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Top Tips and advice on buying a bicycle dog trailer

Top Tips and advice on buying a bicycle dog trailer

There are many issues to consider when buying a bicycle pet stroller,
so read on – we are here to help!

The buying of dog trailers that attach to your bicycle is on the increase. More and more cyclists are now considering taking their dog with them when they adventure out on bike rides or cycling holidays. Not only will it save them money on kennelling costs, but it will also mean that they will spend more quality time with your dog.
No longer will you have to leave your dog behind, all alone at home when you want to get out of the big city for the day or even the week. Now you can safely attach a secure specifically designed dog trailer to your bicycle and pop your pooch in, then hit the road to visit the great green countryside.
safety tethers in dog bicycle trailer
Many cyclists worry that their dog will not be safe or secure inside the cycle trailer, but they couldn’t be more wrong. With a little training at home your dog can become accustomed to the cycle pet trailer and find the new surroundings very relaxing and comfortable indeed.
Bicycle dog trailers (and pet strollers) have safety leash clips fitted inside the inner compartment, so you have extra peace of mind that your dog is securely tethered and will not leap out if any of the window flaps are open. You just simply clip the leash clip onto your dog’s collar. In fact using a bicycle dog trailer is the safest, and most sensible way for you and your dog to cycle together.
Bicycle dog carriers and trailers come in all forms, shapes and sizes and can be easily attached to the front, back, side or tag along behind your bike. And the levels of luxury and comfort for your dog can vary immensely. There are so many different styles of dog trailer and setups that you really need to do your research before you make the right choice about what will suit you and your canine travelling companion.
cyclists with thier dogs in pet trailers
We have put together a detailed BICYCLE DOG TRAILER CHECKLIST covering some of the most important issues you may need to consider when making a purchase.

Your budget and trailer usage

Before you kick off and start exploring bicycle dog trailers, you need to think about the budget you have to spend on getting one. It’s imperative that you buy a good safe model that will benefit both you and your dog. If you opt for a cheaper model check the item description thoroughly and look out for any reviews on that particular trailer. There are some great value for money trailers on the market. If you plan on using a bicycle pet trailer constantly and in all weathers you will be better off buying a state of the art model that will last you many years to come. Amazon have a great range of trailers at various prices and come with good honest reviews and weight specifications too.

Level of Comfort

levels of comfort in bicycle dog trailers
The level of comfort that your dog will have while travelling in the carrier is up to you. It depends on whether you have a pampered pooch or a more down to earth dog who doesn’t mind a basic level of comfort. Extra comfort can always be added by yourself by placing a padded dog bed or blanket inside the trailer.
SOFT carriers are usually lined with some form of padding. This can soften the ride for your dog as you cycle along the road and encounter bumps and small holes in the road. The drawback of softer padded carriers and trailers is that they may absorb more odours, especially if your dog gets wet in the rain and returns back to the stroller. Other doggy smells include pee and poop, especially if they have an accident in transit. Also be prepared for any vomit, especially if your dog suffers from travel sickness. ALWAYS choose a stroller, carrier or trailer that can be easily cleaned on the inside as well as the outside.
HARD carriers have less padding and usually come only with a padded mat for your dog to sit on. The walls of these carriers or trailers are just one layer of thick nylon weatherproof fabric and may include a clear plastic window. These bicycle dog trailers are very easy to wash down and therefore quicker to dry. You can always add more comfort to the trailer by adding a dog blanket or a padded dog bed, which can be removed easily if they become wet or soiled.
SUSPENSION is always considered in the design of these type of dog strollers, carriers and trailers. Many good dog trailer will have added suspension and shock absorbers to prevent your dog having a bumpy ride. When browsing cycle dog trailers, the manufacturer will always promote the suspension and shock absorbers in their production description.

Ease of attachment

You may not always want to travel with your dog, so you will want a bicycle dog or pet trailer that can be easily attached and detached from your bike. You don’t want to be stuck with a fiddly trailer that is a nightmare to remove.
At the same time you want a pet trailer that is easy to secure and remain locked while you are travelling. It should also be strong, sturdy, stable and lightweight especially if you are putting a heavy dog inside!
fitting dog trailer to your bicycle
All bicycle dog trailers will come with the approriate ‘hitch’ or fitting that will enable you to attach the trailer to your bike. Most fittings can remain on your bike, even when you wish to cycle without the trailer. All cycle pet trailers come with all the appropraite fittings and clear instructions.
Connecting with a bolt on hub
Trailer with a quick release hub

Size and weight of your dog

Before you even begin to browse for a bicycle dog trailer or carrier, you will need to measure the size and weight of your dog. Also bear in mind if your dog is going to grow anymore in size and weight. You don’t want to end up with a larger dog being squeezed into an undersized trailer. Or a trailer that is useless to you after a year or so.
If you have a puppy and not sure what size they will become when fully grown, you can speak to your vet or check breeding guides on the internet. You will then get a rough idea of what size an adult of that particular breed is.
To measure the size of your dog you will need to take a few separate measurements. You will need:

Height of your dog from the top of it’s head to it’s paws
Height of your dog from shoulders to paws
Height of your dog from it’s chin to the paws
Length of your dog from it’s chest to hindquarters
You will have to consider the height of the stroller and the height of your dog. Don’t presume that your dog will just lie down when it gets inside the stroller compartment. We all know that dogs can be unpredictable, especially when they are out and about. Make sure that you are allowing room for your dog to be standing inside the trailer. They will need to get up and turn around inside the trailer. Otherwise it’s going to be cramped and uncomfortable for your dog.
Equally important is the length of your dog. Measure from their chest to the back of the hindquarters. The length of the stroller compartment should be at least a few inches longer than the length of your dog giving them extra room to move about inside.
All strollers will have a weight capacity guide. You will have to consider this when you are looking for a pet trailer. Again allow for growth if your dog is still young.
Weighing your dog is actually more simple than you would think.

1. Simply get a pair of good bathroom weighing scales and measure your own body weight.
2. Make a note of it.
3. Then weigh yourself again but this time holding your dog.
4. Make a note of that weight.
5. Then simply deduct your first weight measurement from the second.
6. Hey presto! You have the weight of your dog!
OUR TOP TIP: If your stroller or trailer has a suspended fabric floor and you have a heavy dog, you may want to consider having a piece of quarter-inch plywood cut to the size and shape of your trailer floor. This can help stop the ‘trampoline’ effect that happens with soft floored strollers. Your dog will also appreciate the extra stability that this new floor will provide, and it isn’t much extra weight.
Never try and stuff a large dog into a small bicycle trailer as this will not only be extremely uncomfortable and cruel to your dog, it will also create problems for you as you cycle along. It can throw you and your bike off balance and could become extremely dangerous when surrounded by other traffic.

Dog personality and suitability

I love my dog stroller
You have to be realistic when it comes to actually putting a dog into your bicycle trailer. Does your dog have the right temperament and will it eventually become accustomed to riding for long periods in your bicycle trailer? There are some dogs who just won’t take to it and will not enjoy it. The may take an aversion to the restriction, especially if they don’t like being inactive.
Even dogs that do have the right temperament will need some training before you go out on the road with your bicycle trailer. More often than not, the younger the dog, the more easier it is for them to get used to it.
Here are some handy training tips to help your dog get accustomed to their new bicycle trailer:
Step One
Assemble the trailer in your home. Keep it removed away from the bicycle and make sure it’s stable and not rolling around. That will only put your dog off from going inside it. You could even take the wheels off it until they get used to it.
Step Two
Give them chance to get their scent inside the trailer. Get them in and out of it a few times. Don’t ever force them into it or command them into getting inside. They will only presume they are being punished. Place some toys, blankets and even treats inside. Bribery is always good when training dogs!
Step Three
You have to be patient throughout this training process. Some dogs take to a pet stroller or bicycle trailer in no time at all and some need much more time and patience. Don’t rush it. Always praise them during the training and always use a kind voice.
Step Four
When you feel that your dog has enough confidence attach it to your bicycle. Again keep the bicycle and the pet trailer stationary.
Step Five
When it is time to go for a spin, take short trips. Don’t suddenly take your dog on a four hour bike ride, especially if they are still getting used to it. If your dog does become distressed, remove them from the trailer and begin the process again.
Your dog has to want to go in the trailer and enjoy their time inside it, otherwise it will only distress them and then you will have to start from square one.
Step Six
Take short trips to different locations and take note of how your dog reacts to the individual trips. Find out how your dog reacts to short trips along busy streets and traffic lanes. Taking your dog to the local doggie park in the cycle trailer is also a good idea, that way they can get out and experience a pleasant activity. In time, if your dog knows it is going somewhere special in the trailer, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting them inside it.
Step Seven
When you are out and about on the road, always make sure your dog has something inside the trailer like a few toys or treats. This will keep them occupied inside and stop them from getting bored.
Step Eight
Before any bicycle dog trailer trip make sure your dog has a good bout of exercise and has released some energy. Also make sure they have done their toilet business. That way they are more likely to relax and even snooze as you pedal along. When you reach your destination give them another exercise session and if it’s a very long trip give them loo and walkie breaks along the way. Feed and water them little and often if you are travelling a fare distance ,that will also keep them restful and hydrated.


bicycle dog trailer accessories
Look out for dog trailers that have added extras like pockets, storage compartments, safety features and handy accessories. Some well designed dog trailers will have removeable washable pads (as toilet accidents will happen). Some may even come with an added rain cover or the manufacturer may supply you with one for a small additional cost.
Look out for trailers that come with STROLLER KITS. They usually contain a handy third wheel attachment and handle bar that gets added to your bicycle dog trailer to convert it into a walking stroller. These sort of trailers are the best option in our opinion. That way, you end up with a multifunctional stroller-cum-trailer. These can also become great jogging strollers if you like the idea of jogging and cycling with your dog. If your trailer does not come with a stroller conversion kit, look out for one that can be bought for between £20 to £30.
Check out our page of recommended bicycle dog trailer conversion kits.

Road safety

Always look out for the best safety features when buying a bicycle dog trailer. Look out for trailers that provide safety leash clips which will stop your dog from jumping out of the trailer, especially if you have the canopy open. When travelling along busy roads it’s always best to keep the trailer closed up, any distraction may startle your dog and lots of traffic may even distress your dog.
safety leash tether clips inside a bicycle dog trailer
If you plan to travel in the early evenings or in low light conditions you will need a pet trailer that has reflective strips included into the design. You may also want to add reflective lights to the rear of the trailer, especially if they are not included. Many of the dog trailers also come with a warning flag that is attached to the rear of the trailer. This will indicate to other motorists that you have a trailer attached to your bicycle and that there is somebody inside it!
Also consider that you have the right cycle! Make sure that it is always checked for faults and that the tyres, brakes and other features are in tip top condition. Always carry tools and cycle repair kits with you.
cyclists must wear safety helmet and clothing when riding with a dog or pet trailer
You will also need to wear the appropriate safety equipment yourself. Helmets, protective weatherproof clothing and the right footwear will enable you to be at your best on the road. The British weather is so unpredictable and you need to be prepared especially if you have your dog with you. Take food and water for you both, the dog’s leash and a mobile phone, especially if you happen to get stranded.
When travelling or planning your route, always try and keep to smooth roads. This will enable your dog to have a comfortable safe and stress free journey.
And the most important tip: NEVER leave your dog unattended in the bicycle trailer. Dogs will never sit still, especially if they know you have left them. The will only get distressed and will most probably topple your bicycle over, which is a danger to them and other motorists or pedestrians. If you do have to park the cycle and go somewhere, put your dog on their leash and take them with you.
If you are heading into the countryside on a cycle trip, always keep your dog on their leash and follow any country codes. Only allow them off their leash in designated dog friendly areas and only if they are trained to come back to you. Also always clean up after your dog, especially if they poop.

Previously used and ‘second hand’ trailers

do your research when buying used or second hand dog strollers and trailers
If you are looking for a cheaper option and are considering a second hand trailer, you will need to do some investigating. Many dog owners re-sell their unwanted strollers and trailers by advertising them on auction sites or in the local classifieds. Always ask the seller why they are selling it before placing a bid. Don’t be tricked into buying a trailer that is no good for you or doesn’t have the functionality that you require.
If buying from an auction site, always ask the seller for various current, clear and close up photographs of the dog trailer. You need to see that all the parts are clean, rust free and in good order. If they want to sell the trailer, they should be happy enough to send you additional photographs and information. If they refuse, it may mean that they have something to hide.
If you do find a second hand model, it’s crucial that you try and visit the seller to inspect it thoroughly. You may be getting the dog trailer at a cheaper price but you may have to replace some parts of it like the tyres or repair any holes or tears in the fabric. You may end up spending more than a brand new one.
Don’t ever buy a trailer unless you have inspected it thoroughly or it’s the perfect model for you.

Have fun on the road!

a dog enjoying the countryside thanks to a bicycle pet trailer
Cycling with your pet is extremely enjoyable for the both of you and is a new activity that’s becoming more and more popular. The great thing about pet strollers and dog trailers is you can now spend more quality time with your dog instead of leaving them all alone at home. Dogs hate to be left at home. They love being a part of the family or ‘pack’. They like to explore and experience new surroundings, meet new people and encounter other dogs. Dogs are very inquisitive and sociable, it’s in their nature.
Strollers and trailers are also provide a new lease of life for dogs who have mobility problems due to injury or old age. Their limbs may not be as nimble as they used to but their minds are. So if you are a keen cyclist and have a dog that also loves to explore new surroundings, simply attach a pet trailer to you bike and go and see what’s out there. You will not only be keeping fit, but you will be also giving your dog the time of their life….and they will love you for it!
For the latest information on the latest models, check out our pages of recommended bicycle pet trailers and Trixie trailer conversion kits.
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