Your dog might be the perfect partner for you next bike ride. Hiking and biking with your dog is a great way to bond, and a great source of exercise for your pet. However, it is important to remember that your dog can not tell you when he is tired, when his paws are hurting, and when he needs water.
The Asheville area is a great place to ride with your dog, but in this article, we want to continue providing tips for how you can make biking a great experience for you and your pet:
Get Your Gear
Safety is key for both your dog and you when trying to bike with your dog. PetMD recommends getting a body harness rather than using the neck collar. Other essentials include a non-tangling lead, reflective vest, a small first aid kit and water vessels. PetMD also recommends dog booties, a lead “baton” to keep the dog away from the bike wheels and rain gear.
Have an Exit Strategy for Your Dog
Biking is an activity best for larger dogs, at least 25 pounds. Some dogs are not built to jog long distances, such as pugs and bulldogs with squatty snouts. If you lead your dog out on your bike, be sure to have a backup plan in case you dog cannot make the return trip. Biking trips should be quite short at the beginning, and you should never attempt to pull your dog along while on your bike.
Consider a dog carrier for smaller dogs. Once your dog is comfortable climbing into the carrier and sitting securely on command, you can add the carrier to your biking routine. Dog carrier options include trailers designed specifically for carrying dogs, handlebar baskets for small dogs or basket style attachments to go behind your seat much like a child seat. Check with your local bike shop. When using any style of dog carrier, be sure your dog is properly secured and comfortable at all times.
Safety First for You and Your Pets
It can be very easy for a dog on a lead to become entangled in a bike’s mechanisms or pull you off balance while riding. Do not hang your dog’s lead on the handlebars, but instead attach the lead closer to your seat post. Keep the leash short enough that your dog cannot run in front of your bike.
If you need to stop, do not leave your dog attached to your bike. It could fall on your dog and cause negative associations with biking that may prevent your dog from attempting the outings in the future. Consider having an extra lead with you so you can secure your dog.
Keep a close watch on your dog. Much like it is important to keep an eye on their physical ability to keep up with your bike, it is important to watch your dog in case they become distracted. Other dogs, people or animals can cause your dog to pull quickly and cause you to lose your balance.
If you have any concerns or questions, be sure to bring them up with your veterinarian. For those in the Asheville area, Avery Creek Pet Hospital can help you make sure your dog is ready to ride. Additionally, we are accepting new wellness and veterinarian patients. Contact us today for more information.