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6 March 2017
Spring has almost sprung and the warm weather is just around the corner. That means it’s just about time to get back on your bike! If you’re a cyclist and a pet owner, perhaps you’ve thought about going for a bike ride with your pup. How would biking with your dog work exactly? Is it safe for them? Would your best buddy enjoy it? We’ve got some useful information below to help you figure out if biking is safe for your dog and, if so, tips to help you both get started!
Read on for all the tips and tricks, and let us know if you used this guide to start bike riding with your furry friend! Reach us on our Facebook page or post a comment below.
Is biking safe for your dog?
The answer to this question will depend on the size, age, and personality of your dog. Young pups and older dogs should not come along for bike rides. Experts recommend that your pup be at least 18 months old before biking with you, but two years is best in order to ensure there’s no damage to your dog’s joints while they are growing and developing. Older dogs will also have sensitive bones and joints and would find biking to be too strenuous. Size is also important to consider – small dog breeds may not be able to keep up with you and would get enough exercise from a simple walk. Be sure to talk with your veterinarian if you’re at all unsure about any of the information above.
Personality is also very important when considering biking with your pup. If your dog is easily distracted and difficult to control, biking may be unsafe due to the possibility of losing control of your dog.
What sort of equipment is necessary?
There are many collars and harnesses on the market specifically made for cycling with dogs. These devices are not the same as traditional dog leashes as they are designed to keep your pup safely at the side of your bike or slightly behind it. This is extremely important because it frees up your hands to securely control the bike ride.
Whether you choose to use a collar or a harness depends largely on what your pup is most comfortable with and the speed at which you plan to ride. For particularly energetic canines and a faster intended speed, a harness is the best option to reduce any strain on your dog’s neck.
How do you get started?
Slow and steady wins the race here. It’s important to slowly introduce your bike to your dog in order to ensure that your pup is comfortable being near both your bike and other cyclists in the area.
Start out by giving your dog a chance to become familiar with his new dog biking leash. First, attach the leash to your bike. Once your furry friend has sniffed it out and become accustomed to seeing it attached to your bike, fasten the leash to your pup and go for a short walk. Once you feel your dog is comfortable walking next to the bike, get on your bike and pedal very slowly in a safe area with little to no traffic. You want your pup to increase his pace to a fast walk or trot.
Be sure to encourage your dog continuously through this process, as your praise will put him/her at ease. Avoid making any sudden turns and stay as straight as possible during this time. You definitely don’t want to spook your pup before you’ve even started!
Continue this routine each day for 10-15 minutes until you think your dog is ready to go a little faster. Ease into a faster pace and start out with short trips to build your pup’s stamina. Eventually, for fit, energetic dogs, you should be able to cycle with your best buddy for up to 30 minutes at a fast pace. Again, it all depends on what you and your dog are most comfortable with.
Above all, safety should be your top priority and you should never push your dog too hard. Be sure to also be aware of the weather conditions, as hot asphalt can hurt your dog’s paws and the heat can cause your pup to get dehydrated quickly. Most importantly, have fun!