Monday, August 27, 2012

Pooches: Camping With Dogs

While we had a whole slew of activities we were excited for this summer, we're suddenly scrambling to soak up the nice weather and do everything before this happens again
Sure, camping might be a stretch, but we did just have some interesting questions about how to make camping trips with dogs more successful, and it reminded us how our first outing together as a family--with both pooches--was a camping trip.
We are definitely not experts, and we would love to hear everyone's successful camping tips, but here are some things that have worked for us:

Accommodations for All:
We wanted to find a way to keep things somewhat clean and allow the pooches to have their own space, so we decided on a tent with a vestibule. We liked that this offered a covered, rain-free place where we could remove our shoes and wipe down the pooches (without getting wet or bitten up) while keeping the inside of our tent fairly clean and bug-free. We also liked that this offered the pooches a way to be somewhat independent and come and go as they please to stay out of the sun or away from mosquitos. Our tent is the Big Agnes Big House 4.

Sure, Miss M doesn't like her bare body to touch the ground, but we found extra benefits to bringing the pooches beds and mats. We had extra mats scattered throughout the campsite which helped the pooches understand designated places where they could sit still and relax. This also helped keep the pooches a bit cleaner as they weren't laying directly in dirt. We also brought the pooches' beds from home so they understood where they were supposed to lay in the tent itself.

Packing for Pooches:
We pack a specific duffel bag for the pooches to make their stuff easier to find. We include wiping cloths and a towel to keep us all a little less muddy. We bring their food in individual baggies or tupperware pre-portioned for the day (thanks to Reggie's great tip!). We bring long-leashes for the dogs and attach them to the picnic table at our campsite so they have some freedom but are still in a safe distance. We also bring a chew so they have something to do when we're setting up the tent.

These are some things that work for us, but we would like to hear how everyone else successfully camps with their dogs.. especially if you have safe advice for keeping the mosquitos off of Miss M's belly.


Taylor G said...

We have been stocking up gear for our first camping adventure with Mugz. We were actually going to go this weekend but the Sunday rain deterred us. Where did you go camping with the dogs? Anyone have suggestions of where to go nearby that are "pitbull" friendly? We looked up numerous places and dogs were welcome except for pits, dobermans, breeds with "aggressive histories" (you get the idea). Much like home insurance, campsite insurance will often exclude specific breeds but we don't want to leave our boy at home.

How Sam Sees It said...

We love camping with our boys. We did make the mistake of buying a very large tent with a separate room we thought the boys would sleep in. Turns out, most of the time we are all so cold we sleep in the same room all piled on top of each other!


Anonymous said...

Now you've made me miss camping! It's something my family did a lot of when I was younger. I'm thinking I need to get back into it :)

Anonymous said...

We are actually pretty avid campers. Both "trunk" camping and backpacking. We camp at various state or national parks, or even just hike it into the woods somewhere. We just have a small 2 person tent so usually we only take 1 of the 3 dogs. We do sleep with an air mattress so we arrange the tent so there's a spot of one of our sides for the dog. Always bring a blanket from home that they can be comfy on. They're not allowed to sleep on the mattress just to avoid it popping. Once we went backpacking and took 2 dogs since we weren't using the air mattress. They all adapt really well and truly love it.

We've found the best way to tie them out is actually using a tie out, the plastic coated metal cord that has clasps on both ends. Then we reinforce the clasps with carabiners. We either tie one end to a table, post, etc and one to a dog or we will tie both ends up in a tree and make a high run. Just depends on what's available in the campsite. They have tried to chew through leashes and nylon cording before.

We don't have a lot of bugs out here in the desert but they always get a flea/tick collar. We keep a citronella candle burning at the camp site as well. Then a nice bath once we get home.

The best thing we've learned really is the art of actually picking a campsite. We have a couple places where we can reserve ahead of time and have really learned the best sites. Tucked away, some brush shadding, off the main road area. With site that we have to just show up and pick we always drive around and assess the neighbors. Dogs off leash? Dogs barking a lot? Lots of kids screaming and running around? A successful camping trip really relies on the dogs feeling safe in their surroundings.

Man all this camping talk is making me want to pack the pups up this weekend!

Sarah said...

So when we got Hurley, we had to invest in a bigger tent. 'Cause Hurley Badger don't fit in a 4 person tent. At least not with the rest of us! :)

We love camping and select primitive sites that are not part of a large, crowded campground (we are lucky that there are plenty of options here in Oregon that fit the bill). This way, our dogs can enjoy the outdoors with more space and less people.

Our dogs don't mind napping on the ground but I take lots of blankets and mats too - Ruffwear makes a great camping mat called the Mt Batchelor Pad (I know you guys are Ruffwear fans).

There are tons of natural bug repellents for dogs that are safe & effective. We use Happy Tails Spa Flea the Scene Spray. It works to repel all sorts of critters, mosquitos included!

Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

The tent with vestibule is a fab idea. We generally camp in my van, with dogs curled up with us, and just carry some towels for muddy paws. There have certainly been trips when we wished for more precautions against mud and wet-dog-smell, but no real complaints!

Fozzie has such a strong prey drive, I'm not sure I would trust him to stay in a tent all night and not charge through the walls as soon as he heard some nighttime creature!

Two French Bulldogs said...

You gave mom lots of great ideas, thanks
Benny & Lily

Jenn said...

With our small dogs (12 pound chi/terrier mixes) we put the travel kennels between our mattresses and the dogs sleep there. They get zipped in are secure, and we can keep them reassured and quiet if things go bump in the night.

We do the long lines, too. I am hoping to get an X-pen for them before we camp again. There are three of them and the leads get so tangled, or they are scattered on tie outs all over the campsite in order to have clear areas. Not really working for us.

I would definitely remind folks that camping is not the time to forget your dog etiquette. Don't let your dog wander into other campsites, bark excessively, and please pick up after their deposits just as you would at home.

Campsites may be the great outdoors, but they are shared space. Let's keep those campgrounds dog friendly!

Two Pitties in the City said...

@Taylor, we took the pooches to Lake Geneva last time. We also camped with Mr B in Kalamazoo when we went to pick him up. I know E did an extensive search, and that is something good to remember (that I forgot to write in this post!)

AIice said...

They are such a cutie! Now, I am wishing I have a dog to bring in my camping travel. I always enjoy camping with my family. It is our bonding time. Nice page.

Alice @ MyCamperTrailer

Jayme S. said...

I have loads of camping tips! We have taken our pit mixes camping with us several times.

To Taylor G who asked where there are pit-friendly campgrounds... Most all IL state parks campgrounds are dog-friendly and don't discriminate against certain breeds. Same goes for WI and IN. It's private campgrounds where you will find breed restrictions.

We (my husband and I) have a large 8 person tent so that we can fit comfortably with our 2 dogs and our gear.

Here are the essentials that we bring:

- Dog beds and blankets. Nights can get quite cold and you don't want your dog sleeping on the bare tent floor.

- Familiar food/water bowls as well as several gallons of tap water from home (or whatever water your dog normally drinks). You don't want your dog drinking the campsite water as it can upset their stomachs.

- Tie-outs

- Bones, chews, toys, etc... to keep your dog busy

- First aid kit

- Bug repellent. Dogs can use human bug spray as long as there isn't deet in it and as long as your dog isn't a "licker". Apply to your hands and rub on your dog - don't spray them as they will inhale it!

- Baby sunblock to put on your dog's sensitive spots - such as the top of the nose and tips of the ears.

- Glow sticks or light-up collars so you can safely keep track of your dog at night. Campsites can get very dark! I buy the cheap glow stick necklaces and put them around my dog's neck like a collar.

- A brush. Your dog will get dirty!

- Towels and unscented baby wipes for doggy clean-up.

- All of the usual stuff you would need - leashes, poop bags, seat belt harnesses for the drive, etc...

campingguide said...

I wanted to give you some tips so you can make the most of your camping adventure. Taking a few small steps can help ensure that everyone, including your dog, has tons of fun.

Camping Info

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