Bikejoring sled dog mushing race. Husky sled dogs pull a bike with dog musher. Autumn competition.

A bike ride is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors with your pup. Here’s how to cautiously enjoy biking with your canine.

Dogs Running Alongside Bikes

Having your dog run alongside your bike can be an enjoyable activity, but it’s also high impact, especially when biking on the concrete road. Before you try it, consult your veterinarian to confirm if your dog is in the suitable physical and mental condition to do it soundly. They should also assess to check if your pup can keep up with a bicycle. Most small-to-medium canines cannot keep up with a bike because of their short legs. Therefore, allowing only healthy, large dogs to run alongside your bicycle is best.

When biking with your dog, begin slowly with short distances and speeds. Attach your dog to the bike, praise and treat them before doing anything else. Next, slowly roll forward, and praise and treat when your dog starts walking with the bike. You can gradually increase to riding a block or two and even further. As your dog adjusts to walking or running alongside your bike, be sure to praise and treat them continually.

In addition to being reflective about how far you ask your pup to run on concrete, which is hard on their bones and joints, check the temperature of the road where you are riding. If it’s hot, it can cause injury and burns to your dog’s paws. Even when it’s not hot, running on concrete can be hard on their feet. Be sure to start slowly with small distances to allow your dog to adjust, knowing this is a very high-impact activity. 

Dogs in Bike Baskets

If you have a small-sized dog, an option is to have them in a basket attached to your bicycle’s handle or back frame. But it’s essential to ensure that any basket you put your pup into is designed for canines to ride in. It must have proper safety straps to prevent them from jumping or falling out while you are riding. Ensure you also follow the manufacturer’s instructions on attaching your dog’s harness to the basket.

Before riding:

  1. Introduce your dog slowly to the basket as it may take time to accustom.
  2. Carry your dog into the basket, secure them, then treat and praise them before lifting them out of the basket.
  3. Practice putting your dog in and taking them out several times

The goal isn’t to make your pup wait to see how long they are comfortable in the basket but to build a joyous union with being in it. After several practices and repetitions, you can slowly increase the time you ask your dog to stay in the basket. Treat your pup for being calm and still in the basket. After being assured that they’re fully secured, gently roll your bicycle while stopping to treat and dine on the way.

Pups in Bike Trailers

If you have a medium or large-sized canine, you can try pulling them behind your bike in a trailer. Bike trailers designed for toddlers can be modified to work for dogs, or you can purchase trailers specially designed for dogs. Pulling your dog behind you is a great way to transport them when it’s too hot to run safely on concrete. It’s also good for busier streets and older dogs who can’t walk or run beside a moving bike for health concerns.  Repeat this so your dog becomes comfortable getting in and out of the trailer. Once they’re doing it efficiently, attach the harness and gently move the trailer, starting with just a few inches at a time, then treat and praise. If your dog is comfortable, you can move the trailer further and start with short bike rides where you can regularly stop to check on and pamper your canine. Regardless of how much your dog likes the ride, it’s essential to ensure they are securely attached to it before you start so that they don’t jump out and hurt themselves.

Dogs in Cargo Bikes

Cargo bikes are specifically designed for transporting pups. These three-wheeled bikes have open-topped carbo box areas built into the bike, allowing you to transport even giant dogs via bicycle. Some dog cargo bike options come in e-bikes or battery-powered assist bikes, which can be especially helpful when transporting large canines up hills. Getting your pup accustomed to riding the cargo bike follows the same process as a bike trailer.

While you might be doing your best to keep your pup safe and healthy, there is no way to predict accidents or illness. They might require dog medical aid, that’s why buying pet insurance sa proves wise, as it protects you from unexpected dog medical aid.