This great guest post is courtesy of Lucy Postins, co-founder of The Honest Kitchen, which develops natural dog foods, cat foods, treats and supplements that are made only from 100% human-grade ingredients.
By Lucy Postins
Call ahead to be sure you won’t be turned away when you arrive, and check all regulations, (such as size of dog, requirements for containment or leash restraint). It might sound unnecessary, but many parks and campgrounds that are listed as pet-friendly actually have pretty stringent restrictions about where your dog can go. Some campgrounds actually go above and beyond to make sure your pup has a fabulous time on the trip – but regulations still apply.
Make sure you understand the leash laws. Most national parks allow dogs at campgrounds, but require that they are tethered or on a leash at all times. Some pets are fine with this and the squirrels certainly appreciate it, but many dogs can become quite frantic at all the wonderful sights and sounds of the big outdoors, and this can create a stressful situation for everyone if they struggle to settle down and can’t have a good run to blow away the excess energy. Keep in mind that in many areas, dogs are not allowed on hiking trails at all – even if they’re leashed!
Set up your site to be as pet friendly as possible – a shady spot for your dog’s bed or blanket (consider a specially designed camping dog bed that’s resistant to wear and tear) that’s far enough away from food supplies and dangerous food prep items is a must. A longer leash with convenient attachments is great for helping to give your dog a little freedom while secured, without the risk of escape. Make sure you’re comfortable too – a great chair can make a world of difference in your own camping experience!
Be sure to observe proper outdoors etiquette when meeting other dogs. Your dog may or may not be accustomed to meeting new dogs; even if he is friendly and calm, be aware that not all dogs are created equal, and others may be less comfortable in new situations. Don’t let your dog bound up to others especially if they’re on-leash, and don’t allow nose-to nose greetings unless you’re very comfortable that your dog has impeccable manners, and you’ve first checked with the other owner if it’s OK for them to say hello.
Don’t forget some supplies to help repel unwanted insects, and soothe any bites or sore paws. In addition to all the fun and games, being out in the fresh air can make your pooch (and you) more susceptible to some of nature’s less pleasant factors like rough, hot terrain and mosquitoes.
Kibble can be very bulky to travel with and cans are extremely heavy because you’re hauling around a lot of water weight; consider a more travel friendly food option like freeze dried or dehydrated food, which is compact and lightweight but provides a healthy high-moisture meal when prepared with warm water. (Dehydrated food can expand to four times its original size and weight when hydrated, so it makes a very satisfying meal for hungry pups who’ve been busy in the fresh air all day).
Make some snacks ahead of time and bring them along for your pup to enjoy. See below for a couple fun recipe options!
Take along some pet waste bags to make sure that paw prints are all you leave behind. Poopbags.com makes a great, biodegradable bag that will decompose along you the waste.
Take a toy. A Frisbee or tennis ball can make for a wonderful pre-picnic game for everyone. An interactive puzzle toy loaded with small treats like Quickies, can help to keep your pup occupied for a prolonged amount of time, while the humans enjoy a leisurely lunch.
Have your dog participate more fully, by carrying his own gear to the picnic. A backpack from Ruffwear will be roomy enough to include his own small blanket, travel bowls and water.
Snack Recipe Ideas:
These delicious mini cakes will be sure to make the summer days extra special for your pup and his/her friends!
2 packets Pro Bloom™ instant goat’s milk
1 cup Force™ dehydrated dog food
¼ cup fresh blueberries
2 large free range eggs
3 tbsp honey
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
Optional: 1 packet cream cheese and additional berries for decorating
You’ll also need a 12 count cupcake pan and 12 cupcake liners.
What to do:
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Insert a cupcake paper into each spot of the pan.
In a bowl, combine the contents of the two Pro Bloom packets with the Force and blueberries.
In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, honey and applesauce, and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon. The blueberries will break apart slightly.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir.
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases.
Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 10 minutes and carefully remove from the pan.
Optional: using a knife, spread a small amount of cream cheese into the top of each cupcake and decorate with a couple of blueberries.
These savory treats are unbelievably simple to prepare!
2 cups Honest Kitchen Keen™ dehydrated dog food
2 cups warm water
½ cup cream cheese (room temperature)
½ cup fresh raw ground turkey
¼ cup grated raw zucchini
2 free range eggs
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9” square, deep baking pan
Hydrate the Keen with the warm water in a large mixing bowl and stir thoroughly.
Add in the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly to form a thick ”batter.”
Bake at 350°F for about 25 minutes or until slightly crispy on the top.
Cool thoroughly and slice into individual bars before serving.
You can store picnic bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.