Monday, October 22, 2012

Tips & Tricks #3: Camping is for the Dogs!

Because he might lick you to death.

By now, I'm sure you've figured out, we love camping - with our Pup.  I won't say it hasn't been challenging - from having to plan for his meals (he's on a raw diet) and all the looks you get from people who mistakenly think that he's aggressive, and having to figure out what to do with him while you're trying to set up and break down (come to find out - he likes to curl up in the driver's seat... and occasionally honk the horn!)  It can be tryinga t times, but I think any dog owner will tell you that the love and loyalty that a dog gives makes all the extra work worth while.

So, a few things that we do, or bring, to make the dog days of camping a bit more fun:

Notice the reflective collar - it's the first thing I grab out of the camper, as we're heading out, and change Diesel into.  Not only is it reflective, it's bright orange, and even lights up with a detachable rechargeable battery pack.  I was looking for something with high visibility for our deer-like dog while camping.  There's no mistaking him for wildlife when he's got his camping necklace on!

Attached to the collar are his dog tags - one that has all of his important, constant info engraved on it (name, our phone number, his rabies tag number, Harris Co. licence number, microchip and vet phone numbers) and another tag that is temporary. It has our check-in and -out dates on one side and the camp site number on the other.  I use a permanent marker and the metal-ringed paper tags (find them at the office supply store).  They've lasted through rain, dirt, and some chewing.  Good enough for a weekend trip - in case he gets loose, I want people to very quickly be able to return him to us.

And hopefully, we won't ever have to worry about him getting loose, because we use a trolley system to keep him in the campsite.  The red steel cable in the pic above attaches to another steel cable that runs between two posts we drive into the ground (or in this case, one post and one perfectly placed tree).  The trolley gives him the ability to have some space to roam around in, but be securely within the boundaries of our site.  Keep in mind, different campgrounds have different rules about dogs-on-leash and driving posts in the ground.  Most TX State Parks require no more than a 6' lead, but we've not had any problem with this system.  We make sure Diesel is well inside the boundaries of our site - and that there's plenty of space between him and the road.

Once inside the camper, we use a collapsible crate.  Diesel is crate trained at home, so he's very comfortable going in and laying down in his 'house.'  We bring the same blankets that he has in his crate at home so they smell like him and are familiar.  One gets placed over the top of the crate to make a 'cave' and the other is tossed inside for him to lay on - he's happy as can be to just lie in there and sleep.  This crate lives in the camper, folded down compactly and on the bunk end.  Since we don't need the extra bunk for sleeping and we use it for storage while we camp - it's become Diesel's bunk at this point, too!

We carry a box that's specifically for Diesel stuff - and this one goes with us on trips that aren't just camping trips, so it doesn't stay in the camper.  Let's see, there's a set of bowls, the trolley system I was talking about earlier, a small bottle of dog shampoo, some of his favorite treats (freeze dried salmon), the markers and tags from earlier, spare poop bags, a training snap (in the bowl), a spare leash, harness, and collar, and his dogie first aid kit (small white bag).  It contains the following:
  • Instant ice pack
  • Two sizes of sterile pads
  • Tape (same stuff the vet gives us to post his ears)
  • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Fine point sharp scissors
  • Quick Blood Stopper (styptic powder)
  • Q-tips
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Benedryl (1mg/10lbs)
  • Ace bandage (in case we need to muzzle him)
It was also suggested that we take along a pair of pliers (in case of encounters with a porcupine or cactus) which we already have in the tool set in the camper, and also hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting) and I've got that in my Poison Ivy First Aid Kit.

So, that's our Diesel dog stuff.  Any other suggestions?

Diesel telling me how much he
 looooves to go camping!


  1. Brilliant! (That's my daughter!)

  2. We also feed our pack raw. I've found that taking the 5lb chubs of tripe are easiest on us. We take one semi-defrosted 5lb'r in gallon ziploc bags, then put 1 or 2 chubs under a chuck of dry ice, depending on how long we're out. Works great! Some freeze dried treats and joint chewables, plus a rawhide here and there, and the pups are happy to eat AND just BE there! :)

    RotnMom on the PopUpPortal

  3. Great ideas! I love the idea of the paper tags and will be adding that one to our camper when I get it home for prep this weekend. We too feed raw, and our trick is to portion into baggies or reusable containers (depends on my mood at the time) and then toss completely frozen meals into a cooler. They thaw enough for eating by the next meal time and those meals on the bottom of the cooler stay frozen longer depending on the quantity of food, and length of stay.

  4. Where did you get the collar? Is there a brand or item name I can Google? Thanks!

    1. It's been so long, I don't remember. I want to say it was in the pet section of Gander Mountain.

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