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How to Take Your Dog on a Bike Ride

How to take your dog for a spin — safely.

by Daniela Lopez
Updated July 1, 2021
A young woman standing next to her bike with the dog in the basket
aerogondo / Adobe Stock

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You may think that dogs and bicycles shouldn’t mix, but going on a bike ride with your pup can be fun for both of you — as long as you know how to do it safely. If you have a small dog, you’ll want to take them in a bike trailer or basket; if your dog is bigger (and in good shape), they may be able to run alongside your bike and burn some energy. Not sure how to get started? Read on for bike riding techniques, the best gear, and tips and tricks to keep the experience as safe as it is fun.

Getting Started: Bike Safety

Biking can be an incredibly fulfilling activity, but it doesn’t come without safety hazards for both you and your pup. While out riding, there are many potential distractions (cars, squirrels, etc.), so if you have a fearful, skittish, or reactive dog, you’ll need to work on their training before attempting to ride.

Beyond temperament, you’ll also need to consider health. Before heading out on the road with your dog, remember to check the temperature outdoors. Many pet parents are aware of the dangers of excessive heat, but what might be surprising is that even mild temperatures pose a risk of heat stroke. On a 77-degree day, the asphalt temperature is almost twice that — too hot for a dog’s paws. On warm days, you’ll need a pair of dog booties to keep your pet’s paws safe. Always attach the leash to a harness, not a collar to avoid neck injuries. And be sure to bring water and a collapsible bowl for your dog.

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How to Take Your Dog on a Bike Ride

Remember, whether your dog is riding in a basket or running along with you, ease into rides and go at your dog’s pace. For pet parents looking to take their dog along in a carrier or trailer, first introduce your dog to them with these step-by-step instructions. For small dogs, there are plenty of bike baskets available that attach to handlebars or the rear of the bike. Some even offer added storage for poop bags, leashes, and bowls.

For large dogs, trailers will offer your pet space and comfort. Opt for one with a sturdy, removable floor for convenient cleaning and a smooth ride, plus mesh windows for maximum airflow for your dog, such as the Tail Wagon by Burley. For those looking for the convenience of a trailer but for smaller dogs, Dutch Dog Designs has a mini trailer which is an ideal solution.

Don’t hit the road without a hands-free leash attachment that clamps onto the frame of the bike and lowers the risk of the leash getting tangled in pedals and gears. (Springer America’s leash attachment has a patented safety release just in case.) You should introduce your dog to the bike and leash attachment by first walking your pup alongside the bike — with treats to reinforce that it is a positive experience, of course. Then work your way up to short trips and longer distances as your pup becomes accustomed to it. Most importantly, don’t forget to stop for potty breaks and sniffs.

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

the dog basket with a French Bulldog in it

Let's say you prefer to keep your dog right where you can see them when it comes to the commotion and chaos of being outdoors; whether you're a city dweller or suburbanite, taking your dog on a bike ride doesn't have to be an overstimulating experience. By keeping them within view, you can stay attuned to their emotions and know when it's time to hang up your helmet for the day.

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daniela lopez

Daniela Lopez

Daniela Lopez is a digital media specialist and long-time contributor to The Bark.