Cycling With Your Dog
Cycling with your dog is a great way to exercise, especially if you have a high energy breed. Care should be taken, however, to ensure your dog does not get over-tired or over-heated as keeping up with a bicycle requires going at a faster pace than most dogs are comfortable with. Before you cycle check with your veterinarian to ensure your dog is ready for vigorous exercise.
Pay close attention to the surrounding environment and cycle away from busy streets. If your dog runs next to your bicycle off leash make sure he is safe and has a good recall. If he is attached to the bike via a leash or special canine bike attachment, do not attach the other end around your dog’s neck. Always use a harness, with padding if possible, which distributes weight more evenly around the body and is a lot safer, particularly in the event of an accident.
Dogs with slight builds are more likely to keep up with a bike’s fast pace than large, heavy breeds. Biking is not recommended for puppies, or dogs with flat faces such as pugs or bulldogs. These dogs tend to overheat quickly and cannot move air in an out as efficiently as longer nosed breeds. Dogs should be at least 18 months before they can safely run with a bike.
Cycling on a softer surface such as grass is safer for your dog than running on concrete. Pay close attention to outside temperature and give your dog regular cool down and water breaks throughout. You can also use a cooling pad to prevent your dog from overheating.
If your dog is new to cycling, take his leash and walk with him and your bicycle until he is comfortable. When he has acclimated, climb onto your bike and cycle slowly with him by your side. Don’t attempt anything too vigorous or ride on challenging terrain until your dog is confident about running next to you as you cycle. If your dog gets nervous and pulls back, don’t pull him towards you. Go back to the level with which he was last comfortable and build up again slowly.
While cycling with your dog can be a lot of fun some dogs do not acclimate well to running next to a bicycle and are much happier left at home.
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