Why You Need a Pet Stroller

why you need a pet stroller

By the end of this article I am convinced you’ll know why you need a pet stroller.

Why I would never be without one

When I first started seeing pet strollers, I admit I wasn’t crazy about the idea. To me it looked like nothing more than people wanting to show off their cute dogs, like a new accessory. Of course there are still those who treat them that way, but a pet stroller is so much more…indispensable in most cases I would say.

pet strollers are not just for senior dogs

Here are 3 examples of how important a stroller is to me

Red

Red is a 16 year old (approximately) blind Chihuahua/Min Pin cross we adopted 8 years ago. She’s able to walk, but not far and not for long. If we didn’t have a pet sitter we would take her with us on day trips, and my husband and I would take turns carrying her. She only weighs 9 lbs, but after a short while it soon felt like 50.

A few years ago I got it into my head that I needed a pet stroller for her, and I can only say I wish I had thought of it earlier. I can’t count the number of times we’ve used it, and how much easier and better it has made our lives. We’ve gone to the beach, I’ve used it when I wanted to do some power walking, and taken it on buses and trains to festivals and dog events.  

Jack

Jack is the first young dog we’ve ever had, and sometimes I join Jack and my husband when they go to the fields for a run around – yep sometimes they both run!! Anyway, after about an hour of that, especially if it’s a summer day, Jack is too hot and tired to walk all the way home, so he hops in the stroller until he re-charges, then walks the rest of the way…or not.

Unfortunately a few months ago he developed a different type of need for the pet stroller. On August 22, 2016 Jack went from walking to paralysed in a matter of hours. Emergency spinal surgery was followed by 8 days in the hospital, then strict instructions not to move. He was allowed out 5x a day, for 5 minutes and that was it.

Being such an active dog, I don’t want him to become depressed or frustrated, which is not fair to him, and I believe would hinder his recovery. With the neurologist’s permission I took him out in the stroller twice a day to see his two legged and four legged friends. I made sure it was low key so he would remain calm, and being out of the crate really perked him up. 

These are just 3 examples of how much I rely on my pet stroller, but keep reading for a host of other uses. 

21 reasons why you need a pet stroller

No more guilt

Of course you’re going to leave your dog alone sometimes, it’s not healthy to never leave their side. But…when he’s left behind on a family day out because it’s too hard to bring him along, a pet stroller will change all that.   

Senior dogs/arthritic dogs

Your dog may still be able to get around, just not as much as before – enter a pet stroller. Let your dog walk as long as he is able, then when he’s had enough, put him in the stroller. You both get exercise, a chance to enjoy fresh air and a change of scenery.

Festivals and large gatherings

If you’ll be at a large gathering such as a festival, keep him safe in crowds by putting him in a stroller. Little dogs can easily get stepped on, and even lash out when hurt, avoid confrontations with aggressive dogs, and keep him away from spilled drinks and dropped food that can make him sick.

Recovering from surgery, illness or injury

It can be very tough, and depressing being stuck in the house, and even more so for an active dog. He may not be allowed to walk, but he may be able to roll…smoothly. Mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise, so ask your vet if it’s safe to take him out in a stroller. Left in the house to get depressed and frustrated will not help your dog (or cat) recover.  

Big city living

If you live in the heart of an extremely busy city with packed sidewalks, walking a dog can be challenging, especially if he’s small or nervous. Use a stroller to get to the park or quiet area, then again when you’re heading back into the chaos.  

Human with mobility issues

A dog’s human may have mobility issues, even temporarily, and find it difficult to take the dog out as often as they would like. Hopefully kind family, friends and neighbours are offering to walk the dog, but a stroller may help you get out with him at times as well.   

at the vets office in a pet stroller

Vet visits

If you live within walking distance of your vet, how easy is it to put your dog in the stroller, and take a walk? Exercise for you, no dealing with traffic, and environmentally friendly!

Even if you’re driving carriers are heavy, sometimes too heavy for some people to lift. Use the carrier for safe travels in the car, then transfer him to the stroller from the car to the office. Then when you can’t find a parking spot close to the entrance, it won’t matter.   

No more excuses not to exercise!

You have to walk your dog anyway, but if he can’t walk for long, or at the pace you’d like, bring the stroller with you. When he’s had enough, you can carry on. Why end your workout early?

To learn more about the importance of exercising our dogs (according to their abilities obviously!) this article written by Susan Nelson, Kansas State University veterinarian and assistant professor of clinical sciences, will be of interest. 

Multi dog households

One dog is going this way, the other that way; one is a speed demon, the other more sloth like. Another scenario that has “dog stroller” written all over it.

One quick point – if your dogs don’t walk nicely on a leash together, one on one leash training will help.

Jack getting off the train in a pet stroller

Traveling

If you’re off for a few days with the dog, a folding pet stroller is perfect. In and out of the car, unfamiliar sights and sounds, long days sightseeing, and some time spent people watching at an outdoor café. A stroller is perfect for any scenario!

More quality time for you and your pup

If your dog is in a stroller, it is more likely places that would not normally allow a dog, will be okay with this set up. Some shops are cool as long as you carry the dog, and don’t put them on the floor. Have you ever carried a dog while trying on shoes or clothes? I have, a 10 lb dog, and it was not easy. Another reason to get a pet stroller.

Transporting foster puppies or kittens

If you foster puppies or kittens and are constantly back and forth to the vet or shelter, you know how heavy a carrier can get. Imagine how much easier it would be to wheel them around?

Traveling on a boat or ferry

Some dogs don’t like the feel of the gangway surface (I know Jack doesn’t), and short of dragging them (which you should never do by the way!!), a stroller is the solution. If being on a boat is a new experience, a stroller can give him a feeling of security and make it a more pleasant voyage for everyone.   

Take your dog to work day

If your workplace has a “take your dog to work day” or you run your own business, a stroller will give your dog a den to rest in, and stop him from running riot. It’s also easier to wheel in what you need, than to carry a bed, blankets and supplies.

Visits to friends and family

If you’re visiting anyone with other pets or small children that may annoy your dog, the stroller will serve as a nice little escape.

happy they allow a pet stroller on the bus

Public transportation

I have seen many people on public transportation with crates, on their way to the vet. Imagine how much easier it would be if they had a stroller. We’ve been using public transport recently, back and forth the hospital and vet appointments with Jack. The taxi bills were mounting, as are the vet bills, so the bus and train are comfortable, cheaper options. 

Paw protection

We know what burning hot concrete feels like on our feet…that’s how it feels on your pets’ paws. Have you ever seen a dog react to salt on an icy pavement? Ever tried putting booties on them? Some dogs are happy wearing them, but of course mine are not!

Evacuation in case of emergency

Whatever the emergency, if you find yourself in a situation where you have to evacuate, a stroller may be the safest way to transport your pet. Your otherwise calm dog or cat can get pretty scared – attaching the safety clasp to the harness (found in most strollers), then zipping the stroller up completely, will keep him secured.

Taking an indoor cat…out

If you have an indoor cat, you’re probably always looking for ways to prevent boredom. Unless you’ve trained him to walk with a harness, a stroller is a great way to give him a change of scenery and some fresh air. Make sure the stroller you buy doesn’t have gaps he can escape through, and test how well he handles it indoors first. Put a harness on him, and clip it to the tether in the stroller for added safety.

Jack using the pet stroller for shade

Protection from the sun

Heatstroke is no laughing matter, and too much time spent outside in extreme temperatures, can be dangerous. A stroller will allow your dog to get some much needed exercise, and keep him safe from being out too long in the sun.

Meet new people

It’s true! Some people use a pet stroller as a way to meet new people, and I can say from experience it works. I can’t keep track of how many people stop us when we’re out, ask about the dog… Perfect if you’ve just moved to a new place and don’t know anyone, or you’re a bit shy approaching someone new. This is the perfect ice breaker.  

Styles and types of strollers

4 wheel – 3 wheel (basic and jogger strollers) – foldable (most fold but if it’s an important feature, be sure the model you’re looking at does) convertible (converts into a carrier, car seat and even a bike trailer) – double (side by side or double decker)

Features vary depending on type and style of stroller, but they can include:

  • Mesh panelling for air circulation and greater visibility
  • Padded handle for comfort
  • Fold down canopy that zips closed for security and protection from the elements
  • Cushioned pad for comfort
  • Cup holder(s) and tray for things like keys, phone, snacks…
  • Roomy storage basket underneath
  • Locking rear wheels
  • Safety clasp that hooks onto a collar or harness and acts as a tether
  • Front and rear entry
  • Foldable (with clip to prevent accidental opening)

How to choose the best pet stroller

Choosing the right stroller is not complicated, but it does require a bit of thought before making a purchase.

What size do you need?

Take some measurements of your pet. We never think it’s necessary because we’re sure we can eyeball them and know. Sometimes we can, sometimes we can’t!

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.

Weight of pet

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 if 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?

Jogging or hiking will require a different stroller than a walk around your neighbourhood of paved sidewalks.  

How many pets will use it at once?

If you have two pets using it at the same time, a single compartment stroller may be enough, depending on their size. Alternatively a side by side or dual compartment may be the solution.

Features and options

There are many handy features and options so think about their benefits to you.

  • Storage baskets
  • Bottle holder(s)
  • Trays for treats, snacks and cell phones
  • Wheel locks
  • Collapsible (with a clip to prevent it opening)
  • Safety tether that attaches to collar or harness
  • Mesh panels to keep out bugs and provide lots of air circulation
  • Adjustable/folding sun shade or canopy
  • Padded handle
  • Height of handle – is it adjustable
  • Zipper or zipperless
  • How many entry points

Versatility

Would you like to be able to walk on pavement, rough terrain and jog with your dog? One stroller may not be able to serve all purposes. The best thing to do is find the jogging stroller first, because a basic one for strolls in the park won’t do. Even if the jogger doesn’t suit all requirements, you can find a very inexpensive basic one for your neighbourhood walks.

Consider your budget

There is such a wide range of prices, you’re bound to find one that fits your budget. Nothing wrong with buying the least expensive option, but consider how often you’ll be using it and the quality of what you’re looking at. As we’ve all experienced, the cheapest can turn into quite an expense.

Your pet’s behaviour

You may know your pet well, but still have no idea how he’ll react to a stroller. Check for spaces he may be able to squeeze out of, put a harness and leash on when out, and attach the in stroller tether to the harness. Buy one that can be zipped up for extra security.

Try it out for the first time in your house, then backyard. If he’s okay, do a test run with a short walk around the neighbourhood before you go too far afield. As a precaution, I hold onto the leash when pushing the stroller, just in case. If something does happen you have a good hold on him.  

Why you need a pet stroller – conclusion

Whether or not pet strollers really started off as another way to turn your dog into an accessory is not something I have an answer for. What I do know is how much it can improve a senior dog’s quality of life, help those recovering from illness, injury or surgery, help keep you fit, protect paws and so much more.

I speak from personal experience, so believe me when I say what a lifesaver my pet stroller has been. From being able to include my senior dog Red in our outings, to taking Jack out while he recovers from spinal surgery, a pet stroller has been one of the best things I could have done for my dogs.

So was I right… do you now know why you need a pet stroller?

 

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.

42 Comments

  1. john

    Hindy,
    Back 20 years ago we had a dog that would only walk about half as far as we did. A friend bought a stroller at a yard sale for $5. We still have that stroller and have used it for the last 20 years for three dogs. As they get older they still want to go out and see the world. Having something to let them have some mobility is a great idea. I did not feel uncomfortable letting someone see me walk with my doggy stroller, my dog was more important to me. Having one that is made for dogs will be a great addition for older dogs.
    John

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi John, how wonderful! You’re absolutely right, they do still want to go out, and just because they can’t walk as far, doesn’t mean they have to stay indoors. Funny you say that about your first stroller. I found one abandoned in a parking lot, so I took it. After a bit of fixing up it was great. When I saw how helpful it was and how much I would be using it, I invested in a proper dog stroller, because that one wouldn’t have held up.

      Reply
  2. Rachel

    What a great post! We, too, have a dog who underwent spinal surgery. But he’s just a pinch too big for a stroller, but I would’ve loved to be able to take him out in a stroller after his (three) surgeries. We have indoor cats and I really want to get a stroller for them!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Rachel, how big is your dog? there are strollers advertised for up to 150lbs!! Three surgeries…poor baby. I can’t believe how much use I’m getting out of my pet stroller, I highly recommend it for anyone that has dogs, and pretty calm kittys.

      Reply
      1. Rachel

        Wow, 150lbs! He’s about 22lbs. I’d only ever seen strollers for smaller dogs. He’s fully recovered from each surgery, so that’s wonderful. But I really want to look into one for our cats! I hope Jack is recovering well from his surgery.

        Reply
        1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

          Hi Rachel, lots of strollers for that size dog. I wrote some reviews of different ones if that will help. Jack is doing well. Five weeks ago he went from walking fine to paralysed in just a few hours. An MRI found a disc had exploded. Spinal surgery, 8 days in the hospital, and now home 4 weeks in a crate, stroller with some walking being supported by a strap. He’s doing much better, appointment with neurologist tomorrow!! Why did your dog have 3 surgeries?

          Reply
          1. Rachel

            I’m glad he’s doing well! Very similar with our dog. He had a herniated disc. He ran to get a toy and yelped but seemed fine after that. We took him to the vet the next day because he didn’t want to jump or anything. The vet said he probably hurt his knee (he’s no longer our vet). Then that night he went paralyzed so we rushed him to the ER and luckily they are right next to a neurologist. They did emergency surgery and he was walking again the next day! The 2nd and 3rd times, we caught it much quicker and he never went paralyzed. Each time, the disc was in a different place in his back. Fingers crossed that he doesn’t ever need surgery again! He’s now a happy 14-year-old pup!

          2. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

            That’s amazing. I hope you have pet insurance! Glad to hear he’s okay.

  3. Malaika Fernandes

    Lovely post a friend uses one for her 15 year old dog that is paralyzed waist downwards.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      The more I write about strollers, the more I hear how many people are using them. It’s great to hear these stories of dogs (and cats) that can still enjoy a good quality of life, even if they aren’t able to walk, or walk as well as they once good. Thanks Malaika.

      Reply
  4. nichole

    Great review – although I had to LOL at the title, considering the size of my pack 🙂

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Nichole, it’s amazing how many sizes and styles of pet strollers. Some claim to hold dogs up to 150 lbs, there are double decker strollers, side by side and extra wide. Something for almost everyone!!

      Reply
  5. Ruth Epstein

    I think they are great but for me because I use public transport all the time it would be a hassle for me as I could not haul her and the stroller up the stairs, but if the crunch came and I needed one would look into it

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Ruth, I use my stroller on the bus quite often. I guess the buses here are different, because there are no stairs, you just walk right on. The one I have is quite lightweight, so it isn’t terribly difficult to pick it up, but I’m sure it would depend on how many stairs etc…

      Reply
  6. Sherri

    I don’t need a pet stroller yet. I don’t know how my dog would react. There’s been times at crowded festivals where it might have come in handy especially when he becomes frustrated with other animals, but I don’t think he’d use it. I had him in a cart in Target once and he tolerated it for about 10 minutes before complaining then getting determined to jump out. He got his way. I took him out.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      There are ways to train a dog to use the stroller, but they definitely come in handy in crowds. For added safety you lower the canopy and zip it up all the way around. Makes them feel more secure, and you have less worry. I still use a harness and hang on to the leash…you never know!

      Reply
  7. Talent Hounds

    Those are some very good reasons for getting a stroller. Kilo the Pug would probably try to leap out, although maybe he would feel safer in crowded places at events or in the park. I have lots of friends with chis or poms or other smaller breeds that use them – much safer.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      So many strollers for many different sized dogs. They are great for crowds, especially if you lower the sun shade and zip it up. There’s usually a safety clasp inside to attach to their collar or harness, and I keep a harness and leash on for even more security. Such a great invention, it’s amazing how much use I’m getting out of it.

      Reply
  8. The Dash Kitten Crew

    I have rarely seen strollers (or pushchairs as they are sometimes known here) outside the USA but I can see how useful they can be from your comprehensive write up. Your own dogs are the perfect examples of the benefits a stroller can bring and they dogs also made me smile.

    Thank you for covering all the pints that I as a nn-stroller family would have asked.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi, I know what you mean. I’m from Canada, live in England and can’t help but call them strollers!! I have seen a couple here but it’s very rare. Whenever we go out we get comments, stares and laughs (but in a good way!!). I feel a bit weird but my husband (who’s English) thinks it’s great, because it shows people a way to take their senior dogs and cats out, or those recovering from surgery that they hadn’t realised existed. Many people have said how wonderful it would be for their dogs, and ask where we got it, so I guess it’s working. I’m so glad to hear you found my article useful. I try and write in as comprehensive a manner as I can, providing enough information to help and inform.

      Reply
  9. Tonya Wilhelm

    We are a very pro-stroller family! I too wrote a post awhile back. I sure do love all your details on the different varieties. It’s so nice seeing more pet professionals educating the public on the use of a pet stroller. Thanks for the great post.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Tonya, so pleased you enjoyed the post, and nice to meet a fellow pet stroller lover!! I can’t help but share my enthusiasm for this product, because it has helped me so much with my senior dog, and now my other dog who is recovering from spinal surgery. Things would be a lot harder without it, and I want everyone to see how helpful it can be in their lives. Why should dogs be stuck in the house, just because they can’t walk as much as they used to?

      Reply
  10. Tenacious Little Terrier

    Mr. N loves walking but a stroller would be nice to have when we go to street fairs and expos and things and it’s really not safe to let him walk on the ground. People don’t look down that far!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      A stroller is perfect for those occasions, and you’re right…people don’t look down. It’s a great way to include your dog, but when things are getting too crowded, or you don’t want him eating and drinking off the ground, a stroller is just what you need. Putting the canopy down and zipping it up provides added security and comfort if they are feeling anxious.

      Reply
  11. Beth Patterson

    Those are great reasons to get a stroller. I will be on the lookout for one.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Beth, thanks. I can’t say enough good things about them.

      Reply
  12. Maureen

    Your reasons for getting a stroller are great. You make a good argument! I’d be interested to see if my dogs would stay put or not.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Maureen, thank you. I can’t say enough good things about it, especially based on my own experiences, and the difference it has made for us, and the dogs. You can train them to use it if need be.

      Reply
  13. Cathy Armato

    I must admit that Yes there are times where a stroller would be very helpful for my little dog Phoebe. She gets tired much quicker these days & can’t walk for too long. These are all great reasons to use a stroller!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Cathy, sounds like a stroller would be perfect for Phoebe!! She’ll be able to walk with you as long as she can, then rest when she needs to, without having to cut your outing short. I, of course, highly recommend it! It’s incredible how much it has helped my dogs. I can’t imagine being without it.

      Reply
  14. Jeanne Melanson

    Wow! So many good reasons to have a stroller for your pup. I used to think it was so strange when I’d see a dog in a stroller. I just thought it was a baby stroller and the owners were “baby-ing” him. Huh. I guess they had better reasons. I hope your little Jack is okay. Why did he get paralyzed o quickly?

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Jeanne, I used to think the same thing. I assumed they were the type of people who treated their dogs like babies, instead of dogs. I’m sure that’s true of some, but after my experiences I have to say how wonderful it is what people will do to care for their dogs. In a matter of a few hours he became paralysed, and it turns out a disc had exploded in his back, which is why it was so sudden. We just got back from the neurologist and Jack is doing well. Because of the severity of his trauma, it’s slow going but he’s headed in the right direction.

      Reply
      1. Jeanne Melanson

        I’m glad to hear he’s recovering nicely. Poor you! You must have been terrified by the experience. Take care!

        Reply
        1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

          Thanks Jeanne. For me the worst part was the fact my amazing vet was out of town, so we had to see someone else. She wasn’t terribly helpful in terms of advice about what to do. She did find us a specialist hospital, and got us the appointment but that’s about it. Luckily the neurologist was amazing, he spent so much time helping us understand what was going on, and the aftercare was amazing – calling us every day he was in the hospital, always available for us… Really excellent hospital, and I hope I’ll never need them again!! Take care too.

          Reply
  15. Valerie Desmet

    My dogs are way to big for a pet stroller. But I can tell you one thing: Pippa would love it!! Haha!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Valerie, how big is Pippa? There are strollers advertised to handle dogs up to 150lbs!!

      Reply
  16. Pawesome Cats

    Pet strollers haven’t really caught on in Australia – its rare that you see one. Great review!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      They haven’t caught on here in England either, I think I’ve seen 2 since I’ve been here (12 years already!!). We’ve been causing quite a stir lately, especially since I’ve been using it so much for my dog Jack who’s recovering from spinal surgery. We’re out and about, buses and trains, and all over the place. Maybe once people see how much they can help, they’ll buy one for their pet.

      Reply
  17. Sweet Purrfections

    I’ve seen several cat owners use strollers. It seems to help the cats feel more comfortable from their environment.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I know they’re advertised as suitable for cats as well, but I must admit I’ve never seen one. Of course I I’ve only seen a couple of strollers in all the years I’ve been here!

      Reply
  18. Gone to the Snow Dogs

    I don’t think they make one big enough for my dogs! hehehe Cute though

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      There are strollers advertised for dogs up to 150lbs!!

      Reply

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