. So even if your bike is made for the mountains, remember that your dog trailer is not.
Slow Down When Turning
Since you’re towing a trailer, you have to slow down when you turn to prevent it from tipping over.
The Best Dog Trailers
Now that you know the advantages of using dog trailers and the things you need to look into when choosing one, we are now giving you a list of the best dog trailers that you might like.
This dog trailer is best for those who own small dogs or puppies. It might be small but it features powder-coated steel frames which hold the trailer’s shape nicely. Its compact design is also beneficial and safer for the driver, making it easier to handle. It also has a provision to add a handlebar to convert it into a stroller.
This dog trailer has 12.5-inch, air-filled wheels that can absorb mild vibrations. It comes with a rear wheel brake lock, preventing it to move as you load and unload your dog to and from the trailer. It also has high visibility flags to make you visible in traffic.
This dog trailer can only carry 55lbs. of weight, meaning, it’s not made for larger dogs. Dogs that measure 15 inches in shoulder height are recommended for this product since the whole weight sits closer to the ground.
This is an aluminum-made dog bike trailer that you would love to bring because it’s light and durable. PetSafe Happy Ride Aluminum Dog Bike Trailer allows your pet to enjoy the view outside and it has front and side ventilated windows to keep your pet comfortable and protected against too much exposure to sunlight.
Nothing to worry about the safety of your pet inside this trailer because it has a safety tether that connects firmly to your furry friend’s harness. This dog trailer is also collapsible, making it easy to bring even when you travel.
This is one of the largest dog trailers you can find in the market. It has a maximum capacity of 110 pounds which is great if you own larger dogs. This trailer will enable your pet to lie down, turn around, and enjoy the view. They can view the scenery outside through a series of mesh panels across the enclosure at different heights. It also has a large sunroof in the top.
This is a light-weight and very durable dog trailer. It can also be folded down for easy storage and transportation and can be set up quickly as well.
This is a steel-framed and collapsible dog trailer that can provide a comfortable ride for you and your pet. It is made from polyester and has large mesh panels, giving your dog lots of fresh air and a great view.
This dog trailer attaches to your bike through the included hitch that mounts to your rear axle. It also comes with a safety flag to make you more visible to vehicles and other motorists. It is a heavy-duty and durable dog trailer at a modest price.
This is a premium dog trailer that is great for dog owners who want the best and are willing to pay for it. This is an extremely well-built dog trailer that comes with great features, making it worth the additional cost.
It has 16-inch quick release wheels that make it easy to store. It also comes with reflectors, making you remain visible in the dark. It has removable floors for easy cleaning and four mesh windows for maximum airflow. Its zippers are also waterproof, making it last longer compared to other models.
Most dogs certainly love the great outdoors that’s why taking them outside for a walk, or bike ride is enjoyable. Taking your dog for a bike ride is also a great bonding activity for the both of your and a great way to exercise as well. We hope you’ll find the information we shared helpful in finding the perfect trailer for your dog.