If you have a dog, it’s only natural that you are always searching for activities that will not only keep your furry friend healthy and active but act as a bonding experience for both of you.
Perhaps you have thought of biking with your dog, but are worried that your pooch might not keep up with you, or either of you might get involved in a nasty accident, or you do not have the slightest idea of how to ride with a bike dog.
Well, fret not because we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about biking with dog.
Benefits of riding a bike with a dog
Apart from acting as a bonding experience, biking with your dog has a number of benefits, especially to your dog’s overall health.
- Biking with your dog helps it release more energy than it would while you are walking it. We all know how important it is for your four-legged furry friend to release any built-up energy it may have. This prevents it from having dog zoomies and destructive behaviors like turning your whole house into a mess.
- Compared to most exercises you would engage your faithful companion in, biking with your dog, strengthens its heart even more by ensuring that it’s heart muscles (scientifically known as myocardium) get enough oxygen.
- When cycling together with your dog, you can control its movements compared to when it’s off-leash.
- Cycling with your dog breaks the monotony of the regular activities you engage your furry friend.
Is biking with a dog safe?
The issue of whether or not biking a dog is safe is still a controversial one. In fact, there are places like Queensland, Australia, where there is a law against bike riding with dogs. But this doesn’t mean that riding a bike with a dog is entirely dangerous. However, there are guidelines you have to adhere to, to ensure that this activity is safe for both you and your dog.
- Ensure everything in bike works perfectly, and everything we mean the lights, reflectors, tires, the brakes, to mention a few.
- Get the appropriate biking equipment(see this section). Biking with your dog is not as simple as putting your dog in a leash and attaching it onto your bike. You have to have a couple of biking equipment specifically meant for biking with your dog, to make this activity safe for both of you.
- Make sure your bike is up to the task of accommodating your dog. That includes ensuring your basket is strong enough, if you are carrying the dog, your bike trailer is appropriately connected, to mention a few.
- While cycling with your dog, adhere to all the traffic laws, especially in regards to biking.
Is your dog bike ready?
Most people assume that their dogs can easily blend in with just any activity they are engaged in. Well, that is not the case especially when it comes to biking with your dog. So, what are some of the measures to take before cycling with your dog?
- Before you even proceed to step outside, take your dog for a comprehensive veterinarian examination regardless of its current health status. Typically, this exercise requires running, so your dog has to be in good shape before you begin riding a bike dog. For starters, if your pooch has breathing difficulties, which is especially common if it has a short nose, then biking is not a good idea.
If your dog is overweight and has some underlying health complications, then it is probably not fit for this kind of exercise.
- It is not advisable to take small puppies out for bike riding because they would be overwhelmed, which would negatively affect their musculoskeletal development.
- Train your dog properly before taking it along with you on your cycling adventure. Typically, dogs chase bicycles and other moving things while outside. This behavior can be dangerous if your dog is not well trained as it can easily pull the leash attached to the bike and cause an accident. It would be best if you get yourself acquainted with how you can adequately train it to be well-behaved while you are on your cycling adventure.
Introducing your dog to the bike
Getting your dog to be comfortable with biking is not a walk in the park, but it does not mean it’s impossible. It requires a lot of training, which again depends on where you intend your dog to be while cycling.
#1. Biking with a dog on a leash
If you opt to go biking with your dog on a leash, a regular leash is not at all appropriate for a couple of reasons. For starters, holding onto a leash while cycling is impossible. On the other hand, attaching the leash to your bicycle’s frame is dangerous because your dog might pull in a different direction, which could cause you to lose balance and fall, or the leash might get caught up in the bike’s spokes which could also cause you to fall.
As much as a standard leash is not appropriate in this case, it can still come in handy during the first stages of introducing your dog to biking on a leash. You can start by bringing your pooch around your bike, first with your normal leash. This helps them get used to being next to the bike, and the sound it makes, enabling you to now attach them to a leash that is explicitly designed for biking with dogs.
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#2. Biking with a dog in a basket
If you choose to go biking with your dog in a basket, you must first choose an appropriate basket for it. The basket should be tall enough to prevent it from jumping or falling out. Also, go for a basket that is comfortable enough for your dog in terms of texture. Better still, you can place a pillow or a cloth inside the basket, to make it more comfortable.
#3. Biking with small dogs
As mentioned before, biking with small dogs should be different because their musculoskeletal systems are still developing. So, in this case, cycling with it in a basket would be suitable. The basket should be tall enough and be comfortable for your dog. You can set it to face in any direction as long as your dog is comfortable. Also, you should strap the dog to the basket to prevent it from falling or leaping out.
What equipment do you need?
The perfect equipment is the foundation for safe and comfortable biking with your dog. Let’s take a look at the equipment you need for biking with your furry friend.
- A bike dog leash. A bike dog leash keeps the dog at a safe distance from the bike’s wheels to prevent it from getting caught up with the spokes and causing an accident. So what are the qualities of an ideal bike dog leash?
- The leash should be adjustable to adjust the distance between the dog and the bike.
- If the leash is not compatible with your bike, then it definitely won’t do you any good so, a good leash should fit in your bike’s frames perfectly.
- The leash should be durable to give you years’ worth of service.
- Finally, the leash should be compatible with both sides of your bike, allowing you to attach it on either side of the bike.
- An extra dog leash in case you may want to walk your dog in between your cycling adventure.
- A reflective harness or a tape. Rather than just using a collar, you could also use a harness to ease the tension on your dog’s neck created by the leash’s constant movement.
- A dog’s first aid to enable you to attend to your pooch in case it gets injured. Always make sure that you have everything you need in that first aid kit.
- Blinking lights for both your dog and bicycle. Getting lights for your bike is not a hassle since it already has them. As for your dog, try and get a collar that has lights.
- Water for both you and your dog.
- Bike helmet for yourself.
Best dog breeds for biking
This breed might sound unfamiliar, but it’s a prevalent one. What makes this breed ideal for biking is, first of all, it’s physique. The dog has long legs, which allows them to run for long distances without getting tired easily. These dogs have a lot of energy, so you do not have to worry about your dog getting exhausted during your cycling adventure.
They are very friendly, especially with strangers. However, they easily get distracted by birds and other animals. Vizslas are easily trainable, so they can get used to biking with you within a very short time.
- Labrador Retrievers
This is arguably the most beloved breed of all other dog breeds. Labrador retrievers are physically fit and rarely have health complications like hip dysplasia or shoulder problems.
They have long and strong legs and are very energetic. Labradors are very friendly with other animals and humans alike, and they are easily trainable. However, they have a lot of energy, which can cause them to be destructive.
- Australian Cattle dogs
Better known as heelers, these are physically small but very strong dogs. They have a strong muscular structure, which makes them ideal for biking. Australian cattle dogs have a perfect heat tolerance, so you can go biking with it during summer. They are brilliant dogs making and love pleasing their masters, making them easily trainable.
- Border Collie dog
Lastly, we have the border collie dog. This breed is known for its unbeatable energy, which makes it perfect for biking. They are very fast, agile, and very good at concentrating on the task at hand, so training them is very easy. These dogs also have a strong muscular structure, so they do not easily get tired when you take it with you on your biking adventure. However, if they are not engaged enough to be worn out, these dogs can get destructive.
There you have it. Biking is an incredibly fun and rewarding activity for both you and your dog, but only if you put in the work to make sure that it is safe and comfortable, especially for your furry best friend.