If you are an avid cyclist who happens to own a dog then you’ve probably daydreamed about bringing your pup along for the ride. Of course, with the way that they pull and tug you’d never be able to get away with just having them trot alongside you.
At this point, most people just put their hands into the air and say, “It’s not going to happen”. That’s an unfortunate stance to take as it has you giving up on what could turn into a great bonding element with your pet.
So instead of giving up on taking your dog with you for a bike ride you should instead get a little bit creative. We’ve delved deeply into a few different options for incorporating your pet into your cycling hobby and we’ve come up with some simple solutions: on bike dog carriers as well as dog trailers.
Different Bicycle Dog Carrier Types
Aosom Elite II Bicycle Trailer/Stroller
For the sake of sheer versatility, the Aosom Elite II comes in at the top of our list. This wonderful trailer can be attached to your bicycle, used as a stroller, or even used as a jogging accessory to keep your dog with you. The trailer is enclosed with windows that can open on each side in order to give your dog air. There is a front suspension to ease bumps and jostling as well as a high max weight limit of 88 pounds.
Axiom Pet Basket with Rack and Handlebar Mounts
If what you need is a simple basket to keep your smaller dog safe while enjoying the ride, look no further than the Axiom Pet Basket. This industrial carrier is made of reinforced steel and it can be mounted on either your handlebar or pannier rack. Capable of handling up to 50 lbs, the Axiom Pet Basket also comes with secondary harnesses to keep your dog safe while riding.
3 in 1 Small Pet Puppy Basket by OctoRose
This is a fabric carrier that puts the onus on ease of use as well as comfort for your pet. With heavy duty padding, easy to attach straps, and a wide opening you should be able to fit a small dog in here comfortable. This carrier is meant for puppies and adult dogs that do not surpass 14 lbs.
As in all areas of commerce, bicycle dog carriers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. Walking through the carrier aisle at the pet store or heading onto the internet and looking through places like Amazon will leave you more confused than confident. So let’s break down the different types of carriers that are out there in order to see which ones would work for you and your dog and which ones would emphatically NOT work for them. As you know, it is as important to know why something WON’T work as well as why it WILL work.
Soft-sided Dog Carriers
Okay, so the first type of carrier we will delve into is the soft-shelled one. These carriers are typically made of fabric and they are very similar in appearance to your traditional gym bag. Rugged lining, durable fabric, and weatherproof outer material make them perfect for all-weather riding while being light enough to throw on the front or pack of your bike.
Though they are very flexible in their usage we do have some concerns about the fabric carriers and that namely comes into how the dog is comfortable in them.
While the fabric carriers aren’t painful, they are uncomfortable for the dog because they give the least amount of actual support. Your dog will feel a little bit like they are swaying side to side without a sturdy floor below them. With smaller dogs, this isn’t an issue but older animals will find this uncomfortable.
Hard-sided Dog Carriers
Alright, now we are drifting into the most typical baskets and carriers that you likely have seen. Hard carriers can range from wicker baskets to hard, wired frame picnic style baskets. These harder carriers will typically work the best with bigger dogs as they can be attached to your front bars or even your front forks.
You’ll find a range of options in this style due to their flexibility for both dog carrying and general application. When you aren’t carrying your dog you can use these hard carriers to lug around groceries or whatever you want to have with you on the road.
Now that we’ve covered the basic carriers for smaller dogs we can move onto the heavy-duty carriers: the dog trailer. The dog trailer is created primarily for hauling around a dog that is simply too big to ride up on your handlebars.
We feel like the majority of people will lean toward these trailers as they appear to be the most universal in application and ease of getting the dog comfortable. Dog trailers come in all shapes and sizes and you have to be careful to pick the right one for your dog. We’ll dig into that more in the next section.
Selecting and Riding With a Carrier
Now that you have your carrier of choice selected you should know a few key things about how to use it. Dog carriers are wonderfully effective and efficient but they can also be a pain to the untrained driver, not to mention potentially dangerous to the dog if you don’t know what you are doing. We’ll break down your selection into three parts and help you get on the road in a safe, controlled, and enjoyable manner with your furry friend.
- Pick the right size.
Alright, so you’ve decided to get your hands on a carrier or trailer. The first thing you should do is make sure that you get a size appropriate option for your pet. There are several different sizing options and you want the one that most appropriately matches your pet’s size/weight needs.
- Maintain your balance.
Before you put your dog into your bike or trailer, you should give the carrier a test drive while empty. You will want to get used to how the trailer tugs at your bike or how the carrier moves your balance around. Now compound those biking alterations with the movements of a living creature and you will realize how important it is to keep your balance will you are riding.
- Safety first.
Whether you opt for a trailer or a traditional handlebar carrier you need to make sure that your focus is on safety for your pet. To do this you need to install a harness into your carrier. This will keep your animal in their carrier and it will stop them from jostling around too much. If you elect to use a trailer you will also want to make sure that there is protection above the dog to keep the hot sun out of their face, keeping them cooler. Finally, you want to make sure that you lay down padding to make the ride as comfortable as possible. Remember, your dogs will feel every bump in the road even more than you do because they can’t anticipate it like you.