• Steven E. Overmyer

Tips for Riding with a Man's Best Friend

If you’re a dog owner, you probably feel like your furry little companion is apart of your family. You want to take him with you everywhere you go, and offroad riding is no exception. As with any family member, however, you want to keep him safe, and you know that a UTV ride can be dangerous if you’re not careful. If your dog is just as anxious to hit the trails as you are, you can ensure a safe ride for you both by following a few simple tips.

Packing supplies

Just as you would pack all of your own necessities, you should bring along any items that will keep your four-legged friend comfortable on your trip. You should obviously pack plenty of dog food and water, and you can purchase collapsable bowls to save room. He may encounter some stickers as he roams around, so a good brush will be helpful in getting them out. Dog booties will help protect his paws if you’re on rugged terrain, and a first aid kit may come in handy as well. Make sure he has a collar and dog tag with all of your contact information; you’d never forgive yourself if he got lost.

Riding in a crate

The safest way for your dog to ride when you’re offroading is in a crate or kennel. You can place the crate in the bed of the side-by-side, and secure it with a bungee cord to keep it from moving. A crate isn’t the most comfortable place for most dogs, so try to get him used to it beforehand. Take him on shorter rides around your neighborhood before you try to take him on a longer trip. You can also put a soft blanket or his favorite toys inside with him if familiar items typically help to calm him down. If it’s cold out, invest in a kennel cover to keep him warm.

Out in the bed

Many people prefer to let their dog ride out in the open; however, accidents can happen, and it’s imperative to use your best judgement before doing so. If your pup is the hyper type who can’t sit still, or if he’s likely to run off after the first animal he sees, he’d do much better in a crate. On the other hand, if he’s pretty well-behaved and this isn’t his first offroading experience, he might do well riding out in the bed. No one knows your furry best friend better than you do, but if you have any doubts at all, the safest thing you can do is stick with a kennel. If you do choose to keep him out, simply lay a restaurant mat or a cut piece of carpeting in the bed so he’s not sliding around.

With another passenger

If your bed is loaded down with gear and you have another passenger with you, your dog may be comfortable riding on the floor of the UTV in between the passenger’s legs. Again, this should only be done if your dog is well-behaved and won’t try to roam. Make sure the passenger keeps a good grip on the dog during the entire ride; if you’re driving through rough terrain, this may be hard to do, and you’ll all probably be better off with the pup in a crate.

By carefully planning and using your best judgement, you can have a safe and smooth offroading adventure with your best friend - your dog. If you’re both anxious to hit the trails, visit Crossbar Ranch Offroad Park in Davis, Oklahoma for your next great adventure.

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