Traveling by bike with your dog will have safety risks for your dog regardless of how you do it. But the right type of a dog bike carrier can mean the difference between a fun outing with your pooch, and one that turns disastrous.
For small dogs, a dog bike basket is probably the way to go.
If you have more than one dog, or a dog larger than 25 lbs, you should probably look at a dog bike trailer.
If you decide on a dog basket for bike travel, then know that not just any basket will do. You need a basket that will provide some protection for your dog, as well as a way to keep your dog restrained in the basket. The last thing you want is for your dog to be able to jump out!
One of the most important pieces of advise I found while reading several hundred customer reviews on various dog bike carriers is this:
DO NOT USE A COLLAR to attach your dog to a bike carrier – USE A HARNESS! This keeps your dog more securely restrained and much less chance of injury if they come out of the basket some how. With a collar, you risk your dog choking or breaking their neck.
Keep these things in mind when looking for a dog bike basket:
- Do you prefer a front basket or rear bike basket for your dog? You can keep a better eye on your dog in the front, however that can also prove to be a distraction. The size of your dog may be a better indicator for front or back. Most pet owners with a 10lb and under dog seem to do pretty well with front bike carriers. Longer, taller, or heavier dogs seem to do best in a rear mounted dog basket for bikes. Read the pros and cons for each type below before deciding.
- Always check customer reviews about what the 'real' weight limit is for a basket. After reading hundreds of customer reviews, it seems that to be on the safe side, always go for a basket that is rated about 4 to 5 pounds more than what your dog weighs!
- Like some of the dog bike trailers, some of these baskets can also double as a car carrier. And while versatility is a good thing, make sure the number one priority is how it works on a bike – many of the basket two-in-one bike/car carriers don't get really great reviews, unlike the dog bike trailers.
Front Mounted Bike Baskets
For small dogs, a front mounted bike basket is an excellent option. When looking for the ideal bike basket for your dog, keep in mind the following:
- Having a dog in a basket in the front of the bike makes steering harder (the larger and heavier the dog, the harder the steering). Also, the more a dog moves around, the harder the steering.
- Make sure a front mounted basket is very secure and won't move side to side. If it can, this makes steering even more difficult and can make your dog nervous from the shifting, making them move around more.
- When trying to figure out if a bike basket will be big enough, don't just look at the weight limit. If your dog is 'tall' or 'long' (relatively speaking of course), you may need the next size up for your dog's comfort. Really, the baskets should be rated by weight, shoulder height, and length – but that would probably get very confusing for consumers.