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camping with a puppy

Hey there! How has your weekend been? We are still playing catch up after our camping trip last weekend, but we’re hanging in there.  Jones has had a bit of a forest hangover this whole last week, so that’s been real fun.  Nothing like finding the insides of your dog all over the house.  As promised, I wanted to share everything I learned about first-time camping with a puppy.  I’m a bit Type-A (no way, right?) and so of course I went all crazy trying to get info on what to do with a dog when camping.  I’m really glad I did, because we were totally prepared and the trip was fantastic! I mean, look at this face:

Jones in the Grass August 2014

Right? He was seriously in doggy heaven.  To make sure it was a good experience for everyone, I made a supply list from bits and pieces I found on the internet.

Doggy Camping Supplies

  1. shot records (make sure your fur baby is up-to-date on all shots before any trip)
  2. extra harness/collar and leash with ID tags
  3. a light for the harness/collar for nighttime use (this was incredibly handy!)
  4. food and water bowls
  5. enough food and water for the trip, plus some extra in case of spills TIP: I read this online and didn’t actually do it, but someone suggested using a bundt pan so you can put a stake in the center of it to prevent spills
  6. kennel or carrier to contain your dog inside the tent if needed
  7. stake and 20-foot cable for keeping your dog from tackling you while loading and unloading
  8. treats, bones and toys
  9. extra blankets for chilly nights
  10. doggy first aid kit: fine tooth comb and tweezers for tick removal, gauze, peroxide, ace bandage, first-aid ointment (neosporin, etc), coconut oil for bug repellent and tree sap removal, sunscreen, medications, latex gloves

TIPS

  • Keep your dog on the leash when you first get there and stake out a spot to put the cable that’s free from standing water and mushrooms or animal feces but also out of the way of where you are going to be so you’re not tripping over him while unpacking.  Get your dog settled on his cable with a bone and toy from home while you get your camp set up.  Expect a little whining or barking at first, especially if this is your first time camping with your fur baby.  All of this activity and this new space is confusing for your little one!
  • Once camp is set up, get your dog acclimated to the camp site, walk around the perimeter on his leash and keep an eye out for anything that you don’t want him chewing on so you can remove it or at least watch your puppy when he goes around them.  There were a lot of mushrooms around from the recent rains here, so I made sure to remove those from our campsite.  Luckily,  Jones wasn’t interested in the ones I missed or those we encountered on our hikes.  We let Jones munch on a lot of sticks, pinecones and bones, but mushrooms can be really dangerous, as can standing water.  And even the bones and pinecones can be dangerous, so just use caution!
  • Jones got a lot of tree sap on him on our adventure.  I left it until we got home, and removed it with coconut oil once we hosed the forest off of him.  It takes a few minutes to work it out with the oil, but it’s doggy-safe and smells good as a bonus.
  • Don’t be surprised if your little one doesn’t eat as much when camping as he does at home, whether from nerves or because he’s chewing on the buffet of forest goodies.  But be wary if he doesn’t eat at all or if he starts vomiting, he could have gotten into something he shouldn’t have.  Jones definitely lost weight while we were camping, but he did eat some of his food every day.  He was just too busy chewing on all the forest to stop and eat! And he made up for it when we got back home 🙂
  • Also don’t be surprised if your fur baby has a bout of diarrhea when he gets home, he’s been exposed to a different environment for the first time and it takes a bit of getting use to.  Naturally, keep an eye out for anything really unusual or for a loss of appetite.  I’M NOT A VET-SO IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR PUPPY, CONTACT SOMEONE WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT! I’m not yelling, I just want to be clear here – I have no authority on the health of your pet, and I’m just sharing what we experienced with our puppy.  Moving on…
  • Pick up dog food after feeding to prevent bugs from attacking it, and only give small amounts of water at a time because it picks up dirt and junk pretty fast.  Unless you don’t care about wasting water, in which case, have at it!
  • Coconut oil is supposed to prevent bug bites on your pet.  We didn’t need it (thank goodness!) so I can’t vouch for it, but we had it just in case.  It’s dog-safe and a little bit supposedly goes a long way.
  • Jones wouldn’t sleep the first day, and he’s use to sleeping all day long.  There were just too many noises and things going on keeping him awake! He was dog-tired, quite literally.  So on day two, we set him up in the tent in his kennel for a nap and he fell right to sleep.  But tents get hot pretty quick, so use common sense.  If you wouldn’t want to sleep in there, don’t subject your puppy to it, especially if it’s sitting in the sun.  And don’t keep him in there for extended periods of time – even if it seems cool when you first go inside, it can get warm over time.  Obviously, this is just a summer-time tip! We’re going camping again in the fall, it will be cold, and I’m sure Jones will love being in the warm, cozy tent!
  • A kennel or carrier is great for IN the tent, but don’t set your dog up outside when you aren’t there.  It isn’t safe with all the wild animals in the forest, he’d be bait if you left him tied up or caged without your protection.  I know this might seem like common sense to some, but so many people asked me about this when we got back that I thought I’d be clear on it here.  The kennel was so necessary for us, since Jones sleeps in it at home, he feels safe there, and he’s a chewer.  We didn’t want a deflated air mattress or holy tent from him munching on it when we weren’t looking.
  • We let Jones wander within eyesight because he is an awesome listener.  He comes when called and responds to “no” even from a distance.  This might not work for everyone, so know what your little one is capable of!
  • Do a tick check every night using your fine-toothed comb, paying extra attention to your dog’s feet and in between his toes.  We lucked out, so I don’t have any tips on removing ticks.  Joe is good at it, and I’ve never witnessed the procedure to share the steps.  I’m sorry! But here’s a link, because I like being helpful 😉 And keep checking the first few days back, just in case you missed anything on your trip.  Ticks get bigger over time since they’re feeding on your pet.  Gross, huh?
  • Don’t hike too far out if your dog isn’t use to it! Jones did good, but we kept our hikes so they weren’t too steep and were within the normal range of our daily walks.
  • I watched Jones like a hawk.  The couple of times I lost track of him for a second, someone else was also watching him like a hawk.  I didn’t want him to run off, eat something he shouldn’t, be attacked by any wild animals or go charging after any wild animals.  If we couldn’t watch him closely, he was staked to his cable.
  • We wouldn’t have had such a great time if Jones barked at everything and anything.  We were nervous, but now we know we can trust him not to wake the entire forest!

I think that’s everything! Let me know if you have questions about something I didn’t cover, though.  It’s hard to remember all the little details now – totally wish I’d have written everything down while it was happening! But oh no, I thought, “I won’t forget this!.” HA!

Jones Camping on a Rock August 2014

exhausted puppy!

Jones Sleeping in the Woods August 2014

a quick nap until there was a noise, which happened every few minutes… funny how many noises us humans ignore, but how many we notice now that jones notices everything!

Jones Camping August 2014

Jones Hiking August 2014

happy trails and wagging tails to you, my friend! aren’t i clever? haha

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