Small dogs fit in a bicycle carrier basket, bigger or more active dogs need a bicycle trailer. Choosing the right one can be a challenge. Your trailer needs to be easy to use, comfortable for your dog, and safe for both of you. In this post, we’ll look at some of the best trailers on the market and explain what to look for when making your decision.
Alternatives to a Dog Bicycle Trailer
Small dogs can ride in a pet carrier or basket. We have reviewed several of our favorites here. But baskets are only for small pets. Most front of the handlebar carriers are rated up to 12 pounds or so, behind the seat models go up to 20. Anything more than this can cause balance problems as your dog moves around, and can be problematic on turns.
One note before we go on: This is a dog site and we talk mostly about dogs. But pet carriers work for just about any kind of pet.
Healthy active dogs might be happy on a hands-free dog leash. Amazon lists several reasonably priced models here. Your dog gets to run along beside you. They’re great for healthy runners in safe places, but not so great for older or infirm dogs and on busy streets.
The last option is to leave your pet at home while you bicycle, but this isn’t as much fun for either of you. So let’s look at some of the most important dog trailer features.
Dog Trailer Features
Here’s my list of the most important features to analyze when shopping for a dog bicycle trailer. Feature number one is always safety. Pulling a trailer is not a natural function for a bicycle. You need one that trails straight behind you, no matter where your dog moves. Turns and stops are the critical elements. The best trailers are designed for neutral handling. Sure, getting started will require a bit more pedaling power, and stopping might take a bit more space, but riding your bike “big rig” should be just like riding a bigger bike. So here’s my list of what to look for:
- Size: Your trailer needs to be big enough for your dog to lie down, sit up, turn around, and look out the windows. It should be comfortable, but not big enough for them to cause balance problems by moving around. Weight limit goes along with the size and needs to be matched with your pet.
- The Bicycle Hitch: I used to pull around a red wagon as a trailer with my bike when I was younger on my newspaper route. The hitch was a combination of rope and a broomstick. Needless to say, it wasn’t really secure and the papers often got dumped. You need better for your trailer. Look for a secure hitch that centers the trailer tongue behind your seat and allows it to turn and pivot easily.
- Flooring: Most trailers are collapsible so that they can be folded for storage, so the floor is usually removable. Look for one that is firm and won’t bow or warp under your dog’s weight, and that fits securely in place. Hard flooring is ok, just toss in a blanket when you ride.
- Collapsibility: Look for a fold-down model if you don’t have space to store an assembled trailer or if you want to pack it in the car for trips. Most bike trailers are built this way. Check out how easy they are to fold, and if there is storage for any loose pieces.
- Handling: This leads back to feature #1 which is safety. Most good trailers will have neutral and stable handling characteristics. Check out the reviews since you can’t easily test ride them.
Here are 5 top dog bicycle trailers based on the criteria above. Note that the links go to Amazon where you can often find more specs and useful reviews. And this website may earn a small commission from your purchase which will not affect the price that you pay.
Solvit HoundAbout Bicycle Trailer
The HoundAbout comes in your choice of medium or large sizes as well as steel or aluminum. Steel is stronger, although frame strength shouldn’t be an issue. The important difference is that aluminum is lighter, rustproof, and easier to pull, but costs a bit more.
- Durable: All models come with 600d polyester material (heavy)
- Waterproof floorboard
- 20″ wheels for the large trailer; 16″ size for the medium trailer
- Waterproof front and rear doors with mesh screens
- Folds easily
- Adjustable safety leash
- Weight capacity is up to 110 lbs.
The PetSafe Solvit HoundAbout Bicycle Trailer is in the upper mid-range for cost of the popular dog bike trailers, yet it has a large number of fans. It has been on the market for several years and has earned an impressive rating from Amazon. The aluminum frame model is unusual as aluminum is much harder to work than steel. Yet the weight saved and rust-proof properties are well worth the extra charge.
Aosom Elite II Pet Bike Carrier / Trailer
The Aosom Elite II Pet Bike Carrier and Trailer is a low-cost entry in the dog bicycle trailer field, yet it still maintains many of the most important features. And it still maintains a respectful Amazon rating despite its low cost.
- Heavy-duty, water-resistant polyester fabric
- Steel frame
- Dual entry (front and back) design for easy loading
- Easily assembles and folds down for storage
- Roll up clear plastic cover for the front door
- Mesh zippered screen front and back
- Leash hook inside to attach to safety leash
- 32″ safety flag
- 20″ wheels
- 66 lb. capacity
The Aosom Elite II Pet Bike Carrier / Trailer has a good reputation and appears often in lists of “best dog trailers”. Like most of our reviewed trailers, it has been on the market for a while and is well proven. Despite its lower price point, it still carries the most desirable features: solid hitch, easy to fold, windows with curtains, and a hefty 66-pound capacity.
Burley Tail Wagon
The Burley Tail Wagon is the most deluxe trailer in my review list. Although all of the others will serve the purpose, this one just does it better. Burley is a trailer company, and their engineering experience shows.
- All-weather cover with waterproof zippers
- Heavy-duty mesh cover on four sides for maximum airflow
- 16-inch quick-release alloy wheels
- Fast-action folding system
- Stroller kit compatible
- 75 lb. capacity
- Flip-down tailgate for easy loading and unloading
- Smooth ride and easy handling suspension
- 3 large cargo pockets
As mentioned earlier, the Burley Tail Wagon is priced higher than most other trailers. And just as a Lincoln is priced higher than a Ford, the price is warranted by the extra engineering and design built in. Check it out if you expect to put your trailer to heavy use. The Burley Tail Wagon is built to stand up better.
Best Choice Products 2 in 1 Pet Dog Bike Trailer Bicycle Trailer Stroller Jogger
The Best Choice Products 2 in 1 Pet Dog Bike Trailer Bicycle Trailer Stroller Jogger is a combination product. Use it as a bike trailer, stroller, or jogger with just a few simple adjustments. Pricing is very reasonable, and it sports excellent visibility all around for your pet.
- Sturdy steel frame
- Water-resistance polyester
- 66 lbs capacity
- 2-in-1 bug-screen and weather-resistance canopy to keep your pet protected from sun and rain
- Hand-lock brake system
- Full suspension system provides maximum stability
- Handlebar is adjustable for different heights
- Easily convert to stroller without using any tools
- Safety flag for pet trailer visibility in traffic
- Large and soft cushion is removable and washable
- Multiple pockets for storage
- Reflectors included
- Fold up for easy transport and storage
The Best Choice Products 2 in 1 Pet Dog Bike Trailer Bicycle Trailer Stroller Jogger is a good all around trailer and stroller combo, yet it is at an attractive price point. The construction is lighter than most, yet it’s Amazon reviews are right up there with the other trailers in this article. Buyers seem to like it as almost 2/3 give it a flat out 5-star rating.