Sometimes Your Dog Just Needs A Lift
Some dogs (and cats) just need a lift.
In this article, I discuss the different types of dog strollers and carriers and share some of the most commonly asked questions I get when my clients are looking for the right "ride" for their pet. Be sure to check out our selection of travel gear on our website.
“Dogs should be walking not riding in a stroller!” That’s a proclamation I hear often when people see Pet Strollers for the first time. Well, it’s true, dogs, like people need exercise. And many dogs love long walks, hiking with their humans, going shopping with them and running joyfully in the dog park.
But what happens when your small dog gets tired halfway through your hike? Or your dog starts to age or go blind and can’t do what they used to? When they want to join you for a power walk but can’t keep up with your pace? Do you leave him at home, knowing that he’s unhappy that you’re gone out without him?
That’s the time to start thinking about making accommodations for your dog, to make sure you both can continue to enjoy doing things together.
From carriers to strollers, the market is full of products to help you keep your dog with you anytime or all the time. Depending on where you want to go, what you want to do, your dog’s size and temperament, and any special needs he may have, there’s a solution out there that will keep your beloved sidekick close.
Let’s look at some of your option
Carriers – If your dog is small enough for you to tote around, a carrier is a good option. I prefer cross-body carriers which are soft and lightweight so you can wear them empty at the beginning of an outing and put the dog in it when they get tired. And the cross-body design distributes the weigh across your back instead of on one shoulder. And since they are made in soft fabrics, the dog is right up against your body, and they mold to the dog allowing them to feel safe and secure.
Front Packs – Still for dogs that you can carry, some people like a Front Pack with straps on each shoulder and the dog in front of them. It allows you to pet the dog and control it if it’s not used to being in a carrier. Since most styles have a hard bottom, just make sure your dog won’t slide around in it while you are walking which will be uncomfortable and could make them feel insecure. Also see if your dog likes being in front of you. Some dogs are frightened by being out in front.
Backpacks - Again, if your dog is small enough to carry, a backpack is another option. If you are used to wearing a backpack or like the idea, this might be a good solution. Just make sure you dog is either very used to being in this type of carrier or is well secured since once it’s on you can’t easily pet or control the dog if it gets fidgety or tries to jump out.
Cycling – If your dog used to run besides your bicycle consider for small dogs a basket that attaches to your handlebars or for a big dog a trailer that attaches to the back of your bike.
Strollers – “Doggy Limos” as I call them come in sizes to accommodate Teacups, multiple dogs or dogs over 100 lbs. Since there are a wide range of styles, features and prices of strollers, here are some things to consider when choosing the right one for you and your dog.
- Size of your dog – Check the weight limits on a stroller to make sure it can handle your dog. If its big enough for our dog’s body but not made to handle that weight, it will break down from repeated use. Also be sure that the bed of the stroller will accommodate your dog comfortably. For instance, if your dog has a long body, look for a stroller with a longer bed
- Big dog strollers – They are designed with a low bed and a cover that lifts up so the dog can walk into it and you don’t have to lift them.
- One or multiple dogs – Consider the total weight of all dogs and how close they like to be to each other and choose a stroller that will be comfortable and strong enough for all of them.
- Zipper or no zip – If you are taking multiple dogs not having a zipper to deal with is much easier. You don’t have to battle noses and paws while trying to close a zipper.
- Mesh front – does the front mesh fold down into the bed or lift up into the cover? If the space is tight for your dog(s) you don’t want one that folds into the bed. It will take up space. Mesh that lifts up into the cover provides a lot more space.
- Where you are going – If you are hiking on rough terrain, or jogging, you’ll want a stroller that is made for that activity. Some styles even have locking front wheels for rough terrain.
- Wheels – plastic or air wheels – Air wheels provide a softer ride especially if you are hiking or jogging but like our cars, summer heat will cause them to need more air regularly.
- One front wheel or two – I am often asked which is better, but it is a personal choice. Some people think two front wheels are more stable, some like the maneuverability of one front wheel. Try them both and see what you like.
- Parent tray – This is the tray where you put your water/ coffee mug and your dog’s. If this is important, be sure the stroller has one big and sturdy enough.
- Height of the handles – Try out the stroller before you buy to be sure the handles are at a comfortable height for you. If there are too low or too high you or your back will tire quickly.
- Kick out – again, by walking with different styles, you can be sure that you can comfortably walk without hitting the back wheels.
- Weight of the stroller – If you are picking up the stroller and loading it into your car be sure it is not too heavy for you to lift.
- How small it folds up – You may love a big stroller but have a tiny trunk. Be sure the stroller will fit in your vehicle when its folded up.
With all these options to choose from, you should be able to find the right product that will allow you and your dog to enjoy adventures together for a long time.
This article appeared in the Pet Companion Magazine. You can read it here.