Pups With Tents: Hot Dogs And Campfire Safety
A day spend trekking in the outdoors isn’t complete without a campfire. And unless you’re roasting wieners, campfires and dogs shouldn’t mix! Kevin Roberts offers his fire safety tips when you’re camping with your dogs.
There is something about the great outdoors that really makes me hungry. Perhaps it’s all that fresh air, or memories of sticky s’mores enjoyed during childhood. Whatever it is, my favorite meals are the ones cooked over the campfire. Because I always camp with my dogs, meal time presents some challenges. There’s food, open fire and dogs – and this is not a combination that you want to lose control of.
I’ve been around the campfire for many years, and as such, have a few things to consider when cooking on a fire with your dogs around:
- The fire pit itself, whether made of metal or rocks, will hold heat for a long time after the fire has burned down. Keep your dogs away from the fire pit, even when there’s no fire lighted. Before you even light the fire, teach your dog to stay away. When we arrive at a site, if the dogs show any interest in the fire pit, I correct them, and give them a place to settle and stay, well away from the pit.
- Sticks – a temptation that’s too great for some dogs to leave alone. This can be a bit of a problem if you are collecting wood for a fire. A neatly stacked pile of firewood and kindling is a great way to avoid tripping over a stray branch, but for some dogs a pile of sticks is just too tempting! Train your dog to leave the firewood pile alone.
- Put your axe away. It’s the lazy camper who, when finished with the axe, leaves it in a stump. A stump is at eye level for many dogs, so put your axe away as soon as you are done to avoid any mishaps.
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- Once the fire is burning, make sure your dog is far enough away from the flames and is sitting upwind, so wayward sparks and smoke won’t bother him. I once saw a family whose dog had been tethered near a fire, and a wayward spark landed on the leash, which slowly belted and burned! The dog was fine, but the leash ended up being a lot shorter.
- Even if it’s not your fire pit and you’re camping in the area, be sure to keep your dog out of it. Lazy campers often throw glass, tinfoil or bones into the fire pit. Parts of these are burned and they hide with the ash and debris left behind. Burned bones and bits of charred food are too tempting for many dogs, but aren’t safe.
- When I have a campfire with my dogs, I never share food with them. Simply, I don’t want to create the expectation that any of the food or utensils are for sharing. At home, I will happily drop them a piece of chicken, or toss some kale in their food. But around a campfire, where things aren’t as controlled, I simply don’t them even thinking that they can have any of the food.