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Is using a pet stroller being cruel to your dog?

Is using a pet stroller being cruel to your dog?
Since the introduction of pet strollers there has been a huge debate to whether it is more cruel than kind to you push your dog around in a pushchair. Pet strollers have only been around for several years in the UK, but they seem to be proving very popular in the United States. They are becoming even more popular this side of the pond too.
The most common opinion is that dogs have four legs and therefore should walk everywhere, nature didn’t intend them to be pushed around in a pram like an infant. This opinion is most probably held by non dog owners or dog owners who have perfectly fit healthy dogs. So why do dog owners actually decide to start transporting their dog in a stroller? Here are some facts and reasons to help settle this argument.

Healthy dogs

healthy dogs don’t need a pet stroller
If you have a perfectly healthy dog, then you have no need for a dog stroller. Healthy dogs love exercise, walking, running and exploring the world around them. Putting them in a pram or pushchair is pointless if they don’t actually need it. Your dog likes getting out and about with you, their owner. They also see you as a member of their ‘pack’ and they enjoy exploring the environment with you. They don’t like to be seperated from you and certainly don’t enjoy being left at home.

Dogs are not babies

dogs are not babies
True. Dogs are not babies and should never be treated like one. Dogs are dogs. But there some instances when a dog needs the care similar to that of a small infant. Dogs do get sick and injured like children. Like babies they cannot tell you why they are in pain and are also not up to travelling long distances to obtain medical attention. A stroller comes in very handy, especially if you have to transport the sick pet to the vet. Most ill dogs are lethargic and don’t have the energy to walk long distances.

All dogs are different

All dogs are different. Different sizes, different temperaments and all need different types of care. Not all dogs are good swimmers, some are built for swimming and some aren’t. So when it comes to strollers, some will benefit from them and some won’t. Dog strollers do tend to be designed for small to medium dogs. It’s this size of dog that often needs help with mobility if they are sick and are also easy to push around in a stroller.

Strollers are not fashion accessories

Most good responsible dog owners know that strollers are not a fashion trend or accessory. But there may be the odd dog owner who decides to get a stroller because the latest LA celebrity uses one for their little pooch. Only use a stroller if your dog actually needs it. Dogs in dog strollers do get a lot of attention, some good and some bad, so you will have to take all this attention on board and deal with it seriously. Be prepared to discuss your dogs needs to complete strangers, because people will ask why you push them around on wheels. Even the non believers will come round to the idea if you explain your reasons.

Small Dogs

Some small dogs find it very stressful when being walked on a leash, especially in crowded areas like the mall or busy streets. Even we humans hate the idea of a busy crowded street, imagine what it’s like for a small daschund. Some owners use a stroller when visiting such places. This stops the little dogs from being trampled on and therefore lessens their stress levels. Smaller dogs also tire easily, especially if they are having to keep up with a fully grown human owner. Small dogs and their endurance levels are not the same as larger dogs, who can run and walk at the same pace as an adult.


A stroller may come in handy if you have a new puppy or caring for a litter of puppies. At this very young age they are so vulnerable to the many viruses that would make them very ill or even kill them. Many booster injections are not given to dogs until they have reached a certain age. Keeping them safely in a stroller when out and about is an ideal way to keep them from catching anything. The stroller also offers the puppy safety and security from other bigger dogs who may not be as friendly as your little pup.

Senior Dogs

As dogs get older, their legs and joints suffer, just like us humans. The amount of walking and running a senior dog wishes to do does reduce in their later years. But although they are not as mobile as they used to be they still like spending time with their owner. Outings and family activities stop for some dogs as they get old and they are often left at home. Like a senior citizen in a rest home, the dog starts to spend more time indoors than outdoors. using a stroller can give the dog plenty of fresh air and the occasional hop out for a quick walkies. When they have had enough and are getting tired, they can simply hop back in and rest their weary limbs. They can also enjoy being a part of their pack family once more.


We have already touched upon how ill dogs may need a stroller, especially if they need to be taken to a vet. The comfort of the stroller enables the dog to rest and conserve it’s energy for getting better. The privacy of the stroller also keeps the sick pet away from other animals, who are noisy and anxious in the waiting room, awaiting to see the vet. A sick dog will also have difficulty in walking, especially if the vet is some distance away and you have no mode of transport. Some dog owners are turned down by taxi companies because they do not like carrying sick pets.

Short term injuries

A dog stroller is perfect if your dog suffers from a short term injury. If your dog fractures or breaks a leg, is it fair just to keep them confined at home until they recover? Not only does the stroller enable you to transport them to the vets on a regular basis for thier on going treatment, but it acts like a wheelchair for your pet. It will become very useful during your dogs recovery and rehabilitation. It’s important for a recovering dog to still be out and about in the fresh air meeting people and being with the rest of their ‘pack’.

Long term injuries

Dogs of all ages are prone to leg, back and hip problems, some which can never be cured. And it’s not just the senior dogs that can suffer with their joints and muscles. So if your dog is still in it’s prime but suffers from a leg or hip problem, they can still get outdoors using a stroller. It may need some rest during a trip to the shopping mall or out on a family outing. Taking them out with you is so much better than leaving your invalid dog at home.

Handicapped and Disabled Dogs

There was a time when a disabled or handicapped dog was considered to be of no use to anyone and were usually put to sleep. Although a dog may be handicapped or disabled, they can still live a full and happy life. Our dogs become part of our family and if they suddenly become disabled we should do our best to make their loves as comfortable as possible rather than end it. Disabled dogs can live many years with a good quality of life. Dogs who have only three limbs or dogs that lose the use of their back legs can now be fitted with a ‘dog wheelchair’, a set of wheels that can help them move independantly. In cases such as these, a dog stroller can also be used in conjunction to help transport a disabled dog especialy in bad weather.

Dog Shows

Some dog owners and breeders are so proud of their pooches that they exhibit them in numerous dog shows throughout the year. This is when a stroller can come in very handy for small to medium dogs. No stressed pet will ever come first place in a competition so keep them calm and stress free inside their very own stroller. Here they can rest, be out of reach from other dogs and can easily be transported from one arena to another. There are also some twin or double deck strollers available which can house more than one dog, giving them their own private compartment. This way you can see to one dog without disturbing the other.


Depending on where you live, some locations get a really heavy winter and a really hot summer. Like humans, dogs can suffer with problems due to the cold and also from heatstroke in the hot months. A stroller is great for when your dog wants to be protected from the elements. Dogs are also covered in fur, which can protect them in the winter but they will also feel the heat a lot more in the blistering sun. The winter months can play havoc with a dogs paws. What with the ice, slush and snow there is also the salty grit that cover the roads, which can irritate your dogs feet, especially if they have to walk on it on a regular daily basis. They obviously have to walk and exercise during the winter and summer months, but a stroller is good for when they want to take the heat and cold off of themselves.

Busy Cities

Dog strollers are perfect for busy cities and the subway
Rushing around a big city, with hundreds of pedestrians getting in your way can be stressful even for us humans. So how do you think your little dog will be feeling all the way down inches from the pavement. This is why dog strollers in cities like New York are so popular. Using a stroller can get you and your dog from A to B with the least amount of stress possible. Travelling to various places in a big city can be very stressful to your dog. All the different sounds, quick pace, changes of scenery, the trodden paws…it all can be a nightmare. Your one and only green park may be quite a distance away, so it’s a good idea to take them in the dog stroller and then let them get their exercise when you finally hit the pastures of the park!


travelling with your dog is so much easier with a dog stroller
If you are going travelling with your pet, they may need some sort of stroller or carrier. The may not be able to do the whole journey without one. Some transport companies will allow pets, but only if they are secure inside a stroller or carrier. Having your dog in a stroller will also help keep them calm and give them some privacy as many strollers have good covers. Travelling is stressful at the best of times, when you add a stressed animal into the mix, it can only get worse. A stroller will be a very useful purchase if you have a lot of travel planned with your dog, keep them secure and calm on those trains, planes or automobiles!

Strollers, Joggers and Trailers

cycle trailers for your dog
Your dog can also be part of your day to day activities like jogging and cycling. There are now dog strollers that you can jog with and and also specifically designed cycle trailers that simply fix to your bicycle that can house your dog if you want to get out of the city for the day. Gone are the days when your pooch has to sit at home all alone, all day, as you go out and enjoy yourselves. They can now come along for the ride and enjoy the woods and walks when you finally arrive. They are still getting their exercise as well as you are, and you are both spending some quality time together.

Pet Strollers and physical exercise

dogs using a pet stroller still need to exercise
If you do get a dog stroller for your pet you will still have to exercise them as much as possible. Walking them in the stroller is not actiually exercising them. They still need to get out and do as much exercise as possible. Dogs do build up energy when they are not moving so make sure they get out of the stroller on a regular basis. Even with health problems, a dog likes to get about at their own pace. Keeping a dog active will also keep their weight down, so only use the stroller when you have to or when your dog needs it.

Get the right sized pet stroller

get the correct sized pet stroller for your dog
If you need to start using a pet stroller for your dog then make sure you get the right sized model for your dog’s size and weight. A wrongly sized stroller will only cause problems for your pooch in the long run. Allow for your dogs growth when choosing a stroller and make sure that they always have enough room inside the stroller to move about in. Most strollers are only designed for small to medium sized dogs, although there are a few designed for larger dogs, but it depends on whether you have the strength to push them!

Home made dog strollers

cycle trailers for your dog
Some dog owners may be tempted to transport their dog inside a childs pram or even make their own version of a dog stroller. This would be cruel for your pet. First of all their physicality doesn’t conform to an infants pushchair and there wouldn’t be the right amount of room. Dog strollers are professionally designed by first rate designers who know what they are doing. A dog stroller will offer your dog the right amount of space and comfort. They are specifically designed with the right amount of support needed for a dog who wishes to either sit, sleep or curl up. Pushing a dog around in a home made stroller will not only cause health problems for the dog but also for the person pushing it.

Practical Pampering

There is a fine line between practical pampering and going over the top. By practical pampering we mean providing coats, boots, life jackets and strollers which are used to protect your dog and keep them in good health and free from harm. A good practical weatherproof coat will keep your dogs body warm in the cold wet weather. There is a practical use for it. Even ‘dog shoes’ can help keep your dogs feet free from icy surfaces or hot sand. There are even life jackets to keep your dog safe if they are playing with your family in the water. Strollers are the same. They are there for when your dog needs it. If they don’t need it, then fold it away and store it until they do.
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