The Pet Stroller: How to Choose the Best One For You and Your Dog

The best invention, as far as I’m concerned is the pet stroller.    

One of the best things I’ve done for Red, other than all the other “best” things I do for her, was to buy her a doggie stroller. I write this in the hopes others will see the benefits to their own dogs. 

How a stroller makes outings more enjoyable for us

Before I discovered dog strollers, or I should say before I decided to look into what they were all about, my husband and I would go for day outings, and literally carry Red with us. She weighs less than 10lbs, but after a few minutes it would feel more like 100lbs. Red of course can walk, but she’s blind and older so walks very slowly, and short distances.

Things got so much easier once I bought a stroller. We’ve taken it on the bus, the train, walks around the neighbourhood…  

On the weekend (when it’s nice out of course!), we like to take a nice long walk along the beach, sit on a bench, let our other dog Jack run around the park. I no longer have to carry Red, or constantly check my watch if we left her at home to make sure she’s not alone for too long. She comes with us so it no longer matters how long we stay out.  


Who benefits from a doggie stroller?

You – no more guilt at leaving your dog behind because now you won’t have to!

Senior dogs who can’t walk as much as they used to. Use the stroller when they need to take a break.

Arthritic dogs lying in the stroller get to enjoy fresh air, a change of scenery, and a short walk if they can manage.

Dogs of any age recovering from surgery, illness or injury – even if they aren’t allowed to walk at all, your vet may give you permission to take him out of the house for a bit in a stroller. Check with him/her first please!

Who else benefits?

Jack getting some shade under a dog strollerYou’ll notice my other dog Jack using Red’s stroller as shade, on what was a very beautiful warm sunny day. A very handy use of it I might add, considering we were walking by the beach and there was no shade anywhere. Another fantastic use of an amazing invention.

Update— Since writing this, Jack suddenly became paralysed on Aug. 22/16, and is now recovering from spinal surgery. In order to prevent boredom, and make sure he’s still able to socialise, I take him out twice a day in this stroller, for a walk around the neighbourhood. The mental stimulation it provides, will aid in his recovery.

If I haven’t convinced you of the benefits of owning a stroller, how about 21 reasons to buy one?

Tips for navigating the world of doggie strollers

What size do you need?

Before you can choose a stroller, you need to think about the size dog you’re buying it for. Strollers do come with dimensions on the label, so it would be helpful to measure your dog and compare. If the measurements are exact, or pretty close, the next size up would probably be a better fit.

You want your dog to be as comfortable as possible, with room to move around.  Too small and your dog will be squashed, too big and he could be sliding around.

If you are buying a stroller for a puppy, unless you want to buy more than one to accommodate her growing size, buy the size appropriate for her as a full grown dog, and add a bed or some blankets so she’s not lost in there.

How much does your dog weigh?

Dog strollers have weight limits, so if you put a 30lb dog in a 20lb stroller, you risk damaging the stroller, and possibly injuring your dog when it collapses.

If your dog’s weight is at the maximum of the weight limitation, look for the next size up.

What will you use it for?

The style and type of stroller you buy will depend on what you intend to use it for. Will you be walking around the neighbourhood? The local Park? Jogging? Hiking? Biking? Would you like a stroller that converts into a carrier, a bike trailer and a car seat?

A basic model wouldn’t be appropriate for jogging on trails, and a super duper jogging stroller for rough terrain will likely be too cumbersome for light usage.

How many pets will use it at one time?

If you have two pets that will be using it at the same time, a single compartment stroller may be enough. I have a small basic stroller for Red, but when my other dog needs a rest after walking and running, there’s plenty of room for him to hop in for a lift home.

If your dogs (or whatever pets you’ll be transporting) would prefer their own space, there are Pet Gear No Zip Double Pet Strollermulti compartment options available. These strollers tend to be for small animals, because more than one compartment means each one must be on the smaller side, to prevent the stroller from being massive.

Terrain you will be travelling over

On what surfaces do you anticipate most of your stroller use will be made – pavement, grass, gravel, large stones, sand, hiking trail?

Because different styles have been created for different terrains, knowing where you will be using it will point you to the best stroller for your needs. For instance, a basic stroller with small wheels won’t roll very smoothly on rough, rocky surfaces.

Styles/models/types

Collapsible models are handy for travelling, multi-purpose strollers can be converted into a pet carrier, bike trailer and car seat, 3 wheeled strollers are great for jogging and large wheels work well over rough terrain.

Features and options

There are many features and options available so consider them carefully, because they really are very handy.

Storage baskets; bottle holders; trays for treats, snacks and cell phones; wheel locks, collapsible, with a clip to keep it folded; ease of opening and closing; safety clip that attaches to a collar or harness; mesh panels to keep out bugs and provide lots of air circulation; sun Pet Gear Expedition Strollershade/canopy; comfortable handle; is the handle at the right height or is it adjustable…

Versatility

Would you like to be able to take your dog for a stroll in the park, and go jogging? One stroller may not be able to serve both those purposes. The best thing to do is find the jogging stroller first, since the basic one you would buy for a stroll in the park wouldn’t be sturdy enough. See if it will serve all your needs, but if not, then you can find a pretty inexpensive one for your neighbourhood walks.

The more extra features one stroller has, the more use you will get out of it.

Consider your budget

A wide range of styles means a wide range of prices, so there should be one to suit your budget. You may be tempted to buy the least expensive one you see, which is your choice of course, but sometimes the cheapest item turns into quite an expense.

Paying even a little bit more may get you a pet stroller of significant better quality.

Your pet’s behaviour

If you are concerned your pet may jump out of the stroller, make sure the one you are interested in has the safety clasp that hooks onto the collar or harness. There are also mesh covers attached to the sun shade that can be zipped around the frame of the stroller, to prevent any pet VIVO three wheel pet strollerfrom jumping out. Having said that, a very determined, and very scared dog or cat can most likely get out.

I recommend you first try it in your house, then your backyard. If he’s okay, try a short walk around the neighbourhood before you go too far afield.

For extra safety, put your dog (or cat) in a harness and leash and hold onto the leash when you’re pushing the stroller. At least if something does happen you have a good hold on him to keep him safe.  

The pet stroller – conclusion

I bet you’re surprised by all the things you need to think about before committing to a purchase! There is one thing I would like to mention, even though I know it is an obvious point to bring up.

Dogs still need to be dogs, so when looking for a pet stroller, please don’t buy one for the sole purpose of showing him off. They need to walk, get exercise, have their paws touch the ground…

So you see, a pet stroller really is an essential for old dogs, as a matter of fact, Red’s world would be much smaller without one.   


Related Post

Hindy Pearson
Helping people care for their senior dogs
I am a certified dog trainer and pet care consultant, specialising in working with rescue dogs and first time pet parents. I foster and adopt senior and special needs dogs, and advocate for shelter adoption of all animals, particularly older dogs and cats. I am currently working on a spay/neuter program in Spain.

36 Comments

  1. Marisa

    Hindy, what a great post! I recently bought an oxford stroller. I have 2 dogs, one 5 years old and the other 12 years old. The oldest can no longer walk that far and will just lie down when she is tired. It just made sense to get a doggy stroller and now I can still let the 5 year old walk the whole way, whilst the 12 year old can ride the stroller when she’s tired 🙂

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Exactly! As far as I’m concerned, a pet stroller is one of the all time great inventions. I bought it for my old dog Red, and now my other dog is using it as he recovers from spinal surgery. Nice to hear how much you love it, and how both your dogs get to go out for long outings together!!

      Reply
  2. nichole

    I’m glad you added in that statement about please don’t buy a stroller for the sole purpose of showing them off! Dogs aren’t a fashion accessory. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Drives me nuts when I see people dressing them up like dolls or babies, carrying them around in purses. they’re copying “minor celebs” who buy teeny tiny dogs for accessories, then do nothing to satisfy their needs. So sad.

      Reply
  3. Rachel

    Great tips! This will help anyone getting ready to by a stroller.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Thanks Rachel. It’s obvious what a huge fan I am, so I hope they do help anyone interested in buying one.

      Reply
  4. Paul Kirhagis

    Do they make strollers that can go on beaches?

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Paul, to my knowledge there are no strollers specifically designed for beach use. Having said that, the better quality ones with the air filled tires designed for rougher terrain may work. Unless you’re walking at the water’s edge, we all know how challenging it can be walking on sand, so I wouldn’t want to push a stroller across it, I think it would be too hard, but an excellent workout!!

      Reply
  5. Tonya Wilhelm

    I just am so happy when I read about the benefits of pet strollers. Keep spreading the word. It’s such a great product to help involve our pets.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I’m doing my best!! Sometimes I feel like that’s all I talk about, but anything that helps us take better care of our pets needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

      Reply
  6. Amy Shojai

    Pet strollers work well for some dogs (and cats). Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      The stroller I have is certainly helpful for my two dogs (and me as well), but I’ve never had a cat that would have tolerated it!

      Reply
  7. maureen lake

    What a wonderful post. I would definitely get one if it would allow my senior to continue seeing and experiencing life. Thanks for sharing all the facts!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I appreciate that Maureen. Having a stroller definitely allows me to take Red along more often, and although I originally bought it with her in mind, I’ve since had to use it for my other dog. Jack is around 4is (we think), and after sudden paralysis he had spinal surgery. I put him in the stroller after his allotted walking time is up. What a help rather than having to carry him.

      Reply
  8. Ruth Epstein

    No need for stroller at the moment, phew cos I don’t think physically I can do it

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Good to hear you don’t have a need for one. No sure what you mean by you couldn’t do it physically.

      Reply
  9. Dusty Desert Dogs

    such a great idea for a senior dog.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Great for a senior dog that isn’t able to walk as much, or for as long as they once were. Also fantastic for dogs recovering from surgery or illness, or keeping a small dog from hurt/stepped on at a festival or large event.

      Reply
  10. Kia

    This is a very helpful post for those in need of a dog stroller for an older dog. I’m glad the stroller is working so well for you and your dog!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Thanks Kia! I’m also trying to raise awareness for other uses, including dogs recovering from surgery, illness or injury. When they’re at the point when short walks are allowed, the stroller is the perfect way to get them back home.

      Reply
  11. Kelsie - It's Dog or Nothing

    Love the idea of a dog stroller! I’ve only seen caddy’s that you can hook on to bikes for giant breed dogs. It would definitely be nice to have more options for the larger guys.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I agree about more options for bigger dogs. What can you do with a German Shepherd or other large dog feeling the affects of something like arthritis for example. After their walk it would be great if they could stay out, and not have to go straight home so quickly. I did see one stroller advertised for dogs up to 150lbs, but users felt that was a bit of a stretch – 80-90lbs max.

      Reply
  12. Amber Ketchum

    I have to tell you, I have a very bad relationship with my mother and since she uses a pet stroller for her perfectly willing and capable dog, I have spent the last few years hating them, but you have turned that around entirely. One of my goals for my shelter is to provide hospice care for homeless dogs and for families who can’t handle their senior pet’s care and your post has really made me think about how strollers can improve senior pets’ quality of life. Thank you for your post.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Amber, drives me nuts to see that! Why can’t people let dogs be dogs, and let their paws touch the ground! No offence to your Mom. I’m glad you’re seeing the wonderful benefits of a stroller, and how much it can improve quality of life.

      Reply
  13. Tenacious Little Terrier

    I haven’t used that many strollers yet but I know what I don’t like in them!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Is it the same thing I don’t like in them? Perfectly healthy and capable dogs rolled around like a fashion accessory?

      Reply
  14. The Daily Pip

    In Pip’s final years we used a stroller and he loved it. I think he just liked being included in on family activities – never liked to miss out on anything. He also liked to ride with my daughter in her red wagon.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      How wonderful to hear he didn’t have to miss out on family outings, just because he was getting older. I wish more people would see how much better, and easier it is to include all members of the family by using a pet stroller. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  15. Sonja

    I’m just not there. Perhaps because my little dude is 3.5 pounds and loves his sling bag. Or … not sure. Something about the stroller “at this time” just kinda rubs me the wrong way. I think maybe it’s seeing people use them for dogs that DO want to walk and run and get lots of exercise and now can’t? Not sure. I wills ay that my friend who has a handicap dog uses it and I totally see the benefit in that context.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I know what you mean. When used for the right reasons, it’s the best, but to use it for a dog that is able to walk is just plain cruel. Dogs need exercise, and I wish the people who treat them as accessories would realise what they’re doing is so wrong.

      Reply
  16. Cathy Armato

    Definitely important to choose the right Pet stroller, there are so many to choose from!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      You’re right about that Cathy. There are a lot to choose from, but knowing your needs makes it easier to choose.

      Reply
  17. Sweet Purrfections

    A stroller sounds like an excellent idea for senior pets.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      It is excellent for senior pets, but not only seniors. My 4ish year old is recovering from spinal surgery, and it’s been a tremendous help. Taking him back and forth to the hospital, and when on walks and it’s time for him to stop, we can all keep going.

      Reply
  18. Leslie

    Thank you for sharing an excellent idea. Our dog, 14, is now having issues with arthritis and now walks very slow. Carrying her even for a short distance, isn’t an option since i have arthritis too. going to look for one now.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Thank you Leslie. Sounds like a stroller is the perfect solution. She gets to go out and walk for as long as she can, then sit in the stroller for the rest of her outing. No need to cut her “walks” short. I love our stroller, the best dog purchase I ever made. 0

      Reply

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