Cycling With a Dog – What Should Be Considered?

Ideally, owners and dogs are a well-rehearsed team who likes to experience all leisure activities together. Hiking or jogging with a dog is an ideal balance to everyday life and promotes the health of people and animals. It is a bit more demanding and difficult to take the dog with you when cycling. There are a few things to consider here so that the brisk excursion in nature is a great experience for four and two-legged friends. This is especially true for puppies, very small dogs, and older, sick, or bulky dogs.

Beware of puppies and seniors

When cycling with a dog, dog owners should always bear in mind that cycling is more strenuous for the dog than for you. While you can pedal comfortably yourself, the dog has to cover the entire distance on its four legs. Especially for longer bike rides, the animals should not only be physically fit but also in their prime. Dog bones don’t harden until they’re 12 to 18 months old. Young dogs that are not yet physically mature should therefore sit better in the dog basket on a bike ride.

If the dogs are already seniors, caution is also required, because here there are particular problems with fitness, the joints, and the cardiovascular system, which make it difficult for the elderly dog ​​to always keep up. A fitness check is easy to organize at the vet. It should be carried out before the first major undertakings. A good alternative for older and larger dogs is a bike trailer.

 Further aspects of the suitability of the dog as a bike tour companion are the size, body type, and weight of the dog. Endurance runners such as Weimaraners, Border Collies, Dalmatians, Australian Shepherds, and Magyar Vizsla are best suited for cycling here. Small dogs or heavy dogs, on the other hand, often have difficulty keeping up the pace. Here you should ideally be guided by the dog’s pace and, above all, take regular breaks if you don’t have a trailer or dog basket with you. 

Avoid excessive heat

Similar to humans, dogs prefer mild temperatures for sporting activities. Their condition also drops significantly in the heat. A further complication for dogs is that, unlike their masters or mistresses, they are always in contact with the ground. A hard gravel or asphalt floor in particular puts an excessive strain on the joints and balls of the feet. Another problem with asphalt is that the material heats up quickly. In summer, asphalt is between 20 and 30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. It is therefore advisable, if possible, to let dogs run over softer grassy areas or forest paths and to check their paws regularly. 

Things that make the trip easier

If you are planning a long bike trip, you should also have a transport option for dogs that run alongside the bike. If the dog slows down or pants, it can use a break in the bicycle basket, in the transport box, in the dog backpack, or the bicycle trailer. It is important to get the dog used to the basket, the transport box, or the trailer at an early stage – preferably in familiar surroundings and without a bicycle.

A bowl and enough fresh water should always be carried with you on a bike trip because dogs also get thirsty more quickly through physical exertion. 

A well-fitting harness should be given priority over the collar for any sporting activity. So-called free-hand or jogging leashes with elastic parts are suitable for running and hiking, which absorb sudden tugging or braking of the four-legged friend and act as shock absorbers. The use of special dog runners or sprinters, and spring-loaded bicycle holders with spacers, are not legally permitted in Austria according to road traffic regulations.

Finally, paw protection for animals in the form of special dog shoes is not a must-have, but worth considering.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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