For any dog lover, it is a stress on where to leave your dog while they are away camping. If it is summer, there may be a chance of bringing your dog along, but if it is the winter season, it is very difficult to camp with your dog.
Winter camping is so beautiful here in the States, and why should your dog be deprived of the fun of winter camping and spending some quality time with its friends. It isn’t easy to bring your dog to camp but it is not impossible.
So, for that reason, we are here with an article to tell you what you have to do and how to winter camp with your dog. So, let’s dive in.
Is It Cold To Camp With Dog?
Dogs have a natural shield to winter by having fur, and they are usually fine with the temperature as long as it is below 45-degrees F. It does depend on the breed of your dog, the one with a thick fur will feel warmer as compared to one with no fur.
But considering the temperature here in the wintery nights can reach as low as 20-degree F, you need to use different means to ensure that your dog is warm and cozy.
In some places, it snows during winter and if you want your dog to enjoy it, follow our guides and we assure you that your dog will be happy.
What Do You Need To Know?
If you are taking your dog to camp in winter, there are some things that you specifically have to keep in mind, like.
Knowing Your Dog
Like we have already said, a different breed of dog has a different tolerance to cold climate. So, the first thing is that you have to keep your dog’s breed in mind. Leave winter camping, even general camping requires you to know if your dog likes to camp.
Some dogs love to play around the campsites in the open, while some dogs will just stay bundled inside and are afraid to go out at camps.
You need to make sure that your dog can enjoy camping. For that, you can camp in your backyard as practice before going on an actual camping trip.
Now, your dog may like to play in the snow during winter, but that doesn’t mean that they can withstand the cold for a long time. A husky can handle winter camping very well but a greyhound can have a difficult time.
So, if you think your dog can handle the cold and enjoy the camping trip, only then you should proceed with your plan and keep this thing next on the list in your mind.
Knowing The Location
Just like the previous point in this list, this has to be kept in mind irrespective of the weather in which you are carrying your dog for camping.
You have to find a perfect location for camping when you have a dog with you. If you are going in the wild, then there is no issue with having a dog, but if you are going to a campsite, you have to check with the authorities if bring a dog is allowed on the campsite.
You don’t want to reach the site with your dog and have to end up paying a fine and worry about what to do with your dog next.
If dogs are permitted, next find a spot that can have maximum sunlight falling on it. Try to avoid camping in shadows because then your tent will get even colder at night.
Keeping Your Dog Active
When someone, comes across a cold climate, the natural tendency is to stay cramped up in someplace wrapping yourself in warm clothes or blanket, but being active can be the key to keeping your core temperature intact. So, just like you, your dog will have that tendency and you will have to keep it active.
So, make sure to bring a toy with you when you go camping and devote some time daily to playing with your dog. Nights can get very chilly, so it is best to do activities during the day time.
Another thing that that you can do is go hiking along with your dog, keeping in mind the people around you. If your dog is well trained, let it off the leash and have it walk at its own pace to keep itself warm. Instead of hiking, you can have it with you while collecting wood, or setting up your tent as well.
Bring Extra Food And Water
Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that you must always bring extra food and water with you for your dog. Hiking, in general, can dehydrate your dog quite a bit, and in winter camping on the slow, can take extra effort and your dog may need even more water.
If your dog is refusing to walk, or lagging behind everyone because of slow walking, it means that your dog is dehydrated and needs some water to get energized again.
Similarly, after a day of hard work in the snow, your dog is bound to eat more. Your dog has likely burned more calories than usual and so it needs nutrient-rich food and snacks to keep itself going.
In winter camping, always check the diet of your dog that it is getting enough of everything like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Knowing The Signs
Finally, the most important thing is that you know the signs that your dog if your dog is getting sick. In the winter season, having a dog increases its risk of getting hypothermia. Now, you can be sure if it is hypothermia if your dog has any of these:
- Slow breathing
- Feeling cold to the touch
- Dilated pupils
So, if there is any sign of hypothermia, try to go to the vet and get your dog checked as soon as possible. If you can’t get a vet, at least warm them up immediately.
Accessories You Need For Winter Camping With Dog
Now that you know, whatever you have to know about winter camping with your dog, you must know about some extra accessories that you need to have for your dog’s comfort.
First off, begin with pacing extra sets of towels particularly for your dog. If you are going to camp in the cold, there is bound to be some condensation on the warm body of your dog.
This amount depends on how cold the temperature is on the campsite. Dew and mist also can make your dog wet. Now, if your dog sleeps with all the wetness, it is bound to get hypothermia or maybe some other kind of sickness.
That is why you need towels to rub the skin of your dog and dry it up completely. Also, if you play with your dog in the snow, you along with your dog will be wet and so the extra set of towels can help you.
In the winter season, drying a towel is very difficult, we advise you to carry quite a few towels if possible.
2. Dog Booties:
The paws of your dog will be touching the ground and it is the ground that is the coldest part. So, you need to insulate your dog’s paws. There is an accessory called dog booties, that are like boots for your dog’s paws. They can insulate your dog’s paws and keep them warm.
It is good to have the paws warm at all times, whether your dog is inside the tent, or outside. However, you need to have a waterproof cover for these booties, if they are to be used for walking in the snow.
3. Dog Jacket:
You can’t survive in the winter camps without a jacket, then how can your dog? You have to buy a foam jacket or vest to insulate your dog’s body.
The jacket has to be thick enough so that your dog stays warm. It is also favorable if the jacket is waterproof. Buy a couple of these jackets and that should be enough to keep your dog comfortable for the trip.
4. Sleeping Bag:
Yes, if your dog is going with you to camp, have an extra sleeping bag with you. Sleeping bags should be down type to provide the best insulation.
If you are a cuddler and like to sleep with your dog, you can have a larger sleeping bag so that both of you can sleep, but mostly one sleeping extra for your dog is best.
If you want to look at the best sleeping bags, you can check them here.
5. Extra Blankets:
The nights of winter can get extremely cold and just having sleeping bags and clothes may not be enough. So along with blankets for you, have some for your dog as well.
Blankets can be very useful; you can place it beneath your dog and place them over your dog as well. You can either use it inside the sleeping bag or outside it.
The thickness of the bag depends on the amount of insulation that you or your dog prefers. You can use a good quality blanket to ensure better protection in winter.
Check out the detailed guide on Hammock Camping With A Dog.
Apart from what we have told you so far, there are one or two things that you can also think that we are going to list:
- Have a companion. If your dog is a pack-dog, it is a good idea to bring along a partner for your dog. It can keep your dog active during the day to ensure that it is warm. At night, the fur can also keep your dog cozy and warm.
- Have brushes. If you have a dog brush with you, you can rub off all the water particles from its body and keep it dry. Brushes do a better job of dry a dog than towels.
- Bring colorful collar. During winter, it gets dark quite early. So, it is a good idea to have a collar of bright color that can be spotted from afar.
- Have a dog light. It is a torch that can help in guiding your dog at night. It can be of different ranges, but having a cheap one should suffice for a camping trip of a few days.
- Light a campfire. Dogs love a campfire and having a campfire will mean that you have a means to heat yourself and your dog as well. It can also be a fun activity collecting wood during the daytime or in the evenings.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
So, now that we have told you everything about winter camping with your dog, you must be well prepared and set for the winter holidays. No more worries for your dog anymore as well.
I want my dog to be very comfortable when it goes camping with me, so before the actual camp, we practice camping inside a tent in the backyard a few times. This way, my dog gains experience. I also bring along a lot of extra accessories so that it can enjoy a cozy night.
Do share your fun and adventurous winter camping stories with us and how was your experience camping with your dog, through the comment section below.
Happy Camping folks!