There’s no reason for your bike to gather dust in the garage because you have a pet. Biking with your dog can be a great way for you to get some exercise together and bond over a fun activity. However, you may want to read below before you hit the road together. There are a few things to know that can help keep you and your canine companion safe and happy on the bike trail.
The Joys And Benefits Of Bike Riding With Your Dog
Just because your furry friend can’t hop on a bike and pedal doesn’t mean you need to leave them behind when you ride your bike. Many large dogs are happy to trot along your side with a leash as you ride your bike. Plus, all that running can be a healthy activity for them.
- It’s a healthy outlet for all their energy.
- Running may help reduce the risks of weight gain.
- Play and exercise is great for your pup’s mental health.1
Note: Riding your bike alongside your pet is an activity suited for larger, more high energy dogs. Small dogs likely won’t be able to keep up with you on your bike and may be at a higher risk for injury. To avoid injury, even large dogs will need to be adequately trained to ride alongside your bike.
Take It One Pedal At A Time: Steps To Riding With Your Dog
Here are a few important things to keep in mind before and during your bike ride.
Familiarize Your Pup – Some dogs are naturals when it comes to biking. They will trot along with you instinctually. Other dogs, however, can be scared of bikes.
It’s important to acquaint your dog with the bike and leash set-up. You can teach them not to be afraid by first walking the bike in one hand and your dog in the other. This gets the dog used to the presence of the bike before you ever get on it.2
Start Slow – Start by riding at a very slow speed so your dog can walk by your side on the leash as you cruise. Practice maneuvers such as stopping and turning together at this slow pace. Offer your pup treats when they perform well at all these new tasks. This helps your dog get acquainted with the bike and you on it.3
Ride Cautiously – Once you both feel comfortable, you can start to pick up the speed. Keep a close eye on your dog, especially if they haven’t been exercising regularly. If they seem fatigued or tired, stop riding and let them rest.
Starting out slow and building speed over time helps your dog build up their endurance at a healthy pace. This may help prevent injuries to their joints and bones.4
Note – If you plan to go mountain biking with your dog, do lots of research on the trail before taking them along. Mountain bike trails can be dangerous places for dogs to run if there are other bikers.
Things To Do Before You Hit The Road
There are a few things to do before you head out on a bike ride with your dog to help ensure you both have a fun and safe time.
While exercise is essential, running is not an activity suited for all dogs. Check with your vet before taking your dog with you on a bike ride. Some dog breeds are better suited for the running requirements. A sled dog may perform better than a smaller dog, like a terrier. Talk with your vet to ensure running is the right activity for your pet’s breed and build.5
Additionally, it’s a good idea to make sure your pup doesn’t have any joint or arthritis issues, which can make running painful for dogs. A green light from the vet will also ensure that they are at a safe age and weight to go for a run.6
There are a few items that can make for a safer and more stress-free bike ride with your dog. It’s a good idea to bring a backpack with essentials for both you and your pup.
Bike Tow Leash Or Petego Cycleash
Holding onto a leash with one hand or attaching the leash to your bike while you ride can be dangerous. If your dog pulls or stops suddenly, it can cause an accident. Additionally, it’s easy for the leash to get caught in the spokes or chain.
That’s why it might be a good idea to invest in a bike tow leash before hitting the road. Both of these devices are designed to help keep your dog’s leash safe and clear from your wheels and chain. They also have springs that absorb the shock if your dog pulls too suddenly. Both these items may enhance the possibility of a comfortable, accident-free bike ride.7
If you plan to ride on the streets, you may want to equip your canine companion with paw pads. These can help prevent injuries like scrapes and bruises from running on the road. They are also very important in the hot months of summer to help protect your pup against the hot pavement. You can also invest in a pair of dog boots which may help protect against both the cold and heat.8
Bring plenty of water along for yourself and your pooch. Bring a collapsible water bowl or a bowl that is small enough to fit in your backpack. If you see your dog panting or drooling thick saliva excessively, they might be dehydrated. Take plenty of water breaks along the way to make sure you and your dog are well-hydrated.9
If you plan on riding in the dark, make sure to outfit both you and your pup in some reflective gear. This makes them more visible for other bike riders, pedestrians, and drivers.10
Alternative Bike Riding Options For Small Dogs
As mentioned, bike riding with small dogs can be more difficult and even dangerous. The good news, though, is that there are safe and comfortable ways to bring pint-sized pooches along for the fun.
Dog Bike Basket
If you have a very tiny dog, like a Pomeranian, you can always put them in a dog bike basket on the front of your bike. Make sure your pup is also strapped into the basket to ensure their safety. There are even special dog baskets on the market that come with seat belts that keep your pup safe in the basket. You’ll also need to choose a basket that is big enough for your dog to be comfortable in.11
Dog Bike Trailer
You can also set larger dogs up in a dog bike trailer. These contraptions get pulled behind the bike and offer a good riding solution for dogs that can’t fit in a basket or aren’t suited to run alongside you.
Much like a bike, you want to familiarize your dog with the trailer before putting them into it. Take your time, and let them get comfortable with the trailer before you take it out on the road. This should help keep them calm and relaxed in their carriage when you actually start riding.12
Enjoy The Open Road Together
There’s no need to leave your pet home alone the next time you want to go on a bike ride. Lots of dogs enjoy running on the leash with their owners while they bike.
Just make sure that you have all the proper equipment and that your dog is healthy enough to go for runs. Also, make sure to take the time to do a little slow-speed practice with your pup, so you’re on the same page when it comes to turning and stopping.
Once you both feel comfortable cruising side-by-side, there’s nothing ahead of you but a good time on the open road.