Do you prefer to have the dog carry
its own water, like with one of those
dog vest things?
I use dog packs more for hiking than
biking. You want the dog to be able to
move freely. Also, dogs do not sweat like
we do, so a pack can really trap their heat.
In SoCal, that is not a good thing. When
riding with your dog, bring your larger
hydration pack and adjust the amount of
water you carry accordingly. I even stick an
extra bottle in the pack in addition to the
100-ounce bladder. Just like people, some
dogs drink more than others, and it is up to
you to make sure your dog stays safe and
What are the risks involved with
taking your dog on the trail? In our
neck of the woods, we worry about
heat exhaustion and snakebites. For
others, it could be ticks or poison ivy.
What should riders be aware of?
Heat exhaustion is something to keep in
mind. Dogs do not sweat like humans and
Is there anything else you’d like to
Start out slowly. It takes time to build up
a dog’s stamina. For us, the best part of
taking our dogs out on the trail is watching
our best friends smiling, running, jumping
and racing around with us on the trails. It
brings me so much happiness to watch
them enjoy it. Make it fun for your dog and
you will be rewarded with the best trail
buddy you have ever had.
can overheat quickly. You are responsible
for your dog. Take it seriously. Consider the
weather and duration of your ride. When in
doubt, leave your dog at home.
If you have a smaller trail dog, coyotes
can also be a concern. A harness with a
handle, such as the Ruff Wear harness, is
great for grabbing your dog quickly.
Snakes are a reality and your dog is right
at snake level. Your vet offers a rattlesnake
vaccine that will help should your dog get
bitten. If it happens, stop running your dog
and get it to a vet immediately. The vaccine
will help buy you time to get to a vet. There
are classes that you can put your dog
through that will teach your dog to avoid
rattlesnakes by sight, smell and sound.
This is as important as your helmet if you
take your dog on the trail. These classes
are well worth the money. Talk to your local
independently owned pet store to find a
class near you. Also, hit them up for a topical flea and tick solution.
It’s important to know that dogs can give
you poison oak or ivy, even if you don’t
realize they’ve been in contact with it. It
can remain on their fur and easily be transferred to your skin.
It’s not a bad idea to bring a little
first-aid product for your dog. We carry
Vetericyn spray for cuts (the best in the
industry) and liquid bandage to seal a
wound for the ride home. Dogs are barefoot trail runners, so it’s good to have a
plan in case they damage a pad.
Photo by Bob Ward
Photo by Bob Ward
Photo by Pat Carrigan