Are you a cyclist who also owns a dog? Do you long to go biking with your pet? Maybe you’re wondering if it’s even possible to go on bike rides with your furry little companion.
It most certainly is.
However, before you embark on such a ride, you need to make sure that you do so safely…for both you and your pet.
How is this achievable, you ask? Well, if you don’t have any idea on how to bike with your dog, This is the guide for you! Once you implement all the tips in this post, you should be good to begin the fun of biking with your dog (in a safe way!)
Get the Dog Ready
It will seem awkward and unsafe to take a dog on unfamiliar and potentially long bike ride. So start by trying to familiarize your dog with the bike and any other equipment you may be using before you set out.
How do you do this?
Train Your Dog
First, you’ll need to train your dog in the basics. Ensure to train your dog to respond to cues that will enable it to remain safe. It may be dangerous to let it free in the woods without this basic training.
Where to start?
Teach your pup behavioral commands like answering its name, “go”, “come”, “fetch” and “sit”. You can also go for evening walks with your bike while attaching your pet to a dog biking leash. This training is necessary to let your dog get accustomed to the bike and prevent accidents for your dog and other cyclists.
But before you’re able to truly benefit from the step above, is your dog fit for a ride?
Check your Dog’s Health and Energy Level
On your list of considerations, your dog’s health should be the topmost priority. Examine or (even better) take the dog to the vet to make sure the dog is fit and free of any health issues that would impact its ability to bike with you.
Does he have the energy for such demanding exercise or ride? Are there any physical restrictions that will hinder a long dog bike trip? You need a positive clearance from your vet on these questions to know if your dog is fit.
The answers you get will determine if your dog can go on a biking tour with you. Moreover, if he is a senior citizen (that is, he’s an old dog) and has limited energy, you may consider an evening walk instead of a long ride.
You will also want to check the weather conditions that are prevalent in the areas you plan to ride to make sure your dog won’t be uncomfortable. For instance, using a pet trailer, without good ventilation, would cause discomfort if you’re in a hot climate.
Finally, ensure to give him enough water before starting your bike ride. When you return, ensure he drinks enough water again. And if you’re planning a longer ride or on a hotter day, it would be prudent to pack some water for your pup as well.
Equip Yourself and Your Dog
When you’re safe, your dog is automatically safer. So, you should do well to equip yourself for maximum safety. Ensure you have all the necessary equipment you need before embarking on this cycling ride. (Start with a helmet. You might want to wear it around the house so your dog can get used to see you in it.)
You’ll also need to equip yourself to be seen by oncoming motorists or fellow cyclists. These may include wearing brightly-coloured clothing or installing light reflectors.
You should also get a few things to ensure the dog’s safety too. Ensure to use comfortable, specialized equipment to prevent accidents or any injury to your pet. Most of this equipment is easily available in stores or online.
Here some tips to equip your dog for a safe ride:
- First, consider the dog bike attachment to use alongside your cycle. If you’re opting for a harness, make sure it’s a good one. It needs to have enough paddings for comfort, and not be so long so that your dog is no longer within reach.
- Make the dog visible by wearing them a reflective vest. This will help you and the incoming motorist or fellow cyclist spot the dog anywhere. A brightly coloured and reflective dog collar is not such a bad idea either.
- You can also take cooling vests along in case the weather becomes too hot. It will help prevent overheating of your pet.
Once you have equipped yourself and your dog, what next?
Well, it is time to ride with your dog, but you need to know how you plan to cycle with your dog.
Go Biking with Your Dog
There are several ways you can do this, depending on which one suits you and your pet the most. It is critical you choose the best means to bike with your dog as some options just won’t work for some dogs…imagine trying to have your adorable little pug try to run alongside you.
Not a great idea. Right? But toss the little guy into a dog carrier attached to your bike, and you’ll be riding buddies for life!
Use a Specialized Dog Bicycle Trailer
You can attach a good pet bike trailer and place your dog in it. The trailer follows you as you ride the bike. Ensure it is comfortable and large enough for your pet to turn around, stand, sit, and lie down.
If you consider getting a large dog bike trailer, choose one that has a low center of gravity. It should also have a large wheelbase with adequate cover against adverse climatic conditions.
Most importantly, you should consider the size of your dog when getting a bike pet trailer. Ensure that the door allows easy entrance and exit for your dog.
Attach a Bike Sidecar
You can use a dog bike sidecar. This option helps you stay in direct contact with your dog.
The sidecar allows the dog to see you while driving, thus giving them a sense of security. Unlike the trailer that follows behind, the sidecar travels parallel to the bike. (It is usually connected to a bike with three leash rings.)
Put Your Small Pet in a Dog Bike Basket
The dog bike basket is the best pet carrier for small pooches. The basset hounds can go into a trailer, but you should put your lovely little miniature yorkie into a bike basket.
The best basket is one that has harness attachment or leash to prevent the dog from jumping out. Also, go for the one that has a zipper closure on the top mesh.
Personally, I’d prefer a front bike basket for dogs as it helps you monitor your little friend throughout the trip. However, you should be aware that it will make it a little harder to ride (especially when compared to adding a basket to the back of your bike). But with a bit of practice, you will that it becomes second nature.
Helpful Dog Biking Tips
- Make sure all your lights are working
- Ensure your dog gets familiar with the bike and other equipment before you embark on this ride
- Employ the best way of biking with your dog for your dog.
- Ensure to maintain a comfortable pace if your dog will be running alongside as you ride
- Adhere to traffic rules when cycling
- Take enough water and some snacks for you and your dog
- Reward your pet for a good biking behavior
Keep in mind that there are different dog biking regulations in various regions. Check out the rules for your area and make sure to follow them! Not doing so points you, your dog, and everyone else at risk.
Remember when you had to sadly leave your dog behind for a biking trip? Well, those days are over. If you want to go cycling with your dog, there are many ways to achieve, while using this guide on how to bike with your dog is a good way to get started, I encourage you keep reading on the topic and make sure you’ve done everything you can to ensure that you and your pet are safe.
And lastly. This should go without saying…but this is the internet, so I’m going to say it anyways. You should not be considering cycling with your dog if you are not already a confident and competent cyclist. Riding with your dog inherently has more risk than riding by yourself, so please make sure you are ready to take on the added challenges!
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One thing you forgot to mention although it kinda goes without saying… Make sure you don’t ride too fast, or too far with your buddy. Most dogs are built for short bursts of speed, and not endurance. So please be sure to take that into account when you hit the trail. Both you and your dog will be glad you did!
Hi Joe, thanks for commenting! Yes, I agree 100%. I touched on this in the Helpful tips section, but you’ve phrased it perfectly. 🙂
I have a 26” cruiser bike. My dog is a German shorthair pointer mix and loves to run and play fetch. I would love to have her join me for bike rides but I am unsure what bike leash to purchase. Any suggestions anyone?
Hey Marilyn, I’m afraid I don’t have a specific recommendation for you – I can only suggest you check a few different leashes/harnesses and see what is most comfortable and sturdy. Hoping someone else that sees your comment will be able to help you further 🙂