Who doesn’t like camping? You’re out in the great outdoors, “unplugged” from the strains and stresses of life. But sometimes, when you think about making an attempt at camping, the preparation seems almost too overwhelming.
It’s hard enough to pack up your car with the family, tents, gear and food for a weekend outing in the woods. So where do you even begin when one of your family members is a pitbull?
If you want to go camping with a dog in tow, you’ll need a lot of the same basics you might use for any other family member: food, water, shelter, gear, clothing, medicines, and proper training. Let’s take a look at these essentials and get packing!
Dog Food for Pit Bulls
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Pitbull is not a small and cute dog like Shih Tzu pomeranian mix. When it comes to dog food for your beloved pitbulls, it’s not that difficult to know what to bring along for camping. Whatever your pitbull eats at home, he can eat in the wild.
If you want your pitbull to be fit and healthy for outdoor activities, you should select a high quality dog food. Some of the top choices of dog food for pitbulls include Blue Wilderness, Orijen, Taste of the Wild, and Wellness Grain Free. These are all high in protein and are made with few fillers and additives, allowing for easier digestion and better nutrition.
In addition, if your dog is malnourished and has trouble putting on weight, you may want to supplement your beloved pitbull with a high calorie supplement. They can offer substantial calories per ounce and contain many vitamins and minerals. This will improve your pitbull’s immune system – and a strong immune system is important if you’re taking your pitbull out into the great outdoors.
Water for Pit Bulls
When you’re out in the hot sun all day, you’ll want to keep your pitbull hydrated. Fortunately, the dog gear industry has come a long way from cheap plastic dog dishes.
Waterproof, collapsible dog bowls are an excellent choice for the outdoors. They fit comfortably in your pitbull’s doggie bag, perfect for packing and on-the-go adventures.
It’s unlikely you’ll stay at your campsite when camping, so you might want to look at purchasing a hydration pack. This is similar to a camelback, if you’re familiar with hiking or biking gear, in that it’s basically a wearable waterbottle. The water is kept in a pouch or, in the pitbull’s case, a jacket, enabling them to carry their water along with them, in order to stay hydrated.
Shelter for Pit Bulls
If your pitbull isn’t well-trained, then he’ll probably be relegated to his dog crate. This can also serve as his nightly shelter when camping.
The suggested crate size for a pitbull is 30 inches. This will prevent the pitbull from feeling stifled and cramped, while allowing him to stretch out and lay flat on his side. He can also sit up fully without banging his head.
As for the dog crate material, you want something sturdy with a pitbull, as thin-wired crates may break easily or be chewed through by your pitbull. Moreover, a crate with a divider is suggested for added security.
Gear for Pit Bulls
You wouldn’t believe how much gear is out there when it comes to camping with pitbulls. To make this easier, we’ve broken our favorite camping gear items down into bullet points.
- Beds – You’re not the only one who wakes up with a kink in their back from lying on the earthen ground. Aid your pitbull’s sleep by investing in a simple foam pad. Not only does it allow for added support, but it insulates against the cold ground at night.
- Sleeping bags – Yep, your pitbull can even have his own sleeping bag. A doggie sleeping bag will make for added insulation and can be cleaned easily with a shake.
- Life jackets – You may want to take your pitbull out on the lake with you, but perhaps he hasn’t learned to doggie-paddle. Before you throw him on deck, strap on a pitbull life jacket. These flotation devices will ensure your pitbull doesn’t sink, and many are designed with a strong handle, so you can pull him out of the water when he’s gotten away from you.
- Harnesses – If your pitbull is a little wild, you’ll want to keep him harnessed, so he doesn’t attack any of your fellow campers. There are a number of harnesses specific to camping on the market. Many are made of weatherized fabrics and hardware, designed to retain function in any type of weather.
Clothing for Pit Bulls
While you may not be into dressing up your pitbull in funny clothes, camping clothing for pitbulls might just be an exception to the rule. It will keep your pitbull safe while you’re out in the environs, and you won’t have to worry about him getting cold or piercing his foot on some unexpected sharp stick or rock.
- Jackets – From rain jackets to light knit fleece jackets, fit your pitbull with the proper extra layer of protection for the weather. Some jackets available aren’t insulated and are intended for breathable waterproofing, while other fleece knit fabrics are for a little added warmth as you tell stories around the campfire.
- Coats – If you expect freezing temps while camping, you may want to invest in a coat for your pitbull. These are often much more insulated, while still providing your dog a reasonable range of motion, so he doesn’t feel trapped in his coat.
- Trekking boots – You can even strap on some doggie hiking boots for your pitbull, if you plan on taking him with you up the mountain. Not only will your pitbull look super trendy in his boots, but they offer added traction and paw protection from sharp objects on the ground.
Medicines & Bug Sprays for Pit Bulls
Just like you, your pitbull may suffer from allergies or bug bites when camping. You should be prepared to address any allergy concerns or use preventative measures to stave off the ticks and mosquitos in the outdoors.
- Skin or seasonal allergies – Your pitbull’s skin allergies can be a result of the environment, the weather or food. If you haven’t spent hundreds (or even thousands) on the doctor exam and subsequent tests run to root out the exact cause, then you’ve likely had to investigate on your own. Regardless of what induces your pit bull’s allergies, it’s important to keep his immune system strong, give him frequent baths with shampoo designed for inflamed or sensitive skin, and feed him a diet low in grain. Carbohydrates tend to create more inflammation in pit bulls prone to allergies.
- Tick remedies – Before heading on your camping trip, purchase an over-the-counter spot-on medication. This will help remedytick or flea problems if you run into either while outdoors. They can be effective against parasites fornearly a month, so you can even apply it prior to your camping trip.
- Bug spray – If you’re being ravaged by mosquitos, expect that your pitbull will be too. Purchase a bug spray specific for dogs at your local pet store. Or for a natural remedy, try lemon eucalyptus essential oil. The scent is repugnant to mosquitos and to other bugs. Just ensure that you mix the right oil-to-liquid ratio in your spray bottle.
Training for Pit Bulls
If you’re taking your pit bull out amongst people, then of course it’s essential that he’s properly trained. You don’t want a lawsuit on your hands.
Fortunately, this breed is highly intelligent, and obedience training promotes physical exercise, skill, mental stimulation, and bonding time between the pit bull and his owner. All of these things are perfect for this breed.
Train your pit bull with a non-violent, reward-based system. As these dogs aim to please, they are motivated to succeed and don’t respond to punishment as they would to reward. However, they do grow to be strong dogs, so a firm hand and consistency in training is needed to get them on the right track.
Begin with puppy socialization to train your pit bull to behave well towards other dogs, towards people, and to actively respond to your commands, starting with the basics – like come, sit, stay, etc.
Because of their strength, proper leash training is necessary. If you allow your pit bull to yank on his leash early on, then you’re in for it. So it’s important to instill and reinforce this leash behavior at an early age.
Moreover, the size and enthusiasm of your pit bull is likely to frighten your guests and other campers – especially if they aren’t dog-lovers. Again, early training as a preventative measure is better than trying to “cure” the pit bull later, once he’s already adapted the habit to jump on people. In order to train him, be clear and consistent in communicating your command and get the point across to him that jumping up is unacceptable.
If you’ve properly trained your pit bull, you can rest assured that he’ll behave in his new environs as well as he does at home. But if he’s not obedient at home, take the precautions to restrain him on your campout with a secure leash and a dog crate.
Why Are You Still Here?
In general, if you’re taking your pit bull camping, you’ll need all the same things that keep him happy at home, along with a few other specialty items that will keep him from going crazy when he hears the call of the wild. So don’t give up on a great family outing, just because you have a pit bull. Grab these items, train your dog well, get out there, unplug, and have fun!
It’s from Brenda Leary with love – CuddleYourDogs