Are you in the market for a dog bike trailer?
With the right dog bike trailer, you can take your pup with you whenever you go on bike rides!
In this article I’ll cover everything you’ll need to know about the best dog bike trailers – from what exactly a bike trailer for dogs is to helping you pick the best trailer for your pooch.
By the end of this article, you’ll be well-equipped with the info you need to choose the right dog bike trailer for you and your dog!
Advantages of Using a Dog Bike Trailer
- Allows you to bring your dog along for the ride
- Let’s you leave your car behind when taking your dog places
- User-friendly for both dogs and people to help keep your pup happy and comfortable as you go
- Both you and your dog get to enjoy the fresh air (Dogs Love This!)
- Designed with safety and stability in mind
- Let’s older dogs get out into the fresh air
- Helps you enjoy more activities with your dog!
Dog Bike Trailer 101: Everything You Need to Know About the Best Dog Bike Trailers
What Are Bike Trailers for Dogs?
Dog bike trailers are bicycle trailers that are made specifically to carry your dog (or dogs).
They attach to the rear axle of your bike to enable you to pull your dog behind your bicycle.
They definitely come in handy because your dog can finally enjoy the great outdoors with you as they can enjoy the ride with their ears flapping in the breeze.
A dog bike trailer is perfect for canines who are prone to growth plate injuries caused by high-impact activities, namely running alongside the bike of their owners.
Dog trailers are also ideal for senior dogs or those who have mobility issues or injuries.
Aside from this, a quality dog bike trailer is also an excellent option for healthy and active pets as it allows you to get some exercise outdoors without worrying about your dog.
It will let you keep your dog by your side as you take on steep and challenging trails.
Why Use A Trailer For Your Dog?
There are countless reasons why a dog bike trailer is a wise investment for pet owners.
Instead of letting your dog run next to your bike with a leash, it’s best to let them use a trailer due to the following reasons:
Your dog doesn’t have the discipline to run with your bike
Most dogs are highly energetic and love to run, but they can also be easily distracted.
Your dog’s inability to stay focused can lead to injuries and accidents, which can impact you and your pets.
This can also prevent you from keeping your eyes on the bike path as your dog will probably yank you off course every ten seconds.
Your bicycle ride will end up being stressful when this happens!
Your rides last longer than your dog’s energy levels
Some dogs can’t keep up with your rides, especially if you love taking long rides.
Instead of bonding together, letting your dog run as you ride your bike for hours will do more harm than good.
To prevent your fur baby from being hurt or injured, keep the trailer towed behind as you go.
This way, your fur babies can hop on the trailer when tired.
This will allow your dog to enjoy the great outdoors without exerting too much effort or energy.
Your pup doesn’t love to exercise but loves tagging along
Many dog breeds – like short-nosed breeds, such as bulldogs and pugs – love to spend time outdoors but don’t have the physical capacity to run for long periods.
The best bike trailers make it easy for your pup to get some fresh air without taxing their little bodies.
Short-nosed breeds are also excellent candidates for a dog stroller as it enables dog owners to get out and about without tiring their fur babies out.
Small dogs can also use dog bike baskets!
What Should You Consider When Buying a Dog Bike Trailer?
Many brands sell bike trailers for your dog.
Some of the more well-known ones are the Burley Tail Wagon & Bark Ranger, Solvit HoundAbout, and Schwinn Rascal.
Having options to choose from is great, but having too many options can sometimes overwhelm shoppers.
This is especially true if this is your first time looking into trailers.
To make your search easier, I’ve listed some of the most important factors to consider when buying a dog bike trailer.
Use the information as your guide, so you can finally spend more time cycling with your dog!
Dog Bike Trailer Size
Will Your Dog Fit In this Dog Bike Trailer?
Start by checking the size and weight limit of the trailer you’re considering.
Will this trailer support your dog’s weight? If you’re planning to put 2 dogs in the trailer, weigh each dog separately then add their weights together to see if the trailer can handle the total weight.
The Best Choice Products Trailer is also an excellent option for small dogs because it’s a bike trailer and stroller in one and comes with a hand-lock brake system.
The weight capacity of the trailer is one of the most important factors to consider because it impacts the longevity of the trailer and the comfort of your dog.
For example, if you have a medium to large-sized dog, you might want to consider a Burley Tail Wagon, as this trailer is designed to support dogs up to 75 pounds.
If your dog weighs more than 75 pounds, you may want to consider the Solvit HoundAbout or Burley Bark Ranger as they can accommodate dogs up to 110 pounds.
If you have a small pup, consider the Aosom Elite Pet Trailer. It’s made for dogs weighing 66 pounds and under.
Opening Height and Width of Dog Bike Trailer
The size of the trailer’s door opening determines whether or not your dog can comfortably pass through the door.
If your dog can’t easily fit through the door, then that dog bike trailer just isn’t for you.
Interior Height, Width, and Length of the Dog Bike Trailer
The interior dimensions of the dog bike trailer are so important. This is where your dog will be for the entire trip while you’re on bike rides.
If the space inside the trailer is too tight for your dog to be comfortable, then you should consider a different model that will better accommodate them.
Maximum Dog Height, Weight, and Length
This is the manufacturer’s recommendation for the size of dog that can fit inside the trailer. If your dog is bigger than the recommended size, then that particular model of dog bike trailer is not a good fit for your dog.
This is usually based on the testing and experimentation of the trailer company, so it makes sense to follow this guidance.
Exterior Height, Width, and Length of Trailer When Open (not folded)
The bike trailer’s exterior dimensions let you know whether or not that dog bike trailer is able to be easily stored or transported without being folded.
Exterior Height, Width, and Length of Dog Bike Trailer (when folded)
This is important to know for when you have to transport or store the bike trailer.
- Will this trailer fit into your car’s trunk or backseat when it’s folded?
- Will it fit into your garage, house, or apartment without taking up to much space?
Dog Bike Trailer Step Up
The step up distance of the trailer’s entry to ground.
This will determine how easy it is for your dog to get into and out of the trailer. This is an important factor if your dog is older or overweight.
Dog Bike Trailer Drop
The trailer drop is the distance between the trailer’s floor and the ground
If the floor of the trailer is too low then there is a risk of the dog being struck from beneath by curbs, rocks, sticks, or other debris that may be in your path.
You definitely don’t want to be riding along and hear your dog yelp because they were hit by something on the path.
Is the Trailer Compatible With Your Bike?
The trailers that are most suitable for dogs come with a universal coupler. This connects the trailer to the rear axle of your bicycle.
You need to make sure your bike trailer is compatible with the kind of bike you have.
All bikes, including e-bikes, need to be compatible with the trailer you’re going to buy.
If your bike uses a thru-axle, you’ll have to purchase a thru-axle adapter to connect the trailer.
This type of adapter usually costs around $50 to $70, depending on the size your bike needs.
The thru-axle size information is usually etched on the side of your bike’s existing axle, so make sure to check before buying.
Dog Bike Trailer Materials
Aluminum Dog Bike Trailer Frame
Most dog bike trailers on the market have aluminum frames, but there are some that have steel frames instead.
While aluminum is lightweight and quite durable, it can also crack or split under loads or with heavy use.
It is difficult to repair an aluminum bike trailer frame if it cracks or splits.
Steel Dog Bike Trailer Frame
While steel bike trailer frames are much more durable and easier to repair than aluminum bike frames, they are also much heavier to tow behind your bike.
This can mean the difference between taking a long ride or a short ride, as the heavier the weight you tow, the quicker you will experience fatigue.
Are Exterior Panels Water Resistant?
Most but not all dog bike trailer brands and models use water-resistant materials for the exterior panels. This is something you should be sure of before making a purchase. Your dog’s comfort is at stake.
Is the Trailer Floor Removable?
Look for dog bike trailers with a durable removable floor!
Dogs’ paws can track lots of dirt and mud back into the trailer, also your dog may not always be able to “hold it” until it’s time for a potty break.
If your dog bike trailer has a durable removable floor then you can easily take it out of the trailer and hose it down for easy cleanup.
Bike Trailer Durability
Similar to other gear, you get what you pay for when it comes to pet trailers.
The best on the market will cost a few hundred dollars but are sure to stand the test of time even when put through heavy daily use.
Less expensive trailers might save you a few bucks but you and your dog may not be happy with the product once you’ve tried it out a few times.
These types of trailers are usually made from poor-quality materials that can easily fail or break down, especially when used on dirt trails and more rugged terrain.
It’s better to get the right dog bike trailer the first time around than to get something cheap that won’t get used.
To check the durability of the trailer, pay attention to:
- Materials: Look for a pet trailer made from aluminum or steel instead of plastic.
- Wheels: Spokes should be made from aluminum as those made from plastic get damaged easily.
- Tires: Check the craftsmanship and quality of the tires. Good quality inflatable tires are a must.
Look for customer reviews to get a better sense of how durable a specific trailer is. This should be part of your to-do list when buying a pet trailer for the first time.
Is It Known For Good Ride Quality?
Your pup’s comfort is a huge priority for most dog owners.
That’s why Ride Quality is such an important factor when it comes to a bike trailer.
The best Dog Bike Trailers are not only spacious but also have a smooth ride.
This will keep your dog comfortable while you ride, especially during long or bumpy rides!
What is The Trailer Wheel Size?
One of the biggest factors that affect your trailer’s ride quality is the size of the wheels!
The best wheel size for dog bike trailers is 20 inches.
As a rule, the larger the diameter of the bike trailer’s wheels are, the smoother and more comfortable the ride will be for you and your dog.
This is because larger-diameter wheels have less rolling resistance than smaller wheels.
This means the larger the wheel, the less your dog will feel the bumps and unevenness of the trail.
Simply put, larger diameter wheels act as shock absorbers.
What is The Trailer’s Entry Size?
Different dog bike trailers have different points of entry.
With some, you need to load your pups in from the side, while others load from the top.
Choose a trailer that offers easy entry for your dog, whether that be from the side or above.
This is especially important if you have a large dog.
Choose a trailer that includes multiple doors for entry.
In this way, you can get your dog in and out of the trailer with ease.
Does The Trailer Have a Low Center of Gravity?
The answer to this question is usually yes, but it makes sense to be aware of this as it is a big factor when it comes to the stability of dog bike trailers.
A low center of gravity means the trailer won’t easily tip over when you hit a big bump, take a sharp turn or when your dog jumps or moves unexpectedly inside the trailer.
Does the Trailer Have a Kickstand?
You’ll probably have to remove the trailer from your bike pretty often.
This is where a kickstand comes in handy.
The best dog bicycle trailers come with a kickstand of some sort that provides support to the front of the bike as you remove it from your bike.
This feature will not only provide more comfort to your dog, but it will also lessen the wear and tear on the trailer hitch.
Trailer Handling and Maneuverability
High-quality pet trailers offer better handling and maneuverability than their cheaper counterparts.
To prevent your bike from wobbling once the trailer is attached, make sure you’re buying a well-engineered model.
A well-designed trailer will not only guarantee your fun as you use the trailer; it also maintains your safety while you’re out on rides
For the sake of comfort and safety, it should be easy to maneuver to avoid cars, potholes, pedestrians, and other obstacles.
Does The Trailer Have a Sunroof?
If your dog loves to ride with their heads sticking out, look for a trailer with a sunroof, like the DoggyRide Mini Dog Bike Trailer.
A sunroof allows your dog to sit up and enjoy the view, and can also improve their comfort while riding.
Does The Trailer Have Mesh Windows?
Pet trailers with mesh windows will ensure the comfort of your dog as they offer airflow and ventilation. This will protect your dog from overheating when biking during the summer months or in humid weather.
Mesh windows should be a priority when choosing a pet trailer, especially for breeds who love the cold, like Shiba Inus, Great Pyrenees, Bernese Mountain Dogs, or German Shepherds.
Is The Trailer Easy to Connect and Assemble?
If your bike trailer is a pain in the neck you assemble or use, then you will probably use it less than you would like to.
Choose a trailer that’s easy to assemble, connect to your bike and take your dog in and out of. This will save you time and energy in the long run.
Does it Double As a Dog Stroller?
Many dog bike trailers also convert into Dog strollers.
This added versatility results in a lot more value and usefulness.
You may only be looking for a dog bike trailer to use with your bike right now, but later on, you may want to use the trailer as a dog stroller.
If you’re looking to buy a trailer that can be used as a stroller, ensure that it comes with a stroller kit.
Most models of trailers can be converted into a stroller within a matter of minutes with these kits!
Does The Trailer Have Storage Pockets?
If you tend to carry a lot of things when biking (like your car keys, wallet, water bottles, etc), look for a trailer with exterior pockets.
This is one of those features that make a trailer more functional and versatile, and comes in handy often!
Safety Equipment for Bike Trailers
There are some safety concerns to be aware of when loading your dog into a dog bike trailer and towing it behind your bike.
It’s super important to follow basic bicycle safety practices and use a trailer that offers many safety features.
No matter the size and weight of your dog, or the trail you’re going to bike with them, you’ll want a pet trailer that has the following features:
Reflectors are essential as they will help other traffic, like pedestrians, other bicycles, and motorists see you in low light conditions.
Reflectors are a must, especially if you ride your bike in the dark (dusk and dawn included).
If you want to take it an extra step, you can add extra reflectors to your bike and trailer.
Bicycle Safety Lights
To put it simply, You can never be too safe while riding your bike!
Bicycle safety lights are “must-have items” to keep you and your dog safe while riding before sunrise or after sunset.
I recommend using safety lights that blink or change light patterns. This will catch people’s attention to warn them of your distance, presence, and direction of travel.
Safety lights usually attach to your bike’s handlebar and seat post, but they can also easily be configured to attach to your bike trailer.
Bike Trailer Safety Flags
A safety flag will usually attach to the back of the trailer and will extend up on a thin pole in order to be easily seen by traffic.
It’s used as a clear signal to motorists and other bikes that you have precious passengers on board!
Most brands of bike trailers come standard with one safety flag.
Bike Trailer Interior Leash Ties
You’ll need to use Interior Leash Ties to prevent your dog from jumping out of the trailer when they’re inside.
With this feature, you can securely attach your dog to the trailer and prevent them from moving around too much. If a larger dog is moving in the trailer too much while you’re riding, they can throw the bike and trailer off balance.
Bike Trailer Parking Brake
The best dog bike trailers on the market have built-in parking brakes.
These brakes will prevent the trailer from rolling around when not attached to your bike, or when loading or unloading your dog in stroller mode.
Do Dogs Like Bike Rides?
Yes! Dogs naturally love to be outdoors and see new sights and meet new people. The experience of cool air blowing in their faces is also another reason why canines love to ride bikes. However, some dogs may not enjoy the experience of being inside a bike trailer.
Pay attention to how your dog reacts when inside the trailer and give them time to adjust to the experience.
Are Bike Trailers Safe For Dogs?
Dog bike trailers are generally considered safe and they’re specially designed for them.
However, extra care must be used when towing large dogs, or multiple dogs in your trailer, as their movement can affect the balance.
You’ll need to be a strong and capable bicycle rider in order to pull large dogs in a bike trailer.
How Do I Get My Dog Used to a Dog Trailer?
Different dogs adjust differently to dog trailers. While some dogs take a few hours to adjust, others need more time to learn and to love riding in one.
As a dog owner, you should be patient and take the extra time it may take to let them get used to riding in a trailer.
I recommend moving your dog around in the bike trailer by hand several times before setting out for a ride with them.
This will help them get used to the feeling and sensation and allow them to get their balance within the trailer.
How to Get Dogs Used to a Bike Trailer
Build The Trailer inside
Assemble the trailer without the wheels and place it somewhere your dog can see. Let your dog sniff it and encourage them to get in and out of it.
If the dog doesn’t go in – If your dog isn’t interested in going inside the trailer, toss their favorite toy or a piece of their favorite treat inside.
Once your dog goes inside the trailer, praise him and give them more treats.
Move Trailer Outside
Once your dog is used to their trailer, take it outside and put the wheels on.
Put your dog inside the trailer
Invite or coax your dog inside the trailer as gently as possible. If they show any signs of hesitation, toss their toys or treats inside.
Repeat the process until your dog enters the trailer on their own without any toys and treats.
Praise and Dog and Give Them Treats
Once your dog is inside the trailer pet and praise them. Give them some more treats while you sit with them.
Be patient and spend enough time being with them until they are happy & comfortable sitting and laying down inside the trailer.
Secure your dog Inside The Trailer
Once you see that your dog feels comfortable being inside the trailer, secure their leash to the internal loop fastener.
If the trailer has a top window that opens, keep it open so your dog can stand up comfortably and see what’s going on outside.
Walk the trailer around by hand
Give your dog some test trips by pulling the trailer by hand.
Let them feel the motions of starting, stopping, and turning. Most dogs have great balance and are usually able to handle the motions easily.
But if your dog is scared or seems nervous just give them the time they need to get comfortable.
Go for a short ride
Once your dog is calm and comfortable with the trailer’s movements while inside the trailer it’s time to take them on their first ride.
Keep your first ride short, so both of you can get used to the experience.
Stick to smooth, straight roads, side streets, and bike trails to let your dog get used to balancing inside the trailer.
Before you know it your dog will love riding in a dog bike trailer!
How Far Can I Bike With My Dog?
After getting used to shorter rides, you can try dogs bringing your dog on longer rides with you.
Long-distance biking with your dog is something you need to practice and build up to.
Questions to ask yourself before taking your dog on a long bike ride:
- Are you in good enough physical condition for a long ride while pulling a dog bike trailer?
- Is your dog in good enough physical condition for a long ride in a bike trailer? Rides in a bike trailer can also sometimes be tiring for your dog.
- Has your dog seemed anxious or stressed on shorter bike rides? If they have, they may not be up for longer rides.
- Have you and your dog been comfortable on shorter rides and found them to be very easy?
- What is the weather forecast? Check the weather before you head out. You definitely don’t want you or your dog to be soaked by rain or shivering cold while out on a ride!
Be sure you have these essentials with you before setting out on long rides with your dog:
- Leash for short walks and potty breaks
- Extra layers in cases of cold or rainy weather.
Trailers designed for canines are excellent investments.
Now that you know what to look for, you can more easily do your research and get the trailer that’s the best fit for you and your dog.
It’s not always about the price, but rather the features, benefits, and customer feedback ratings that will help you identify which trailer will give you the best bang for your buck!