Camping with your dog can improve the whole experience, especially for us camping lovers. But our furry friends need to be as warm as we are, especially in winter.
Whether you're looking for an easy hike in the mountains or a full winter camping trip, here are some tips I've put together to keep your dog warm while camping.
what do you need
your dog (of course)
an extra thermos
Shirt or thermos sleeve: A thermos sleeve may provide better insulation and keep you warm longer, but a shirt will work in a pinch if you don't have one.
a dog sleeping bag
a dog coat
A cold weather tent (if you're camping in the winter)
keep your dog warm
Winterize your tent (if it's winter)
Tent in the Winter Forest I talked a little bit about keeping your tent warm in my previous guide. The basic principle of tent freezing is that you need to be as insulated as possible. For a more detailed step-by-step guide, check out my full post here.
A winter tent is just as important to your dog as it is to you. During the winter months, you need to keep your dog as warm as possible, especially at night. The best way is to insulate your tent by freezing it out.
buy a dog sleeping bag
A dog rests in a sleeping bag in front of a canoe at a campsite.
If your dog sleeps alone, he needs his own sleeping bag. There are a wide variety of dog sleeping bags on the market today, so take your time to choose the best one for your dog.
When choosing a sleeping bag for your dog, you should find something that covers your dog on all sides for added warmth. Size also matters. You don't want something too small, something too large will add unnecessary weight to your luggage.
Durability, thickness and water-resistance are also important. If you regularly camp in wet conditions, then you need something more durable and waterproof.
A sleeping bag keeps your dog insulated at night and uses his own body temperature to warm up - just like you.
Make sure to keep your sleeping bag clean and dry throughout the trip.
Put down sleeping pads and blankets.
The low key image of a dog resting by the campfire at dusk. Camping, hiking, vacation with pets in the forest, active outdoor recreation
Prepare sleeping pads and blankets for your dog wherever he's going to sleep.
One of the biggest ways we (and our companions) dissipate heat at night is through the floor, so it's important to establish some subbing for your dog. Sleeping pads and some blankets are perfect because they are thick and insulating.
A blanket your dog knows can come in handy, as the familiar texture and smell will help him feel at home and know where to sleep. Stack the blankets as high as possible.
We recommend our OneLoft alternative duvet.
Just like sleeping bags, make sure they stay clean and dry.
buy a puppy coat
If you need layers, so should your dog. Determining when your dog needs a shift and when it doesn't can be a bit difficult, but it usually depends on his breed and knowing your dog's needs and behaviours will make it a lot easier.
There are many dog sweaters, sweatshirts and jackets on the market these days, so be sure to choose the one that fits their needs.
Camping in the winter requires a thicker waterproof jacket, but if it's just a little cold, you may only need a small outer layer for your dog.
A dog coat can come in handy both when hiking and sleeping. It protects your dog from bad weather while also acting as an extra layer of insulation when it gets dark.
get dog boots
This is especially important when hiking - especially when it's especially cold. Dog boots keep your dog's paws warm when you're outdoors day and night.
I would recommend these, especially if it's raining or snowing, as humidity is two paths for heat loss. Protecting your dog's feet will keep them warm and dry, and you won't have to overheat them when you lie down.
give your dog a thermos
As with humans, a thermos is one of the best ways to warm up your dog at night. Sleeping with a person will give your dog an external heat source to warm up.
Be sure to wrap the thermos in your sleeve or shirt. This will prevent your dog from burning himself while keeping the bottle insulated. Insulation prevents the bottle from losing heat to the cold air and keeps it warm longer.
You can briefly place the hot water bottle in your dog's sleeping bag before going to bed. This warms the air in the sleeping bag and makes him comfortable when he goes to bed.
hug your dog
Girls hug resting dog at a forest campsite
What better way to spend a chilly night than snuggling outdoors with your dog? This is one of the best ways to warm up you and your dog, as the combined body heat will warm you both up faster than yourself.
It's a great way for you and your dog to bond while camping in the cold, and honestly, it's the best part of camping with my dog , in my opinion. You can easily change clothes if any of you get too hot at night, but it's really great for the coldest part of the night.
Which tips have you found most helpful to you and your dog? Let me know in the comments! Don't forget to share with campers with your furry friends if you find it useful.