How to look after your dog sport kit

I’ve seen a fair few posts in recent weeks asking about how to clean canicross, bikejor and dog scootering kit. With the never-ending rain and subsequent mud this winter, it makes sense to share a few tips about how to look after your gear.

Firstly, the thing you should clean most frequently is your dogs’ harness. If you don’t clean your dogs’ harness, you risk the mud on the harness potentially rubbing your dog when you next put it on your dog to run. Any mud that has dried on is usually on the under side of the harness between your dogs front legs where the skin is most sensitive anyway, so you need to be mindful of this and ensure your harness has the majority of the mud washed off.

Your dog and harness can get very muddy, always rinse the harness off after a run to prevent any dried on mud rubbing your dog on your next run - Photo courtesy of Fay Frost Photography

Your dog and harness can get very muddy, always rinse the harness off after a run to prevent any dried on mud rubbing your dog on your next run – Photo courtesy of Fay Frost Photography

The dog sports harnesses are all designed to be durable and are made of materials that withstand muddy, wet and icy conditions, however if you allow your harness to remain continually wet, then no matter how tough the harness, it will eventually shows signs of degradation. Some of the harnesses also have clips or buckles on them which also need to be dried off and not left damp for long periods of time.

We recommend you try to get the majority of the mud off your dogs’ harness after every run, this is not to say it should go in the washing machine after every run, as continued use of detergent will also eventually have a wearing effect on your harness. Simply hosing or washing down the harness is sufficient for every day use but if you do want to put your harness in the machine once a week, we suggest putting the harness in a pillow case or other soft wash bag to protect both the harness and your machine. Always use a cool wash and minimal amounts of detergent, don’t use fabric softener and NEVER tumble dry your harness! All of the items of kit have stray ends and bits that can catch in the drum, so the material casing really is a must if you don’t want your machine to get damaged.

Keeping your harness as clean and as dry as possible will help to prolong it's life

Keeping your harness as clean and as dry as possible will help to prolong it’s life

Once your harness is clean (or at least mud-free) then you need to hang it somewhere so it can dry. Directly on a radiator isn’t recommended, but if you have somewhere warm near a heat source, even some warm water pipes, then drying your harness out after a wet, muddy run is a great way to keep it in tip top condition.

You might also want to wash your running belt in the same way from time to time as they can get sweaty and muddy too. Stick to the rules about keeping your belt in a protective material case, on a cool wash, with minimal detergent, without fabric softener and NEVER tumble dry.

Belts can get muddy too, especially if you have a tendency to fall over!

Belts can get muddy too, especially if you have a tendency to fall over! – Photo courtesy of Mark Brindley

For lines, the same rules apply and if you have clips that you can remove, we’d remove those before putting them in the washing machine, as it’s just an extra precaution to protect it from having metal being thrown around inside. One word of warning though, don’t undo any knots in bungee lines. Bungee lines have a bungee either sewn or knotted in and if you undo the knots in a knotted bungee line, you will find your bungee section has gone!

Just a quick note about bikes, scooters. I am one of the worst people for not washing off my equipment but I appreciate that to maintain a bike or dog scooter (which are expensive items) you really need to be cleaning all the moving parts after every run, clearing all debris off and ensuring you lubricate chains. I’ve had some fairly hefty servicing bills as a result of not doing this properly, so I’ve learnt my lesson now!

The attachments you fix on bike also need to be removed every now and again to make sure you’ve not got mud caught between them and the frame which can scratch and cause damage.

You can get even muddier when bikejoring or scootering so make sure you keep the moving parts clean or expect hefty service bills!

You can get even muddier when bikejoring or scootering so make sure you keep the moving parts clean or expect hefty service bills! – Photo courtesy of Maggie Bird

A few last little pointers to help you keep your kit in great condition:

Don’t leave your dog in it’s harness for long periods of time to avoid it being chewed or getting caught on things

Check any straps, buckles, clips and cords on your kit regularly for wear and tear, it’s much better to discover something early on and make a minor repair than have it fail on you when on a run

Remember that extreme temperatures can weaken any material, so be careful with kit in ice and snow (particularly with plastic clips that could become brittle and snap) and also don’t leave kit in hot places where materials could melt

We always try to help people get the best from their canicross, bikejor and dog scootering equipment, so I hope this blog has been useful to you and if you would like to know more about the range we sell please visit our website:

http://www.k9trailtime.com

Happy trails!