Bike tours with dogs are a welcome opportunity for people and animals to spend hours together outdoors. Dogs enjoy the excursions as much as their owner; nevertheless, not every dog is suitable as a companion when cycling. In addition to good basic obedience and preparatory training, the dog also needs adequate physical fitness.
Cycling with a dog: what needs to be considered?
Not every dog copes equally well with bike tours. In addition to sick and old animals, caution is also required with very large or small dogs.
For dogs with arthritic complaints, even movement like riding a bike can help build muscle and thus support the joints. However, the intensity of the training should be considered to avoid overloading. In addition, the dog should be at least one year old, better still 1.5-2 years old, since the bone apparatus in young animals is not yet stable enough.
But healthy, fully grown animals also need to be carefully accustomed to the additional movement to prevent overload. Alternatively, a dog trailer offers the opportunity to take the dog with you on longer journeys. A sufficient amount of water should always be kept for the dog during the trip. Cycling tours shortly after feeding are generally not advisable
A dog that is supposed to run safely next to the bike needs training. For him, this form of movement is not just physically unfamiliar; Dogs often find it difficult to learn to walk in the right position. Dog owners should try to train the dog to walk on both sides so that it can always walk away from the street. It is also particularly important that the dog learns not to pull on the leash. The sudden pull represents a danger to the dog and owner in traffic and should therefore be avoided at all costs. During the practice phase, it is advisable to stop as soon as the dog starts to pull. This is how he learns that things don’t go this way. Dogs that do not obey well outdoors or show a strong hunting instinct are hardly suitable for cycling tours together, as they are too easily distracted by external influences in the open field.
The weather must also be taken into account: longer tours in midsummer are generally taboo. Since dogs have no sweat glands except on their paws, panting is their only way to cool down. When cycling is heavier, the temperature regulation limits are quickly reached and there is a risk of heat stroke.
The right route for the dog
When it comes to the length of the route, dog owners should take into account their dog’s health and age. Shady forest paths, on which the dog can run protected from excessive heat, are ideal for cycling tours together. Routes with a high volume of traffic, however, not only expose the dog to unnecessary stress, but also strain his respiratory tract. In addition, walking on asphalt permanently damages the joints, so soft, natural trails should preferably be chosen for the bike tour. If the route leads along a stream or pond, the dog also has the opportunity to cool off on the way.
For some dogs, even if they like to run a lot, cycling in the long run is too monotonous. Such animals have a lot of fun on a tour if it ends with a visit to the dog meadow, where they can romp to their hearts’ content with their peers or simply sniff their own way.
After the trip
Especially in spring and autumn, the dog should be thoroughly checked for ticks after a long trip into the forest and removed properly. A suitable tick prophylaxis is of course optimal even before extensive tours into the countryside. It is also advisable to take a closer look at the dog’s paws and legs after returning home. Twigs and pebbles on paths close to nature can lead to skin abrasion, which may cause pain. Torn or broken claws must be examined by the veterinarian.