There is a problem. You like going walking or running with your medium-to-large dog, but he just can’t keep up anymore. Whether he’s got a temporary injury or a permanent disability, you don’t want to leave your workout buddy behind. Commercial pet strollers won’t work because they are built for very small dogs and are equipped with small, low-speed wheels.
The solution? Hack a jogging stroller into an awesome pet stroller.
Please note that this is a re-build of stroller #1 so some parts were already made. Every stroller is a little different, so each project will need different parts and measurements. Basically, you want it to be lightweight, weather-resistant, and cleanable, and the parts to be replaceable. The dog needs to feel comfortable and secure while riding in the box. The hardest part is finding a box to fit both the dog & stroller. If you are a fiberglass wizard you could make an artful custom box.
This will attract attention. Expect to field lots of questions about your dog & stroller. We get our picture taken by strangers – I call them the Pup-erozzi .
Costs will vary depending on how many of the supplies you already have and how much repair your stroller needs. The first build was around $50 total. The re-build was $15.
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Step 1: Gather Supplies
Step 1: Gather supplies :
*Jogging stroller (this one was $35 at a thrift store, also available cheap at yard sales & curbside on trash day for free)
*Plastic passenger box that will fit the frame of your stroller and your dog. Buy 2 so you have a spare when the first one cracks. ($10 each)
*Plywood or chipboard and/or scrap lumber (free or $0.50 from the bargain bin)
*Non-skid shelf liner (cheap, already owned)
*Bath towel or large pillow (already owned)
*Heavy-duty zip-ties ($5/pack)
*Bungee cord (not shown, sorry) ($2)
*Hand towel (already owned)
*Masking tape (already owned)
*Spray paint ($3)
*Assorted fasteners such as glue, screws, & nails – need will vary.
Box, bin, or bag for storage
Empty yogurt container for cup-holder
Plastic tube or pipe for cane holder
Keeper strap (optional in flat country, a must in hilly areas)
“Helper” cat – not recommended, but sometimes unavoidable
Drill + bits
Screwdriver (not shown, sorry)
Tape measure or ruler
Step 2: Remove Seat
Step 2: Remove the baby seat and any other unneeded parts . Each stroller is built differently, so just look for screws and rivets. Be careful not to damage the frame. You might need to cut some strapping. I pulled the seat out of this one 2-3 years ago, so it’s a miracle the seat is still here for a token photo.
Step 3: Repair Tires
Step 3: Repair or replace any flat or missing tires. Cost: $0-$20, depending on what needs doing. One tire needed repair 2-3 years ago, none needed fixing this time.
Step 4: Build Platform
Step 4: Cut scrap wood for a level platform to support the box and dry-fit the parts. No measurements are given because each installation is unique. You can use a level to check, or just eyeball it. The first time I converted this stroller, I simply installed some chipboard on the bottom of the frame and it was sloped. This shifted more of the dog’s weight to his front legs and was uncomfortable. I ended up trying to build a wedge out of several rolled-up towels and finally am rebuilding the whole thing.
Step 5: Paint Platform Parts
Step 5: Paint the wooden platform parts to help keep them weather-proof. I already had the back end of this platform attached to the stroller frame, so I did not bother to totally dismantle it for pictures.
Step 6: Assemble the Platform
Step 6: Assemble the platform and attach it to the stroller frame. Nail or screw the platform pieces together. Mark and drill holes in the wood and use heavy-duty zip ties to attach it to the stroller frame. Avoid drilling holes in the stroller if possible as this will weaken the structure.
Step 7: Fit Passenger Box
Step 7: Fit the large plastic box into the stroller. It should rest firmly on the platform and fit inside the frame. If you have to squash it a bit to make it fit, that is okay.
Step 8: Mark and Drill Passenger Box
Step 8: Mark the box with a pen and drill holes in the box on either side of the frame rails in several places.
Step 9: Attach Passenger Box
Step 9: Secure the box to the frame with heavy-duty zip-ties. Make sure the box will not tip up or down if the dog jumps around or stands at either end. If needed, bungee the loose end of the box to the frame or screw it to the wooden platform. I wanted to avoid putting more holes than necessary in the box, so I used a long bungee cord.
Step 10: Add Non-Skid Liner
Step 10: Cut non-skid shelf liner to fit the box. Place in the box but do NOT glue down. This will keep the padding and dog from slipping, but is easily removed for cleaning.
Step 11: Add Padding
Step 11: Add old bath towels or pillows for padding. I like towels because they are easy to wash if they get wet or muddy.
Step 12: Add Storage Bin or Bag
Step 12: (Optional) Add storage bag or bin to back of passenger compartment if desired. I used and REI shopping bag ($2) and secured it with stick-on Velcro. It is handy for carrying dog toys, extra leash, water bowl, and pick-up bags but it is also easy to remove and carry around.
Step 13: Add Cup Holder
Step 13: (Optional) Add cup holder. I did not end up keeping this, but it is a good option if you like to carry spillable beverages. Drill 4 holes in an empty 1 quart yogurt container and use 2 zip-ties to fasten it to the frame near the handle.
Step 14: Add Cane Holder
Step 14: (Optional) Add cane holder. Canes are useful both for a whiney knee or ankle and for personal protection. The plastic pipe pictured in the ‘supplies’ photo did not work out. Instead I used plastic electrical conduit ($3.50 for 10 feet) because it was lighter. Cut the conduit to the desired length. Smooth cut edges using sandpaper or a pocket knife. Drill 6 holes ~3/4 inch from the bottom end. Thread three zip ties through the holes to make a mesh bottom. This will keep the cane in and let the rain out. Attach the conduit to the frame of the stroller using zip ties. Insert cane. Note: you can paint the tubing, but I did not bother since this conduit was UV-resistant.
Step 15: Repair Handle
Step 15: Fix handle if necessary: The padding on this stroller is tearing, so I folded a hand towel lengthwise and taped it to the handle bar with masking tape. Every few months I cut the masking tape off, wash the towel, and put it back on.
Step 16: Add Keeper Strap
Stept 16: (Optional) Add a keeper strap. If you live in a hilly area, a keeper strap would be prudent Just clip a leash onto the handlebar and loop it around your wrist to avoid losing the stroller on a steep hill.
Step 17: Final Notes and Thoughts
Future Modifications and Other Options:
1. You may want to add lights or reflectors to your stroller. The dog & I both have lighted and/or reflective clothing for night walks so I haven’t bothered on this one.
2. Eventually, I would like to make a snazzy denim & terrycloth cover with a Velcro closure for the handlebar, but the tape-N-towel has worked so far.
3. Adding a bike brake with lockable grip is on my to-do list. Stroller #2 has this and it is a great feature.
4. One of the new generation strollers with swiveling front wheel is on my wish list. The fixed-wheel strollers require you to pop a wheelie to change direction.
A Few Final Thoughts: This stroller will not work for extra-large dogs. If you have a 70-150 pound dog I would suggest making or modifying a flatbed shopping cart topped with a cushion and possibly a ramp. Game carts designed for hauling dead deer are light & maneuverable and would probably work with some modification. If anyone makes one, please send me the link – I’d love to see it.
If your dog’s disability is only temporary, a garden wagon will work fine. The garden wagons with rack & pinion steering won’t tip over on turns like a classic kid’s wagon. The disadvantages are that they are not as ergonomic as a stroller, are heavier, and won’t fit into most cars or any bike racks. They also seem to be a bigger distraction to drivers than the stroller, I don’t know why.