We just got back from a short camping trip with our dog, Bear, and it was his first camping trip. We decided to take him with us, since we were only going to be an hour away from home. We figured, if we had any problems with him, it would be easy for me to bring him home mid-trip, then I could return for the remainder of the trip without him. But, he actually did quite well.
We are now planning another longer trip with Bear, so I would like to get some tips/tricks from you veteran campers that take your dogs with you. Obviously, everything is dependent upon the nature and personality of your animal, so what works for one dog might not work for another, but I think this would be a great place to share what works for you, so the rest of us can get some ideas of things to try.
Here are some specific questions/concerns we have:
- We found that Bear wouldn't eat much during our trip. He wouldn't touch his dry food at all (which he normally loves at home), and he would only eat a little bit of canned food. We spoke with several people who say they also have the same problem, so it seems this is a fairly common problem due to change in routine and surroundings. Obviously, like Clyde kept telling me, "When he gets hungry enough, he'll eat." On our next trip, I plan to take some hot dogs and other "people" food to mix in with his regular food as extra motivation for him to eat, since that seemed to help on our last trip. I'm also going to take more canned food than dry food. Any other ideas or suggestions?
- Bear did really well sleeping in the Paha Que 10 x 10 screened room, but for those single overnight stops where we don't want to hassle putting up the screened room, I'm not sure where Bear will sleep (even though we have the 6-wide Little Guy with the king size bed, I'm not sure Clyde will welcome Bear into the trailer with us). :-) I saw in another thread that LeaAnn has a kid's tent that her dog sleeps in. Did you do anything special to get him used to staying in that tent, or did your dog just take to it naturally?
- Do most campgrounds require your animal to be in a tent or trailer at night? If your dog sleeps outside, do you have problems with your dog barking at or trying to chase all of the "critters" that come out in the middle of the night?
- We were totally unprepared for keeping Bear tied up in the campground. Fortunately, I had grabbed three leashes before we left, which we connected together and clipped to a bungee cord we had attached to the picnic table. Any suggestions/recommendations for a good cable/tie down system that gives your dog enough room to roam, but still meets campground requirements? Most campgrounds I've looked at say the dog must be on a 6' leash maximum. I'm assuming this means when you're walking the dog, not necessarily when you're in your camp site? I would think you could give them more space at your camp site, bearing in mind the surroundings so they don't choke themselves or get tangled up, and making sure they don't have the ability to run out into the road or other public areas, right?
- Have you found that a harness works better than a collar? Bear managed to escape from his collar once during our trip, so at the very least, I know I need to get him a better fitting collar. :-)
- When walking Bear through the campground, I found that carrying a small folding camp shovel and a plastic grocery bag worked pretty well for cleaning up after him, but the small shovel was a little heavy. Any other suggestions?
- Any other suggestions or tips on making the camping experience more enjoyable/less stressful for pets?
- Has anyone tried taking any other pets besides your dog camping (ie cats, birds, etc.)?
Thanks to everyone for your help!
Linda and Clyde