If you are a biker and you own a dog, then there is no doubt that you may have thought about taking your furry little friend out for a ride. Nothing can stop you and your dog just cruising down the highway, enjoying the fresh air and the sun too.
So, the question arises, is it legal to carry a dog on a motorcycle? Regardless of where you live, the answer is a confusing one. Although anyone would love that, people must adhere to some rules and regulations when thinking of bringing their pet on their motorcycle.
Although there is no direct law preventing people from carrying their dogs, laws enforce using proper safety measures. So, in a way, it is possible.
Although this may be good news for many, you must be aware of many other things. This article will focus on all of them, so you will better understand what to do and what not to do.
So, without any further ado, let’s get straight into it!
USA Laws About Carrying Dogs on Motorcycles
Just like many other countries, the laws in the United States of America are unclear when it comes to confirming if dogs are allowed on motorcycles or not.
There are no federal laws or rules established by any animal-related acts right now. Yes, many legislations have prevented animals from being carried on motorcycles. None have been implemented yet.
With that said, some rules and regulations have been implemented to ensure that there will be little to no danger to your pet when riding with them.
Some guidelines enlighten users on how to fasten their dogs properly. There is also a restriction of preventing dogs, or any animals, from being in the driver’s lap while driving.
Although it is easy to understand the rules of one state, the issue arises when you are performing interstate travel.
As laws for each state are different, you could get into issues with the local authorities, resulting in a fine that can be as high as $500.
Taking Your Dog For A Ride Legally
If you like to strictly adhere to the rules, then there are some things that you can do to prevent being fined by the authorities. Many do not follow these rules, but it is advised to do so.
1. Using A Carrier
These are essentially boxes with an open front. These boxes are meant for transporting pets and work for small to medium ones only. If you would like your dog to have a breath of fresh air, the best way to do so is by using a pet carrier.
To carry this carrier, you need to make sure that it is firmly fixed. It should not be moved, which can be a danger to your dog and you too!
And if you are looking to go for a DIY approach to create a dog carrier, then you need to make sure that there are enough openings for your dog to breathe.
Here is my review of the best motorcycle dog carriers if you are interested in checking them out!
2. Using A Dog Helmet
Next up, you also need to buy a dog helmet for your dog. Although dog helmets are not that durable, I have written a dedicated article that has compiled seven of the top helmets on the market.
A dog helmet is necessary in case of an unfortunate accident. These helmets are designed to absorb as much shock as possible while comfortable to wear.
Dog helmets are necessary because household animals are sensitive to the elements. Wind and sun rays will not affect your dog that much if he wears a helmet.
Here is my review of the best dog motorcycle helmets if you are interested in checking them out!
3. Using A Dog Goggles
Another thing that should be a compulsory purchase is dog goggles. These goggles, or sunglasses, have been designed to prevent wind and sunlight from entering your dog’s eyes. As many breeds of dogs are susceptible to eye issues due to UV rays and wind, these goggles will prevent all issues.
Sun rays have been reported to reduce the eyesight of a dog. So, you really should not risk that. Plus, they will spend more time covering their eyes due to the wind, which will make the adjustment process a lot slower. So, goggles should be bought before taking your dog on a ride.
Getting Used To The New Gear
Although dogs are very friendly, they don’t do well with apparel and gear. Whether it be snow boots or goggles, they take a lot of time to get adjusted to them.
So, if you were thinking about buying a helmet and goggles and then getting your dog to put them on, you are mistaken. They will howl and growl before they get used to the gear. This is a step-by-step process, which can take some time, depending on your dog’s breed.
Even if your dog is friendly, you should try to get him into the required gear. Observe the behavior, and make sure that he is not too irritated. You should also take note of whether the gear is comfortable or not. If your dog acts erratically, you need to get him used to the gear slowly.
Get A Dog Sidecar
Although a sidecar is not a new concept, using it for a dog was not thought of before. Yes, it attaches to the bike forever, but it must be kept in mind that a sidecar is only for true enthusiasts, for people who are willing to sacrifice a bit of their comfort.
This is the ultimate solution for all people who want to bring their dogs with them everywhere they go. A dog sidecar is great because you don’t need to worry about following regulations at all.
As dogs need to be strapped properly, a sidecar helps you achieve exactly that. You still need to make sure that your dog is wearing the appropriate gear, some of which have been mentioned above.
Making Sure Your Dog Is Ready
You need to be sure of many different things before you take this step. The most important thing is that your dog should comply with your decision.
You cannot force the decision on him, or else he will be a distraction on the road. Legality should be the least of your concern when taking your dog out for a ride.
When you take your dog with you, you should ensure that he is not injured or wounded. This is important because open wounds can be accessed by dust and germs, which can cause some serious infections and problems.
So, if your dog is indeed injured, then you should avoid taking him out until he fully heals, or at least until the wound is all patched up.
Check For Compliance
Your dog should be ready for you to take him out. If he does not want to leave, there is no sense in forcing him to do so. The same is the case with hyperactive pets too. If they are taken on a motorcycle ride, they will move around and bark a lot, which will cause a lot of distraction.
Training Dogs To Ride Calmly
Dogs can be trained to enjoy riding at high speeds. The process is not difficult, and the most important thing you can do is keep your patience. Forcing anything on your pet will most likely affect your bond with it.
Start With Short Drives
Whether a motorcycle or a car, always start with short trips, this means that you can take your dog for rides that can last for a maximum of 30 minutes.
This way, he will get used to high speeds and develop a sense of what is happening. Long drives will irritate them, and they will not want to go the next time.
Give Them Treats
Another thing that you can do is to give them treats. This can be in the form of food, or you could take him to a park! A short ride to the park will surely get your dog to understand the meaning of these travels.
2 Things That Will Get You In Trouble
In this article’s final section, you should be aware of some things that will get you fined. You should not do any of the following things unless you are looking to get fined.
1. Carrying On A Lap
Well, that is the most dangerous thing that one can do. There is no safety for your dog, except for the thighs. If your dog suddenly acts erratically, it can distract you and possibly cause a serious accident. So, you should never carry your dog like this. Plus, he will not even be having any fun.
2. Basket On The Rear
There have been frequent sightings of people riding their bikes with their dogs in a basket attached to the rear. This is yet again extremely dangerous.
The fact that there is no protection for your dog or any restraints means that he can jump out at any time. This can lead to him injuring himself. Plus, if you are a careful person, your focus will be more on the dog than on the road.
With this article finally reaching this end, I hope your question of is it legal to carry a dog on a motorcycle has been answered. The answer is complicated, and you do need to follow a set of rules that will allow you to take rides with your best friend.
You should not carry your dog in the front or a basket. They will get you in trouble. Your best bet is a sidecar, but some of you may not be that much dedicated.
Regardless, there are your only options, and you should always make sure that your furry little friend is in enough protective gear in case of a mishap.