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Best Dog Bike Trailers: Towing Your Bud On Your Bicycle!

Biking with your dog can be an enjoyable activity for both parties, but this isn’t always feasible – some dogs lack the discipline to run alongside your bike, while others lack the physical ability to do so. However, bike trailers can allow you to tow your pup around when it wouldn’t otherwise possible!

We’ll explain a little about bike trailers for dogs below and detail the five best models currently on the market.

Why Use a Bike Trailer for Your Dog?

There are a number of reasons it may make more sense to chauffer Fido around on your next bike ride, rather than having him run alongside you. A few examples include:

Your pup lacks the discipline to run alongside your bike. Many dogs are healthy and energetic enough to run alongside you for considerable distances, but they are too easily distracted to do so without yanking you off course every 30 seconds. By giving your pup a lift, he still gets to see the world go by and you get to enjoy a nice ride. However, if you hope to one day have your buddy run alongside your bike, consider looking into bikejoring and how to train your dog to get used to running beside a bicycle.

Your typical rides last longer than your dog’s energy level. If you like to take really long trips on your two-wheeler, you’ll probably outlast your dog’s stamina. By towing a bike trailer, your dog can run alongside you until he tires, at which point he can jump in the trailer and catch a ride the rest of the way.

Your dog isn’t really into exercise, but loves to tag along. Many dogs – particularly short-nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs – love to get out and about, but they lack the physical traits to run very far or for very long. Trailers make it easy to get your dog some outdoor time and fresh air, without taxing his little body too much.

Your older or sick pup needs a chance to get outdoors. If your dog is recovering from an injury or suffering from illness, a bike trailer gives you the chance to get him outside for a while, without forcing him to expend much energy himself. This is also a good approach with senior dogs, who can’t keep up with your bike anymore.

Things to Look for in a Bike Trailer

There is a world of difference between really good bike trailers and those that will leave you stranded on the side of the road, in a bind with a busted trailer. Be sure to consider the following characteristics and features when making your decision.

It’s also important to purchase a trailer that suits the specific needs of you and your dog: You’ll need a much more robust trailer to cart your 60-pound boxer for 10-mile ride than you would to take your 5-pound Pomeranian around the block.

Size and Capacity

Your trailer won’t do you any good if your dog can’t fit inside comfortably, so be sure to measure your dog’s length and compare it to the interior dimensions of any trailer you are considering. You should also check out the weight limit, particularly if your dog weighs more than about 30 or 40 pounds.

 The Connecting Hardware or Hitch

Different trailers connect to your bike in different ways, so you’ll want to be sure that you select a model that will be easy to hook up. Additionally, look for models that feature a secondary strap or attachment point, to prevent the trailer from rolling away if the primary hitch fails.

 Handling and Maneuverability

All bike trailers are somewhat unwieldy, but well-engineered models provide much better handling and maneuverability than economy models do. A well-designed dog bike trailer not only make it easier and more fun to use the trailer, it will keep you and your pup safer while doing so. You never know when you’ll have to avoid a pot hole, car or other obstacle.

 Construction

Well-made dog bike trailers are not only safer for you and your pup, they last longer and hold up to more abuse than cheaply made trailers do. Look for things like robust, air-filled wheels, a strong frame and high-quality connectors and fasteners, when trying to decide on the best bike trailer for your needs.

 Storage

Even if you take your dog out for a spin every day, your trailer will spend more time in your garage than anywhere else. Unless you’re just swimming in spare space, it’s important to consider the amount of storage space you have available. While some trailers must be stored “as-is,” others can be partially collapsed to save space.

 Styling

Your dog won’t care what color the trailer is or how snazzy it looks, but you will probably enjoy your selection more if you pick one that is aesthetically pleasing and looks cool on the road. There are no right or wrong answers here, just pick one that appeals to you!

 Entry

Different bike trailers have different points of entry; some require that you load your pup in from the top, but it is generally preferable to select a model that allows your dog to enter from the front or side. This is particularly true if you have a large dog. The best trailers feature multiple doors to give you some extra flexibility.

 Alternative Uses

Many bike trailers can also be used for other purposes, which increases their relative value. For example, some trailers can be disconnected from your bike and converted into a stroller or cart, that can be used to wheel your dog around when your bike isn’t appropriate or allowed. You can also use these types of trailers to carry other items as well.

 Dividers

Some of the nicer bike trailers for dogs include internal dividers. These allow you to bring two small dogs along for the ride, while keeping them safely separated. Dividers can also allow your dog to ride in one side, while the other side can be used to store various items.

 Kick-Stands

From time to time, you’ll need to unhitch the trailer for a while. To help make this easier, good bike trailers include a kickstand of sorts, to support the front part of the trailer while disconnected from your bike. This not only provides more comfort to your pup, it will result in less wear and tear on the hitch.

 Exterior Pockets

Some bike trailers feature exterior pockets, which are helpful for carrying keys, cell phones, water bottles or treats. If exterior pockets are important to you, be sure to select only those that can be zipped or shut securely in some way, to keep your belongings from bouncing out while you are riding along.

bicycle-trailer-for-dogs

Important Safety Equipment for Bike Trailers

Towing your dog behind you in a trailer entails some safety risks, so it is important to follow basic bicycle safety practices and select a trailer that has all of the protective features possible. Look for trailers that provide the following features:

  • Reflectors Reflectors make it easier for motorists and other cyclists to see you in low-light conditions. They should be considered mandatory equipment for those who plan to ride in the dark (including dawn or dusk). However, you can purchase after-market reflectors, should your desired trailer lack them.
  • Safety Flags Flags are great for increasing your visibility during the day. Some of the best safety flags are mounted on long poles, which extend above the height of the trailer. Like reflectors, you can purchase safety flags for trailers that do not come with them.
  • Interior Leash Ties or D-Rings You’ll need to keep your dog securely attached to the trailer – this will prevent him from moving around too much in the trailer, and prevent your dog from running off if something unforeseen happens (for example, if you take a spill). Leash ties and D-rings are the most common ways to do so.
  • Parking Brakes You’ll want to be sure that the trailer doesn’t roll around when you don’t want it to, such as when loading and unloading your pet; so, look for trailers that feature a parking brake.
  • Safety Straps Safety straps are usually incorporated into the hitch mechanism, and they serve as a backup tether to keep the trailer attached to the bike, in case the primary hitch fails.

Dog Bike Trailer Safety: Taking Precautions

In addition to purchasing a trailer that includes all of the important safety features, you’ll need to use the trailer in a safe manner to ensure you and your pooch return home in one piece.

Follow the steps below to help reduce the chances of accidents and injuries.

Allow More Distance for Stopping. Bike trailers aren’t that heavy, but when combined with the weight of your dog, they’ll increase the overall mass you are piloting down the bike path. This means that it will take you much longer to stop than it normally does, so stay on your toys. Be careful that you don’t try to stop too suddenly either, as this can cause you to lose control.

 Slow Down When Turning. While a trailer gives you a wide base, you can still tip over if you try to corner like your riding in the Tour de France, sending you, your bike and your pup skidding across the pavement (ouch). Slow it down, speedy, and corner like your grand pa would while driving a minivan.

 Start Slow and Short. Remember that you’ll be working a lot harder than normal when towing a loaded trailer behind you. You don’t want to find yourself exhausted on the side of the road, while your miles from home. Make your first few trips shorter than normal, before trying to travel for extended distances.

 Stick to Smooth Surfaces. Even if you ride a mountain bike designed to handle the roughest terrain with ease, your bike trailer is designed to be used on smooth, flat surfaces. Stick to roads, sidewalks and bike paths (always follow your local laws and regulations).

 Buckle Up Your Pup. You should always be sure that your dog is securely attached to the trailer. This will not only help keep him as safe as possible in the event of an accident, it can help keep your pup’s weight in the middle of the trailer, making it easier for you to keep your balance.

 Wear a Helmet. (In my best dad voice): Wear a helmet, dummy. You may even want to wear knee or elbow pads too. Don’t worry about looking silly, safety is far more important than style. In fact, you may even want to purchase a helmet for your canine companion as well.

Introducing Your Dog to the Trailer

Once you receive your new bike trailer, you’ll need to introduce it to your dog. While many dogs take to trailer-riding with little effort, others will be nervous about the idea of riding inside. Accordingly, you’ll need to start slow and introduce your dog to the trailer gradually.

Begin by putting the trailer together in a quiet room, and then let your dog come in, give the trailer a sniff or two and check it out. You don’t even need to attach the trailer to your bike to do this. Don’t rush things and let your dog approach the trailer on his own. Give your buddy lots of praise and treats as he checks out the trailer.

If this first step goes well, you can open up the trailer and encourage your dog to enter it.

Again, don’t force him to do so – if he needs a little extra encouragement, toss a high value treat or one of his favorite toys inside to provide some additional incentive. Be calm and reassuring, and praise him once he jumps inside. Try to make the entire procedure a fun, positive experience.

Once your dog is comfortable sitting inside (which may take several different sessions to accomplish), strap him in and close up the trailer. If he appears to be taking things in stride, you can begin pulling the trailer around by hand. Keep things slow and gentle and help him learn that he is safe in the trailer and that there is nothing scary about the experience.

Once your dog is comfortable with being pulled around in the trailer, you can begin hooking it up to your bike and going for a short ride (perhaps up and down your driveway). Once you’re satisfied that he is comfortable with the experience, you can head out for a proper bike ride.

Don’t Push Your Pooch

Keep in mind that some dogs need more time than others to get adjusted to new and strange objects. Some dogs take days, others take closer to a week or two to get comfortable with foreign items like doggie treadmills or nail clippers.

Forcing your dog into situations they’re anxious about will make things 10x more difficult – you might end up needing to post the trailer on Craigslist within the month if you aren’t patient with your pup! Take your time and let your dog get acclimated at his own rate – he’ll get there eventually!

5 Best Dog Bike Trailers for Towing Your Canine

The following five bike trailers are among the best on the market. Any would make a fine choice, but you will be best served by carefully considering which trailer suits your individual needs.

1. Aosom Elite Pet Bike Trailer

About: The Aosom Elite Pet Trailer is a steel-framed, collapsible bike trailer that provides a comfortable ride for both you and your pet.

The outer shell is made from polyester and features several large mesh panels that provide your dog with plenty of fresh air and a great view.

Price: $$
Our Rating:

Features:

  • Dual mesh doors, located on the front and back of the trailer
  • The front door features a clear plastic removable cover to protect your pup from the rain or wind
  • Leash hook included to keep your dog securely contained
  • Attaches to your bike via included hitch that mounts to your rear axle
  • Features a safety flag to make you more visible to vehicles and other cyclists

Pros: Most owners were quite pleased with the Aosom Bike Trailer. Most found that the trailer handled well and provided their pooch with a comfortable ride. Additionally, many owners praised the trailer’s heavy-duty, durable nature, which is especially impressive given its modest price.

Cons: Some owners found the trailer difficult to assemble, but this is a common complaint among virtually all bike trailers. A few owners noted that the mesh was not particularly strong, so it is not an ideal choice for owners of dogs who may try to claw their way out.

2. Solvit HoundAbout Pet Bicycle Trailer

About: The Solvit HoundAbout Pet Trailer is a metal-framed trailer that features a 600d polyester shell and a waterproof, flexible floorboard to keep your pup contained, dry and comfortable.

The trailer’s collapsible design allows you to store it easily when you aren’t out racking up the miles.

Price: $$$
Our Rating: 

Features:

  • Available with an aluminum or steel frame and in two different sizes
  • Universal bicycle hitch allows you to attach the trailer to almost any bike
  • Reflectors are included to make your trailer visible at night
  • Front door features removable clear plastic door to keep out the rain or wind

Pros: Most customers loved the Solvit Bicycle Trailer. Owners loved the durability, handling and value; while dogs loved the comfort of the ride. Additionally, the waterproof floorboard was well-received, as it is easy to wash off in the case of accidents.

Cons: A few customers complained that the trailer was difficult to assemble, but many others reported that the Solvit HoundAbout was actually quite easy to put together. There were a few isolated mechanical problems reported, but this is to be expected of just about every trailer in widespread use. 

3. Best Choice Products 2-in-1 Dog Bike Trailer

About: The Best Choice Products 2-in-1 Bike Trailer is a dual-purpose trailer that can be converted into a pet stroller, if you’d rather push your dog instead of peddling.

The Best Choice Trailer features a lightweight steel frame and water-resistant polyester shell to keep your pet safe and protected from the elements.

Price: $$
Our Rating:

Features:

  • Includes third wheel for use during stroller mode
  • Dual door design allows easy entry and exit for your pet
  • Features reflectors for improved visibility at night and a safety flag to make you more visible during the day
  • Includes hand-lock brake system to keep your trailer in place when not in use

Pros: The Best Choice 2-in-1 Trailer provides great value, thanks to its dual functionality. Most customers found it to work quite well for their dog, and given its numerous reflectors and bright orange safety flag, it is one of the safest options available on the market.

Cons: Some owners found that the weight guidelines were not accurate, so this is not a good option for owners of large dogs. Additionally, the Best Choice Trailer does not come equipped with a place to attach your dog’s leash.

4. DoggyRide Mini Dog Bike Trailer

About: The DoggyRide Mini Bike Trailer is a high-quality, moderately priced trailer that can also be used as a stroller with the optional stroller kit.

Made from a powdered steel frame and a nylon shell, the DoggyRide Mini Trailer is very durable, despite being slightly small when compared to some other models.

Price: $$$
Our Rating:

Features:

  • Includes an interior pouch and a water bottle pocket
  • Available in two color combinations: Spring green/grey and red/black
  • UV-resistant mesh panels on the front and sides of the trailer
  • Features a sunroof for dogs who like to ride with their head sticking out

Pros: Most owners were very happy with the DoggyRide trailer, and several customers noted that the frame was exceptionally well-built and sturdy. The sunroof was almost universally loved by dogs and owners alike. Although it is slightly more expensive than most other trailers, its stroller functionality (with the purchase of the add-on kit) helps increase its overall value.

Cons: Unfortunately, this trailer doesn’t come equipped with floor cushion, but it is easy to add one of your own. Additionally, the DoggyRide Mini Trailer is smaller than most other trailers, and is not suitable for dogs weighing more than 55 pounds.

5. Burley Tail Wagon

About: The Burley Tail Wagon is a premium trailer, designed for owners who want the best and are willing to pay for it. While approximately twice the price of the second most expensive model in our review, it is extremely well built and comes with so many great features that it is well worth the additional cost.

Price: $$$$$
Our Rating:

Features:

  • 16-inch, quick-release wheels allow for easy storage
  • Features reflectors to ensure you remain visible once the sun goes down
  • Includes side-battens for increased stability and a smoother ride
  • Removable floor for quickly and easily cleaning up accidents
  • Four mesh windows for maximum airflow
  • Waterproof zippers will last far longer than those included on cheaper models

Pros: The vast majority of customers loved the Burley Tail Wagon and found it deserving of its higher price tag. Owners love the construction and durability of the unit, as well as the ease with which it can be assembled and collapsed for storage. Simply put, this is the best trailer you can buy, you’ll just have to dig a little deeper in your pocket to do so.

Cons: There were very few complaints about the Burley Tail Wagon, and most of these related to difficulties in assembling the unit. Some owners found that it did not work very well in stroller mode, citing its tendency to tip backward.

***

Do you use a bike trailer to get your dog out and about? What challenges have you experienced that we didn’t cover? What types of features have you found especially helpful?

Let us know all about your experiences in the comments below.

About the Author Ben Team

Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.

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