If you love to ride your bike and have a dog who loves to run, you may have considered sharing your rides with your best friend.
Fresh air, exercise, time spent together having fun and creating your own adventures. Riding a bike with a running dog as a companion can be done safely. You just need to be willing to put in the time for training, invest in the proper equipment, and follow some safety rules to make the activity both fun and safe for you both.
Before You Bike with Your Dog:
Check with your vet about when your young puppy’s growth plates are expected to close so you won’t risk injuring your puppy’s development by beginning a structured exercise program too soon. Some medium and large breed dogs are built for running endurance, but others, especially smaller breeds, can only run slowly for shorter distances. And as with all new forms of exercise, beginning slowly and building up duration and distance over time, no matter what condition you and your dog are in, is the safest way to go.
Biking Equipment for Your Dog
For your dog’s safety, a colorful, reflective collar with ID tags and a reflective vest for high visibility are recommended
There are devices on the market designed to facilitate a safer and comfortable ride with your canine companion, special attachments that will allow you to keep both hands on your handlebars while keeping your dog at a safe distance from your bike.
To become a good cycling companion, a dog needs to go through a learning curve similar to the one you experienced as a child learning to ride your bike. Your dog should be comfortable around your bike, when you are both stationary and moving. He needs to be familiar with any equipment you use, and learn how to slow down, turn, and stop. And just as you started slowly on your first bike, the time and distance your dog accompanies you on bike rides should increase gradually.
Sometimes, the safety precautions that we take to protect both humans and our companion animals may seem so cumbersome that they take all the fun out of some of our activities. But when it comes to the health and welfare of your dog when accompanying you on bike rides, taking the appropriate safety measures can potentially save your dog’s life, as well as your own. Training, using proper equipment, and adhering to sensible exercise practices actually increase your enjoyment of the sport. “Fun” is knowing that you are keeping your dog as safe as possible while sharing your rides together. Enjoy!