Before you start biking with your dog, educating yourself on how to do it safely is important. There are many things to consider, like making sure your dog is comfortable with bikes and knows how to stay safe. You also need to be aware of the laws in your area about biking with dogs. Once you have learned all the tips and safety information, it will be great fun for you and your pet!
Be careful biking during the summer. Only bike during the coolest parts of the day. This means biking during the morning or evening when it is cooler outside. Bike for shorter distances, too. If you are biking on a hard surface, check to see if it is cool enough for your dog by pressing the back of your hand against the ground. If you can hold it there for 7 seconds without discomfort, then it is OK for your dog to bike with you. Bring plenty of water with you, too! And make sure your dog sets the pace when biking.
Biking is only recommended for healthy dogs that are 30 pounds or more and at least 1 year old. You should only buy the products we sell if you have read the safety information below. Talking to your dog’s vet or specialist is also a good idea.
Is It The Right Activity For Me?
The bike leashes we carry are meant for adults who know how to ride a bike. The manufacturer of the bike leash we carry says that you should not use it if you have children with you on the bike. They also say that you need to weigh your dog more than them (for example, if someone weighs 100 lbs, they shouldn’t try to bike with a 90 lb dog). This is because if the dog is heavier than the rider, the rider will have more control over the bike.
Make sure to bike safely and follow the laws in your area. Wear a helmet, just like you would when walking your dog. Remember that biking is just one of the many activities you can do with your dog. We still recommend regular walks, playing fetch, going to the park, etc… as this will keep your dog healthy and happy. Lastly, in my experience, the better you bond with your dog, the more fun this activity will be for you.
Is It The Right Activity For My Dog?
Biking with your dog can be a lot of fun, but taking some precautions first is important. For dogs that weigh 30 lbs or more, we recommend using a bike leash. You might consider using one of our dog bicycle seats or trailers for smaller dogs instead. It’s also important to ensure your dog is healthy before starting any serious exercise. You should talk to your vet about this beforehand.
Heavier or more muscular breeds of dogs will not be able to bike as far as dogs with a slight build. This is something to think about when biking your dog. Dogs with flat faces, like Bulldogs and Pugs, are not good for distance running because they can overheat quickly. They also don’t move air in and out as efficiently as other breeds. Dogs with long bodies or short legs are not good for distance running, so keep this in mind when biking your pup.
Biking with your dog is not something that should be done when your dog is young. Puppies are too small and might not be able to bike for very long. Dogs should be at least a year old and 30 lbs before biking. Make sure to go slowly when biking your dog and never push them beyond its limits.
A safety note from Scott
When biking your dog, please use your best judgment. Always be careful and make sure that the dog is comfortable. Dogs will do anything to please their owners, so be careful when using our products. The dog should always set the pace, and distances should be limited until the dog is conditioned properly (please see more on this further down on the page).
I say this with respect, but we recommend that you do not purchase one of our products if you have a small dog or if you are not going to follow our safety tips. Safety is our number one concern at The Dog Outdoors.
I want your dog to be safe and have a good time using our products. I would be very sad if someone used our products irresponsibly and put their dog in danger. I’m glad that you are being responsible by reading this page.
Respect Others On The Road & Trail
To bike with your dog safely, getting them used to biking in an area with few distractions is important. Once they are comfortable and you feel in control, you can begin biking in areas with other people. Remember to not bike too close to others and ensure your dog is comfortable staying close to you.
This is why a bicycle leash is safer than biking your dog with a long normal leash. You need to be able to control your dog at all times. This is especially important when there are other people around. Walking your dog at a trotting pace when on the street is also best. We offer a full refund on the biking equipment we carry if you aren’t completely satisfied or your dog isn’t into it.
- Make sure your dog meets the requirements and is okay with biking.
- Make sure you are using the correct equipment and moving at a pace that is comfortable for you.
- Respect other people while driving or biking.
What Equipment Do I need?
Below are my suggestions based on biking my dog for the past couple of years, starting with the essentials:
- You should use a cruiser or mountain bike for the Bike Tow Leash. These types of bikes have standard or wider tires, which work better than bikes with skinny racing-style tires. In some cases, recumbent-style bikes or trikes can also work well with the Bike Tow Leash; just shoot us an email to see if your model might work.
- There are different types of leashes for biking with your dog. The Walky Dog ‘Plus’ is a popular type that attaches to your bike and the dog’s harness, while the Bike Tow Leash simply attaches to the dog’s collar.
- If you are using the WalkyDog, it is recommended that you use a comfortable and non-restrictive dog harness. If you are using the Bike Tow Leash, it is important to ensure your dog’s harness does not allow him or her to move too far on the bike. This will make it more difficult for your dog to understand when you are turning toward him or her.
- It is important to keep your pet hydrated, so bring water for them on car trips.
- It is important to protect your dog’s paws. You can monitor how much they wear down their paw pads. The pads will toughen up over time, but you can also help condition them using products such as Musher’s Secret. When you go biking, plan the route ahead and start with short rides. This will help your dog get used to the new activity gradually.
- I use a large thermos filled with cool water to keep me cool when I ride my bike in the summer. I also take Parker’s cooling vest with me to help keep me cool.
- You can use a dog bike trailer if you want to go on long bike rides with your dog. This is a great way for your dog to rest when they get tired.
Some dogs love biking, but others need to get used to it more slowly. If your dog isn’t comfortable biking, don’t worry! We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on our bike leashes so you can always be sure you and your dog are safe and happy.
The best way to introduce your dog to biking is by bringing them around the bike while it’s parked. You can use treats and positive praise to help them get comfortable. Once they are used to being near the bike, you can try attaching a leash to the bike and biking together.
The idea is to let them get comfortable with the bike next to them and realize it is no different from taking a normal walk. If using the WalkyDog, make sure that you have adjusted the cord length so your dog feels comfortable by removing 1 or 2 internal springs, adding a leash extension, or creating a custom length line (watch the video on this page).
After your dog knows how to walk straight, you can teach it how to turn left and right. You can also practice a u-turn. When your dog is confident, you can get on your bike and practice the same maneuvers. Begin in an area with few distractions so your dog will focus on you. I suggest biking at a trotting pace.
You should always be biking at the same pace as your dog. If your dog gets nervous and freezes up, do not try to pull them along. Immediately stop biking and start walking next to the bike again. We do not recommend biking in areas with a lot of traffic.
How Far To Ride
If you want your dog to be able to bike with you, you need to increase their stamina gradually. According to canine expert Christine Zink, D.V.M., Ph.D., you should increase the distance by 5-10% every 4-6 sessions. Once your dog can bike 2 miles without any problems, you should only bike every other day, so they have time to rest and recover. If your dog is fit, they can handle biking further distances, but the sessions should be split up more so they don’t get too tired.
I think a couple of miles is plenty for a ride. Pay attention to how your dog reacts when you finish the ride. You probably went too far if they were panting heavily and lying down. In the summer months, remember that your dog can become overheated quickly.
You should only ride your bike during the cooler parts of the day. This is especially important if you have a dog since they cannot cool themselves as well as humans. Make sure to only ride for shorter distances, and take breaks between rides.
Make sure to stop and rest occasionally, and always monitor your dog for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. Also, check their paws for any cuts or scrapes. If you often ride on rough terrain, you might want to consider using a good paw pad wax or protective booties. As I mentioned before, use common sense when biking your dog. Remember that they want to please you and might be unable to communicate when tired. So always err on shorter distances and a slower pace when in doubt.
Dealing With Summer Heat
It is very important to bike your dog only during cooler parts of the day and shorter distances during the summertime when temperatures are high. If biking on pavement, check the temperature before biking, and make sure that your dog’s pads have become accustomed slowly to pavement riding.
If you can’t hold your hand against the road for at least 7 seconds without discomfort, don’t walk or jog with your dog. Always bring water along for the ride and take frequent breaks. If you notice any of these signs of heat exhaustion, stop immediately and give your dog water and shade: wide tongue curled.
It is important to be careful not to push your dog too hard in the summer. If they get too hot, the best way to cool them down is by spraying them with cold water. Start by spraying them on their paws, legs, underside, and head/neck. Once they are cooled down, get them into a cool environment as soon as possible. If they do not improve, take them to a vet immediately.
Don’t Let This Happen To Your Pup
If you want to learn more, here is an article about how long walks or jogs on pavement can be bad for your dog.
Asphalt and Rough Terrain
Please be careful when biking your dog. Dogs’ paw pads are tougher than human feet, but they can still be sensitive to rough terrain. This is especially true when you are just starting to bike your dog. Ideally, you should bike on grass or dirt trails, but if that is not possible, you should bike on pavement very slowly and give the pads time to toughen up.
Conditioning wax can help protect your dog’s paw pads. Try to change the terrain you bike on, so your dog is not always running on pavement. If the ground is too hot to walk on with your hand, it is too hot for your dog’s paws. While boots can be an option in some cases, not all brands of boots can withstand constant running on pavement over time.
A Note About Smaller Dogs
As we have said before, we recommend biking for dogs that weigh 30 lbs or more and are at least a year old. If your dog is below 25 lbs, we strongly advise against biking because it could be dangerous for them. Even if your dog is very active, please consider another activity. We don’t want a dog to be pushed too hard or hurt while using one of our products.
Our bike leashes are not designed for dogs this small. If your dog is above the minimum size but is still small, you should bike at a slower pace for shorter distances. We also strongly advise using a padded secure harness such as the Ruffwear Web Master harness.
Want more help deciding?
We have information about biking with your dog. We have a buyer’s guide and a section on Frequently Asked Questions. If you don’t find the answer to your question, email us, and we will get back to you soon. Email us anytime!
Want to know everything there is to know about biking with a dog?
Leslie Johnson, an avid outdoors person and dog lover, has written a book on biking your dog. With over a decade of experience biking Malamutes, Leslie offers great information for anyone considering biking their dog. The amount of information is excellent and broken into easily digestible chunks.