Thinking of taking your dog winter camping with you? Here are some recent suggestions of items to bring and suggestions to make the experience more pleasant for you and your pet.
A back pack doubles as a harness which gives control on a leash. The bag should be large enough for your dog’s frame and large enough capacity to carry the food needed for your longest journey. Some dog packs have pouches with zippers that allow for contraction as the food load gets smaller or for shorter hikes with less gear. It is a good idea to practice with a light pack and gradually increase the number and weight of items in the pack. To fit and load the pack adjust the harness on your dog so it’s snug but won’t chafe. You should be able to fit two fingers under it. The total load shouldn’t exceed one-third of your dog’s body weight. Make sure both sides are weighted equally. Consider the following items for the dog pack:
- A small multi-tool should be considered. Although you may never have to pull quills out, it serves many functions.
- A small foam pad for sleeping and/or a wool blanket in cold weather. You may choose to have your dog sleep in your tent so you don’t have to worry about interaction with other critters.
- Bring a camp towel and/or brush to clean and dry dogs thoroughly before letting them in your tent. A brush is useful for getting out burdock or clumps of snow.
- Imodium. The veterinary recommended taking small Imodium tablets in case of stomach issues from water, food, cramping, etc.
- A rope and/or leash. If you encounter a porcupine you will want to have absolute control of your dog.
Do not change his basic diet. Extra milk bones or other snacks for nutrition are appropriate for snack breaks. One or two collapsible bowls for food and water.
Foot care. Trim your dogs toenails pre-trip to prevent rips in your tent floor. To help minimize snow clumping on your dog’s paws trim the long hair between the pads. Consider teaching your dog to accept wearing booties or try applying a dollop of Musher’s Secret, Bag Balm or Vaseline on the paws before venturing in the snow.
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