If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast and a dog lover, you probably wondered whether or not you should take your pet with you for a ride. This could be tricky, even when packing your pet’s favorite belongings, including some healthy and natural dog food for the road. The safety of your dog on a two-wheeler depends on various factors, including its size, weight, temper, and your choice of a carrier.
Long gone are the days when pets were waiting for their masters to come from holidays or work and spend some quality time with them. Nowadays, pets can travel almost anywhere with their human companions, which helps to create a tighter bond between the two.
If you cannot conceive hitting the road without your pawed fellow and your choice of a ride is a motorcycle, here is everything you need to know about bringing your dog along.
Make sure your dog is a good fit
As much as you would want to travel the entire country with your pawed friend alongside you, not all dogs are fit for riding a motorcycle. Consult with your vet to make sure your pet is healthy enough to come with you.
Generally speaking, all small and medium-sized dog breeds can be taken with you on a motorcycle, as long as they have their own carrier or cage. However, you still need to take into account your pet’s age, size, and personality before any trip.
If your furry friend doesn’t mind spending hours contemplating the surroundings and has a calm temper, it might be a good fit for a long motorcycle ride. If, on the other hand, your doggo is anxious and hyperactive all the time, it shouldn’t spend more than 20-30 minutes on the saddle with you.
Check local regulations
The laws regarding traveling with your dog on a motorcycle are not specific. Although dogs can stay alongside their owners on the saddle, you still need to check your state’s rules and regulations to make sure it’s legal.
Most states impose several rules for traveling with your pet while riding a motorcycle, and this involves pet-safe carriers and cages.
Keep in mind that even though some dogs are trained to be independent, it is illegal and extremely dangerous for them to ride on a motorcycle unrestrained. They might get easily distracted and try to jump off the vehicle or become fussy and nervous, which might negatively impact your riding as well.
Which travel solution suits you and your dog the most?
As we previously mentioned, there are several ways through which you can bring your dog with you on your next motorcycle trip. Depending on your preferences as well as the dog’s size, age, and personality, you can opt for a special dog seat, a backpack or carrier or a sidecar.
Each choice comes with its perks and downsides, so take your time to learn more about them. A dog seat is similar to a baby seat that can be attached to the back of the motorbike. It ensures a comfortable sitting for your pet but it will still have to be restrained with a harness. The option is mainly suitable for small and medium-sized dog breeds.
Backpacks are perfect for small dog breeds like Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Yorkshire Terriers. We don’t recommend this method for a longer ride as your pup won’t feel too comfortable inside a backpack, even if it comes with transparent panels and features a superior air ventilation system.
Carriers are one of the safest methods for medium and large dogs that want to enjoy a motorcycle ride alongside their owners. However, they are not extremely comfortable as your pet won’t have enough space to move freely. It will also be restrained at all times, which may add extra pressure on its stomach or bladder.
A sidecar represents the best way for transporting dogs of all sizes, especially larger breeds. Your pawed friend will have plenty of room and enjoy extra stability and comfort during the ride. It will still need a harness to be restrained but this won’t affect its ability to stretch its legs and take a nap while getting closer to the destination.
How to teach your dog to ride with you
Finding the right type of carrier for your pet isn’t enough to enjoy a stress-free ride. Keep in mind that properly training your dog to get on the saddle with you may take months, so you need to be patient and plan your trip accordingly.
First, you need to let your pet get used to the bike on its own terms. Allow your dog to sniff it and inspect it while making sure it doesn’t see the vehicle as a risk. Next, you will have to simulate getting on the saddle and bringing your pet with you to learn its reactions and anticipate them.
When the pup is ready, you can start by taking a few laps with your bike around the block or the neighborhood. Pay close attention to your dog’s reactions and try to offer a comfortable ride, as much as you can.
Only after the pooch is used to the motorbike and jumps on the saddle enthusiastically you can consider planning a longer trip.
How often should you take a break?
Long journeys will require plenty of stops, so make sure you have enough time to reach your destination.
Forget about traveling around the country with your pet on a two-wheeler as dogs shouldn’t stay in a harness for more than a couple of hours. Besides, you’ll have to take a break every 15-20 minutes to allow your pet to drink water and stretch its paws. It may also get motion sickness, which will require even longer breaks to recover.
As we previously mentioned, traveling with a pet companion is a challenging quest because your needs and safety come second. You need to pay attention to your dog’s reactions and help it enjoy a comfortable ride.
Accessories for dogs on motorcycles
A harness and a backpack or a carrier are not enough to provide the maximum level of comfort for your pup when traveling on a motorbike. Thus, be prepared to invest in other accessories that are specifically designed to keep it safe and happy.
A dog helmet is mandatory for absorbing shocks and preventing head injuries in case of accidents or any other road problems. Although there are plenty of brands providing this type of element for dogs, some of the helmets on the market are designed for show and don’t offer the necessary level of protection.
Look for a brand and product that has been tested and approved by the national authorities. Make sure the helmet is adjustable and is made of lightweight yet durable materials to prevent injuries in case of collisions, falls or other accidents.
Another useful accessory is a pair of dog bike glasses. Not only do they look cool and give your pup that “bad boy” style but they will also protect it from sand, dirt, and wind that might come its way when riding. Make sure the glasses are flexible and come with an elastic strap.
You might also want to consider a vest or sweater to protect your dog from the chilly wind or the hot temperatures during the summertime.
Even though your pup might be riding on your back and be protected by your body, a jacket to keep it warm would make a nice addition to its wardrobe. Opt for a product that is lightweight and breathable, preferably waterproof to keep your pet’s fur dry and cool no matter the weather outside.
Last but not least, you may also want to consider a saddle bag or a small backpack for your pet’s accessories and essentials. Make sure to include water, organic snacks and treats, as well as food for the ride. Some pills for motion sickness, diarrhea or tummy problems that might occur due to stress are also required, especially if you’re traveling for longer distances.
For safety reasons, your pet should be in excellent health condition, have all its vaccines to date, and be microchipped. A collar or a tag with its name is also important in case it gets lost.