Does Your Dog Sleep in Your Tent?


If you plan to bring your dog along on your next camping trip, it’s important that you know where he should sleep and how to make the experience as comfortable as possible.

While where your dog usually spends most of his time at home will vary, camping will present new challenges and will disrupt his routine, including where he sleeps. Camping can be a fun experience and a chance to explore new environments, necessary accommodations will have to be made to keep your dog safe and happy.

Today, we are going to answer a question many people camping with their dog for the first time ask: does my dog sleep in my tent?

Stick around and find out.

Dogs in Tents: A Wise Idea?

When camping with a pet, many people wonder whether it’s wise to bring them inside to sleep. If you are used to having a dog that mostly stays in your backyard, this is understandable. Wouldn’t Spot want to sleep under the stars like he normally does?

In this case, the right decision is less about what your pup wants and more about what he needs.

Unlike your comfy backyard with a fence separating your dog from most of the potential dangers of the outside world, there is no guaranteed way to keep him safe out in the wilderness unless you keep him with you at all times, including when you sleep. You are your pet’s buffer from wild animals, people, and other potentially dangerous things.

Therefore, it is the wisest and safest choice to let your dog sleep with you in your tent.

Dogs in Tents: Why It’s the Best Option

Some dog owners may protest because they aren’t used to having their dog so near to them when sleeping. Dogs don’t exactly smell pleasant, they make a lot of noise, and maybe you just want your tent all to yourself.

As we covered above, keeping your dog in your tent is the safest option possible. However, that isn’t the only reason that your dog sharing your tent is a good idea. There are several reasons to consider doing this.

  • Sleeping apart triggers anxiety

Dogs are heavily attached to their owners. They’re called “man’s best friend” for that reason! Your dog loves you and associates your presence with comfort and safety. In an unfamiliar environment like a campsite, they need to be reassured that you’re there to protect them.

When you separate yourself from your dog on your trip, you could cause your dog to become anxious even if they are not generally prone to it. As you may already know, this can cause some unpleasant behavior. Anxious or scared dogs may become aggressive or at the very least, noisy. This makes for a dreadful trip both for you and your pet… and maybe your tent neighbors.

  • Some campsites require it

If you bring your dog to an established campsite, you will have to follow some pretty strict rules. This is reasonable; the rules are in place to protect every person and pet on the property. Most sites have leash requirements whenever your dog is outside of the tent or camper you brought.

In addition to this, many campgrounds require that you bring your dog inside at night. It’s too risky to leave your pet out without monitoring it, and the campground owners don’t want to be liable for anything that could go wrong.

In other words, you may not be given a choice.

  • Your dog may break free

Tethering your dog to a tree at night isn’t wise for several reasons, one being that your dog may decide to break free of the tether and go for a romp. A runaway dog poses a danger to everyone, including the poor dog itself.

If you want to share many more years of companionship with your four-pawed pal, don’t give him the chance to go exploring on his own. He may never come back.

Dogs in Tents: How to Set Up a Comfy Sleeping Space (Tent Criteria)

First and foremost, the tent that you buy will have the biggest impact on your dog and their safety/comfort while sleeping. Any tent that you plan to keep your pup in should meet a few criteria. Let’s talk about that.

  • Ventilation

It is of the utmost importance that your tent has proper ventilation. A completely closed off tent traps heat and provides no fresh air inside. This can be uncomfortable for you and downright dangerous for your dog, depending on the conditions.

A suitable tent should have mesh windows at the very least.

  • Tent Floor

The best way to keep your dog and yourself safe from the weather and from insect intruders is to get a tent with a sealed-off floor. This prevents your tent from flooding and unsavory creepy creatures from entering your sacred sleeping space.

  • Plenty of Room

Since both you and your dog will be sleeping in your tent, make sure that you have plenty of room to fit comfortably. For small dogs, this won’t be such a big issue. For large dogs, however, you need to plan ahead for space to accommodate their needs.

Dogs in Tents: How to Set Up a Comfy Sleeping Space (Where to Designate Your Dog’s Area)

Just as you likely have at home, your dog needs an established area that he can go to when it’s time to hunker down and get some much-needed rest after a day of play. Give him one spot in the tent that is all his. Dogs are generally territorial; they need their own spot that they can claim in order to feel content.

Whether that spot is beside you or in a cozy corner of your tent is up to you.

Dogs in Tents: How to Set Up a Comfy Sleeping Space (What Dogs Sleep On/In)

Your dog probably sleeps in one of three places in your home – your bed, their own bed, or a kennel/crate. Because it’s so vital to keep as much normalcy in their routine on your trip as possible, your dog should sleep on or in whatever they normally do.

If your dog typically sleeps in bed with you, lay down a comfy sleeping bag or dog bed beside you in your tent. That way they can have their own space but not be too far from you. This will prevent unnecessary separation anxiety.

Dogs who prefer to sleep in dog beds in their own area should be given a dedicated spot in the tent to lie down. Don’t buy a new pet bed if at all possible. Dogs like their familiar things; if their bed from home fits in the tent, bring it with you.

Kennel or crate trained dogs do particularly well on camping trips. Buy a tent roomy enough to fit their kennel/crate and place it in a corner. At night, this gives your dog a safe place to get some shut-eye. It also gives you that much more room to stretch out without rolling over on Rover.

Best Tents to Share With Your Dog

You have some packing to do and activities to plan; you don’t have all the time in the world to scour the Internet for the best dog-friendly tents on the market! That is why we’ve already done that tedious task for you. The following are some of the best tents that fit the criteria you need in order to help your dog sleep soundly:

  • The Coleman Sundome Tent is one of the most highly rated options available for purchase. Over 10,000 campers love it, and your dog will, too. It’s got plenty of ventilation with large windows and a ground vent. It has welded floor seams to keep creepy crawlies and water outside where they belong. The tent can fit one queen-size airbed. It’s better suited for small to medium-sized dogs. For pricing information, click here.
  • The CORE 9 Person Tent is a better option for families camping with a medium to large dog. There’s plenty of room for everyone, as it is made to fit 6 people. The tent has a ground vent, mesh windows, plenty of space, and even a room divider for those who need a little privacy. Your dog will have no trouble getting comfy in this tent. For pricing information, click here.
  • The Coleman Cabin Tent is optimal for those with the largest breeds of dogs or those with a larger group. The great thing about this is that the tent comes in three different size options: 4 person, 6 person, and 10 person. Depending on what you need, you can get a tent model that accommodates everyone, both human and animal. It meets all criteria and is reasonably affordable! For pricing information, click here.

In short, your dog does sleep in your tent – at least, he does if you want to keep him safe and happy. Camping with a dog is enriching and fun for both parties, and you’ll come back with memories you can cherish for a lifetime!

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Rickie Arms

Hi, I'm Rickie Arms, owner of Glampingorcamping.com. I am so invested in writing the best and most informative articles for you that I went out and bought a travel trailer just so I could write about it for you. I spend just about all of my off time both camping and glamping so I can share everything I have learned and will learn with you. I have spent my whole life camping and over the last 10 years, I have spent a large amount of time checking out glamping experiences with my wife and kids as well. Thank you for coming by and we hope to see you back here getting great information in the future. Rick Arms-

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