Bike riding with your dog – safely

Bike riding with your dog – safely

Dogs are not meant to lounge around the house all day sleeping. Even if they have a large backyard, most dogs will not run around and get exercise on their own. Dogs can be like young children. If you don’t give them something constructive to do with their energy, they’ll find something to do on their own—and you may not like it! This is why it is so important to take part in outdoor activities everyday with your dog.

Most people will try to at least walk their dog/s daily, but for many breeds walking just isn’t enough. Healthy, active dogs like to run. And although going jogging with your dog is fun, more often than not you will tire long before your dog does. Plus many people can’t run or simply don’t  like running (like me!).

So what about biking with your dog? If you love to ride your bike and have a dog who loves to run, you may like combine the two. When done with the right equipment, bike riding with your dog can be an excellent way for your dog (and you) to get the exercise they need and have fun doing it.

Benefits of biking my dog vs walking them….

Here are a couple of advantages that bike riding with your dog has over simply walking them:

– You can wear an active dog out in a fraction of the time it would take walking them
– Your dog gets to run in a controlled environment still safely secured to you
– Your dog will be less destructive if they get the proper amount of exercise
– It’s a fun alternative to walking

Why use a WalkyDog Bike Leash?

The WalkyDog Plus Leash allows you to keep both hands on your handlebars while keeping your dog at a safe distance from your bike. It does an excellent job to counter the force of your dog pulling and ensure you have control when riding.

The bike leashes are designed to require no additional accessories. However, we do highly recommend using a comfortable dog harness with the WalkyDog rather than just their collar as it will ease the tension on your dog’s neck.

We don’t recommend using a normal leash when biking your dog. It is not only dangerous for you and your dog; it can be dangerous for others around you as well. When you ride while holding a dog’s leash in your hand, the dog can easily pull you off balance causing a crash, or you could collide with your dog if he runs in front of your front tire. If he lags behind, you may be pulled backward, possibly falling and sustaining an injury. Then there’s the possibility of the leash becoming entangled in the wheel spokes, perhaps resulting in serious injury to you both.

A lot of this information about the WalkyDog is provided by the manufacturers. So please take serious consideration to their recommendations of the correct size, weights and types of dogs that can use the WalkyDog safely and in particular how to use the leash. Safety for your pets is a number one priority for us at DogCulture.

Can any dog go biking?

Biking can be an extremely enjoyable activity for both dog and owner when the right precautions are taken. We recommend biking for dogs that are at least 25 lbs (11kgs) and a year old or more. In most cases this is an activity that is best suited for medium to large dogs. Always ride at your dog’s pace – NEVER pull your dog along. Your dog should always set the pace and distances should be limited until you have conditioned your dog properly. The smaller your dog, the slower you should ride and for shorter distances. Always make sure you have an understanding of your dog’s obedience, capabilities, and physical condition before biking your dog. Consult your vet or a professional dog trainer if you are unsure about your dog’s health or capabilities.

Breeds such as Bulldogs and Pugs that have flat faces are not designed for distance running because they can become overheated very quickly. They also don’t move air in and out as efficiently as other breeds. Breeds with long bodies or short legs also aren’t designed for distance running and this should be taken into consideration. Biking is not an activity for puppies. They should be closer to a year and a half before biking longer distances. Please use common sense when biking your dog. Build up stamina slowly and never push your dog beyond their means.

Is there any training involved & how do I introduce my dog to biking?

Teaching your dog how to walk without pulling on her leash is the first essential step to creating a safe and enjoyable on-leash bicycling companion. If your dog pulls ahead, to the side or lags behind you when you walk, imagine the problems that could result when you’re moving faster!

Can your dog understand some basic commands? It’s also important for you to have control over your dog whilst they’re running beside you.

It is a good idea to introduce your dog to the bike slowly. Let them have a sniff around while you are setting up the leash. Then connect them to the bike and just walk slowly alongside the bike, on the opposite side of your dog, for a while to let them get used to it, then practice turning left and right and then u-turns. Once you can tell they are comfortable, you can try getting on the bike and pedalling slowly practices the same manoeuvres. If your dog gets nervous and freezes up DO NOT attempt to keep pulling them along. Immediately stop and start walking next to the bike again. Remember, NEVER pull your dog along. You want them to set the pace.

How far should we ride?

You cannot just start biking miles on your first time out. You need to gradually increase your dog’s stamina. At the end of your ride, pay attention to how your dog reacts. Are they panting heavily for over 10 minutes and laying down (you probably went too far) or do they seem to be ready for more.

Do not bike for very long periods of time on pavement – this can wear down your dog’s pads and is a special concern on very hot days (just monitor your dog’s pads). ALWAYS bring water for your dog and give them breaks to have a drink. Try to bike during cooler parts of the day especially during summertime when temperatures rise. Always err on the side of shorter distances and slower pace when in question.

Keep an eye out for signs of heat exhaustion such as if your dog’s tongue becomes very wide and curls up at the end. Please take care not to push your dog in the summer (even if they want to keep going)!

Asphalt and rough terrain

Please be mindful of the terrain you bike your dog on. While dogs’ paw pads are tougher than human feet, they too can be sensitive to rough terrain. This is especially true when beginning a biking regimen. Ideally, biking on grass or dirt trails is best, but this is not always possible. If biking on pavement is necessary, please make sure to build up your dog’s tolerance slowly over time and give the pads time to toughen up and always check the temperature of the pavement. If possible, mix up the terrain you bike on so that your dog is not constantly running on pavement.

Bike riding for smaller dogs & cats

For pets on the smaller size you don’t have to deprive yourself of your buddy’s company on your bike rides. Pet bicycle baskets are a fun way to safely enjoy a leisurely ride with your small pet.

Before you attempt to actually ride with your pet, it’s a good idea to try to get your pet used to it first. Let your pet sit in it, attach the tether leash to your pet’s harness, and walk with him first. Never attach the leash to a pet’s collar, as your pet could try to jump out and hurt its neck.

Also remember not to leave your dog ALONE in the carrier; because they can’t sit still and have a habit of toppling your bicycle over. It’s also probably best, for the safety and comfort of your dog, to stick to smooth paved roads.

Have fun!

Bike riding with your dog can be an immensely fun and enjoyable experience for both of you. Don’t leave your dog behind –  let them join in on the fun. From the smallest Chihuahua to the most active of dogs, there is an option for everyone.

Enjoy your rides together!


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