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How To Keep A Dog Warm While Camping. 6 Helpful Tips

Going camping with your dog can be great fun. Dogs make great campfire companions. They are great at keeping unwanted visitors away from your campsite. If it gets too cold out you need to make sure your dog is warm enough. In many places, it can get very cold at night even when it’s hot during a summer day. You need to be prepared so that your best friend isn’t freezing all night. Here are some great tips for how to keep a dog warm while camping.

11 tips for how to keep a dog warm while camping

1 – Keep your dog dry

If your dog is wet when it cools off in the evening they aren’t going to be warm. Who wants a wet dog in their tent anyways? Don’t let your dog go swimming splashing around if there isn’t enough time for them to dry off before going to bed. Make sure you have some towels to dry off your dog if you know they will be getting wet.

2 – Cuddle up with your dog

A great way to keep your dog warm in the tent is to cuddle up with them. Most tents are pretty small, to begin with, so you won’t have much choice on this anyways. Unless you have a dog that hates you they are probably snuggling up next to you for the night in the tent. If there is more than one dog along let them sleep cuddle also. The more the merrier. Having an all night cuddle session with your dog will help keep them warm, cozy, and happy all night. See our article on the best tents for camping with dogs for more tips on picking a tent to use while camping with your dog.

3 – Get a doggie sleeping bag

Getting your dog their own sleeping bag can help keep them warm in your tent. They make lightweight dog sleeping bags for your dog. Even if your backpacking it isn’t too tough to carry along a sleeping bag for your dog. An outdoor dog bed is also a good idea to give them some more insulation to sleep on. Giving them something to cuddle up in and something comfy to lay on will make sure they are warm and happy all night.

Outrav Dog Sleeping Bag

  • COMFORT FOR YOUR PUP: Never leave your dog behind on your outdoor adventures with the Outrav dog sleeping bag. This portable dog bed will ensure your pup has a warm and cozy place to sleep during the cooler camping months.
  • WARM & WATERPROOF: Made from lightweight insulated material, this camping dog bed provides just enough warmth to keep the comfortable while sleeping on cold surfaces. The waterproof material ensures they’ll stay dry on wet ground.
  • THE IDEAL SIZE: Great for dogs of all sizes, the pet sleeping bag measures 36″ in length and 26″ in width. Great for on the go, the packable dog bed condenses down to just 15″ in height and 5.5″ in width so you can take it with you anywhere.
  • PORTABLE & LIGHTWEIGHT: Easy to carry and store, this portable dog bed for camping comes with a convenient stuff sack that packs the bed up tight so you’ll have no problem fitting it in with your other camping gear.

Cheerhunting Outdoor Dog Bed Waterproof, Washable

  • Waterproof and large size: dog mat is made of Oxford cloth, water resistant for almost all weather, water or rain drops can be easily wiped off the mat instantly; this pad is 43 inch *26 inch, large size for medium and large dogs
  • Outdoor and indoor use: perfect outdoor dog bed, suitable as a camping mat, sleeping mat for pets, traveling car mat; also perfert as an indoor dog mat, suitable for crate mat, kennel mat.
  • Durable and washable: mat is durable with refined stitching, scratch resistant and claw resistant, but not recommended for aggressive chewers; mat is washable, machine washed or hand washed
  • Packable and portable: dog bed is packable, a carry bag is in the package, mat can be easily folded and slid into the bag; bag is portable, roll up the mat, convenient for travel, camping and other outdoor activities

4 – Have your dog wear a coat

Get your dog a nice coat. A down puffy coat can keep your dog warm on the coldest of days. Make sure you spend some time getting your dog used to wearing the coat. You don’t want to find out on a cold day that your dog hates wearing it and wants nothing more than to shred it. One dog I had growing up hated wearing anything so a coat would have been a giant battle. Some dogs are perfectly happy wearing whatever you put on them.

Kuoser Cozy Waterproof Windproof Dog Winter Coat

  • Material:Filler: Polyester fiber. Material: Polyester+TC (terylene/cotton), Water Resistant Outer layer/ Soft and Warm Inner Layer
  • Design Creative: Exquisite stitching,Easy HOOK&LOOP Closure, Easily put on and take off.Comfortable belly part, Warm fleece lining
  • Features: durable, fashion, vintage, water repellent, fine in detail, lightweight, wind-proof
  • Dog Breed Range – Fits for all Small, Medium and Large Dogs Such as Teddy, Chihuahua, Beagle, Poodle, Bulldog, Schnauzer, Labrador, Golden Retriever etc.

5 – Have your dog put some shoes on

Dogs can lose a lot of heat through their paws. If it’s cold outside dog boots can help make a dog much more comfortable walking around outside. Putting boots on your dog can make snow and winter days much more tolerable to them. Make sure you spend some time getting your dog used to wearing them before you go out camping with your dog. Not all dogs like wearing things and you might need some training time to make it work.

QUMY Dog Boots Waterproof Shoes for Dogs

  • SECURE and ADJUSTABLE: Easy to put on / off. These dog shoes expands with a wide split seam opening and two adjustable and reflective velcro straps to ensure a tight fit, also make your dog safe at night.
  • RUGGED: Tough anti-slip sole of dog boots provides stability and traction, protection from sharp thorns and hot pavement.
  • QUALITY: The dog boots have a rugged sole and high quality fabrics that are then sewn together to ensure they are ready for your adventure.
  • FASHIONABLE: QUMY dog boots are with cute pet paw embroidery, paws side is the outside, soft and hand washable.

6 – Use a warm water bottle wrapped in a shirt or blanket

Take a big bottle of water and heat it up. Wrap it with a blanket and put it in your dogs bed so they have something to keep them warm until they warm their bed up. The bottle should be warm but not burning hot. If it’s uncomfortable for a human to touch and hold it then it will be too hot for a dog also. You can use a normal drinking water bottle or something larger depending on how big your dog is. Set it near the fire to warm up for a while before going to bed.

7 – A warm fleece or down blanket

A fleece or down blanket over top of you and your dog can help keep both of you warm. If you use a down blanket, spend some time training your dog so they know this blanket isn’t a toy. If you don’t you may find yourself with a destroyed blanket and a tent full of down feathers.

8 – Make sure your dog is well fed

If your dog is hungry he won’t be warm. If they are well fed they will have the extra energy they need to keep themselves warm. You should make sure your dog is well fed for several days leading up to a camping trip where it might be cold out. Give your dog a little extra food on camping days to make sure they aren’t hungry and cold.

9 – Insulate your tent so your both not cold

If you are going to be camping a lot in colder temperatures, an insulted tent is a good idea to keep your dog and you warm. If an insulated temp is a bit too far you can insulate any tent. An insulating foam pad on the ground will keep a tent much warmer than a standard tarp ground cloth. You can hang up insulation inside the tent to help keep the heat you have inside your tent. Heat rises so insulating the vent at the top of your tent can be very effective at keeping the tent warm. For more information on how to insulate a tent click here.

10 – Use a portable heater in your tent

If it’s going to be really cold outside you might consider a small heater for your tent. It can make the inside temperature of your tent much more comfortable for your dog and you. Make sure the heater you choose is indoor safe and has the necessary safety features. You want a heater with a low oxygen shutoff and one that shuts off automatically if it tips over.

Mr. Heater F232017 MH9BXRV Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater

  • 4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 225 square feet. Approved for indoor/outdoor use; clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient
  • When operating the heater at altitudes over 7,000 FT above sea level the heater may shut off.
  • Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen levels. Fuel Consumption/Burn Rate (Gal/Hr) at 4000 BTU = 0.044 Gal/Hr, at 9000 BTU = 0.099 Gal/Hr
  • Fold-down handle; swivel-out regulator; connects to propane tank (not included); Run Time (Hrs at Max BTU): 3 Hours

11 – Have your dog sleep on an Inflatable sleeping mat

Sleeping on an inflatable pad will make your dog feel much more comfortable. It will insulate your dog from the ground making them much warmer. You can carry an inflatable pad for your dog and you in your backpack. Modern designs are very quick and easy to inflate. You should put your dog’s sleeping bag and blankets down on top of the inflatable pad. This will help prevent your dog from puncturing it. Most inflatable sleeping pads are made from very durable puncture resistant material. A little extra care will make them last much longer.

POWERLIX Sleeping Pad – Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Mat

  • Rejuvenate Your Body: Our revolutionary hexagon design is made special with body mapping technology. The hexagon air cells ergonomically support all of your pressure points, giving you superior support and comfort all night long, no matter how you sleep!
  • Live Your Life to the Fullest: It’s time to plan a trip! The camp mat cannot be easier to inflate than with our inflating bag. It has a dual action, non-leak air valve, to inflate and deflate the mattress.
  • Unique Everlasting Durability: It’s the mat of all mats! The Sleeping Pad is made of durable, outdoor grade materials, such as 75D nylon. It includes thermal insulation, to keep your body warm from the cold winter ground.
  • Everything You Need for Outdoors: This exclusive item comes with a Sleeping Pad, carry bag, 2 repair kits, and an inflating bag.

dog staring back while camping

How to tell your dog is getting cold – 6 signs to watch for

Your dog will show certain behaviors when it is feeling too cold. Just like humans they aren’t comfortable and want to warm up. If you take your dog camping on a cold night watch out for the below signs. If your dog shows these behaviors you should do something to warm it up like wrapping it in a blanket. If your dog is too cold for too long it can get hyperthermia like a human.

  1. They feel cold to the touch
  2. Your dog is shivering
  3. Your dog is whimpering and trying to tell you they are cold
  4. Your dog is restless and pacing around
  5. Your dog is lethargic with no energy
  6. Your dog is looking for shelter

See this article for more information on how to tell if your dog is too cold. The below video discusses how to tell when your dog is feeling too cold.

How cold is too cold to take a dog camping

Most dogs can handle temperatures down to 45F pretty well. Below that it really depends on your dog whether they can handle it or not. Dogs with heavy coats such as Huskies can handle cold much better than dogs with thin coats such as Greyhounds. Large husky dogs with lots of body mass can handle cold better then smaller dogs with thinner builds.

Below 20F all dogs become susceptible to hypothermia. You should use caution taking them camping below 20F. Make sure you have enough blankets, sleeping bags and anything else you need to keep your dog warm enough.

For more information on how cold is too cold for your dog go here.

Can dogs get hypothermia and frostbite?

Yes, dogs can get hypothermia and frostbite. Dogs normal body temperature should be between 101-102F. Dogs show signs of hypothermia when their body temperature drops below 99F. Sings that your dog might have hypothermia include the following:

  • Shivering
  • Whining
  • They stop shivering and curl up somewhere
  • Your dogs ears, nose, and tail feel cold.

For more information on dog hypothermia go here.

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About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.

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