Many people love to enjoy the great outdoors with their pets. Camping with a dog can be a very rewarding experience, for man and animal alike. A lot of campers love taking their dogs along because it’s fun to see them run around and enjoy the great outdoors.
But how can you ensure your dog’s comfort and well-being while camping? How do you keep a dog warm in a tent? There are several ways to keep your pup toasty and cozy during an overnight camping trip.
1. Keep Them Dry
Dogs love to explore the outdoors and this can often mean running through the woods and splashing in rivers and lakes. If you are camping in the Spring, trails could be muddy which means your dog will need a bath before getting into the tent with you.
If your dog plays in the water, make sure to thoroughly dry their coat before tucking them in at night. It’s important for humans not to sleep with wet hair or clothes, and the same is true for a dog. If your dog got muddy, give them a bath, then towel or air dry their fur so they are clean and dry before going to sleep.
Don’t forget to check your dog’s paws either. Although their fur coat may be dry, they might walk in wet areas or simply get dew from the grass on their paws. Keep a small towel handy and dry off their paws before they get into the tent and settle down for the night.
2. Grab a Blanket
Most dogs have a favorite blanket that they sleep on at home. Bring it along on your camping trip so they can use it inside the tent. A dog bed, complete with pillows and blankets, will ensure your pet’s comfort and warmth.
If your dog has a blanket they use at home, bring that one instead of a new one. The familiar scent will put them at ease and make their spot in the tent their own. For those without a blanket, consider fleece, wool, or any other lightweight, fast-drying material.
3. Be Sure to Insulate
Even if you have a blanket or dog bed for your furry friend, don’t forget about insulation. If the ground becomes cold, you will need to put a sleeping pad on the ground where your dog will be sleeping.
Something as simple as a closed-cell foam pad should do the trick. Put it under their bed or cover it with a blanket to make it more comfortable. Never let your dog sleep on the ground even inside the tent because the material is not thick enough to insulate them against the cold.
Insulation is also important for the entire tent as a whole. Should your dog decide to sleep on the ground, you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any cold spots. Put a groundsheet or tarp down beneath the tent to insulate as much as possible so cold air doesn’t leach into the ground.
4. Light a Campfire
If the weather permits, start a campfire to warm the air around your tent. A campfire is a great way to help a dog dry off completely before crawling into the tent for the night.
Radiant heat from the fire can also add warmth to the tent if the external temperature at night will be warmer than the air inside the tent. Just make sure not to put the campfire too close to the tent where sparks or smoke could be problematic or create a fire hazard.
5. Invest in a Pet Tent or Sleeping Bag
The pet industry is so inventive that pet tents are not on the market for dogs of all sizes. You can purchase one for your pet so they get an additional layer of insulation and warmth. Simply put the smaller tent inside your large one and zip them inside.
The mesh screens allow for air circulation so your dog will be able to breathe and remain at a comfortable temperature. Make sure to put a sleeping pad beneath the pet tent and then you can add in a doggie bed or a blanket for extra cushioning.
There are also pet sleeping bags on the market which, just like human sleeping bags, have water-resistant shells to keep your dog warm and dry. Most dog sleeping bags are lightweight and can be quite compact.
Using a sleeping bag will allow your pet to create a warm space to curl up and sleep. It will also ensure they stay warm when they aren’t active even if they are awake. The warm air that is trapped allows them to stay toasty anytime they are relaxing inside the tent.
6. Use a Heater
If you are in a campground with electricity or car camping with amenities, a heater might be an option. Cordless heaters are also available in case you don’t have access to an electrical hookup.
Just make sure the heater was designed for use in a tent and is safe. It should not get too hot to prevent burning your dog in case they brush up against it. Look for a heater that has a timer or safety off switch to prevent overheating or fires.
7. Get Your Dog Some Clothes
If you thought clothes for dogs were just for show, think again! Some companies even make puff coats for dogs that are filled with synthetic down. This is an ideal option if you’ll be camping in colder weather.
Should you need something a little lighter, get a doggie jacket or raincoat. Clip it around your dog so it stays in place all night, even if they move around or wake up.
A raincoat can also be a wise choice for daytime wear to prevent your dog from getting wet. A wet dog is usually a cold dog so the more you can keep your pet dry, the warmer they will be.
Small shoes will keep feet from getting wet. This is especially important in the winter when dogs can run around in the snow and get pieces of ice lodged in their paws. Be mindful in the spring too when snow is melting but can still freeze sensitive extremities.
8. Camp in the Right Tent
Depending on the season when you and your dog will be camping, make sure to have the right tent. Using a two-season tent in the fall might not be warm enough to keep you both warm. Opt for a heavy-duty three-season tent if you’ll be camping in the rain.
For those who want to take their dog camping in the winter, invest in a four-season tent that will provide enough insulation to trap warmth. It should also be durable enough to stand up under snow, wind, and rain.
Using the right tent means your dog won’t get too cold at night. It’s also important to note that the tent should not have holes that could allow in a draft or water which would chill a dog even further.
9. Share Your Warmth
One way to increase warmth is to sleep together with your dog in a sleeping bag or on a camping cot. You will be able to benefit from your dog’s warmth and they will, in return, share some of your body heat.
If you have a larger dog, you probably won’t fit inside the same sleeping bag. However, they can lie next to you while you are inside the sleeping bag. Simply drape a blanket over you both so there is shared body heat and create an extended area of warmth.
Not only is getting close to your dog a great way to provide warmth, but it gives you an extra reason to snuggle with your furry friend. After all, doggie cuddles are the best!
10. Keep Them Well Fed
In cooler weather, most dogs will need more food than usual. This amount will probably increase if they are running around, exploring, or hiking with you all day. Being out in the fresh air can also boost their appetite the same as it does for you.
Bring extra food along and make sure they are getting plenty to eat. Not only will this help their well-being, but it can also make them warmer. As long as they have a full belly, they will be digesting the food and generating warmth to ward off the cold.
11. Use a Hot Water Bottle
There’s a reason hot water bottles have been around for so long: they work! Not only that, but they are also inexpensive and simple to use. Just fill it with warm water, wrap it in a blanket, towel, or pillowcase, and place it near your dog.
If they get cold, they can lie down near it to get extra warmth. For those who don’t have an actual hot water bottle, a plastic water bottle can work just as well.
Be sure to test the temperature against your own skin first to make sure it’s not too hot and will burn your dog’s sensitive skin. If it’s uncomfortable to keep it pressed to your skin for several minutes, let it cool before giving it to your dog.