Biking With Your Dog…Safely

 

Other Tips

 

If you are biking with more than one dog, it might be best to have the dogs separated -- one on each side of the bike -- so they don’t get in each other’s way or get their leads tangled.

 

Do not hang the lead on the handlebars. If your dog pulls in a different direction, even only slightly, it could cause you to lose balance and fall. At the very least, keep the lead in your hand so that you can tug back in response to your dog’s change in direction. Ideally, keep the lead closer to your seat so that any changes in your dog’s movement are less likely to affect you. A good spot to attach the lead is the post just beneath your seat. Keep the lead as short as possible so that the dog cannot run in front of the bike.

 

If you do need to stop, do not walk away from your bike with the dog still attached to it. If the bike accidentally falls on your dog, she could get hurt, or she may panic and try to run from the clattering, falling bike, dragging it behind her. This type of experience could traumatize your dog from wanting to be around bikes. If you are using a special baton and lead that attaches to your dog’s collar, make sure to have an extra lead with you for when you have to remove her from the bike. Even if you don’t plan to do this, there may be circumstances that require you to. It is best to be prepared.

 

What if Your Dog Cannot Keep Up With Your Bike?

 

There are a lot of reasons for why a dog cannot keep up with a bike. It may be because she is still a puppy, in which case it is not recommended since strenuous exercise can affect the growth of the long bones; certain breeds are just not capable of much more than light walking; very small and very large dogs that cannot sun along with a bike; overweight dogs that can only do short bursts of light exercise; older or health compromised dogs. There are lots of reasons, but almost none of them preclude you from including your dog on your bike rides.

 

If your dog is smallish, you can get a handlebar basket for your dog to ride in, or you can attach a basket behind your seat in the same way you would a child seat. There are specialty bike baskets that are made just for pets. Check with your local bike shop, or look online. Remember to always keep your dog on a short leash that is clipped to the basket to prevent her form jumping out.

 

 Another option, which is great for multiple dogs and larger dogs, is a bike trailer/carrier. There are several trailer options, but the best are the ones designed specifically for carrying dogs. These have built in harness systems to prevent your dog from jumping out, a cover for sheltering your dog during hot or inclement weather, and they usually are built to enclose your dog while leaving the top open for her to put her head out to enjoy the ride.

 

Image: Megan Ann / via Flickr