How to Keep a Dog Warm While Camping? [Know Essential Tips]

Who said you can’t take your dog with you on a camping trip? Your dog can survive cold temperatures above 20 degrees F without any issues.

Are your kids asking to have the dog come along to the camping trip? You don’t want to disappoint them just because of the cold temperatures out there. If you can keep warm, then can the dogs.

While most dogs have their entire skin covered with hair, they can still feel cold when temperatures are too low. The main question every dog owner looking to camp in cold weather asks is how to keep a dog warm while camping?

In the same way you plan to beat the cold while camping, plan the same for your dog. Bring a dog blanket, bring treats and water and sleep with your dog inside the tent. You can even have booties to protect your dog’s paws.

You need to be realistic with your dog. Some dogs are used to the cold while others rarely get outdoors when it gets cold.

In this post, I share essential tips for keeping dogs warm while camping. 

Can Dogs Get Cold While Camping?

Yes, dogs can absolutely get cold while camping, just like humans. Despite the skin being covered with hair everywhere, most dog breeds get cold when temperatures get too low.

Can Dogs Get Cold While Camping

Nonetheless, dogs are heartier than humans when it comes to coldness. Dogs can withstand colder temperatures than humans. However, they are still susceptible to cold temperatures and can suffer hypothermia.

It is recommended you keep a warm and comfortable environment for your pets. Additionally, look out for signs that indicate your dog is getting cold.

Why You Should Keep Your Dog Warm?

It is for the same reason you keep warm while camping. While some dogs can survive coldness for a few minutes, some breeds need warming. For example, the Alaskan Malamutes breed is bred for cold areas. Other dog breeds like the Chihuahuas with thin skin need extra protection from the cold.

Why You Should Keep Your Dog Warm

You should keep your dog warm because they can get chilly in cold weather. Just like us, dogs can get frozen skin and tissues. Unde very cold temperatures, dogs can get hypothermia. Hypothermia in dogs is the extreme lowering of their body temperatures.

At very low temperatures, the dog’s breathing rate and heart rates significantly drop. This can lead to severe health problems. Severe hypothermia might cause coma, kidney failure, heart problems, frostbite and eventually death.

Did you know you can be charged with animal cruelty if you leave your dog in cold temperatures for extended periods? Tracy Cherry, of Calumet Park Chicago was charged for animal cruelty after leaving her pit bull outside in extreme weather for over 12 hours.

Apart from what the dog might suffer, you need to keep your dog warm to avoid coming on the wrong side of the law. The dog’s paws, nose and ears don’t have fur and are usually exposed to coldness.

How To Keep A Dog Warm While Camping?

Now that you know it’s a must to keep a dog warm while camping or at home, how do you do it? Below, we discuss how to keep your dog warm while winter camping. Check our tips.

How To Keep A Dog Warm While Camping

Understand you dog

You need to be realistic about what your dog can handle. As I noted earlier, dogs are different with some breeds better suited for cold weather than others. Make sure you understand your dog and know what it can withstand.

If unsure, take it on a cold hiking trip and see how it handles the coldness. This will help you understand it and prepare well for the camping.

Sleeping bag or pad

Get a sleeping bag and make sure it is big enough for your dog, but not too big that he can’t move around easily. You don’t want him sleeping on his side with all four legs tucked under him!

If you have a small dog then you may want to consider getting a smaller size sleeping bag. If you have a large dog , get a bigger sleeping bag.

Use a thick fleece blanket as a cover over your dog’s bedding. This will help insulate the warmth from escaping through the sides of the sleeping bag.

Add some kind of padding between the dog and the bottom of the sleeping bag to prevent cold air from seeping in. I used two pieces of foam rubber cut into strips and glued them together at the ends so they could be stuffed inside the sleeping bag.

I’ve been using this method for years, and my dog has always stayed warm and comfortable.

Buy a dog puffy coat

A puffy coat on your dog can help protect against cold. It will also keep you and your dog warm. Puffy coats are made of synthetic materials and are extremely lightweight.

They are usually designed for dogs that weigh less than 40 pounds. The best brands include Pet Gear, Ruffwear and North Face. If you do not want to spend money on this item, then you could use an old blanket or towel to cover your dog.

Use a heated water bowl

This is another way to keep your dog warm. You can purchase one from any pet store. Make sure it has a thermostat so it does not overheat. Be careful when using a hot water bottle because they can burn your dog’s paws if he steps into them.

Keep your dog dry

Your dog should always be kept dry. This helps prevent his fur from getting wet which will cause him to lose heat faster. Use towels to dry off your dog after bathing.

Make sure your dog stays active

Dogs need exercise and playtime. When you go camping, your dog needs to stay active. He may become bored and restless if left alone. Keeping your dog busy with toys, games, walks and hikes will keep him happy and healthy. Dogs become warmer when they are active.

Keep dogs hydrated

Dehydration is very common among campers. To avoid dehydration, make sure your dog gets plenty of fresh water each day. Do not leave a bag of water out overnight. Keep it covered until morning.

Most dog owners think plenty of water for their dogs is only good on warm days. Trekking in wintry conditions can also dehydrate dogs.

Provide nutrient rich snacks

Your dog needs to eat nutritious food every day. Feed him before going to camp. Bring along treats, bones and kibble. If you do not have time to prepare meals, then bring along canned foods and freeze dried food. Dogs feel warmer whenever they eat ust like humans.

Keeping Your Dog Warm At Night

If you’re looking to keep your dog warm at night, then don’t let it sleep outside. Let your dog sleep inside the tent with you. In addition, bring a blanket to provide extra warmth.

You can also keep your dog close and provide it with snuggles and cuddles. Snuggling with your dog on a cold night will provide it with extra warmth. Make sure you choose the right tent-size for the number of people camping. This ensures there is less cold air inside.

You can also keep warm at night by lighting a camping fire. Before heading into the tent, stay near the campfire with your dog. Enjoy the heat together before heading to sleep inside the tent.

Keeping Your Dog Warm During The Day

If it’s cold during the day, you need to find ways to keep your dog warm. There are several ways to keep a dog warm during the day. Just imagine the ways you keep yourself warm.

Keeping Your Dog Warm During The Day

You can start by protecting the paws with booties. Paws don’t have any hair covering and need extra protection. The right size booties can protect your dog’s paws from icy grounds.

Get your dog a custom-size coat of their own to protect against cold. A well-fitting coat can ensure your dog stays warm throughout the day.

As noted earlier, you can also keep your dog warm by engaging it in some active play.

Check Their Health, Constantly

Checking your dog’s health constantly can help identify any signs of coldness early enough. Be on the lookout for signs that your dog is feeling cold. Is the dog shivering?

What about any change in behavior? Some dogs look anxious and uncomfortable when feeling cold. They also have a hunched posture and a tucked nail. You’ll probably notice your dog looking for shelter.

If the ground is too cold, you might see your dog lifting its paw off the ground. Constant monitoring of your dog can avert serious conditions.

Common signs of hypothermia to lookout for include loss of consciousness, lethargy, weakness, slow breathing, dilated pupils and muscle stiffness.


Were you thinking of leaving your dog home because you’re heading for a cold winter camping  trip? Dogs can survive the cold camping temperatures as long as you prepare to keep them warm.

Get a sleeping bag, dog coat, water and drinks to keep your dog warm. You can also exercise the dog and sleep with it in the tent.

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