If you’re wondering how to bring your dog with you on your trail ride, there are many ways to do it — some simple and some a bit more creative.
Key factors depend on the size of your dog, how well they behave, the weather and other conditions, and your experience as a rider. Here are some ideas.
How to Snowmobile with a Dog
- Attach a pull-behind enclosed sleigh to your snowmobile.
- Let them ride in a ski-boose.
- Have them sit on your lap.
- Let them run along the trail.
- Secure a container to the snowmobile that they can sit in.
- Take it slow, avoid quick turns and bumps that may frighten them.
Some snowmobilers travel with their dog on their lap for convenience. This can work if you go on a smooth trail, and your dog is small enough not to block your vision. Others hold their dog in one arm while driving with the other arm. This may be okay if you’re an experienced rider, however, it’s not recommended.
Traveling with your dog in a snowmobile requires a bit of preparation, but once everything’s set up, it’s a straightforward, quick, and enjoyable ride.
Different Ways to Snowmobile with a Dog
You can travel with your dog on a snowmobile. With the right strategy, it shouldn’t be a problem. There are many ways to do it, and you can assess yourself, which fits you and your dog’s needs the best.
1. Pull-Behind Sleigh
Pull behind sleighs are probably the safest option for you and your dog. Since they’re not on the snowmobile with you, they can’t distract you from driving. Also, they jump out if they see a squirrel.
Pull-behind sleights can give your dog a lot of room to move around and can even fit 1 to 3 dogs at once, depending on their size. They can also be customized for better comfort. As a bonus, sleighs give you the freedom to easily attach and remove them as you please.
2. Use a Ski-Boose
A ski-boose is a miniature sled for pulling a passenger (or your dog) with your snowmobile. Although spacious and secure, your dog could easily jump out at the sight of a bird. To secure them safely into the ski-boose, use a good quality harness (Check price on Amazon). Some pet stores off different varieties for your dog. These harnesses help prevent dogs from shifting around in a moving car. Why not try it with your snowmobile?
3. Sit on Your Lap
This is perhaps the easiest to try, considering it’s quick and does not require anything else. The drawback of having your dog sit on your lap is that they could get frightened and be a distraction. Even worse, they could see something in the distance and try to jump out.
The feasibility of this significantly depends on a few factors:
- The size of the dog
- How far you’re traveling
- Weather conditions
Take each into account and determine whether it’s best to keep your dog at home or bring them with you.
It can be quite easy to travel with your dog on smooth trails and if they’re smaller in size. Dog owners who try this approach are usually dealing with exhausted dogs, so it’s easier to maintain control of them. They won’t move around as much and are less likely to get excited. Other owners don’t have any other option and must travel like this.
It’s not ideal, but it’s an easy way to transport your pet.
4. Run Alongside
If the goal is to get in some good exercise for your dog or spend some quality time together, then having them run along as you drive can be a great solution. However, note that it will require a lot of energy for your dog to keep up, so ensure you have lots of water and snacks. You will also need to stay on trails where it’s easier for your dog to run along and keep it slow. Prepare a backup plan in case they get too tired, such as a pull-behind sleigh.
Dogs are unable to cover long distances, especially in the cold, so you may be spending most of the time stopping to let them rest or catch up. If you’re pressed for time, then it’s probably best to let them stay at home for the trip.
5. DIY Snowmobile Fixtures for Your Dog
With some creative thinking, you can transform some of your old containers and baskets into a new dog carrier, fastened to your snowmobile. You can use any one of your tote carriers, and you’re good to go. If, however, you have a bigger dog, then you may need to be a bit more creative.
Find a container big enough for your dog to fit comfortably. Some great container options include old crates (which can be wood or plastic, as long as they’re durable), metal cages, hampers, and sturdy boxes. Secure the container to the back of the snowmobile using a sturdy rope or bungee cord.
Snowmobile Dog Carriers
If you’re planning to snowmobile with your dog throughout winter every year, then investing in a premium quality carrier or sleigh may be a wise choice. It would also be more cost-effective.
A carrier is usually made to be more durable for long term use and exposure to elements, and they’re also often more comfortable. Most of these carriers (Check price on Amazon) come with their own fastenings, so all you have to do is install them.
An important consideration to make though (and this is true for most options under this section) is how the materials of the carrier will fare in extreme weather conditions, notably rain and snow.
Instead of the typical dog box carriers, you can also opt for a more robust cargo carrier, which is often made of steel or like metals. These are usually affixed on ATVs or motorcycles, so they’re specifically made to be safe and secured. It also usually has more room – which is great for bigger dogs.
Which Works Best for You?
Given all these options, consider which one may work best for you. Bear in mind; you may be driving in harsh weather and have to face more challenging conditions.
Is It Safe to Snowmobile with My Dog?
Safety depends on the trail you’re on, how you’re transporting your dog, and how confident you are with your driving skills. If you feel no concern for those, then you should be fine. It should be a great bonding experience for you and your dog.
If you’re having them run alongside on the trails, then you might need to pack water and snacks for them. You will also need to keep them in your sight always while also watching the path. This may be difficult for inexperienced riders, so take it slow and take lots of breaks.
If you’re using carriers, make sure so tie them securely, and if you’re planning to hold them the as you drive, assess whether your dog is feeling up for it. If they’re feeling too excited or anxious, it might be best to postpone the trip.
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.