Many owners we know like to take their canine companion with them when they embark on a journey – whether it’s a road trip across the country, or just a family visit. The apparently simple task of getting your dog from A to B isn’t always that easy, though. It’s one thing to move a dog around safely in a car, but another thing entirely when motorcycles come into play.
Although a motorcycle will never offer as much protection as a car, you can keep your dog safe – as long as you keep riding carefully – with a motorcycle dog carrier. These carries are worn either on your front, or as a backpack, and keep pets secure during the ride. With these ingenious carries, you no longer have to choose between keeping your pooch safe and hitting the open road. We’ve scoured the market for our top ten motorbike dog carriers, so you can make an informed decision for the safety of both you and your dog. We’ve also addressed some common concerns about carrying your dog this way, so you can ensure your pooch can travel securely and happily.
Best Motorcycle Dog Carrier Buying Guide & FAQ
These ten carriers represent what we believe are the best on the market right now, and we hope there’s something here to meet every need. However, all dogs are different, and which carrier you choose will depend on a variety of factors. With this in mind, we’ve put together a handy buying guide, helping you to find the carrier that’s best for you.
Because taking dogs on motorcycles can be a risky business, we’ve also collected some top tips for ensuring that your pooch stays as safe as possible when they’re on the road.
What to Consider When Buying Motorcycle Dog Carrier
There are plenty of factors to consider when buying a motorcycle dog carrier; below we run through the most important:
- The size of your Dog
Most motorcycle dog carriers are available in a variety of sizes. However, generally speaking, only small and medium-sized dogs can be safely transported this way. A large dog carrier for motorcycles is usually more of a second seat – or even a sidecar! These can be costly but are the safest option for biking with larger breeds. We wouldn’t recommend using one of the carriers on this list for larger dogs. In an enclosed carrier they may be too cramped, causing unnecessary pain and stress, whilst the harness style carriers can throw your back or your balance when heavier pooches are introduced.
- Journeys you take
If you’re planning a long road trip, we’d recommend choosing an enclosed carrier. This ensures they aren’t exposed to intense winds for long periods of time, and gives them a bit more room to stretch out. These carriers can also be really useful for any ongoing journeys, as many are consciously made in airline-approved sizes. For shorter journeys, on the other hand, carrying your pet in a harness may make more sense. These carriers allow your canine companion to enjoy the view and stay safe by your side as you hop on and off. They also take up less storage room!
- Type of Motorcycle
Whether you’re looking for a Harley Davidson pet carrier, or a scooter dog carrier, most types of the motorcycle can accommodate small to medium sized pooches safely. With a larger vehicle, you’ll have more room to dedicate to your pet, so we’d recommend a carrier which can be attached to the bike rather than to your body. On smaller vehicles, the opposite is usually true, and it will probably make more sense to carry your dog in a back-pack or front-facing carrier.
Types of Motorcycle Dog Carrier
This is probably the most important factor when choosing a motorcycle-friendly dog-carrier; if your pooch doesn’t fit into the device well, they run the risk of injury. Carriers typically fall into one of these three categories:
- Backpack-style carriers
In these carriers, dogs rest on your back, usually in a harness. This keeps dogs out of the way whilst you’re driving, but doesn’t allow you to keep an eye on them. For this reason, backpack style carries are usually better suited to pets who are used to travel and can be trusted to stay calm without seeing your face.
- Front carriers
With front carriers, your dog is held against your stomach and chest – in much the same configuration as some baby carriers use. This style of the carrier allows you to keep a closer eye on your pet, but with larger animals, you may find that the positioning impedes your driving ability.
- Enclosed carriers
Whilst front and backpack-style carriers are great for hiking and biking, enclosed carriers tend to be even more versatile. Enclosed carriers are usually attached to the motorcycle itself rather than your body, making long journeys with your dog more comfortable, since you don’t need to bear their weight yourself.
Motorcycle Dog Carriers Maintenance
Keeping your dog carrier in top condition is vital to ensuring the dog who rides in it is safe. How your dog carrier is best maintained will depend upon the exact make and model you choose, and you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. With this in mind, we’ve found a few general tips for keeping motorcycle dog carriers in tip-top condition:
- Only put a carrier through the washing machine if it’s advertised as machine washable, and try not to do so too often. Being exposed to high temperatures on a regular basis could weaken the carrier.
- Check up on the condition of your carrier regularly, ensuring;
- No stitching is unravelling
- Any buckles, clips, or other fastening mechanisms are in good condition
- The carrier is properly adjusted to accommodate you and your dog
- Store the carrier somewhere safe, where it’s unlikely to become torn. Avoiding exposure to light during storage is also a good idea, as UV radiation can eventually damage the fabric.
- Always replace a dog carrier as soon as you’re no longer sure it’s fit for purpose. If a carrier were to fail during a journey, your dog could become seriously injured or worse, so the risk is never worth it.
Best Dog Motorcycle Dog Carrier FAQ:
Q: Do dogs like riding on motorcycles?
A: Every dog is different, but lots enjoy the sensation of riding alongside their owners on a two-wheeled adventure. Many pooches enjoy the companionship of a shared ride, whilst others enjoy the stimulating views and all the scents rushing their way – this is the main reason why dogs love dangling their heads out of car windows.
Make sure you introduce your dog to riding the motorcycle slowly, simply sitting on the bike at first, and gradually building up the length and speed of your journeys. It’s also a good idea to get dogs used to being in their carrier before using it in tandem with the bike. You will soon be able to work out whether your dog is a natural rider or better off in the car!
We wouldn’t recommend riding with skittish or aggressive dogs, as they may find the experience too stressful, or cause problems during the ride. By working up to riding with your dog slowly, providing them with lots of reassurance on the way, you can minimise the possibility that they become stressed by this mode of travel.
Q: What size dog can ride in a motorcycle dog carrier?
A: With the right equipment, and the sized dog can share a motorcycle ride. However, for larger breeds, the best option is a sidecar or modified seat, and the carriers on this list are not suitable.
The majority of small and medium-sized dogs will find a comfortable fit in one of these carriers, which are usually recommended for dogs weighing up to 20 pounds or so. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions so as not to overload the carrier, as this could result in it not functioning correctly.
Q: Are motorcycle dog carriers safe to use?
A: Motorcycle travel will always be a little riskier than other forms of transport but provided you drive safely and your dog is secure and calm, a carrier is a great way to maximise safety for you both.
Below are some ways to maximise your pet’s safety when they ride with you:
- Ensure your pet is the recommended size and weight for their carrier
- Practise using the carrier around the house first, to check it’s secure – this especially applies to harness-style carriers
- Consider investing in other safety equipment for your pooch, such as;
- A protective helmet
- Canine motorcycle goggles
- A jacket or sweater for your dog, to protect them against the wind
- Protective boots, to keep their paws safe from any projectiles that might fly up from the road
- When biking with your dog, bring supplies to keep them comfortable. This is a good habit to get into for all journeys but is particularly important when it comes to longer stints of biking. Ensure you pack essentials such as:
- Water and a bowl
- Food if it’s a long journey, otherwise a few doggies treats for reassurance
- A dog blanket
- First aid kit
- Disposable waste bags
- When travelling with your dog, stop for regular breaks. Dogs are far less likely to become stressed when they are comfortable, having had the opportunity to stretch out and relieve themselves.
Our Top Pick
For us, the best dog motorcycle carrier on the market right now has to be Outward Hound’s PoochPouch. This charmingly named carrier is an easy, affordable, and effective way to keep your dog safe during trips on your bike. Despite being light-weight, its durable fabric helps protect your pooch against bumping and rattling on the road. Its carefully designed harness system is also great for keeping your dog secure, and with them riding on your front, it’s easy to keep an eye on them.
Overall, the PoochPouch is a clever solution to what can be a tricky dilemma – keeping your dog safe on the road, and all without spoiling their view!
- 5 helpful Tips for Motorcycling with your Dog, Progressive