If you and your dog love to go camping together, you’ve probably toyed with the idea of a winter camping trip.
But since it gets so cold in winter, you might be wondering how to approach it safely.
We have with Dr. Linda Simon, a veterinarian and consultant for Five Barks, for tips on staying safe and warm when winter camping with your dog.
How to keep your dog warm during winter camping
Of course, camping in winter can get pretty cold, so it’s important to know how to keep your dog warm in that case. Here are some tips.
Make sure he sleeps in a tent
Sleeping in a tent will keep your dog warm and dry, which is vital in such a wet and cold season.
“Dogs need shelter [and] Protection from wind and rain,” said Dr. Simon opposite The Dodo. “This is especially important when they’re resting and sleeping, as the lack of exercise makes them vulnerable to chills.”
Depending on what is best for you and your dog, you can either share a tent or get him his own.
Get this dog tent on Amazon for $28.99
Get a dog sleeping bag
There are sleeping bags specifically for dogs that will come in handy during a winter camping trip.
“Sleeping bags are a particularly good idea for dogs that are constantly throwing blankets,” says Dr. Simon.
Get the Ruffwear Highlands sleeping bag on Amazon for $99.95
Or the Outrav dog sleeping bag from Amazon for $19.99
Consider getting your dog a coat
If your pup needs a little extra warmth, a dog coat could make a world of difference.
“This should be a soft fabric with minimal zippers or clips so it’s as comfortable as possible,” said Dr. Simon.
Try this coat from Amazon for $19.99
Watch for signs that he’s getting too cold
It is not safe for dogs to be outside when the temperature drops below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (including wind chill). So you should be on the lookout for signs that your dog is too cold.
- Tucked in tail
- reluctance to move
- seek shelter
Your dog could even get so cold that they become hypothermic, which is a medical emergency. Signs of hypothermia are:
- Decreased breathing
Safety tips for winter camping with dogs
There are a number of safety tips to keep in mind when going camping with your dog in the winter.
Get glowing equipment
Lighted collars and leashes can make all the difference when you and your dog camp overnight. And if you’re camping in the winter, it gets dark pretty early in the day.
“Having reflective leashes and collars and LED lights can be helpful, especially when the evenings are dark,” said Dr. Simon.
We tried the Blazin’ Safety LED Dog Collar on our own dogs and absolutely loved it. “This collar was amazing,” pet parent Anita Diamantopoulou told The Dodo. “It’s so bright there’s no way we can’t miss Rosie. She wore it for an hour every day and the light hasn’t faded at all!”
Get it on Amazon for $18.99
We also tested the Illumiseen light leash and were super impressed. “It gives me a little extra light near my dog where I can see if he’s eating anything unexpected,” pet parent Melanie Tse told The Dodo.
Get it on Amazon for $24.99
Keep a close eye on your dog
You should always have an idea of where your pup is and what he’s doing because there are so many things – in the wild and at your campsite – that can harm your dog. (This must be observed all year round and not only in the winter months.)
“We need to monitor our dogs and make sure they stay away from danger,” said Dr. Simon. “Equipment such as knives, camping stoves, kettles, batteries and pegs must never be accessible.”
You also want to make sure your pup doesn’t run away.
“Some owners walk their dogs on long leashes, while others use collars with built-in GPS trackers, just in case,” said Dr. Simon.
We tried the Whistle Switch smart collar on our own dogs and were amazed at how easy it was to monitor their precise location. “When we left the house and went to my mother-in-law’s, Piper realized she wasn’t in a safe place and pointed out to me where she was, even down to the approximate house number,” said Sarah Halliday, pet parent , opposite The Dodo .
Get it from Whistle for $179.95
Make sure he has an ID tag and microchip
It is very important that your dog wears an ID tag with your contact details in case you become separated.
Try Amazon’s Personalized Joytale Collar with Slide On ID Tags for over $12.99
Because dog tags and collars can sometimes come loose or fall off, you should also make sure your dog is microchipped so anyone who finds them can still contact you.
Seal foods and treats instantly
Dog food and treats can have a pretty strong odor, and you don’t want other animals to be attracted to it.
“Keep their food and treats locked up when not being eaten to ensure native wildlife is not drawn to the campsite,” said Dr. Simon.
How to warm up a cold dog
If your dog is showing signs that he’s too cold, there are a few things you can do to warm him up:
- If it’s wet, dry it off.
- Cover him with blankets.
- Give him warm water and warm food.
- Put him in your car and turn on the heater.
It’s important to note that you should warm up your dog gradually so you don’t shock his system. But if what you are doing doesn’t seem to be working, or if you think your dog may be suffering from hypothermia, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible.
“Before you head to the campsite, make sure you have the details of the nearest emergency vet,” said Dr. Simon.
Now that you know everything you need to know about safe winter camping with your dog, you can start planning your big adventure.
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