Hitting the great outdoors on a doggie camping trip is a great idea… in theory! But what if the dog keeps everyone awake all night, barks endlessly at a field full of strangers, and runs off at the first whiff of someone else’s barbecue?
The fact is, some dogs are born campers, while others tend to get frustrated or freaked out. Our ten dog camping tips should help you find the right pitch for you and your canine companions.
1. Think about your dog’s personality.
A chilled-out dog who enjoys lying down after a walk just as much as he enjoys the walk itself will probably love camping. So will a sociable hound who likes meeting other dogs and new people. On the other hand, a skittish, nervous or aggressive hound will find it all a bit stressful. That doesn’t mean you can’t go camping with a less sociable dog. If he’s always aggressive to strangers, it’s best to forget it; but otherwise you just need to do your campsite homework. Somewhere small and quiet might work better than a busy camping village at the height of the season.
Having said that, many well-trained dogs are able to tolerate the hustle and bustle, as long as they also have the opportunity to get away from it all on regular walks.
2. Research the camp sites before setting out.
Lots of places do not allow dogs on site, and many more have a ‘Dogs on leads at all times’ policy. The ones that do encourage dogs tend to be very proud of the fact, boasting of their dog-friendly facilities. The non-dog-friendly ones outnumber the others, so do your homework.
3. Take all the dog accessories with you.
You’ll need food and water bowls – including light, portable dog bowls and water bottles for hikes and day trips – food, leads, harnesses and muzzles, poo bags, beds, towels, favourite toys, tick- and flea-collars, tick-removers, and anything else that will ensure a trouble-free trip. You might want to consider a light-up dog collar too, for those dark nights.
4. Don’t forget the dog ID.
In case of emergencies, or AWOL dogs, you should have all your pet’s details on a dog ID tag, or printed out (and laminated, ideally – wet camping trips can soon make slips of paper illegible). This includes vet’s notes and vaccination record, and contact info. Your dog’s microchip records need to be up-to-date too.
5. Settle in.
After the journey, before doing anything else, let your dog acclimatise. He’ll need a wee and will enjoy a good, long walk around the immediate area to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of his new surroundings.
6. Keep your dog under control.
You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder every other second to make sure your dog isn’t making a nuisance of himself in the shower block or attacking the neighbours’ sandwiches. Unless your pet is very well-trained indeed you’ll need to put him on a lead – a long one, if space allows – tied to a ground spike or tree. That way he can nose around without sneaking off while you’re not looking. You could also take a travel dog crate with you, if your pet has been crate-trained. Doggie tents are available too.
7. Clean up.
Take poo bags to dispose of your dog’s trips to the toilet. Remove all food bowls and dog toys after they’ve been used, to prevent other dogs sniffing around and potentially leading to doggie disagreements.
8. Discourage the woofing.
If your dog is barking, distract him or move him somewhere else to take his mind off whatever has been winding him up. A walk is ideal. Remember that children and many other people on campsites go to bed early, so impose an 8 o’clock woofing curfew. This may involve taking the dog into the tent or crate and encouraging him to settle down for the night.
9. Go easy on the snacks.
It can be tempting to feed your dog lots of picnic and barbecue leftovers, or to overdo the treats due to his good behaviour in strange surroundings. Too much food can upset a dog’s stomach, which means nasty doggy smells at best, and runny poos at worst. Limit Fido to his usual food, with just the occasional treat – and make sure he doesn’t make lots of new ‘best friends’ on the campsite based on the fact that they feed him their leftovers!
10. Enjoy yourselves!
A simple but vital point. Treat the trip as a holiday rather than a trial. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your dog will be.
Once your dog has caught the camping bug, he’ll relish the trips every bit as much as you do. And those happy family holidays with the dog become cherished memories when you look back over days gone by.
This entry was posted in Dogs on October 28th, 2019 by linnearask
Budgies make wonderful pets. Not only will their beautiful plumage brighten up any room, they are also very intelligent and sociable, and will develop strong bonds with their owners. Like with all pets however, they come with responsibilities, and it is now your job to make sure they stay healthy and happy. Here are the most important things to think about if you’re new to budgie keeping:
FOOD AND WATER
Try giving your budgies the nutritional equivalent of what they would eat in the wild. The basis of their diet should be a good quality seed mix, and they should always have access to water and a cuttlefish bone. Leafy greens and herbs provide vitamins and minerals, and can be given a few times a week. Only feed your budgie fruits once a week, as they are high in sugar. Food and water containers must be refilled every day, and washed a few times a week.
Twice a year your budgies will moult, and their plumage will gradually fall out and grow back. To help them keep healthy during this time it’s important that the budgies get extra moulting vitamins in their water.
Like most pets, budgies prefer clear routines in their lives. Try feeding and letting them out of the cage around the same time every day, and if you want to put a cover over the cage at night time, it’s best to do this every day. This way the budgies will know what’s happening around them and feel comfortable in your presence, which will minimise stress and anxiety.
Budgies are very sociable creatures, and it’s always best to keep them as a pair, preferably two siblings of the same sex who are used to living together. If you just want one budgie, you will need to act as its friend and companion, and spend a lot of time together with your pet.
Most budgies like to bathe. In the wild the main purpose of the bath would be to clear dust and sand from their feathers and to cool off, and even if your budgies probably won’t have these daily requirements, they will enjoy splashing around in the water. You don’t have to have a bath in the cage, instead you can put a bowl of water somewhere in the room where the budgies are flying, but if you do it’s important to change the water as soon as it gets dirty. If your pet doesn’t seem interested, an alternative to bath time is a budgie shower. Hang some wet leaves (lettuce, basil and parsley are favourites) in the cage, and watch your budgie run through them.
The budgies should be offered the opportunity to fly freely (but supervised) outside the cage every day, at least 45 minutes, but ideally a few hours. Make sure the room is budgie proofed before your let your pets out. Close windows and doors, block off fireplaces, turn off fans and air conditioners and keep other pets out of the room. Budgies are intelligent, very sociable and active birds who will enjoy spending time with you and the rest of the family.
Check the cage weekly to see that everything is in place and nothing has broken. Perches must be kept clean and fully functioning. Toys are great for mental stimulation, they encourage physical exercise and wear the beak down. Change the toys every now and then to keep your budgie interested. You don’t have to buy new toys all the time, but rotate the ones you’ve got regularly and throw in a new one every now and again.
Budgies’ beaks and nails grow constantly throughout their lives, so it is important that they have access to toys to grind them down. In most cases you will have to trim the nails when they get too long, so make sure to purchase a pair of clippers suited for the task.
Budgies, like other pack animals, are very good at hiding pain and illness, so it’s important to give your pet regular health checks. When you get to know your budgie, it’ll be easier to spot irregular behaviours.
Normal signs of illness include changes in weight, discoloured feathers, reduced interaction with humans and toys, scabby nostrils and missing feathers around the eyes. Another way of spotting early signs of illness is to regularly check your budgie’s droppings. The disposable paper liners in the Geo bird cage makes it easy to monitor your pet’s health. When you do your weekly clean, check the amount, colour and texture of the droppings. They can vary somewhat depending on what your budgie has been eating, but all faeces should be firm, and the urine part transparent and clear. If you notice clear changes, or have other reasons to suspect that your budgie might be ill or in pain, contact your vet as soon as possible. Make sure to find a vet that specialises in small animals, ideally as soon as you take the budgie home, so you know who to contact if something goes wrong.
If you need more information, check out the section on budgie illnesses in our guide.
This entry was posted in Budgies on October 28th, 2019 by linnearask