How to Prepare for a Ride-Along With Your Dog
We love our furry friends! Of course we want to bring them along for rides, hikes, and campouts. But sometimes plopping our dog on the back of a bike can be so easy, we forget that they can be uncomfortable, tired, overheated and even sunburnt, just like us. Want to keep the good times (safely) rolling when hitting the road with your pup? Before taking off, look over the essentials.
1. Is your dog fit for a motorcycle ride?
Ask yourself this question before committing to a ride along. It may be possible to ride with your dog, but it's important to assess their health, weight, size, and personality, to decide if it's a good idea. Over-stressing or exerting your pooch can risk safety and stress. Consider their comfort levels and typical attitude toward similar activities like car rides, long trail walks, and even boat or plane rides. Even the tiniest of dogs may be unfit for a motorcycle ride if they tend to be anxious, have health concerns, or if it's simply illegal in your state.
2. Use a carrier or side car designed for your dog.
When looking for a pet carrier or side car, you'll want to be sure that the weight capacity and size are both well suited for your dog. Features for feeding, drinking, and especially ventilation, are essential. Of course, traveling with a smaller dog will yield more carrier options. The Kuryakyn Grand Pet Palace is best suited for small canines under 20 pounds, and provides a comfortable space in which the dog has room to move around, but cannot jump out. Consider incorporating a piece of home, such as a comfort blanket or pillow, in your dog's carrier to help prevent stress on the road. Ol' Goose here can't seem to get enough of his back seat home:
3. Dress your pooch for the road.
If your dog can look out of their carrier, then it's important they wear a good pair of goggles. Harsh wind and debris in the air can wear on your pup's eyes, potentially causing infections or irritation. Look for a pair of adjustable goggles that protect against sun, shattering, and sensitives, in addition to the basic elements. Alternatively, if your dog becomes overheated easily, or if you live in a warmer region, a cooling vest may be another form of gear that can keep your dog comfortable on and off the bike.
4. Where there's sun, there's sunscreen.
One things for sure, no one likes a sunburn. Though it might not be so obvious, dogs can get sunburnt and even tan! Applying a puppy-safe sunscreen on your dog's coat and open skin will help prevent exhaustion, burns, and sun sickness. Dog sunscreen can come in the form of mists, wipes, lotions, and balms. A spray is great for lightly covering the entire coat of a long haired dog, while a balm or wipe can be applied on more vulnerable areas, like the nose, ears, and chest. Short-hair dogs might benefit from more protection, primarily with a lotion or wipe. Chewy.com is a one stop shop for all things pup-care.
5. Know how to cool your pup down.
If your dog does become overheated, a quick way to cool them down is by splashing water on their stomach and paws. A dog's coat is effective in keeping them cool, even if it seems like all that fur would be overwhelming on a hot summers day. Though wetting the tummy and feet pads does help, it is not a cure-all for dehydration. It's necessary to offer water and breaks before your dog really needs it. They may not always take a drink, but the option should be there.
Make water available as often as possible. It's necessary to take plenty of breaks and shade throughout your ride and any accompanying hike or swim. Come prepared with more than enough water for the both of you, and have a plan for stops along the way to rehydrate and rest. Be mindful of your dogs behavior, such as panting or signs of tiredness. Exercise caution, and don't leave your dog in a direct line of sun.
No matter how well we prepare, sometimes mix-ups just happen. When in doubt, remember that taking your dog on a ride-along is about fun and bonding. When done right, what might be a simple ride to you, could be one of your dogs favorite memories. Have fun, and please, share photos of your motorcycling dog with us! ♥