Camping With Your Dog

Camping With Your Dog

Enjoying the great outdoors and camping is one of BC’s best outdoor activities. Out here, we have the privilege of living in the close proximities to so many trails, Provincial parks and shoreline. Most likely, wherever you are in BC you are withing an hour’s drive to great camping sites and trails. Most of us want to enjoy our camping trips with our dogs. Let’s face it, they love being outside and we want them with us all the time. Some things to consider when camping with your dog are the following. If you cannot say yes to all these below, then you may want to reconsider your trip.

  • Is my pet fit and healthy, and up for travelling?
  • Does the campground allow pets?
  • Will my dog be comfortable or will camping cause anxiety?

Keeping your dog safe from wildlife.

The biggest hazard with dogs and camping is the potential for wildlife encounters. Pets are generally wildlife attractants therefore its important to have them leashed or have a very strong recall to get them under control.

Consider teaching your dog the emergency call back. It’s basically a “come here now, I mean it!” call. Dogs in the outback need to understand that this recall is a must. If you cannot recall your dog, then makes sure your dog is always leashed.

Check with the park authorities if you are at a provincial/national park and ask about recent wildlife sightings. If you are camping in Spring know that wildlife is most active around this time, they are either waking up from a long hibernation and/or looking for mates. Bear bells are great tools to announce that you and your dog are approaching and allowing wildlife to flee.

Pet Restrictions on Trails and Beaches

It’s always best to check ahead of time whether dogs are allowed on certain trails. For example, Alice Lake allows dogs within the campgrounds, but dogs are not allowed in the public beaches or picnic areas. The dogs are allowed in the surrounding trails but limited in other public spaces. The Sea to Sky Gondola allows dogs up top but they are not allowed to upload. You will have to trek up with your dog and then purchase a download ticket to come down. Once up top there is a dog friendly area to leash up your dog.

Our recommendation is to investigate these things ahead of time. Also, as part of your research, review the rules and make sure you know the leash laws for the campground—most pet-friendly campgrounds require your dog or cat always stay on a 6-foot leash.

The Raw Diet and Camping

A common question is “how do I keep with my dog’s raw diet while camping?” If it is at all possible to bring a cooler packed with ice or one that can be plugged in this may be a convenient way to store raw food. But if you are going into the back country for a long trip and where there are no electrical hook ups you may want to change your dog’s usual raw blend to a comparable food. Also using ice and cooler may not get the safest way to keep your dog’s food from the heat of the summer.

A safe, lighter and more convenient way to keep on a raw diet while camping is to feed your dog dehydrated, air dried or freeze dried raw food. These types of food retain the same qualities of raw food but have undergone a slightly different manufacturing process. Not only are these foods completely balanced, but you also don’t have to pack a lot because they are very calorie dense. This means you don’t have to feed your dog as much and it won’t take up space in your gear. Similar to the raw diet they are usually grain free and have very little added to them.

Great options are a Canadian dehydrated raw brand call Smack. We like it because it is made with only highly nutritious organic and non- GMO ingredients. A 50-pound dog needs only 1 1/4 cup to 2 cups a day. And if you are doing lots of activities you can easily add water to this food to ensure your dog is staying completed hydrated through your camping trip. If you are leaning towards a freeze-dried food then Acana Freeze-Dried or Open Farm Freeze-Dried are great options. Both are minimally processed in a convenient freeze-dried raw format with at least 85% protein, organs and bones. Air Dried foods, such as Ziwi Peak are gently dried to protect the nutrients and integrity of the food. All these alternatives (air dried, dehydrated, and freeze-dried) contain more nutrients than fresh food, because the freezing process helps to preserve them better. They are also a lot denser in calories and generally have a higher percentage of protein and fat compared to kibble because the drying process removes water and concentrate the protein and fat. Which ever you go with you cannot really choose wrong it just depends on your preference.

Key Rules to Remember while camping with your dog.

  • Don’t leave your pet unattended at your campground
  • Ensure your pet is secured when traveling
  • Don’t leave your pet in a parked car in warm weather
  • Keep them leashed on trails and in campgrounds
  • Clean up after your pet
  • Respect other dogs in the campground

Don’t Forget to Pack the Essentials!

  • Water bowl (preferably no spill) and water
  • Collapsible water bowl for long hikes
  • Food enough for the trip plus one extra day’s worth
  • Treats for the trails and bones for campfire gatherings
  • An extra long leash for camp or a tie out/ collapsible fence area
  • Poo Bags – don’t be that guy!
  • Medication
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Collar / Harness / Leash (biothane is best – non stinky and waterproof)
  • Their bed / blanket
  • ID Tags
  • Bear Bell
  • Emergency Vet Care Contact Information
  • If you are going to wash your dog while on vacation, make sure you use earth friendly biodegradable shampoo.

Happy Camping.

A Healthy Dog gut

A Healthy Dog gut

Gut Health, probiotics, and poop. The not so glamourous side of dog ownership.
Most of our conversations at Peaks is focused on dog food and a common question is “how will I know if the new food is good for my dog?” And almost 100% of the time this conversation will end up with discussion about your dog’s poop. Yup, we went there. You don’t know how many times we talk about poop in detail at our shop. Nothing is off the table at Peaks.

Truth be told the poop tells a lot about your dog’s health. What does it look like? Is it runny, firm, large, small, too soft, too hard? Does your dog have diarrhea or is your dog constipated? Your dog’s poop is a vital indicator of your dog’s gut health. So really once your switch your pups food, keep an eye on how the poop changes. Poop should be firm and occur on a regular basis, once after each meal period. If it is anything drastically different, then your dog may not be reaping the best from its food. Sometimes it can be a food intolerance, but often it could be your dog’s gut health.

Probiotics – what are they really?

It makes sense to touch on gut health and probiotics when we are talking about watching poop once you change your dog’s food. Probiotics have recently become popular, but what are we really adding when we give our dogs probiotics? Probiotics are live bacteria that live in the stomach, intestines, and colon. They are considered “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your dog’s gut healthy. Probiotics are the happy bacteria that help to digest food.  In short probiotics normalize the conditions in the intestines by changing the local acidity of the digestive tract. It only makes sense that if you change what your dog eats the environment in your pup’s gut changes too. Adding probiotics will help get your dog’s insides back to its regular balance much quicker when introducing new foods.

Not only do probiotics help the digestion of foods they also are a beneficial influence on our dog’s health. How? The microbiomes that live in your dog’s intestines have a big influence on their immune system, defense against intestinal pathogens, and provision of vitamins and nutrients. For example, dietary carbohydrates are fermented by bacteria into usable energy for cells. And studies have proven that the biproduct produced by the bacteria regulate intestinal motility and possess anti-inflammatory properties. Also, it has been found that good bacteria help combat bad ones such as salmonella.

With all this talk about good gut health we should talk about what can cause a dog to have poor gut health? A diet high in processed foods, fillers, and processed grains. Stress, antibiotics, corticosteroids could all lead to a gut imbalance. The destruction of the good bacteria in the intestinal tract can give the bad bacteria the chance to take over and this can lead to nutrients not being absorbed by the gut and thus leading to irregular poops or diarrhea. Something this can also lead to Leaky Gut. So best to feed your dog a diet that is natural and easily digestible and limit the amount of human food you give to your dog. At the end of the day, we do our best for our dogs and just reading the list of ingredients and understanding what you are feeding your dog will go a long way. If you ever need help in understanding what you are feeing your dog, we invite to you come by for visit.

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

In case you missed it we rebranded and changed our name. What is the meaning of our new name? Peaks Family Pets represents our deep connection to the Squamish community and our commitment to treating every pet and pet owner like family.

Why the change?  When Brent and I bought the shop, everyone asked if we were going to change the name. We weren’t sure at the time.  All we knew was that were going to be a part of a great community and be immersed in our passion. We love pets and want the best for them. We wanted to support other local businesses that believe in local too, and the action of buying a simple bag of dog food can help build connections and community. What we didn’t realize was how much the community was going to affect us. We have celebrated new family members with you, we shed tears when some have crossed over the rainbow bridge, and we have shared and laughed at some of the best pet stories. We truly believe that we are not just a place to get pet supplies, we are a family that looks out for other families here. We care about what is going on your lives and feel privileged to be doing what we do. And so, when it came to choosing our new name, we knew it had to be a name that reflects and represents how important your pets are to us all in the beautiful setting in which we call home.

The story of Peaks Family Pets didn’t begin with O’Brien’s Pet Foods and Supplies. The pet shop dates all the way back to 1988. The store was originally called Squamish Pet Foods and Supplies and was located downtown on Cleveland. Back then the town was half the size and if you were to visit the shop then you would have seen more horse and farm animal feed than dog food. Over the years, as pets transitioned from working animals to members of our family, we started to pay more attention to what we feed them. Over the years we have educated ourselves in what quality pet food should be, what we should avoid feeding our pets and we have learned about which dog and pet supplements to further improve their lives. What you see in our warehouse today, is Squamish’s largest variety of raw dog and a raw cat food, healthy dry dog and cat food and the best quality treats for our fluffy loved ones. We also have great have great options for fish supplies, reptile supplies and small animal food and treats.

From long-time customers to new faces, we invite you to join us in this new chapter as a part of the Peaks community. Thank you, Squamish, for your continued support over the years, we wouldn’t be here without you!

Sierra, Teresa, Lin, Brent and Princess