Is your dog always begging to go for walks or bike rides with you? Well, now there is a great way to keep them safe and happy while you are out and about! Many people love taking their dogs on bike rides but may not know the dangers of doing so without a properly fitted bike trailer.
Bike trailers are a great way to take your furry friend with you on your next ride, but it is important to use one properly fitted and safe for you and your dog. Outdoor activities, like cycling, can be dangerous for dogs if not prepared properly. That is why a bike trailer for dogs can be such an essential piece of equipment.
In this post, we will explore important safety features and precautions when riding off with your dogs. We will also feature some bike trailer brands and tips on introducing this cool ride to your canine companion.
Safety Features Often Overlooked by Pet Owners
When thinking about your dog's safety, is it all about the durable frame, the hitch, and the wheels? Towing your dog behind you, not being able to see them constantly, entails risks that even the features just mentioned can't give you peace of mind.
To protect your pup, watch out for other safety features.
It is not enough that your bike hitch is made from high tensile materials. In case your metal hitch fails, you need a backup strap to keep them attached to your bicycle.
Your bike may be seen in tough weather conditions or at night because of your reflectors, but motorists and other cyclists might not see your bike trailer tailing behind you.
Reflectors on bike trailers should be required for pet owners who love riding in low-light conditions. If you have a pet trailer with no reflectors, we suggest you buy one for your dog.
Whether you are using your bike trailer or not, it must not roll around when you are not using it. A hand-lock brake system helps ensure your bike trailer stays in place when parked.
Aside from having reflectors, colored flags can help increase your dog trailer's visibility. This helps trucks and other big vehicles with blind spots for small rides like the bike trailer.
Interior Leash Ties
If you happen to go through rough terrains or take a sharp turn, there is a possibility your dog might jump out of their bike trailer out of shock. So it is good to have D-rings or leash ties inside your pet trailer to secure them.
Rolling Out Some Bike Trailers for Big Breeds
There are plenty of bike trailers out there that can fit small to medium-sized canines. But it is hard to find a bike trailer for large dogs that is durable and spacious enough to carry your furry friend.
In addition, using a bike trailer inappropriate to your dog's size is inconvenient and unstable, causing slow rides and even rollovers. Here are bike trailer brands that offer a comfortable ride for big dogs.
Solvit HoundAbout Pet Cycle
Solvit HoundAbout is one of the few brands that offer a dog bike trailer for large dogs with a maximum weight capacity of 110 pounds. It has a metal frame for durability, but, in contrast, it is collapsible for easy storage.
Burley Tail Wagon
For fur parents willing to pay a premium for their dog's comfort and safety, Burley Tail Wagon is a high-end trailer designed to accommodate dogs weighing up to 75 pounds. Its safety features, such as the side battens and reflectors, proved worth the additional cost.
Another expensive, premium bike trailer for larger dogs is the Cadence two-seater from Thule. It is suitable for both fur babies and your kids. Its 100-pound capacity can fit two pups or two children with more space to fit some cargo in.
Cycling Precautions for Added Safety
Even with the best bike trailer for dogs with all the safety features and sturdy materials, it's not enough. You'll also have to cycle with safety in mind to ensure your pup comes back home in one piece. Follow these safety steps to avoid injuries and accidents.
• Buckle up your pup.
Just like putting on your seatbelts when you are in a car, you should tie your furbaby with the interior leash in case of any mishap. It also helps keep them in the middle of the bike trailer for balance.
• Wear safety gear.
It's given that you wear helmets and knee and elbow pads, no matter how silly you look. But you can also buy a small helmet for your furry passenger for added safety. You can never be too careful, especially with your precious pup.
• Start slow and short.
It is not just your weight you will be carrying but also your dog and your dog's bicycle trailer. You will get exhausted much quicker, so if you take longer trips, it will be harder for you to return home. So it is better to start taking short trips around town until you get the hang of it.
• Give more allowance for stopping and turning.
Even if your road bike has a powerful brake system, the added weight of your loaded trailer decreases the reaction time when you make a stop. If you break out of the blue, it might cause the bike trailer to skid.
Making quick turns is also dangerous for your four-legged friend despite the wide base of the bike trailer. It can send them flying across the pavement or towards you.
• Avoid off-road biking.
Some bike trailers are designed for smooth terrains. Others can handle rough trails. If you are an experienced biker, you might think you can handle slippery hills and rocky roads with your dog.
Also, they might feel dizzy as they rattle inside the bike trailer. Therefore, you must also consider your dog's well-being and whether or not it can handle bumpy roads.
Introducing Dog Bike Trailers to Your Pup
Like any dog gear, you will need to introduce this new toy to your dog. Some will take minutes to feel comfortable staying inside the trailer, but others will feel like they are being caged. It is helpful to take baby steps so your dog won't hate the trailer.
- Start slowly by showing the dog bike trailer to your dog. Let them go around and sniff the trailer. You don't even have to attach the trailer to your bike. Don't push your dog inside the trailer. Instead, praise and give them treats when it checks out the trailer.
- Put familiar scents inside the trailer, such as their favorite toy or even your clothes, so they can naturally go inside. Some pet owners also put treats inside to speed the process.
- Once your dog is comfortably inside the trailer, don't jump the gun by taking a bike ride so suddenly. Instead, pull it around by hand and check your dog's reaction.
- If they feel safe and comfortable with the trailer moving, you can hook your bike trailer and take short trips until you can take your canine out for a proper bike ride.
Dogs are a beloved part of many families, and what's better than taking your pup with you on a bike ride? Whether for a quick trip to the grocery store or an all-day outing, there is no reason to leave your furry friend behind.
Luckily, there are now plenty of dog bike trailers on the market that make bringing your pup along easy and safe. But, even with all the extra safety designs, don't forget to slow down and check your furry passenger. And don't forget to stock up on supplies like water and treats before you go!
Before you hit the pavement (or trail), check out some of our reviews on other bike accessories. At Cyclebuddy, we want everyone to enjoy cycling—pets included.