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If you have a large dog or several, it is worth buying a dog trailer. You can easily take your pet(s) with you wherever you go. These dog trailers are available for bicycles, motorbikes and cars.
This means that even with a bicycle you can transport your dog comfortably and safely. Our big dog trailer test 2023 will help you find the best dog trailer for you. We show you what accessories are available and how you can buy such a trailer as cheaply as possible.
- Dog trailers allow you to take your four-legged friend anywhere. Whether it’s just a short trip or a whole holiday, your dog is with you without any problems.
- There are dog trailers for bicycles, motorbikes and cars. Each trailer has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Bicycle dog trailers differ mainly in size and quality. In terms of construction, they are all virtually the same, but they are equipped differently and have a relatively wide price range.
The Best Dog Trailer: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a dog trailer
Should I buy a dog trailer new, buy used or rent?
Even after a long time, they still deliver the same performance as long as tyres, axle and clutch are in good order. With these dog trailers, a used model is definitely worth considering – especially for cost reasons. But used bicycle trailers are also usually still in perfect condition. This is mainly because they have been used very little.
Buyers often only make a one-off tour or were more motivated to use the trailer more often when they bought it. Because it would be a pity for the money, the dog trailer is then sold on. The dog owners who use their trailer intensively usually do not sell it either.
What size and what material do I need?
|Type of trailer||Description|
|Bicycle dog trailer||Bicycle dog trailers can carry a maximum load of 60 kg and are usually made of nylon.|
|Motorcycle dog trailer||Motorcycle dog trailers are usually only intended for one dog. However, they have a high payload (up to 75 kg), so they are suitable for almost any dog.|
|Car dog trailer||Suitable for transporting several dogs as it offers a lot of space.|
The dog trailers for the motorbike or the car are made of anodised aluminium with a stainless steel composite. This means metal housings with a wide range of equipment, such as scratch-resistant partitions made of integral hard foam, lighting, ventilation and much more. Motorbike trailers are already available in smaller sizes because they are single-track and therefore narrower.
They usually only offer space for a single dog – ideal for medium-sized dogs. Even the simplest trailers (with a 40km/h speed limit – intended only for scooters) have a payload of up to 75kg, which is sufficient for any dog of this size. The other motorbike and car trailers can carry up to several hundred kilograms
If you want to choose a dog trailer, please pay attention to the internal dimensions of the trailer and whether these dimensions are sufficient for the dog. If you are not sure whether the size of the trailer is sufficient for your dog, simply cut out a piece of cardboard or newspaper in the dimensions of the trailer and position your dog on this cut-out. Then you will quickly get an idea of whether the space is sufficient.
Car dog trailers are quite large because – as mentioned above – they are only worthwhile for several or very large dogs. There are variants with only one box, up to four boxes. Depending on how many dogs you want to transport, you decide on a size. In general, it is better to make the dog trailer a little more spacious.
No dog likes to be cramped in a closed enclosure. So it should never be too small. But the box should not leave too much space inside either, so that your dog doesn’t start romping around.
What additional functions and technical aspects should I consider?
- Suspension of the support tyres: This makes it more comfortable for your four-legged friend when you are driving on particularly bumpy, uneven roads.
- Trailer coupling (one or both sides): Should normally always be available!
- Fly screen window
- Windbreak, rain cover
- Reflectors: are particularly important, especially if you are riding at night or in poor visibility conditions!
- Rear lights: If you are driving on the road, your dog trailer will be more visible to drivers.
- Foldable: Space-saving and practical to transport.
- Inner leash: Important to prevent your dog from jumping out of the trailer.
- Conversion into a jogger: Some models can be converted into a dog buggy. This means removing the trailer hitch, adding a third wheel and a handle at the back. Then you can take it for a walk like a pram.
These are the most important functions that a bicycle dog trailer can offer. All these extras naturally mean a higher price – the better the equipment, the more expensive it will be. However, you should pay special attention to the reflectors, sufficient windows and rain protection. So that your dog can enjoy a really great ride, other extras are also possible, such as a cosy, padded floor mat.
How much does a dog trailer cost?
Decision: What types of dog trailers are there and which one is right for me?
Basically, the transport options for dogs can be divided into three different types:
- Bicycle trailer
- Moto-bike and car trailers
In the following sections, we will show you what types of dog trailers or alternative means of transport there are and which one is the most suitable for you. To do this, we will introduce the types of trailers and trailer alternatives mentioned above and describe their advantages and disadvantages.
How does a bicycle trailer work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Probably the most common and also most popular trailer for dog transport is the one for the bicycle. There are countless factors you should consider when buying one, such as the equipment and accessories. Another consideration, however, is the intended use. Especially if you have either very large dogs or several dogs, the purchase of a multi-purpose trailer could be worthwhile.
This can be used for dogs and children, as well as for any other animal transport. In order to make the structuring of the larger interior space somewhat easier and also to simplify cleaning, the purchase of partitions or boxes is a good idea.
Especially when cycling, there are numerous ways to transport the dog without a trailer. If the size of the trailer allows it, you can easily buy a dog basket that can be attached either at the front or at the back and offers a very simple and space-saving alternative.
The great advantage about these multi-purpose trailers is that it can be used in many different ways. It can be used to transport very large dogs, several dogs or even other animals. It can also be used to transport children or shopping.
The biggest disadvantages are that this trailer is a bit bigger than other trailers and therefore needs a bit more space. This makes stowing the trailer a little more difficult. In addition, there is cleaning work to be done when the trailer is not being used for the dogs.
How does a motorcycle and car trailer work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
There are actually not only trailers for bicycles, but also for motorbikes and cars. However, you should urgently buy a specific trailer, otherwise the journey can be very dangerous for you and your four-legged friends. This trailer can also be used for other transports, so that the investment is more worthwhile.
The advantages of a trailer for motorbikes and cars are that the vehicle shortens the travel time enormously and longer distances are no problem. On the other hand, the disadvantages are that in order to guarantee the safety of the dogs and other animals, you should definitely buy a high-quality trailer, which is also somewhat more expensive. If you still want to take the dog with you by motorbike or car, there are various alternatives, such as buying a transport box or a car seat.
|Types of dog trailers||Features|
|Bicycle trailers||Small, medium and large trailers that can carry a maximum of approx. 40 or 60 kg, usually made of nylon fabric on a metal frame, rain-protected, with reflectors and inner leash|
|Motorcycle trailers||Single-track and narrow, made of anodised aluminium with stainless steel composite, payload from up to 45 kg|
|Car trailers||Very large, also suitable for several or large dogs, available with up to four boxes, some with scratch-resistant partitions made of integral hard foam, lighting or ventilation|
How does a sidecar work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Apart from a trailer, you can also buy a sidecar. Compared to a trailer, a sidecar is not mounted behind the bicycle but next to it. This allows you to better monitor and guarantee the safety of your dog during the ride. In addition, the bicycle is more stable during the ride due to the additional third wheel. The only disadvantage is that the bike becomes a little wider and is not as easy to manoeuvre in traffic.
If the dog’s health and fitness allow it, you can also consider whether it would be better to purchase a fixable leash. This allows the dog to run alongside the bicycle without the risk of an accident caused by the leash becoming entangled. The disadvantage here, however, is that short distances are better suited so as not to overexert the dog, and safety in traffic is also less guaranteed.
Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate dog carriers
In the following, we would like to explain the most important features of a bicycle dog trailer. This will make it easier for you to compare dog trailers and later make your purchase decision. You should pay particular attention to the following factors when buying a dog trailer:
- Dead weight and maximum load
- Interior dimensions
- Tyres and suspension
- Reflectors and lights
- Fly screen window
- Rain cover
- Short leash
- Conversion to jogger
Dead weight and maximum load
These two factors make up the total weight (also depending on the actual weight of your dog) of your trailer, which you will ultimately have to tow on your bike. The bigger your dog, the more weight your dog trailer will naturally have. But there are also large trailers that are built extra light to lower the total load for you a little. A weight of 30 kilograms, for example, should not be underestimated. Especially over long distances or uphill.
The internal dimensions and the maximum load tell you the size of the trailer. There are bicycle trailers that are longer and flatter. Other models have a smaller lying surface but are taller. Depending on the size of your dog and whether he prefers to “sit” or “sit down” in the trailer, a different dog bike trailer is suitable.
|Measurements||How to determine them|
|Length||You should measure your dog beforehand. First measure the length from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. Then measure the length of the legs. Now you can use the following formulas: Half leg length + total length = length of the dog carrier|
|Width||As a rule, the dog carrier should be twice as big as your dog. The quadruped should be able to lie down comfortably. But make sure that the trailer is not too big, otherwise safety is no longer guaranteed.|
|Height||To find out the right height of the trailer, you should measure your dog from the tips of the ears to the paws and add 3 to 5 cm.|
The material is very similar for most dog carriers. A water-repellent polyester or nylon fabric covers a sturdy metal frame. The windows are mostly fly screens that can be opened and closed with a zip. For the slanted front of the trailer, there is often an additional rain cover made of nylon/polyester fabric or sometimes plastic. The easy-care surface of the enclosure also makes it easy to remove mud stains and other dirt.
There are several options for the lying surface in the dog trailer. Either there is only the floor (the polyster/nylon fabric), anti-slip mats or padded fabric inserts. Non-slip mats are very suitable for fast or curvy rides, so your dog can balance himself because of the better grip. They are also made of rubber and easy to wash. Padded mats, on the other hand, are very cosy and comfortable for your companion.
They are not as easy to clean as rubber mats, but in many cases they are machine washable. We recommend that you let your dog test it for himself. Some prefer to be very comfortable and lie comfortably on their lazy skin. Others are very excited and can hardly sit still, so they need a surface with good grip. Others simply don’t care.
Tyres and suspension
Tyres and suspension influence the riding experience. Both for you and for your dog. Tyres differ only in terms of size (16 or 20 inches), removal and quality. Many of the dog carts can be folded and the tyres can also be removed. This is very useful for storing them in a space-saving way.
The majority of dog bike trailers do not have suspension. For smaller trailers it hardly pays off. With large and especially heavy trailers, it can be quite bumpy for your dog.
Suspension makes for a more comfortable ride, but costs correspondingly more.
The trailer coupling is attached to the hub of your bicycle’s rear wheel. All new bicycle transport trailers come with a hitch. This hitch is usually universal and can be used for all kinds of cars. Some dog trailers have a safety swivel coupling. This prevents the trailer from falling over if your bike tips over.
However, this rarely happens during a ride, except perhaps in the event of a bicycle accident. If you still want to be prepared for such cases: Either your dog trailer already has a safety device, or you can buy one online for about 15 euros.
Reflectors and lights
These two features definitely make sense in order to be seen better at all times of the day and in all weather conditions. There are no lights for bicycle trailers in the package. If reflectors are not enough for you, you can buy battery-powered rear lights, for example. It varies greatly from trailer to trailer: Some have reflectors or reflective strips on all sides (and wheels), others only at the back, some none at all. We recommend reflectors on all sides. If your dog trailer does not have them, you can easily get additional reflectors. You can get them for a few euros online or in any shop that sells bicycle accessories.
Fly screen windows
This type of window provides very good ventilation in the trailer. Your dog will enjoy this, especially on hot summer days. Most dog carriers are equipped with fly screens all around. This means your dog can look out in all directions and has plenty of fresh air.
However, if your fly screen windows cannot be covered from the outside, it can get very chilly on windy days. If it rains heavily, you don’t have enough protection for your trailer at the sides and your dog can quickly sit in the wet.
A rain cover is important to protect against wind and, of course, rain. Most trailer models only have a rain cover on the sloping front. Very few models have rain protection all around. The reason for this is that manufacturers assume that you will not go on long tours in bad weather. The rain cover is only intended to protect you from unexpected rainfall.
The short lead is attached to the rear inner end of your dog trailer. It is used to prevent your dog from jumping out of the trailer or falling out during the journey. There are bicycle trailers that have one.
Some do not have one included, but have a ring mounted inside to which you can attach your own leash. Occasionally there is neither a leash nor a ring. If the windows are closed (securely with a zip), your dog cannot easily jump out of the trailer. Then a leash is not mandatory.
However, if you do not have lockable windows or they are open during the journey, you should leash your dog for safety reasons.
Conversion to jogger
This function is particularly practical for dog owners who like to go jogging and want to take their four-legged friend with them. The dog trailer then becomes a dog buggy and can be pushed in front of it like a pram. To do this, the trailer coupling is removed, a small third wheel is mounted at the front and a bracket is attached to the rear end.
With most dog trailers you can fold the metal frame. This has space-saving advantages – as already mentioned with the tyres – and makes the trailer particularly easy to transport.
Facts worth knowing about dog trailers
How do I get my dog used to a bicycle trailer?
Very timid and shy dogs in particular will have difficulties getting used to a trailer at the beginning. However, with a lot of patience and a few tricks, you will manage to get your dog excited about his new transporter. Here are our most important tips on how to get your dog into the trailer:
- After buying the trailer, it’s best to put the box (without wheels and axle) in your flat/house and open all the openings if possible.
- After a few days, playfully explore the trailer with your dog, put treats in it, let it jump through.
- If this works without any problems, try to put or lay your dog in the trailer and close one opening after the other. (You can also help him with treats here!)
- Once your dog is used to the interior and feels comfortable, you can mount the wheels. Continue step by step: let him get in slowly, get used to the feeling. Then slowly push the trailer a few metres back and forth.
- You will soon be able to start your first test drive!
Of course, there are dogs who won’t mind at all. Maybe your dog belongs to this type and jumps in immediately without hesitation. However, if this is not the case, it is important to work patiently and slowly with your dog. If your four-legged friend is too heavy in the long run, you can get cramps. You can prevent this with electrolytes.
Where can I get spare parts for my dog trailer?
You can find spare parts mainly for car and motorbike trailers. Dog trailers for bicycles are usually only sold as a complete package – no individual parts. If you bought your dog carrier from one of these, contact them about it. If not, check online with specialist car trailer dealers. Many have their own workshop and also offer repairs.
Can I use a bicycle dog trailer for children?
The difference between a bicycle trailer for children and a dog trailer is that there is a suitable seat with a harness for children. Children must be adequately secured so that they cannot fall out of the trailer or injure themselves.
To answer the question: Yes, you can use your dog trailer for an outing with your child. However, it must be modified so that at least harnesses are fitted for your child.
Image source: Pixabay.com / furry_portraits