Cycling with dogs
Cycling with your dog is a great way to have little adventures with your pet and to be active at the same time. You can bring your dog along in a bicycle basket, trailer or have him run alongside you. By having your dog next to you, he is able to build up muscle without the risk of overstraining the joints. However, not all dogs are suitable for running alongside a bike. If this is the case, a basket or trailer might be the better alternative.
Cycling with your dog
Having your dog run next to you while you're cycling demands training. The dog must have basic obedience skills like walking without pulling the leash and being able to follow you while walking before you start cycling with him. Next up is to teach him how to walk alongside a bike, without pulling, stopping, or trying to grab the pedals or your legs. It’s best to start easy and build this up. You can already start the first 2 phases when your dog is a pup. This way, he’ll get used to the bike:
- Walk with your bike in one hand and your dog in the other. Be in between the bike and dog and walk slowly.
- Walk with your bicycle in one hand, but have the bike in between you and your dog.
- Cycle a couple of meters. Go very slowly at first. You can build up the speed if things go well. This way, your dog can start off walking alongside you before he goes into a slow run. You can have someone else assist if that is easier. It’s is never sensible to let your dog run at full speed. It’s best to let your dog run in a nice and steady trot.
- You should only start to have your dog trot alongside you when he’s older than 6 months. Build this up slowly. The leash should never be tense, as you don’t want to pull your dog or have your dog pull you.
- It’s important to build up the muscles and condition of your dog. You can start with trotting for half a minute. After that, you can build up the time and speed. Ensure to keep an eye on your dog. If he starts to pant heavily, starts running differently, or stops lifting his paws, you’ve gone too far. Check your dog’s paws after running for possible damages.
- Most dogs stop growing after 1,5 years, however, this could take longer with large breeds. Before this time, you need to be careful not to strain your dog’s muscles and bones. When your dog is older than 1 year, you can start building this up. For example, you can build up to a 10-minute cycling trip.
Which dog breeds are suitable?
Cycling is not for all dog breeds. Some dogs are not suitable due to their build, size, or health issues:
- French and English Bulldogs, Tibetan Spaniels, Shih Tzu, and the Boston Terrier. These dog breeds are not suitable due to the short snouts that make it harder to breathe. With more intense exercise, these dogs will get out of breath very quickly.
- Small dogs like Chihuahuas or Maltese dogs can run fast, but due to their short legs, they will struggle to keep up with the bicycle. These breeds already tend to run when you are walking.
- Breeds with short legs and a long body, like dachshunds. These dogs have to work hard to keep up and their back is more vulnerable to problems.
- You shouldn’t let pups or young dogs run next to a bike. The joints aren’t fully developed yet which would cause too much strain.
- If your dog is unfit due to health issues like joint, back, heart or circulation problems, it’s not sensible to have him run alongside you. If you are in doubt, you can always discuss this with your vet.
You can have your dog trot next to you while you hold the leash. The danger is that your dog can pull you off if he sees something. Holding the leash is not very secure.
It is better to invest in a bicycle set that you can attach to your bike. This way, you can keep your hands free and the set can absorb any shocks, which would make cycling with your dog feel more organic. Examples of our products are the Pawise Doggy Bike Exerciser Leash , or the Trixie Dog Biker Kit. We advise that you use a harness instead of a collar so the pressure isn’t your dog’s neck if he yanks or gets yanked.
- Build everything up slowly.
- If it’s warmer than 20 degrees outside, we advise against going cycling with your pet. The ground can become very hot which could burn your dog’s paws.
- Don’t go cycling just before or after your dog has eaten.
- Check paws regularly for damages.
- Walk your dog before cycling so he can pee or poop.
- Adjust your speed to your dog and don’t have any tension on the leash.
Bicycle baskets and trailers
Not all dogs are suited to run next to a bike. If you’d still like to bring your dog along with you on your cycling trips, you could use a bicycle basket or trailer. These are ideal if your dog is too old or young, or has physical issues. If it’s really warm or if you are going to cycle for a long time, it’s advisable to bring your dog along in a trailer or basket instead of having him trot next to you. This way, you can still bring your dog on your adventures.
Baskets are suitable for smaller dog breeds. You can attach your dog to the basket with a special leash. More often than not, the basket comes with a wire frame that covers the basket, so your dog can’t jump out. We have baskets that go on the pannier rack, like the Trixie Bicycle Basket for Luggage Carrier, or ones that go on your handlebars like the Trixie Bicycle Basket with Wire Mesh Cover.
Bicycle Trailers are very helpful when it comes to taking your dog everywhere. Let your dog get used to the trailer first by placing it in your home. This way, your dog can sniff your new product. Once your dog is okay with the trailer, you can start with putting him inside. You can use treats to lure your dog inside. Only when your dog is completely used to the trailer, you can start by cycling small distances. Many cycling trailers have reflectors, a flag, and ventilation windows. You can also use the Trixie Dog Bike trailer as a dog stroller.
If you want to have a look at all our products, visit our travel & safety page.