Here is everything we have learned about how to transport dogs safely on bikes in a pet bike basket or trailer. My advice to anyone looking to take their dog on their bike rides is to think about the size and personality of your pet, and try to pick out a dog bike basket that is a good fit, physically and psychologically.
Our Picks for Best Pet Bike Baskets to Safely Take Your Dog Cycling, Compared in a Chart
|Best multi-function option. Intended for pets up to 13 lb. Can be used on and off the bike to transport your pet. Can also be used for shopping. Available in fabric style and also in retro wicker option||Front handlebars. The bracket system has 3-way adjustability so you can fit the basket on any bike.||Safety harness; extra pockets; shoulder strap for use as pet carrier; removable sun shade; lifetime warranty. Very handy, multi-purpose with zippered pockets. Included adjustable safety leash. Bracket system makes it possible to take the basket on and off your bike in seconds with one hand. Bottom line: a well-made, affordable, multi-purpose dog bike basket for small dogs. Also available in a retro wicker version.||Usually less than $50. Please click here for exact current price on Amazon.|
|Best for dogs that feel safest close to their owners. Comes in a range of sizes, rated for dogs up to 30 pounds.||Simply wear it like a backpack.||This innovative Dog Backpack Carrier is Veterinarian Approved and could be just the ticket for anxious dogs. Available in a range of colors. A side pocket is provided to carry things other than your dog. Backed by strong customer service. Use it to take your dog along when you go biking, hiking, on transit, shopping or even skiing. Includes ventilating side panels. The 5 safety features should keep your dog safe. Also, this carrier is obviously suited to cycling in an upright position.||Usually around $55. Please click here to check the best current price on Amazon.|
|Best Budget Option. Intended for pets up to 11 lb. Multi-function. Can be used on and off the bike to transport your pet. Can also be used for shopping||Front handlebars. Attaches with a quick-release handlebar mount.||This budget basket is both removable and foldable. Like all of the baskets, it can be used for pets or shopping. The quick release mount means you can quickly remove it. When using it with a pet, the adjustable 15” sewn-in leash will keep your pet safely secured. The fabric is waterproof, making it easy to wipe down and keep clean. The frame is metal.||Usually less than $30. Please click here for exact current price on Amazon.|
|Multi-use carrier with pockets. Intended for pets up to 19 lb. Included tether to attach to your pet’s collar, plus a draw string mesh cover to make your dog more secure.||Front handlebars. Features quick-release buckles. Easy to install, & collapsible.||A nice touch is the padded sheepskin liner bottom. Easily remove the bottom floor board for cleaning. This is a multi-use carrier: can also be used as a dog shoulder bag using the shoulder strap, a dog backpack, or a pet car seat booster. You can unzip the front window to reveal a mesh side that lets in cooling air. Also included are mesh pockets to carry treats, keys, etc.||Usually around $50. Please click here for exact current price on Amazon.|
|Keeps your dog super safe and secure. Intended for pets up to 12 lb. Best suited to short-legged dogs.||Front handlebars or rear rack. Mounts with a quick and easy, but very strong, spring-loaded attachment on the bottom, which can be attached to your handle bars or your rack. Also, it is easy to put it on the bike and remove thanks to the quick release bracket.||This basket will keep your pet very safe and secure, thanks to its combination of spring loaded caging on the top, plus included safety leash, plus an extra safety strap that you loop onto the bike. It is also multi-functional – the padded carry handle makes it easy for you to use it as a pet carrier. This is a sturdy, affordable, coated steel-wire basket. Ships with an anti-microbial padded floor liner.||Varies between $30 and $60. Please click here for best current price on Amazon.|
|Best for dogs who don't like being in baskets, or cyclists who don't like baskets. Intended for dogs up to 110 pounds. Medium trailer holds dogs up to 50 lb with inside cab 26 L x 17 W x 20 H; Large trailer holds dogs up to 110 lb with inside cab 33 L x 22 W x 26 H||Quickly connect the trailer hitch to your bike; then, after the ride, disconnect the hitch and collapse the trailer for storage. Features an extra-wide wheelbase and a lower center-of-gravity for outstanding ride stability, and to make it easier to access for senior dogs.||This trailer has a strong, steel frame. Includes back, front and side ventilated windows. Included interior safety tether keeps your dog safe, as do the reflectors on the exterior. Front door has a zippered, mesh screen layer, plus zippered, clear vinyl layer for wind. Over-sized sunroof provides ample airflow and allows your dog to poke his head out. Removable, washable cushion. Includes 3 external pockets.||Usually around $210. Please click here for exact current price on Amazon.|
|Multi-function pet carrier intended for pets up to 14 lb.||Front handlebars. This carrier is easy to install in a few minutes, and quick to disassemble too. Double straps hold the basket in place.||Multi-purpose pet travel carrier, functions as a bike basket, a pet carrier backpack, and pet car seat. Included interior tether can be attached to your pet’s collar to keep it safe. Soft pads for comfort when you use it as a backpack. Mesh front and top are provided for coolness and ventialation. Plus, your dog can enjoy a rolled-up front window.||Usually around $45. Please click here for the best current price on Amazon.|
How to Introduce Your Dog to a Pet Bike Basket
The key is to be slow and gentle, so that your dog does not develop any fear responses. Once learned, those kinds of responses are almost impossible to cure.
Below is our video of our dog Billy’s first time in a pet basket on a bike. We got him an Axiom Premium dog bike basket, which doubles as a pet carrier. It still makes me chuckle every time I watch this video. Billy is not the bravest dog on earth – but then, he only weighed about three pounds when this video was taken! As you can see, we took it very slowly, starting off by gently putting him in the Pet Bike Basket, and then slowly pushing the bike, while talking to him reassuringly.
At first, Billy was very comfortable in his Axiom Basket. I believe this was because he was so little, he felt really safe in the basket. You can see that in the photo below, where Billy is snugly down in the bottom of the basket, on his blanket.
Make Sure the Pet Bike Basket is the Right Choice for Your Dog
Unfortunately, as Billy got bigger he seemed to become more fearful about riding in his pet basket. Probably because he became tall enough to see over the sides. So sadly, just before we downsized out of our house, I sold Billy’s Axiom Dual Function Premium Pet Bike Basket to a woman with a dachshund puppy. It was time to get a more suitable pet bike basket for him.
Then, after we downsized, we noticed that Billy was getting mopey. He was used to being in a large family home with lots of comings and goings. So, we got a second dog to keep Billy company. Enter Ripley, a two pound Maltese/Shih-Tzu puppy (now grown up to a hulking eight pounds).
Ripley is a little bundle of dominance and fearlessness, but she is strangely afraid of heights. I guess when your legs are only four inches long that is understandable! In this photo you can see how short Ripley’s legs are compared to Billy’s.
Obviously, you need a different pet basket depending on your own pet’s needs. The chart at the beginning of this post specifies the kind of basket that is appropriate for different sized dogs.
Be Sure to Tether Your Dog in the Basket
Important safety note: When transporting your pet in a pet basket, always make sure they cannot hurt themselves by jumping out. Ensure that they are very firmly tethered with a safety leash of some kind. Most good pet baskets are set up for this, and some even come in with built-in short leashes. It’s best if your dog is wearing a harness, because if they do manage to jump out while leashed, you don’t want them hurting their necks while suspended from the basket! With our dogs, we make sure the leash is too short for it to be possible for them to jump at all.
Ripley is now two, and we decided it was time to try and get both our dogs on bikes. Maybe if Billy saw Ripley on a bike, he’d get a bit braver? So we decided to try Billy out in this Retrospec retro wicker basket on my bike. It is wire-framed and is secured to the bike from the front forks and also from the headset, so I knew it would take all of Billy’s eleven pounds easily.
We tried Billy out in this wicker pet basket, and he seems to like riding in it. Happy surprise!
Look how calm Billy is in his Axiom wicker pet basket:
So we tried Ripley out in this wicker basket – but she was not impressed, and tried to jump out within the first ten seconds.
So we purchased another Axiom Dual Function Premium Pet Bike Basket – this time, for Ripley. And this time we installed it on the rear rack of Joe’s bike. Ripley did really well on her first ride. Here she is, looking adorable in her very own pet basket.
This gave me a big AHA moment.
Here’s what I learned about how to transport your dog in a basket on a bike!
I figured out that Billy had become afraid a few years ago because he was growing taller. He basically got too tall to feel secure in the shallow Axiom pet carrier. Looking back on this photo taken a few years ago, I can plainly see how Billy had become too tall for his basket (Billy is the black blob in front of me).
My new wicker pet basket is much deeper and that makes him feel more secure when riding. For an eleven-pound dog, Billy has really long legs!
An Ideal Basket for Dogs with Short Legs
Ripley, on the other hand, is a tiny dog, and she found the wicker basket very big – so she was afraid. But the Axiom Dual Function Premium Pet Bike Basket has a short leash and a spring loaded top caging that adds extra security. Ripley is very secure in it, as she is hardly able to move at all. This seems to make her feel confident and secure. And of course we know she is safe, because this pet basket mounts with a quick and easy but very solid spring-loaded attachment on the bottom (and it also has a safety strap).
My advice to anyone looking to take their dog on their bike rides is to think about the size and personality of your pet, and try to pick out a basket that is a good fit, physically and psychologically.
Transporting Your Dog in a Pet Basket at the Back of Your Bike
The one big drawback to having your dog at the front of your bike is that it makes the cycling experience quite different by putting a weight on the handlebars. For this reason, it would not work well for a dog over 20 pounds. Below is the only pet basket we could find that goes on your rear bike rack, and which is rated to carry a dog up to 24 pounds. It gets good reviews, and is obviously quite comfy with its foam padding.
Of course, if you have a really big dog, you are going to have to get some kind of trailer. I saw the one below, with a dog waiting patiently in it. Looks like the owner made it him/herself. If you don’t have those kinds of engineering skills, there are a lot of options that you can buy.
Transporting your Dog in a Backpack
I don’t recommend this method because it would be dangerous if your dog was not trained. However, if YOU choose to train your dog to do this, and can succeed, good on you! I got this great picture from Cycling the Spains, who offer awesome guided and self-guided cycling tours in Spain. (It’s on my bucket list, but we won’t be taking the dogs to Spain …)
Once you find the right basket, it will be a joy to include your dog on your travels!
Bike often and bike safe! – Maggie
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