Dog owners are more likely to get exercise, as found in a study by University of East Anglia. Although most people opt for walking or jogging, there is no reason why you can’t take your dog cycling if a bike is your preferred means of transport and exercise. Cycling imposes a certain rhythm (albeit a slow one) on your dog, however, so if you've never taken Fido along, consult first with your veterinarian to ensure this activity is a good choice. Your dog should have no issues such as osteoarthritis, mitral valve disease, or any other condition that permits only a low level of exercise. You should also add an extra layer of safety, ensuring he is tracked with the GPS technology of FitBark.
Age and Breed are Key
Your dog’s fitness level isn’t the only consideration to take into account. So, too, is age. Your dog should firstly be fully grown, as puppies’ bones and joints are still in development and shouldn't engage in strenuous physical activities. Older dogs, on the other hand, can have joint and spine issues. They may seem like they can take higher level of activity than they can because they are happy and energetic, but it is important not to overdo it. As mentioned above, you should run any proposed activity by your veterinarian before embarking. Your dog’s breed is also relevant. Flat-faced (or ‘brachycephalic’ dogs) such as Boston terriers, French bulldogs, and pugs should not be taken cycling, as they are unable to expel heat as efficiently. Breeds with long bodies and short legs should also avoid long runs.
Selecting the Right Bike
A mountain bike with wide tires works best when you are cycling alongside Fido, since it can offer you stability and strength. If you love biking in natural areas, ensure you choose a very level track that does not have rocks or big level changes. Your bike will have the suspension you need to withstand bumps and cracks but your dog doesn’t have this same level of support. A cross-country type earth track is ideal. Ensure the ground isn’t too warm for your pooch, and avoid cycling during sunny hours in the spring and summer seasons.
Choosing the Right Bike Accessories
If you have a small dog or any type of dog that can only run or walk briskly for a short distance, a sidecar for pooches or a basket will ensure he can rest when the going gets tough. Use a dog harness with a specialty bike tow leash, which extends outwards from your bike, keeping your dog at a safe distance from the bike. You should avoid a normal leash, since your dog may run too close to the bike and risk getting bumped into or hurt by the wheel or other bike components.
If your vet has given the okay for your dog to accompany you while you cycle, make it as pleasurable as you can for the both of you by choosing the right bike and accessories. Select a nice dirt track that is soft and comfy, so your dog’s foot pads don’t get scratched or dry. Use FitBark to keep to the exercise levels recommended by your vet and set realistic goals for you and your best buddy.