Tips for taking your dog on the Katy Trail
Taking a dog on your next bike trip? Here are a few things we learned about biking and dogs after taking Luke on the Katy Trail last weekend.
1. Take it slow.
We take Luke on short (2-3 mile) bike rides fairly often, but we knew from the start that 12 miles in one day would be a lot for him. And we certainly knew he wouldn’t be able to maintain top speed for that whole distance. So, we just put our bikes in the highest gear — to maximize our workout — and let Luke set the pace.
According to the speedometer on Zach’s bike, Luke seemed to like cruising at a rate of about 5 miles per hour. Every two miles or so, he let us know that he needed a break by lying down in the grass on the side of the trail.
2. Be prepared to meet other animals.
Signs at nearly every trail entrance warn that on the Katy Trail you may encounter wild or domestic animals. Although most of the wildlife we saw was at a distance, a wayward dog did emerge as we passed a junkyard. She ran with us for a few yards before falling back.
3. If you don’t plan on camping, make room accommodations in advance.
We erroneously assumed that Rocheport, Missouri, a little winery town located right on the Katy Trail would be used to putting up people with dogs. But in fact, every bed and breakfast we contacted would not permit a dog to stay overnight. We finally lucked out with the sympathetic operator of the Girl’s Nite Inn.
4. Take plenty of water.
We know Luke is a big drinker, so we carried at least four big bottles of water with us at all times. Luckily, there’s plenty of fresh water access on the portion of the trail we rode, anyway, so it was easy to fill up if we needed to. There was also clean water along the trail for a dog to take a dip in.
5. Bring high-value treats.
I thought I was being smart by packing extra dog food — extra calories to account for all of the energy Luke would burn on the trail. But he refused to eat most of it. He did, however, seem interested in hamburgers and french fries (but not peanut butter granola bars), so next time I’m packing extra yummy meaty dog treats that he won’t be able to deny.
6. Bring pad protection.
This is something we didn’t do, and poor Luke’s feet suffered for it. Remember, while you wear padded shoes, dogs essentially run barefoot. Next time he goes on a bike outing with us, he’s getting some dog booties.
7. Check yourself and your pet daily for ticks.
Luke spent a lot of time running through the trees and tallgrass along the trail. Although he is on flea and tick preventative, he still managed to get a couple of ticks that latched on around his head. (But that just meant bath time as soon as we got home.)
Have you ever taken a dog on a bike trip? What would you add to this list?