When we got Hogan 10 years ago, we were so excited for our first camping trip with him! We waited until he was 6 months old. We packed up our gear, loaded the truck, put the boat on the hitch, and off we went. Only to stop in the middle of a winding road because Mr. Puppy Hogan got car sick (yikes!) Since that first trip nearly 10-years ago this summer, we’ve learned a lot about camping and boating with our furry friends.
Here are some camping and boating tips!
DON’T FEED YOUR DOG BEFORE THE DRIVE
Don’t feed your dog right before a long mountain drive; they might get car sick! Hogan taught us this valuable lesson, and Calvin has reminded us of this rule on more than one occasion.
LEASHES, COLLARS, AND DOG TAGS
Leashes, collars, and dog tags are a must! When you’re in a campground, most require dogs to be on a leash. I recommend keeping a collar, leash, and current tags on your dog(s). One time Calvin snuck out of our campsite and into the girl’s bathroom!
CRATE & COLLAR LIGHT
If you have a wanderer, you may want to bring your crate and a collar light. Because Calvin was (he’s grown out of it) a bit of a wanderer, we kept him near us at all times and brought his crate with us when he first started camping. Once he got a bit older and better about staying next to us, we purchased a small round collar light for him. When it got dark, we attached the round light (it had a blinking setting, too) on his neck. We could see him wherever he was on our campsite, including inside the tent. He’s grown out of this phase, but it was a great way to keep an eye on him.
WATCH FOR HEAT
If you’re hot, your dogs are hot. When we’re out boating, we often stop so the kids and dogs can get out and swim. Calvin and Hogan love to jump off the boat are trained to come when called. If you have a dog who does not like to swim, do your best to keep them cool. Stop on a hike, hydrate, get them wet, stay in the shade, and rest when needed.
Life vests when boating. Although Hogan and Calvin don’t need life vests because they are great swimmers, we keep life-jackets on the boat. If they are going for a long swim, will be playing in the water for an extended period, or if they are going to join the kids for a tubing ride, we put the life vests on them. Lenny, who can’t swim (but can surf, see here) always wears a vest. Here are the ones we have!
HYDRATION & FOOD
Don’t forget their food! In the rush of packing for camping, getting three kids, two adults, two dogs, a boat, and a truck ready for a week-long camping trip, we’ve forgotten dog food in the past. This means we have to stop and buy food. Trying new food while camping and boating are not ideal. Make sure your dogs stay hydrated, especially if you’re out in the, if they are getting a lot of extra exercise or if they are out on the family boat. We keep a rubber water bowl on our boat at all times.
HUMAN FOOD SCAVENGERS
Let’s face it, none of us eat the most healthy foods when out camping. That is half of the fun! Make sure you keep human food away from your dogs (and the bears). I know dogs and bears would love to have a good old fashioned s’more, but it is not the most healthy choice for a dog (I’m sure all reading know that chocolate is poisonous for our furry canine friends). Poptarts are also not the best option, although we had a bear take a Costco box of pop tarts from our bear locker and he or she ate all 45 pop tarts; and left us the wrappers.
Keep your dogs secured in your car or truck. We have a tethering system in the back of our vehicle that safely secures our dogs. You can research to see what option is safest for you. Veterinarians and professionals have varied opinions regarding safety harnesses, belts, crates, etc. Do what works for you and your family. Just keep them secure.
KNOW WHERE THE LOCAL VET IS
As you know, we experienced an emergency last year, which ultimately resulted in Calvin having his back leg amputated. Know where the nearest veterinarian office or ER clinic is located. Save the number in your phone. Do some research regarding your campsite. Snakes, spiders, etc.? Be prepared.
AND LASTLY, POOP BAGS
Make sure you clean up after your pups. Bring ample potty bags on your camping trip.
We love boating and camping with our dogs and humans. Hogan has been our boating skipper for the past ten years; we have so many beautiful memories of family time out on the lake and at our campsite! Check out this video to see what I mean!
Also, for those wondering, we have a MasterCraft boat! Find out more here.
Have you gone boating or camping with your dogs? Tell us some of your pointers below!
Hi! I’m Nik (short for Nikole) from @pointandwag. I’m a mom of three humans and three furry family members. I have two GSPs, Hogan Sandwich and Calvin T-Bone. I love to run with my German Shorthaired Pointers! Hogan is now considered a ‘senior’ dog, so I’ve had to make some running adjustments. Calvin is 4 and could probably run 100 miles. I also have a Scottish Terrier, Lenny Spaghetti, who’s a just a pup. I’ve never had a little dog but must admit, everything they say about TERRIERS is true. He’s awesome! We’re the @pointandwag crew.