Taking your dog for a walk everywhere is the dream of many owners, but in practice it can be a little more complicated than it seems...
However, bike rides are an excellent opportunity to get some fresh air and to show your faithful companion the landscape. Most dogs love to explore new environments and run around in nature.
However, some dogs may not have the physical ability to run for hours behind a bike, or they may simply not be calm enough to trot along with you in urban environments or near major roads. In these cases, a bike trailer is a great accessory that allows you to transport your pet safely, both for you and your pet.
However, the purchase of a bike trailer for dogs should not be done randomly: a low-end or ill-fitting accessory can be risky for the safety of your dog.
What is a dog bike trailer?
A dog bike trailer is a cart designed to be hooked to the back of a bicycle while providing shelter for your pet. It consists of an enclosure that protects your four-legged friend from rain and wind, without depriving him of fresh air.
Mounted on two or three wheels, the trailer can be attached to the back of a bicycle and pulled by the owner's calves.
Why buy a bike trailer for dogs?
There are several reasons why you might want to purchase a bike trailer to transport your pet, some of which are health related, others safety related.
If you're planning to go mountain biking or racing with your pet, a trailer is almost essential to give your pet a break without forcing you to stop. While the most athletic dogs are capable of running behind a bike for a long time, it's important to remember that the world's longest-lived animal - strange as it may seem - is the human. So if you're an aficionado of long bike rides, chances are your dog will get tired long before you do. The trailer will allow you to let him rest while continuing your journey, for his greatest happiness!
Puppies, older dogs and convalescent dogs
Prolonged exercise for a growing puppy is not recommended, as it can lead to bone and joint problems in adulthood, including hip dysplasia, which is very common in medium to large dogs. A young Labrador, Border Collie, or any other animal that has not yet reached the age of one should not run behind your bike for hours on end, even though it is probably just asking for it.
A dog bike trailer allows you to alternate periods of exercise and rest, while letting you pedal continuously if that's your goal. The same is true for older or convalescent dogs that are not able to handle too much or intense exercise. Carrying them in a bike trailer means they don't have to miss out on rides, but you don't have to force them to run or walk for long periods.
Crossing hazardous areas
While your dog is a great sport and can keep up with you, he may be in danger when approaching major highways or busy areas. A bike trailer can help keep your dog safe and prevent him from running away when you pass through certain risky areas on your ride.
Getting your dog from point A to point B
The dog bike trailer will also be your best friend if you are simply a fan of cycling instead of driving. It allows you to easily transport your dog to a picnic spot, a walk or simply to a friend's house, all without polluting and taking care of your health.
How to choose a bike trailer for your dog?
There are several things you should consider when choosing the right bike trailer for your pet.
The comfort of the trailer of your choice is not to be neglected, because if your dog doesn't feel comfortable, he may not want to settle in. Choose an interior with dimensions carefully adapted to your pet's size so that it doesn't feel cramped. I'll tell you right now: bike trailers are designed for small and medium-sized dogs, so you'll have a hard time fitting a Newfoundland in there...
The interior of the trailer should be waterproof enough to protect your dog from the rain, but airy enough to allow him to breathe easily, even in hot weather. If the trailer has openings that allow him to see what's happening on the road, even better!
Finally, don't neglect the shock absorbers, which must be effective enough to prevent your dog from feeling too much jolting. Without them, your four-legged friend will be tossed around for the whole trip, which could make him regret the experience or even make him sick. This is especially important for older dogs with joint pain who may have a very bad time during a jerky ride.
The question of safety is not to be taken lightly in order not to risk injuring your dog or losing him. Trailers equipped with reflectors or flags that make them perfectly visible to other road users, day and night, are to be preferred. An interior leash attachment is also a must to prevent your dog from running away when you want to get him out of the trailer. Some trailers also include safety straps that attach to the bike and prevent possible failure of the hitch system. Finally, I suggest you choose a model with parking brakes to prevent the trailer from rolling downhill when your back is turned...
One of the main advantages of the dog bike trailer is its practicality, as it allows you to easily transport your pooch. As such, it can be expected to have certain qualities that will allow you to store and move it without too much strain. Aluminum frames are often lighter and stronger than plastic ones, making them an excellent choice for not weighing down your bike load and for easily handling it with the strength of your arms when hitching it up or putting it away.
An interior with several openings is also more practical to manage the installation of your dog on board. The interior of the trailer should also be easy to maintain and clean, and sturdy enough to withstand your dog's scratches. Other valuable features can also tip the scales in favor of one trailer model over another. Exterior pockets for storing your dog's gear can be a plus, as can a kickstand to hold the trailer when it's not attached to the bike. Some models also allow you to walk several animals by separating them, an interesting alternative if you intend to transport two dogs.
Choosing a trailer for your dog is not always an easy task, but if you are a fan of bike rides as well as walks with your pooch, you won't regret the time spent finding the ideal accessory!
Having the possibility to walk an elderly or convalescent pet that has difficulty moving around is a real joy for owners concerned about the well-being of their companion, who are often helpless when faced with their health problems. All dogs need to breathe fresh air from time to time, and to be able to observe their environment, whatever their health condition.