11 Effective Tips for Keeping Dogs Warm While Camping in Cold Weather

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When we start planning camping trips in those colder weather months (which can even include summers here in Colorado!), the kids always ask if we can bring our dog with us on the trip. The answer is almost always yes, as long as we’re not camping where dogs aren’t allowed. It can be tough enough to keep us warm during these camping trips, but we also have to make sure we do what we can to keep our dogs warm. These essential tips for keeping dogs warm while camping will undoubtedly keep your pet snuggly warm – and safe too.

a dog laying on a dog bed at a campground helps for keeping dogs warm while camping
Learn how to keep your dog warm while camping to keep her safe and happy.

How to Keep Your Dog Warm While Camping

Despite having their own built-in coat, dogs can get cold, and it’s essential to know how to keep your dog warm while camping in cold weather. Some of these tips are the same ideas that work keeping our families warm on chilly nights too.

1. Bring a Blanket for Your Dog

An extra layer can provide a simple source of extra warmth for your dog. If your pup has a favorite blanket used at home, that is an excellent option for camping.

a dog wrapped in a blanket at a campsite depicting methods for keeping dogs warm while camping
Bringing an extra blanket – or two – is great for keeping dogs warm while camping.

2. Keep Warm with Snuggles and Cuddles

There’s nothing better than dog cuddles through the night, and snuggling in the tent with your dog will give you the extra body heat needed to keep you warm and cozy. For extra warmth, make sure your tent is right-sized for the number of people, so there is less cold air settling in the tent with you.

3. Have Nutrient Rich Treats – and Plenty of Water

Filling their belly with high-protein and nutrient-rich food is an excellent choice for keeping dogs warm while camping. The protein and nutrients give your dog the energy needed to maintain body temps to stay warm through the chilly nights.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Tent Camping for Beginners

Hydration is also vital for keeping your dog warm, so pack some extra water in with your gear.

4. Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Tent with You

Most of us already do this, but it’s a good reminder if you’re ever tempted to let your dog sleep right under the stars. It can get extra cold out in the elements, especially if your dog isn’t able to find a natural source of warmth away from the tent. The best place for keeping your dog warm while camping is right in the tent with you.

5. Keep Warm Together By the Campfire

When it’s time to snuggle into the tent for the night, it is more difficult to get warm than stay warm. Before it’s time to head into the tent for the night, let your dog hang out by the warm campfire with you. Let the heat of the fire keep the chill off, so he’ll be nice and cozy when it’s time for bed.

a dog and a man next to a campfire showing how to keep your dog warm while camping
Relaxing by the campfire is how to keep your dog warm while camping

6. Use a Bottle of Warm Water

Have a filled hot water bottle to have close by in the tent. This is another good source of warmth for your dog. We like the rubber hot water bottles because they are better at preventing leaks. Bottles with cotton covers avoid any burns from too hot water for your dog’s skin.

7. Protect and Warm Paws with Booties

Booties made just for your dog will help protect their paws against the cold, icy ground and make them more comfortable in the cold.

You Might Also Like: Simple Space Saving Camping Ideas and Gear (So You Have Room for the Cold Weather Camping Gear for Dogs)

Your dog is more likely to love wearing booties if the fit is right. Brands like Ruffwear make booties in many sizes, so you can find a nearly custom fit. This more affordable option found on Amazon still has 7 sizes available, so you’re bound to find a good fit for your dog.

8. Keep Your Dog Dry

Like with people, staying dry is one of the best methods for keeping dogs warm while camping. Avoid playing in the water before settling in for the night, or make sure your dog is completely dried off before bed.

9. Warm Up with Some Active Play

Active play helps us, and our dogs, stay warmer in cold weather. Play catch or get out for a brisk walk around the campground to warm your pup up before snuggling into the tent for the night.

10. Give Your Pup a Coat of Their Own

An extra layer for hikes or hanging out at the campsite gives more protection from the cold weather. A well-fitting coat made especially for dogs can provide enough warmth to make the cold a little more comfortable. The Powder Hound line from Ruffwear might be the warmest dog coat out there and is a must-have in your cold-weather camping gear for dogs if you plan to camp in really low temps. This price-friendly Kurgo Loft Dog Jacket also gets fantastic reviews and is available on Amazon.

11. Consider a Pet Sleeping Bag

If you have a dog that likes to curl up under the blankets of your bed, you might consider a pet sleeping bag that is sized for your dog. These sleeping bags provide an extra layer of warmth between your pup and the cold ground, and the materials are easy to clean. This highly rated but budget-friendly option on Amazon is an excellent way to try a sleeping bag out for your dog. This high-quality sleeping bag for dogs from Ruffwear is also a solid option.

Cold Weather Camping Gear for Dogs

When camping with our dog, we have a few extra items we add to our camping checklist. These items will help in keeping dogs warm while camping in those chilly winter months.

Related Reading: 19 Common Camping Mistakes We All Make (and How to Avoid Them)

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my dog is cold at night?

There are a few tell-tale signs that your dog is cold at night and can use help getting warm. Watch for signals like shivering or behaviors that indicate your dog is uncomfortable. Read more about signs that your dog isn’t warm enough while camping here.

Do dogs get cold when camping?

Yes, they absolutely do! Dogs may have their own built-in coat for protection from the elements, but that will only help to a certain degree for many breeds. Create a safe and comfortable environment, and watch for signs that your dog is too cold for the temperatures. Learning how to keep your dog warm while camping will prepare you and your dog for lower temperatures.

How cold is too cold for dog camping?

This can vary by dog, and some dogs can handle colder temperatures than others. Still, extra precautions need to be taken for any dog when the temps reach 20°F. If you properly plan for keeping your dog warm while camping, with the right cold-weather camping gear for dogs, they will be ok camping in colder weather.

Should I cover my dog with a blanket at night?

Covering your dog with a blanket is good for keeping dogs warm while camping in chilly weather. Pack an extra blanket with your camping gear for your dog to use in the tent.

How do you keep a dog warm in a tent?

Many of the methods we use to keep us warm in a tent are also how to keep your dog warm while camping in a tent. Make sure your dog is warm before going to bed for the night and has extra layers of protection from the cold. Snuggling and cuddling with your pup is also great for keeping dogs warm while camping!

Final Thoughts on How to Keep Your Dog Warm While Camping

You certainly don’t need to leave your dog at home for those cold-weather camping trips. As long as the temps stay above 20°F, they can be perfectly safe and comfortable in most temperatures. All it takes is a little preparation and planning, with the proper cold weather camping gear for dogs.

Have you camped with your dog in cold weather? Send us a message with your best ideas for how to keep your dog warm while camping!


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