Let’s start with with second part of the question. Because obviously you need good reasoning first to make that decision which will form your next weeks/months/years. Planning long term cycle touring is hard enough, why would you complicate it by taking your dog with you. I guess the answer is only one: LOVE. If you think your dog will benefit more from joining you than staying at home, then take them with you. It’s gonna be fun, I promise! There’s also a little bit of selfishness in that decision that you can’t imagine being without your friend for so long, let’s be honest. But that’s secondary, always put your doggie’s needs first!
So what do you need?
You probably won’t be thinking about taking your dog with you if they are ill, need frequent vet check-ups, are on special diet, are too old (there are exceptions here as with people, our previous dog enjoyed reasonably long cycle touring until 14 years old). You need a doggie that enjoys outdoors, easy going type (though meeting new people helps our Phoebe to overcome her fear of strangers) and quite active (depending how much time it’s going to spend running with you).
You need something that will carry your dog safely and reliably. We’ve got Croozer Dog, older version that is not available anymore which is unfortunate. The newer one looks smaller and we’re not sure if the 2 dogs would fit in so nicely. It’s also a bit heavier and most importantly they don’t make rain cover which would protect all sides of the trailer. It doesn’t have suspension though that we imitate by putting in nice padding made from memory foam and wide Schwalbe Big Apple tyres.
Think about the limitations
Taking your dog/dogs with you will be heavier (the trailer + 2 our dogs + their stuff = 40kg extra), pricier (food, vets, entry requirements…), more complicated to get access (US national parks, some beaches, not talking about galleries or museums and restaurants of course). If you need to use additional transport like buses, trains etc it may be a problem with a dog without the crate. For us it’s worth all the trouble!
If you know you want to take your dog on board, check the countries you’ll be passing through on this website to learn about the entry requirements. You may consider to change the route so it’s easier to travel with your dog.
More planning, less moving
You will always do less distance with your dog than without if you want to give them enough time out of the trailer. You may want to take more backroads for the dogs to get their exercise as a swap for easier paved road kilometers. We use this system to let them run and still be under control. Protect their paws when running a lot, we use shea butter from Susienkovo. You will need to plan your route around specialised pet stores to buy them good quality food as well.
Even though domesticated, your dog is still an animal and may want to show off its wild part or may be considered as a prey or enemy. Always be aware of the local wildlife. Currently cycling in Canada, so the dogs are wearing bear bells on their collars. We keep them close as also aware of the other wildlife like cougars, wolves or coyotes. And don’t forget about the tick protection! (if we can classify them as wildlife :-D)
Hopefully we covered everything, if you have other suggestions for newbies in dog cycle touring, please let us know in the comment section.
Maybe it’s more complicated, maybe it’s slower, maybe it’s more expensive and limited but we’ve never been happier in our lives than we are right now!