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Similar to humans, dogs can also develop hypothermia and frostbite in cold weather. According to American Kennel Club, mild hypothermia occurs when a dog’s body temperature reaches between 90 – 99°F .
Brain damage, coma, and cardiac arrest can be the result of hypothermia in dogs.
So, make sure to keep your dog warm while camping!
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I will explain some clever ways to ensure your dog stays warm, cozy, and loving life.
11 Ways To Keep Your Dog Warm When Camping In Cold Weather
1.Get A Perfect Outdoor Dog Bed
Imagine replacing your sleeping bag for the cold hard ground when camping.
That’s what it feels like for dogs sleeping in a tent.
When camping, cold air seeps through the bottom of the tent. If there’s no insulation between your dog and the tent flooring, how will your dog stay warm!?
Therefore, I recommend getting a dog bed with sufficient padding. Most beds even come with Micro Berber material built-in, providing additional warmth.
If you can’t find a dog bed with Micro Berber, you can add a throw blanket to keep your dogs warm.
I also understand that some dogs prefer to tear apart beds, rather than sleep in them!
And that’s fine.
Because you can also purchase anti-tear dog beds.
2.Use Hot Water Bottles
Who doesn’t love a hot water bottle before bed in the Winter?
I sure do!
But hot water bottles have many uses. They can also be used to keep your dog warm in cold temperatures.
Simply place one in your dog’s basket before bed. However, please ensure you choose one with a cover.
Otherwise, it could end up burning your dog.
Personally, I would only give a hot water bottle to a calm dog.
If you have a hyperactive dog (I do!) that likes chewing things, it’s best to stay away from water bottles.
Your dog may end up chewing through the material and causing a leak. This may lead to burns and other injuries.
Not a good start to your camping trip, huh!?
3.Use A Dog Jacket
Do you like to keep things simple?
Then a dog jacket is your best friend. A dog jacket becomes even more important for small dogs.
Because of their smaller frame, it’s harder for them to retain body heat. A jacket provides an additional layer of protection in colder weather.
In addition, dogs with short coats need a jacket when Winter camping.
If you’re camping in moderately cold weather, letting your dog sleep outside the tent should be fine, providing it’s wearing a jacket.
But cold weather protection is not the only benefit of jackets.
They also help with cleaniness. If your furry friend enjoys rolling around in the mud, you can remove the coat afterward, so the dirt doesn’t spread to your tent.
4.Dog Sleeping Bags Are A Thing
When it comes to cold weather camping gear, sleeping bags are high on the list.
But similar to hot water bottles, they are not limited to humans.
Nowadays, you can find countless sleeping bags for dogs.
Compared to blankets, a sleeping bag is thicker and more reliable. Unlike blankets, they also offer protection from the cold ground, which is important when camping.
5.Keep Your Dog Dry
Most dogs get dirty easily.
I had a German Shepard that loved rolling around in the mud (and destroying my camping equipment!)
All that mud reduces your dog’s body heat.
And cold dogs are at risk of hypothermia and frostbite.
I’m not saying you should keep your dog from having fun when camping. However, I recommend bringing an extra towel to dry your furry friend afterward.
It’s also important to ensure your dog is fully dry after bathing.
Rather than using a standard bath towel, I recommend one specifically designed for dogs.
Dog towels have a higher absorption rate, saving you time and energy.
Not only that but most of them are made from microfiber, as opposed to cotton. Microfiber towels dry exceptionally fast, which is excellent for camping.
When taking your dog camping in colder temperatures, it’s best to up your dog’s calorie intake.
Contrary to popular belief, cold weather actually burns more calories.
Your body produces more energy to combat the lower temperatures. Therefore, an increase in calories is required.
If you’re a frequent camper, your dog may start putting on some weight because of the excess calories. As long as it doesn’t get out of control, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Plus, a little extra fat helps keeps the body warm, right!?
But calories are only one piece of the puzzle.
Your dog also needs nutrient-rich food. Unhealthy calories might keep him warm, but may cause health problems long-term.
7.Use The Campfire
One of the best ways to keep your dog warm is with a campfire.
In fact, the opposite problem may occur.
Your dog may become too hot!
To prevent this from happening, make sure there is water nearby. That way, your dog can easily cool down.
It’s also important to remove your dog’s jacket (if he has one). Otherwise, it may end up catching fire if he gets too close to the flames.
Before writing this article, I wanted to ensure it was safe for dogs to be around open campfires.
So I did some research…
According to the American Kennel Club, it’s safe as long as your dog is a reasonable distance away from the flames .
In addition, make sure hot ash is not blowing in your dog’s direction.
8.Use Dog Boots
Why not get your dog some cute boots!?
Not only will it keep his feet warm, but also garner attention from other people.
Who doesn’t love a dog in shoes!?
Keeping your dog’s feet warm is super important. Similar to humans, feet are the most prone to frostbite.
This happens because small bodyparts (hands, feet, and ears) receive less bloodflow than other areas.
And less bloodflow equals less heat.
Have you ever noticed how cold weather affects your hands and feet more than other areas?
It’s the same with dogs.
9.Bring An Extra Blanket For Your Dog
Compared to other methods on this list, blankets are not the best option.
Yeah…a blanket will keep your dog warmer.
But they don’t provide enough insulation.
Ideally, you want something that adds a layer between your dog and the cold ground.
However, you could put a blanket underneath your dog, rather than over him.
That’s always an option!
10.Use Your Own Body Heat
Who needs equipment?
You can keep your dog warm with your own body heat…
By giving him cuddles!
If you don’t mind, you can even let your furry friend sleep in your sleeping bag at night.
That’s a sure-fire way to keep your dog warm.
The sleeping bag warmth and your body heat make the perfect combo, in my opinion.
How Cold Is Too Cold For Dogs?
Temperatures between 35-45℉ are uncomfortable for your dog.
However, they shouldn’t pose any health issues unless your dog is sick, old, or recovering from an illness.
Anything below 35℉ and your dog is at risk from hypothermia. This applies more to smaller breeds with a little fur.
Once temperatures sore to 20℉, it’s extremely dangerous for your dog to be outside (even with a dog jacket). There’s a high chance of hypothermia and frostbite at these temperatures.
Where Do Dogs Sleep When Camping?
Most dogs sleep in tents with their owners.
However, some are happy to stay outside. Although, this is pretty uncommon.
The only reason I would advise leaving your dog outside is if it doesn’t like tents.
Which I haven’t seen much of.
Most dogs love the inside of a tent. Tents offer a sense of comfort from the outside world, similar to a house.
If you have a screened porch, you can always put your dog in the porch area. That way, he won’t be waking you up throughout the night.
I know how annoying that can be!
How Can I Protect My Tent From My Dog?
If your dogs spend lots of time inside your tent because of the cold, you may need to take some extra precautions.
After all, some dogs enjoy ripping things apart, right!?
Not only that, but long claws may damage the tent. Therefore, I recommend taking your dog to the groomer beforehand.
I also recommend being inside the tent with your dog. That way, you can make sure he doesn’t start destroying things.
Keeping your dog warm doesn’t have to be stressful.
In moderately cold conditions, make sure your dog has enough calories and excellent nutrition. When the temperatures drop, it’s a good idea to think about dog jackets, sleeping bags, and shoes.
Never let your dog outside in temperatures below 20℉.
And letting your dog sleep outside is not recommended unless he gets anxious inside tents. If he does sleep outside, extra precautions are required.