Winter Camping With A Dog: 7 Tips To Keep Them Warm

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Winter camping with a dog is an awesome way to spend some quality time with your pup. Follow my tips to keep them safe and warm.

winter camping with a dog: 11 tips to keep them warm and safe

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Winter camping can be a wonderful opportunity to escape the bustle of everyday life. Bringing your canine companion along for the adventure can make it even better.

You’ll need to get your dog some swag for them to stay comfortable and warm, but don’t stress, you most likely already have what you need.

Let’s take a look at my top 7 tips on winter camping with a dog.

7 Tips To Keep Your Dog Warm Winter Camping

Camping is a year-round activity everyone can enjoy, from those looking for quiet solitude to families spending time together away from the city rush. It’s also an activity your furry best friends can enjoy with you.

We’re putting in some extra effort to keep warm on a winter camping trip, especially at night when it can drop far below zero. And when it comes to our dogs, we also need to ensure they are safe and warm during the trip so they can enjoy themselves as much as we will.

We’ve listed some of the best ways to keep your pups healthy and happy, so let’s go through them.

1.    Get Your Dog A Coat Or Jacket

While some dog breeds enjoy spending time in the snow and aren’t bothered by the biting winds – Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies, to name a few – most dogs do not have a thick enough coat to withstand lower temperatures that you may experience on a winter camping trip. It would help if you got them an insulated jacket to keep them warm when things get icy.

Because of the cold weather conditions in some states, winter dog jackets have been designed to protect our best friends from harsh weather. These are particularly useful when camping in winter, as they keep your dogs dry in most conditions, and they’re insulated to maintain their body heat.

While warmth and insulation are essential, it’s also a good idea to find a coat that your dogs are comfortable in so that they run around without it impeding their movements.

2.    Booties Keep Your Dog’s Paws Safe And Warm

Protecting your dogs’ paws is vital with so many states snowing in the winter, especially near mountains popular for camping. If it’s snowing where you’re going, booties are one of the best ways of keeping your dogs safe and warm. Snow can pose a problem for dogs if they spend long periods in it. Frostbite and dried-out paws are significant concerns when you’re camping, especially if you’re hiking to your campsite.

Another reason you might want to fit your dog with the most adorable shoes in the world is the sharp objects that the snow might have covered, like rocks or branches. Booties can protect paws from cuts and scratches from stepping on hard or sharp objects your pup might have missed. With booties on, your dog can run around and frolic in the snow to their heart’s content without you worrying.

3.    Do Lots Of Activities With Your Dog

Surrounded on all sides by the crisp winter air, keeping your body temperature up is essential; the same goes for dogs. Running around, playing, or going for a hike are all excellent ways of warming up. If your canine companion loves playing fetch, bring along a ball or stick and keep them active and warm with a good game.

A hike is also a great way to keep you and your dog warm. Sometimes the hike is mandatory to get to the campsite, so it’s really killing two birds with one stone. You don’t have to worry about your dog overheating like in summer. You’re also giving it some great exercise in the cold to keep its body warm.

Letting the kids run around and play with the dogs while you’re setting up camp is a great way of keeping them busy while also keeping your dogs active. Everybody wins, and you can set up camp without distractions.

4.    Bring A Thick Blanket Or Sleeping Bag For Your Dog

One of the essential winter camping items in everyone’s pack should be a thick blanket or an insulated sleeping bag. If your dog has a favorite blanket at home, bring it along. Wrapping your dog in a thick blanket is an excellent way to keep them warm, especially at night when it’s dark, and the temperature drops further.

Suggested: Best Electric Heated Blankets For Camping

An insulated sleeping bag for those dogs that don’t like sleeping under blankets can keep them warm while they sleep. They’re also great for resting during the day, giving your pooch a cozy spot off the snow to relax near the fire. Pull it into the tent so your dog can enjoy a warm sleep when it gets tired.

Your dog should never spend the night outside when camping in the winter, and a thick blanket or a sleeping bag in the tent will let them snuggle in for extra warmth.

5.    Feed Your Dog Protein-Rich Food And Plenty Of Water

Protein is one of the best sources of energy for your dog. So a diet of high-protein food and snacks is advisable. If you’re wondering why your dog needs more energy than usual, it’s because it needs to maintain its body temperature. The extra energy goes toward keeping themselves warm in the icy air and crunchy snow.

Some high-protein treats or special dog food can go a long way to making this trip much more enjoyable for your dog. If you need help with what to feed your dog, speak to your vet and get a good recommendation.

Not only is the food your furry friend eats important, but so is drinking enough water. Hiking to the campsite, playing, running around, and maintaining their body temperature all consume your dog’s energy and tire them out. Make sure there is water on hand for them to drink regularly that won’t freeze. Snow is not a viable option because so little of it is water, and it may be dirty.

6.    Start A Campfire

Sitting around a campfire, keeping warm and roasting marshmallows isn’t just an excellent idea for you; your dog will enjoy it too. Aside from being used for cooking if you’re going for the whole camping-in-the-wild experience, campfires are one of the most effective ways of staying warm for you and your best friend in the cold winter air.

Knowing how to build and start a campfire safely is essential, though most camping grounds have fire pits installed for convenience. When nighttime starts to fall, get that fire going for an extra defense against the cold and let your dog snuggle up nearby.

7.    Get Your Dog Reflective Gear

Snow can make it difficult to notice things, and some dogs blend in very well with the snow because of the color of their fur. Getting your dog some reflective or light-up gear will make it much easier to spot them if you happen to lose sight of them.

Some dogs like to wander and experience all the unique smells around your campsite, and they may wander off. Reflective gear makes it much easier to keep them in sight and find them so they don’t get lost.

It’s a good idea to watch your dog and keep it from wandering too far. If you’re camping in the mountains, your dog may wander too far and encounter some friendly or not-so-friendly wildlife.


Do dogs need blankets for winter camping?

When camping, bringing a thick blanket along for your dog is an excellent idea. While dogs may get cold more slowly than humans because of their thick fur, they will get cold if exposed to cold temperatures for extended periods. A blanket will keep them warm when sleeping in the tent at night, and it acts as a barrier from the cold and possibly snowy ground so that they have a good place to rest when they’re not active.

Will a dog be warm in a tent?

A dog will be warm in a tent, but they do need protection from the cold and possibly rain. Letting your dog snuggle up in the tent with you will keep it warm while it sleeps. Because your dog isn’t moving or active, its body temperature will automatically drop. So sleeping in the tent with you and a blanket will allow it to stay warm because of your combined body temperatures. Dogs feel the cold less than humans do, but when temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, they will start getting cold and risk hypothermia. It’s essential to ensure your tent is insulated to protect you both from the cold.

What is the best winter camping dog?

The best breeds for winter camping include huskies, Newfoundlands, german shepherds, and malamutes. They have thick fur coats and are built for cold-weather climates, even enjoying temperatures that other dogs may find too cold. If you have one of these breeds, they may not need a jacket, but it’s always a good idea to keep one handy as it can differ from dog to dog.

Winter Camping With A Dog – Final Thoughts

Keeping your dog warm on a winter camping trip is essential. Luckily there are quite a few ways you can keep them warm during your stay. Making sure they are warm and dry is the best way to ensure your dog enjoys the trip as much as you do. Getting them a jacket, booties, and a thick blanket is the easiest way.

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Thomas Coleman

Thomas is a lifelong camping, fishing, and outdoor enthusiast! He is proud to be an Eagle Scout and treasures every moment he gets to spend with mother nature. He has been camping in 14 states, 3 countries, and 2 continents. When not blogging about camping and the outdoors, he enjoys photography, playing guitar, and traveling with his wife.