THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A DOG BIKE TRAILER
If you’re unfamiliar with dog bike trailers or would just like a little more information, we’ve put together this short guide which will point out the main areas that should be considered before picking the right trailer for you and your dog. Finding the best product for your pet may require some compromises when it comes to the size, style and cost, but there numerous choices on our pages and the chances are that at least one of them will fit the bill. We’ve broken down the main considerations into separate small sections for a clearer picture…
THE SIZE OF YOUR DOG
We would suggest before even looking at any trailers, that you obtain your dog’s dimensions in both the sitting and laying positions. After all, it doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles a particular dog bike trailer may have if your faithful friend can fit inside it! Make sure you also allow some wiggle room for your pet’s comfort whilst traveling.
Try to ascertain if the doorway or doorways of a particular dog trailer will allow your fury friend easy access. This is not always an easy task as many manufacturers and sellers omit this information. Generally, however, if decent photos are available along with the cabin’s dimensions, it’s possible to roughly gauge the door sizes.
AIR-CONDITIONED CANINE CABINS
As with other products designed to contain a canine such as dog tents and crates etc. it’s important for there to be an adequate source of fresh air available inside. Most trailers come with more than enough mesh to cope with this need, but some can be a little too contained. Make sure there’s enough mesh available about the four sides and also check to see if a sunroof is included which obviously helps a lot to this end also.
COMFORTABLE CABIN FLOORS
A good solid base made with a good material is essential for your dog to rest upon during his or her excursions. Different trailers have different solutions to this but they’re not all equal and it’s worth checking on. In addition to the deck some designs include pads and mats for extra comfort. These can range from rather thin faux sheepskin cushions to memory foam mattresses! Whatever’s included, be sure it’s both removable and washable. Of course, the dog’s own bedding items could be employed if no pad is included or, if it is, it’s a little on the sparse side!
This is one of the most important considerations on this list. Ninety nine percent of dog bike trailers come with reflectors and a safety flag as standard to make them more visible to traffic, but some trailers feature much more complete solutions. Many have reflective strips built into their sides and one or two have powered lights to make the cabin more visible in dark conditions. Other extras to look out for include internal leashes or, failing that, clasps to secure leashes to; parking brakes and roll-cages. Another thing which makes a dog trailer inherently safer too is its center of gravity – in basic terms a proportionally large width compared to its height.
BIKE HITCHES AND COUPLERS
Almost all dog trailers come with one of these pieces of equipment that enable the tow arm to be connected to the rear axle of your bike. Quite often it will be described as a ‘universal’ bike hitch, but this is a little bit of a misnomer: what they mean is that the hitch will connect to most bikes! It’s worth checking, therefore, for any further requirements your bike may need to have in order to pair it up with the trailer. Most of the time all will be well, but on occasion there are height and design restrictions.
WHEEL EASY RIDERS
The tyres of any given trailer tend to fall into one of two categories: solid or air-filled. Solid tyres tend to be fitted on some of the cheaper pet trailers and, as you might imagine, don’t provide a very smooth ride! Air-filled is obviously a better option, and they’re better still when combined with even a basic spring suspension which quite a few trailers now feature. Quick-release wheels are also a nice little extra to have for both quick setup and storage. Wheel size is also an important thing to consider – a bigger wheel tends to give a smoother ride and can also help with manoeuvrability. Around 20” diameter wheels are the average for a reasonably large cabin but, obviously, they may decrease in size for smaller dog bike trailers.
BITS AND PIECES
There’s a whole array of extras, large and small, that may be included in with a dog bike trailer. And even though they are not necessarily essentials it’s nice to have them regardless. Storage pockets and pouches are obvious ones for conveniently transporting little extras, but some trailers even come equipped with roof racks for bigger items! And, of course, many trailers are able to switch rolls, turning into joggers, strollers with the addition of a front wheel and handlebar which may be included or be available separately. Other trailers can function as a crate with their wheels removed and almost all can be folded down for easy storage and transport.
Even though many dog trailers look similar there is in fact a wide spectrum of builds; included accessories – both essential and desirable – and size differences. With this in mind it’s hardly surprising that the prices for trailers can vary so much. At the end of the day, however, owners and their dogs vary a lot too! But whatever you and your pet’s needs, there is almost certainly a trailer on our pages which will tick most, if not all, of the boxes. Our TOP 10 Dog Trailer page is a good place to begin. We wish you good luck in your search!