April 24, 2013 by Rider Newsletter Staff
Can your pet join you for the ride?
You’re on your way to the door, heading for your bike and a day out on the road. Then, you spot a pair of sad eyes staring your way. It could be your dog, your cat or, if you’re SpongeBob SquarePants, your pet snail, Gary. The fact is: if you’re going, your pet wants to go too. But, if you’re going by motorcycle, is it possible to take your best friend along? The answer is yes, if you’re careful.
First things first. You can’t just drag an animal to the bike and take off. You need to know if your pet is in shape to handle the trip, and you need the right equipment to keep it safe. A visit to the veterinarian is a good idea, if you have any concerns about the animal’s ability to travel. Also, since you’ll be on the road, it might be a good time to have your vet place an identifying chip under the skin of your pet. If the two of you become separated, the animal shelter can do a quick scan and return your best friend to you. At the very least, be sure your pet wears a tag that includes contact information.
Once you know Fido is good to go, it’s time to consider a carrier. A sturdy carrier that attaches firmly to your bike is absolutely essential. As with most accessory items, pet carriers vary significantly in design, methods of mounting and, of course, cost. Be sure your carrier is suitable for the size of your pet, offering room to move around a bit. You want your friend to enjoy the trip, so don’t skimp on their accommodations. Once you have selected your carrier, take it and your pet for a short ride to see how it goes. If there are problems, return the carrier and try another.
It’s important not to let your pet become a serious distraction. Riding can be dangerous enough without adding a squirming or jumping pet to the mix. If you get a quality carrier that is suited to your pet and attaches firmly to your bike, this should not be a problem. Your short test trips will help your pet get used to the carrier and help you become comfortable when they move around.
Depending on the pet, there are some essential items you’ll have to bring along. For dogs, you should have a quality collar and leash (it might not hurt to have a spare just in case), a blanket, food and water bowls, treats, etc. Other pets have their own requirements, so try to think of everything you might need before you go. Don’t worry about it though. Unless you’re traveling to a remote area, you can pick up additional items on the go. Hitting the pet store will be a good excuse for you and your best friend to stretch your legs a bit.
Whether you’re camping, going on a day trip or visiting family and friends, you’ll enjoy the experience more if you share it with your pet. Your pet will prefer traveling with you to waiting around the house or spending time in a kennel. Just be sure that your pet is ready to go and your motorcycle is properly equipped.
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