When we start planning camping trips in those colder weather months (including summers here in the Colorado mountains), the kids always ask if we can bring our dog along. 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.
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 also work to keep our families warm on chilly nights.
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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.
2. Keep Dogs Warm with Body Heat from 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, camp in a tent that 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.
Tip: Pack extra food in case your pup needs a few extra calories while camping in cold temperatures.
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 cannot find a natural source of warmth away from the tent. The best place for keeping your dog warm while camping is often 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 heading 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.
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. Prevent burns from water that is too hot for your dog’s skin by using bottles with cotton covers.
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.
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 ensure 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 go 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, consider a pet sleeping bag sized for your dog. These sleeping bags provide an extra layer of warmth between your pup and the cold ground and are made with easy-to-clean materials. 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 add a few extra items to our camping checklist. These items will help with keeping dogs warm while camping in those chilly winter months.
Related Reading: 19 Common Camping Mistakes We All Make (and How to Avoid Them)
- a blanket and/or sleeping bag for keeping your dog warm in the tent
- high protein snacks and treats, like these nutrient-dense snacks from Origen (in a variety of flavors) and high protein food from Purina (we like that these come in individual pouches for easy packing)
- dog booties for snowy or icy hikes (available in a range of prices, with good options for under $50 and these for over $50 for 4 dog booties)
- your dog’s favorite bed for extra insulation from the cold ground
- extra water to keep your dog hydrated
Frequently Asked Questions
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. Keeping dogs warm while camping just takes a little preparation and planning and some cold-weather camping gear for dogs.
And don’t forget to use common sense. If your dog seems uncomfortable, it might be best to protect your pup by cutting the trip short.
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