When seeing a stroller, most of us sneak a peek to see the youngster inside. Imagine the surprise when the inhabitant is someone's pet!
While Americans often view their pets as part of the family, even calling their dogs their "babies," somehow using a pet stroller seems a little over the top. Are pet strollers the ultimate pet indulgence or a helpful tool for pet owners?
Options in pet transportation
Humans are increasingly mobile, and our pets are often coming along for the ride. This applies to jet setting all over the world, strolling around a park or going to the store.
We've seen pets transported in crates, in dog car seats and even in purses. Some people dislike the idea of putting pooches in purses, perhaps thinking the dog has become more of a fashion accessory. But you have to admit - keeping a tiny dog protected from being stepped on is a good idea.
Essentially, a stroller is a larger option for transporting pets who may also need mobile assistance. Look at it as a carrier or a crate on wheels instead of as a baby buggy.
Dogs that need strollers
There are several dogs that would benefit from the use of a stroller:
- Elderly dogs - Older dogs may not be able to move around like they used to. Your faithful furry friend will appreciate being able to get out and enjoy the day just like they did in their younger days. Some warm sun and fresh air is good for the dog soul.
- Injured dogs - Dogs that have been hurt may need time to recuperate. Being able to go outside will lift their spirits. Additionally, the stroller can make follow-up vet appointments easier for your pet and for you.
- Paralyzed dogs - While there are options for having dogs fitted for a wheeled body support, sometimes that's not a practical or financially-feasible option. A stroller can help your paralyzed dog enjoy outings again.
- Sick dogs - Dogs that are sick may be too weak or tired to move well. A stroller can assist with getting your pet into your vet's office without breaking your back. The stroller provides a measure of insulation between your sick dog and other patients.
- Rescued dogs - If you're fostering or adopting a dog from a bad situation (i.e., a puppy mill breeder, or from an abusive background), a stroller can help these bruised souls feel safe. Rescues who haven't been taught how to be a dog may not understand how to walk on a leash. Dogs that have been abused or neglected may cower or lash out when in public. A stroller can keep your fearful dog away from other pets or humans. Just as a crate can be a dog's safe place in your house, a stroller becomes their safe crate away from home. A dog stroller can be a baby step towards being able to enjoy life in a public place.
- Dogs with heartworm - Dogs who have been diagnosed with heartworm have to be inactive for months to prevent damage to their organs. Allowing a heartworm-positive dog to enjoy an outing will be a therapeutic lift to their spirit. Plus, the screen material will prevent mosquitoes from biting your dog and possibly spreading the disease.
- Dogs with hip dysplasia - Dogs with hip and elbow dysplasia are often big dogs that have lived an active life. Surgery may help some of these dogs, but others are not good candidates for drastic medical procedures. Thankfully, there are several stroller styles that suit even large dogs. Being able to use a stroller will make your dog feel like he's still the big man on the block without exacerbating his injuries.
Humans that need dog strollers
As you can see, strollers can really help some dogs. There are also several people that can benefit from being able to have their dog in a stroller.
- The elderly - Active senior citizens like to take their pets on walks, and it's a great way to enjoy exercise and interact with people on the block. But it can be dangerous for an older person to try and manage a dog that might suddenly pull them off balance when their pet sees a squirrel. A dog stroller provides an elderly person extra walking stability while keeping the dog safely contained.
- The physically impaired - People with limited mobility may have trouble managing a dog on a leash, but having their dog in a stroller might be a helpful option.
- People with multiple dogs - Walking more than one dog is best saved for the professionals. Leashes wrapping around your legs is a recipe for disaster! Keeping your dogs restrained in a stroller will keep both dogs and their human safe.
- Joggers - It's a great thing when you can take your dog along with you for your runs, but some dogs just can't keep up. If your dog is tiny or is getting older, a dog jogging stroller is a great way to let your dog join in the fun while still getting in your workout.
- Travelers - More people are deciding to take their dogs along on vacations. This can be a great idea, but toting your luggage and your pooch can get tricky. Having a dog stroller will make transportation easier. Strollers are soft crates on wheels. Always check with airlines for pet travel restrictions.
Situations that might call for a pet stroller
- Busy parks - If your dog gets overwhelmed by all the activity at a park (whether it's screaming kids or other dogs), giving your dog a safe space in their mobile crate can make the outing much less stressful.
- Urban settings - If you're walking your dog in an area with a lot of foot traffic, smaller and older dogs would benefit from being protected from all of the activity. Additionally, using a stroller in a busy city will prevent your dog's leash from injuring pedestrians. A dog in a stroller is less likely to be hit by a car or be bothered by poking humans.
- Shopping areas - Stores are increasingly taking down their "no dogs allowed" signs and putting out the welcome mats for pooches. Even if the retail outlet isn't too keen on your canine, having your dog in a stroller might let your dog be accepted. Sales associates can see your contained dog won't be piddling on their carpet or disturbing other shoppers. Putting your dog in a stroller allows you to concentrate on making your selections without worrying about what your dog is doing.
- Work - If you're one of the lucky people who gets to bring your dog to work, a stroller can make "working like a dog" a cinch. As mentioned before, a dog stroller is really just a crate on wheels. Having a safe place for your dog to retreat will help them settle down so you can get things done. Smaller dogs will also enjoy being at the higher elevation a stroller provides to sit closer to you at your desk. Throw in a few toys and your stroller just got upgraded to a puppy playpen.
- Hot weather - Some dogs don't tolerate heat very well. Instead of being cooped up on hot days, having your dogs in a stroller will keep them well ventilated, shaded and protect their paws from hot pavement. Certain dog breeds are particularly susceptible to hot-weather difficulties including Pugs, bulldogs, Pekingese, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers and Boxers. Pretty much any dog with a pushed-in nose will overheat with exertion in high temps. Play it safe and let your dogs chill out while you push them around.
- Cold weather - Though we can bundle our dogs up when temperatures drop, having a stroller to dash through the snow can be helpful to protect your pup's paws. Ice and sidewalk chemicals are dangerous, and not all dogs will tolerate wearing boots. Even if your dog won't wear coats, they'll likely snuggle up in a blanket in a stroller.
Okay, so we may have convinced you that there might be a point to dog strollers (hopefully.)
Now that we've got you considering a stroller for yourself, your dog, or a loved one, you may notice that most of them are called "Pet Strollers." That is because people can and do buy these strollers for their cats. Feline aficionados would argue that a pet stroller makes even more sense for cats than for dogs.
Why? Many people are choosing to keep their cats indoors for their own safety and to allay the concerns that cats are ruining the environment with their hunting skills, or some such nonsense. (Don't get me started.)
Indoor cats benefit greatly from getting to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air just as we do. A cat stroller is a very good option for a safe outdoor adventure. Just be sure you acclimate your cat to the stroller indoors, then progress to the yard, around the block, and so forth. This may take a matter of hours, days or weeks, depending on your cat's temperament.
Pet strollers are screened in, which will protect your cat from jumping out and other pets from bothering yours. Despite this feature, it is recommended that you put your cat in a harness so that he or she can be secured inside with the tether. A leash might also be a good idea, in case kitty needs a potty break.
Just like dogs, walking with cats can open the door to great conversations and meeting new neighbors, maybe even more so due to the novelty. Yes, you may be labeled as the crazy cat lady (or guy,) but most of us cat lovers willingly embrace the title.
Which pet stroller is for me?
There are several options and styles available to suit nearly every breed, cat and terrain. Pay attention to the size and weight capacity to ensure your pet has enough room to be comfortable. Smaller dogs can do just fine in one of the lightweight styles, whereas a larger breed will need a sturdy, reinforced stroller.
Do you have more than one pet? We have a double-decker dog stroller to ensure there is no sibling rivalry for who gets the best seat. This stroller is designed for smaller dog breeds. The top tier holds pets up to 10 pounds, and the bottom carrier holds pets up to 25 pounds.
Alternately, if more than one pet will be traveling together, buy a larger stroller so everyone gets a window seat. A coupler will make the safety tether work for securing multiple dogs or cats.
When choosing a pet stroller, decide what type of terrain you are likely to use it on. Strollers with the description of "light" are easy to get in and out of your car, feature quick setup and are easy to collapse. These are perfect for smaller pets and for walking on paved areas.
If you're looking for off-road or jogging use, look for strollers labeled as "all terrain." You will see that these styles have heavier construction and larger wheels with shocks to keep the ride smooth for your pet.
One of the most versatile rolling pet carriers that we have is the 2-in-1 Guardian Gear Cross-Trainer Pet Stroller.
This rugged rolling pet carrier is perfect for the sporty types. Not only can it be used as a jogging stroller, but it can also be attached as a bike trailer. Heavy-duty large rubber wheels are suitable for many types of surfaces. It includes a safety flag for visibility. This carrier accommodates dogs up to 55 pounds.
Do you have an extra-large dog? Our Expedition Dog Stroller carries pets up to 150 pounds. Unlike strollers designed for smaller breeds, this stroller is low to the ground with an easy front entry. That means you won't be breaking your back trying to lift your dog, and even tired old dogs can ease their way into the stroller for adventures that will make them feel young again.
As you can see, pet strollers are a wonderful tool to add convenience and new facets to your relationship with your pet. Now everyone can enjoy greater mobility together!
Our featured photo is from our customer Andrea from Linthicum, MD. Her dogs, Brycee & Shu Shu, are always ready for a road trip in their Happy Trails Dog Strollers. "Even where pets aren't typically allowed - they get to go! Their favorite places are the beach and Cape May, NJ as shown here. Both girls get attention wherever they go!"