So, what to pack for Milo for our upcoming adventure? What does he need for a fun and easy extended road trip? This list has to be short because there are serious space and weight limits in the camper. Perhaps I just need to think through Milo’s daily, weekly, and monthly routines.
Daily, Milo eats, poops, pees, trains, walks, sleeps, cuddles, plays, and hangs out with me while I work and go about my life.
Weekly, we go on a couple of walks with his dog friends and their people, have a couple of serious games of fetch, go to a class, and take a hike or swim.
Monthly, he gets tick, flea, and heartworm control meds, a bath and a brushing. The mention of meds reminds me that I need to include my doggie first aid kit. That would go in the category of things that I hope we never need.
Let’s start by thinking about the every day sorts of things:
Nourishment—Food for Milo is easy at home. I usually get meat, bone and offal from a handsome nearby butcher, pack it up into 1.5-2 pound servings, and freeze them. Every night I take a serving out of the freezer and every morning Milo enjoys a healthy, albeit grizzly, feast. The trouble is on this trip I won’t have access to the handsome butcher (sad) nor a great big freezer. So that means either prepackaged raw food, or kibble. Thankfully he has an iron stomach and is happy as long as it is full.
Excrement—I expect this will be the same as at home. The only difference is that I won’t be able to just let him out in the backyard. So that means I need to invest in some pajamas that look like regular clothes. That, and hopefully make some headway on teaching him to relieve himself on command. Lots of working dogs are taught this. It would not be cool, for example, if the beagle searching for contraband at the airport left a steaming pile-o-poo in passport control. But as far as I can tell, the only reliable way to get Milo to poop is to have someone on the street tell me that he is a very handsome dog. Maybe I’ll just record my friends saying “handsome dog” and I can play a randomly selected version back as needed.
Training, walking, sleeping, and cuddling—These will all be the same. I just need to pack a bed and crate for him, and of course his leashes, collars, treats, and toys. Well, not all the toys. Milo is NOT spoiled, but some might call him indulged, particularly when it comes to toys. I think that for this trip he just needs one to tug, one to chase, one to cuddle, and one to disembowel. That last one will, of course, need to be replaced regularly.
Playing—We won’t have access to a yard, and I won’t take him to public dog parks. So that means I need to bring a long line for him to wear while we are goofing around. I usually keep a couple of these in the truck anyway, and so I just need to remember not to take them out.
Hanging out with me while I work and go about my life—He really is with me pretty much all the time that I’m not at work. This won’t be a problem in the camper. He is good
company when I’m cooking, studying, reading, writing, or knitting. But what about sitting by the fire or eating at a picnic table in a campground? You might think that the answer to this is a tie out. But, that would underestimating Milo’s capacity to wreak havoc. I tried it, once. He nearly strangled me with the line (several times), dragged the line through the fire, and finally broke the line while trying to say hello to a cyclist. Tying him out (aside from being a very bad idea for dogs in general) would still require my constant attention, which defeats the purpose. The other possibility is an Exercise Pen, or X-Pen. Picture a German Shepherd sized playpen and you get the basic idea. So, that’s one more thing to research and buy for this trip. And they say that traveling with kids is a pain in the neck. At least you don’t have to worry about them chasing bears or bicycles.
Checklist of everyday things
- Food bowl
- Water bowl
- Poop bags
- Travel crate
- 6 foot
- 10 foot
- 25 foot
Am I forgetting anything?
This post is part of a series on packing for your dog.