I think pet strollers for dogs are the greatest invention, so it made sense to write about why I think senior dog parents should buy a dog stroller. Considering how fantastic I think they are, I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised I came up with 21 reasons!!
I must admit when I first saw a dog in a stroller I had a mix of emotions. Actually I think it was less of a mix and more of a judgement. My first thought was how funny it was, then ridiculous, then I chastised (in my head not out loud) the woman pushing the stroller, ranting about not letting her dog’s paws touch the ground, he’s not an accessory blah blah blah.
Since I first wrote this article, my sweet girl Red gained her wings. It has now been updated.
I’m happy and Red was too!
After carrying my dog around for a couple of years and getting a backache every time (even though she weighed less than 10lbs!!), I realised I was going to get the very thing I thought was ridiculous. And I did and I love it!!
Whenever I took my blind 17ish year old heart dog Red out in her stroller, I always got tons of looks and comments. At first I felt uncomfortable being the focus of so much attention, but then my husband so rightly pointed out we were helping a lot of people by being out and about with it. Because pet strollers are not well known where we live, many people have told me they thought it was a brilliant idea and could use one for their dog.
Hubby was right! I can only hope many more dogs will get out now then they would have, if their parents hadn’t seen me.
Because I am crazy about senior dogs I automatically gravitate towards them, yet I have often commented about how few I actually encounter on my walks. If they are staying pretty close to home, seeing my stroller may spark the “ah ha” moment that gets more seniors out in the fresh air!!
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Here are my 21 reasons why you need to buy a dog stroller
Senior dogs will no longer get left behind
Senior dogs, or “settled” as I recently saw them referred to, don’t have to get left out when the rest of the family are off for a day of fun. On weekends when the weather is nice, my husband and I like to go for a leisurely stroll along the beach, then to the field to let our dog Jack off the leash for a good run. Before I got the stroller I didn’t usually go, because although I did leave Red alone I didn’t like to do it for too long, especially when she had dementia. Okay I admit it, I sometimes used that as an excuse why I couldn’t go!! Once I got the pet stroller I loaded it up with all our supplies, stuck her in it and off we went. She got to come out with us, enjoy a few hours of sunshine, she walked at her own pace while Jack was off running at his, and I didn’t have to watch the clock!
Injured dogs may not be able to go for walks but they still need fresh air. Your number one priority is to do what you can to ensure your dog heals properly, but boredom and frustration aren’t healthy. Ask your vet if it would be safe to take him out in the stroller for a change of scenery.
Recovering from surgery
A similar scenario to the one above but equally important to address. Without physical exercise and mental stimulation dogs get bored, and boredom leads to behaviour issues. Taking them out into the world, even if it’s just in a stroller is a help. All with your vet’s approval of course!!
The stroller was a big part in helping my other dog Jack recover from spinal surgery. Although Jack has some issues as a result of being abused in his previous home, there are people he has really bonded with. He’s also a bit nosy and likes to see what’s going on in his neighbourhood.
Just over two years ago Jack became paralysed suddenly, literally within a matter of hours. He was fine at 7:00am and by 2:30pm his back legs were no longer working. Long story short he had spinal surgery and during his recovery we relied a lot on Red’s stroller. For several weeks walks were restricted to 5-10 minutes to pee and poop, the rest of the time he was on cage rest. He still needed to see his pals and have a change of scenery, so with the approval of his neurologist I took him out for short periods in the doggy stroller. It made such a difference to his emotional well being.
Easier than a carrier
Carriers can be quite awkward or heavy to carry, and if you have any kind of physical limitations that prevent you from lifting heavy objects, then a pet stroller is the way to go.
Longer outings with your dog
If your dog is not able to walk for as long as he used to, a stroller is a good option. It is the perfect compromise for those times when you would like to take your dog for a day out, but you know he (or she) won’t have the stamina! Let your dog walk as much as he wants or is able to, then hop in when he needs a break.
Our dog Jack has lots of energy, but after a long walk and run he fades about halfway home, especially if it’s hot out. He hopped in the stroller with Red, took a short break to recharge, then lets us know when his second wind kicked in and was ready to carry on walking.
Visits to the vet
Do you live within walking distance of your vet? Would you, at times, like to be able to get that nice long walk in but it’s a bit out of range for your dog? Get your dog, get your stroller, put your sneakers on, and start walking. When it’s too much for the dog, time to start pushing.
Before we moved I had a wonderful vet I loved so much, I would make the trek to our old hometown just to see him. Getting there by car was hellish, so the best and quickest way was public transport. It involved a bus, a ferry, another bus, then a 15 minute walk over a very long, steep bridge. I used to carry Red which was more than backbreaking, but once I got the stroller, going to the vet was a breeze – the weight was literally lifted off of me and the journey was so much more enjoyable.
Events or large gatherings
Whether you’re going to a festival, air show or any other type of outdoor event, a pet stroller is not only convenient, it may also be the best safety tool. Even if your dog is able to cope in large noisy crowds there is a real risk of injury, no matter what size he is. He could easily get stepped on or react and bite someone if he’s frightened.
The picture above is of Red in her stroller while traveling in Ronda, Spain.
Unless he’s wearing a harness, the commotion could cause him to slip out of his collar, and run off.
Large crowds and festivals also mean plenty of spilled drinks, dropped fries and other harmful foods on the ground, enough for your dog to have a field day, and get quite ill with pancreatitis for example. It’s too risky, especially if he has dietary restrictions.
No more excuses not to exercise!
Walk at the pace you want until your dog is too tired, then treat him to a ride without you having to put an early end to your workout. I admit I’m lazy when it comes to exercise, but a few times I did put Red in her stroller and went for a nice paced walk along the beach. Faster than I could do with my other dog who has to sniff every blade of grass growing. I even noticed by using the stroller for support I was able to keep up a quicker pace then if I walked without it.
One slow dog/one fast dog or one big dog and one small dog
For all of us who have more than one dog… how often do you have dogs that walk at the same pace? I never do that’s for sure. This is another scenario that has “pet stroller” written all over it. Let them walk together as long as they can, when one is running out of steam let him recharge in the stroller, without your other dog’s walk being compromised.
Access to “restricted” places
There are shops where dogs are welcome, and others that will allow you to bring a dog in if you carry him. I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but even carrying a small dog while looking at clothes or trying on shoes without letting their feet touch the ground is no easy task.
I was with my dog Red in a store some time ago, one that grudgingly lets you in if you carry the dog. I put her down on the floor for literally seconds until I took off the shoes I was trying on, and no sooner did her little paws touch linoleum the security guard was standing over me, telling me I had to pick her up.
Imagine that same scenario if I had the stroller with me!
Charity fun run
Fun runs and charity events are most often organised with the whole family in mind, and of course that means including your dog (or cat if he or she is that laid back!!). These events last several hours, and rather than rushing home because you left the dog alone, or not rushing home and leaving him alone, bring him along.
In the past you hesitated because you knew crowds and noise would get to him, but now that you’ve discovered the many uses of the pet stroller, he can join in too! Put the sunshade down, and zip the mesh screen up for some quiet space, creating a mobile den for him!
For people who live in extremely congested areas
If you live right in the heart of an extremely busy city (picture London on a Saturday in the summer, or any day really, or the crazy busy streets of Manhattan), it can be challenging to walk your dog, particularly if you have a small one. With so much pedestrian traffic he can get hurt, especially if people don’t see him. Not a difficult scenario to imagine given how wrapped up people get in themselves, they have no clue what’s going on around them. Your dog may get so nervous in that situation he may develop anxiety and avoid going out altogether.
Of course a harness sounds like a very good idea in this type of environment, and a stroller sounds like a good idea as well. Use it until you get to the park or a nice quiet area, let him out to walk, and use it again when you reach the busy streets.
Traveling on a ferry or boat
Some dogs, like Jack, don’t like the feel of the gangway or dock surface, and short of dragging them (which you should never do by the way!!), you either carry them or use a stroller to easily transport them on and off the ferry. Keeping him confined in the stroller during the trip is a safe thing to do as well. If it’s a new experience he may feel anxious or overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and goings on. Keeping him in the stroller will make it a more pleasant voyage for everyone, and give him a feeling of security.
Transporting foster puppies or kittens
If you foster puppies or kittens and are 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 in a stroller.
Many years ago I was fostering 3 kittens that weren’t able to eat on their own, even though I was told they could before I took them!! Anyway, since they had to be bottle fed and I still had to go to work, I would take them in a crate and all their supplies with me to work, and leave them in my boss’s office. Luckily she was an animal lover, and away so that was handy. I didn’t have a stroller at the time, but I know how much easier it would have been to transport them if I had.
Multi dog households
Of course the stroller cannot, and should not replace proper scheduled walks. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest… At times you’re headed straight to the dog park, and it’s a bit of a nightmare trying to get them there because they’re all going in different directions, sticking one or all of them in a stroller and wheeling them to the park may come in handy.
I should add that some leash training, done with each dog individually may be in order. Ideally you should be able to walk your dogs, nicely to the dog park, but who lives in an ideal world!!
More quality time for you and your pup
Having the option of putting your dog in a stroller, means you can bring him more places with you. Locations that may not normally allow dogs may welcome a well behaved one, sitting quietly in a stroller. More outings together, more quality time together.
Take your dog to work day
Does your workplace have a “take your dog to work day?” Do you run your own business and make the rules? Either way having a stroller gives your dog a little den to rest in, and so much easier than dragging beds and blankets with you. Throw a blanket in the stroller to give it some extra padding and you have a ready made rest area.
Use it while visiting friends and family
If you’re visiting friends or family, especially if they have small children that are starting to annoy your dog, the stroller will serve as a nice little escape. If you all decide to go out your dog can walk as much as he is able, then be wheeled the rest of the way.
Burning hot concrete around the pool – we’ve all experienced that pain! Imagine your dog walking on a hot pavement? What about salt on the sidewalks? I was with Red in Canada one winter and boy did she suffer. She couldn’t take one step because the salt burned her paws so badly. Depending on the amount of snow on the ground and the type of stroller you buy, it may be a great solution.
Evacuation in case of emergency
Whatever the emergency, if you find yourself in a situation where you have to evacuate, putting your dog in a stroller may be the safest way to transport him. This eliminates having to keep looking to make sure he’s with you and hasn’t gotten out of his collar because of the commotion. Your stroller should come with a clasp that hooks onto your dog’s collar or harness for added security. If your stroller comes with a mesh panel attached to the sunshade, lower it and zip it all the way around so it’s secured to the stroller, and your dog cannot jump out if he gets anxious.
Shade from the sun
For those of us who have spent any time living in tropical or semi tropical climates, we know the rules about taking our dogs out early morning and later in the evening when it’s “cooler.” Heatstroke is no laughing matter, and too much time spent outside in extreme temperatures can be dangerous. Taking your dog out in a stroller to a shady location will allow him to get much needed exercise, but will also get him out of the sun if it gets to be too much.
21 reasons why you need to buy a dog stroller – conclusion
By now I think you realise how much I love pet strollers and how much we all have benefited from using one. I do want to make one quick mention. It’s always safer to keep a harness on your dog, and what I do when Jack is in the stroller is clip a leash onto the harness and hold it in my hand. This way if something does scare him or he doesn’t want to ride anymore he can’t just jump out. I did keep the tether attached to Red’s collar but no leash because she wasn’t a “flight risk.”
If you’ve been on the fence, I hope these 21 reasons why you need to to buy a dog stroller has been an eye opener, and you have seen just how beneficial one can be.
Is this the first you’re hearing about pet strollers? What do you think? Can you see a benefit to having one for your dog? If you already have a pet stroller, in what ways has it made your life easier? Sharing helps others so please leave a comment below.
**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. It is a wonderful community where you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**
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