Bike dog trailers allow you to make sure that your best furry friend never has to stay at home just because you aren't taking the car. Bike dog trailers are useful for bringing your pet with you on longer bike rides, as well as for pets that can't keep up with your active lifestyle. Just like bike child trailers, bike dog trailers can easily be converted to strollers, and some of them can even be converted to ski trailers.
Pet bike trailers are two-wheeled, which makes them more stable. Reinforced floors and side battens keep those friskier pets from escaping or tipping the trailer over. The trailer itself bears most of the weight of your pet, in addition to making it safe for you and your furry companion. And best of all, bike dog trailers can easily be used to carry other types of Cargo when not in use by your pet.
If you're reading this, chances are that you like to be with your dog and your dog likes to be with you. And a dog never much enjoys being separated from its "pack"--even if the other pack members are human. This alone is a good reason to get a dog trailer.
Bike Dog Trailer Features To Consider:
- Capacity: The most distinguishable difference between different types of bike dog trailers is their size. Some trailers are designed for small pets, such as the Croozer Mini. Other trailers, such as the Burley Tail Wagon and the Croozer Dog can accommodate larger pets -- up to 75 lbs in the Tail Wagon, and 100 lbs in the Croozer Dog. However, if you have an especially large dog, you should double-check your pet's weight before you put him or her in a bike dog trailer.
- Reinforcement: Most pet bike trailers have reinforced floors and side battens. These help prevent claws from ripping through the fabric, and excited dogs from being able to push the trailer sides out into the wheels.
- Stroller: The Burley Tail Wagon and the Croozer pet trailer both come with a stroller kit. The stroller option is useful in places where you can't ride your bike or in very crowded places where you don't want to walk your dog.
- Ski: Burley's Tail Wagon is compatible with Burley's We Ski! conversion kit, so you can also pull your pet with you on snowy terrain.
- Ease of Entry: If you have an aging pet, a large entry port makes it much easier for your pet to get in and out of the trailer.
- Kickstand: When the trailer is not hitched to a bike, a kickstand makes the trailer much more stable for loading and unloading.
- Divider: Burley makes an accessory called the Critter Compartment, which sections off the trailer into two chambers. This is useful for carrying two small dogs or for making one small dog feel more comfortable and secure, while creating a separate chamber for other Cargo.
- Cleaning: Trailers with removable floors and covers are much easier to clean if your pet makes a mess.
Will your dog fit?
- Consider the height of the dog and the interior height of the trailer. If you have a large dog, don't count on it wanting to lay down the way it does in the back seat. If the height of the trailer isn't at least as high as the height of the dog, you are going to have a cramped passenger.
- Equally important is the length of your dog. Measure from the chest to the back of the hindquarters. The length of the trailer cabin should be at least a few inches longer than the length of your dog.
- If your trailer has a suspended fabric floor and you have a heavy dog, you may consider having a piece of quarter-inch plywood cut to the size and shape of your trailer floor. This will eliminate the unstable "trampoline" effect under your dog's feet without adding much weight to the trailer. But your big dog will appreciate the extra stability.
Will your dog like it? Most likely, yes.
- There's a lot of individual personality and judgment in this matter, and no Web page can give you an answer. Before even considering a trailer, think about your dog's temperament and its bond with you. If you've recently adopted a dog (one that's not already accustomed to bike trailers), give it some time until the dog and you have adjusted to each other.
- If you have a car, take into account how your dog behaves in a car. If you have the kind of dog that mostly lays down in the car, it will probably spend a lot more time on it's feet when it's in the trailer--for the same reason that you stand on your pedals when you go over bumps. Standing up smooths out the ride.
- By the same token, if your dog tends to be very active in the car, it will probably be even more active in the trailer.
- In most cases, you can train your dog to love the trailer. If you have an adventurous dog who is trusting and open to new experiences, this may take about one minute. If you have a neurotic and cautious dog, you might have to take many many baby steps before it is comfortable riding in the trailer, and before it eventually becomes fond of the experience.
- It may take just a few minutes, or it may take days and days of rewards and comforting. But when your dog feels safe and happy in the trailer cabin, put the wheels back on and level the trailer using the trailer's kickstand if it has one. If it doesn't have a kickstand, use some other stable objects (bricks, phone books, etc.) to raise the front of the trailer until it is level. Then do it all again.
- If you are in tune with your dog, you will know when it is ready for its first ride.
- Make sure that the dog is unable to jump out of the trailer. You may have the kind of dog who eventually will be able to ride, unrestrained, with the top down, but don't try that the first time out.
- Your first ride needs to be short, and without any drama such as fast starts, sudden stops, or high speeds. The destination needs to be one of your dog's favorite places. That favorite place could be a local park--if that's not too far away. That favorite place could even be home after a trip around the block, celebrated with treats, praise, and happy attention.
- If your dog seems scared of the trailer after the first ride, you may need to take a couple of steps backward to the wheels-off training stage. More likely, your dog will be ready for increasingly longer rides. Ultimately, your dog will want to jump in the trailer at the first indication that you are contemplating a bike ride.
- Unless you are already experienced pulling two-wheeled bike trailers, your first time pulling the dog trailer shouldn't be the same as your dog's first ride in the trailer. Take the trailer out for a ride empty and get used to the extra turning radius required. Practice avoiding potholes, curbs, and other obstacles with the trailer's wheels.
- Your dog trailer will block any rear lights and reflectors on your bike, so your trailer needs rear reflectors of its own--and ideally a rear light of its own. A safety flag will make the trailer visible at the eye level of motorists.
- While this is a new experience, your dog will be unpredictable. Take time and caution learning what to expect from your dog when it is in the trailer before assuming you know when the dog will or will not try to jump out.
- Although your dog may enjoy the trailer most with the top down and unharnessed, the safest mode is always to have the dog restrained inside the trailer cabin.
*For further information on pet trailers, review our Longtail, Pet, & Specialty Bike Trailer FAQ's and our Bike Trailer Comparison Chart
Burley Dog Trailers
Croozer Dog Trailers