Today we are talking about where a dog should sleep when camping. I’ll talk about my personal favorite place for my dog Jack to sleep, but we’ll also discuss other options that might fit other dogs better.
It’s no secret I love camping with my dogs! It makes the call of the wild so much more fun.
However, it can be tricky to figure out wheres the best place for your dog to sleep.
You actually have a lot of options to choose from depending on where your going, the weather and your dogs temperament.
Here are some of my suggestions on helping you choose the best place for your dog to sleep while camping.
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The Best Places for Your Dog to Sleep While Camping
The best place to for your dog to sleep while camping is next to their owner in their tent. Other good options include their own tent, a kennel, the car or in a camper with you if your camping in an RV.
Where your pick for your dog should be based on the temperature outside and your dogs behavior.
You should also consider any dangerous creatures that could potentially harm your dog. I’ll go into more details below.
A good sleeping area for your dog is a big item on our camping with dogs checklist.
In Your Tent
One of the most obvious places for your dog to sleep in, is your own tent!
This is my favorite place for my dogs to sleep. Right inside the tent with everyone else.
To me, this is the safest method.
After all, a dog is part of the family. And I’m sure he (or she) appreciates being treated as such.
To tent sleep with a dog, you can simply prep him a bed as you would prep yours.
I usually add a little mat and then lay a piece of foam down for my bed.
For my dogs bed, i lay down a mat similar to mine, and then a little sleeping bag.
This method only works when camping in comfortable temperatures, usually above 40 degrees.
If your out in cold weather, you’ll need to use a few other methods to make sure to keep your dog warm while camping.
Make sure to know how cold is too cold for your dog to sleep outside.
In Their Own Tent
Another place for your dog to sleep, would be their own tent.
They have small tents just for dogs that could be used as an alternative sleep place.
Personally, I feel a bit uneasy thinking about my dog in another tent.
If my dog did get startled enough and panic, he could potentially tear through the tent.
I do like the idea of using one for a safe place for him to lie down while hanging around the camp during the day though.
It’s more portable than a crate as it can fold up and offers a safe haven he can run in and out of without worrying about dirt and mud getting into my tent and on my sleeping bag.
If you plan on sleeping directly under the stars, a tent like this could be a good option.
It could be placed close to where you sleep, so you can easily hear your dog if he has any trouble while provide a safe, enclosed area to sleep where he can’t wander off.
You could also place a tent like this in the back of an SUV for your dog to sleep in there, providing that the weather allows for comfortable temperature inside the enclosed car.
We have been known to sleep in the back of our SUV instead of packing a tent on occasion while camping.
If you are worried about tent anxiety you can read our guide on getting your dog used to a tent.
A Dog Crate
A dog crate also provides a good enclosed area for your dog to sleep while camping.
If your dog will not settle down with you in your tent, a kennel could be a good alternative.
Just make sure its well insulated so your dog stays warm, and close enough you can hear him should he need you.
They have soft shell portable crates which are easier to fold up and move, but from what I’ve heard they are easily broken out of.
Instead, if going the soft crate route, I suggest a sturdier hard crate.
It’s more likely to hold your dog in, so no Houdini escape artists find their way out while offering more protection from outside animals.
The draw back to having your dog sleep in a crate is the insulation issue.
If the temperature drops, you dog may get cold.
Of course, you could keep the crate in the tent with you if it’ll fit and find ways to make it warm and cozy.
In the Car
Another OK option, would be to let your dog sleep in the car.
This is a really good option if you too, are sleeping in the car with your dog.
We’ve slept in the back of your SUV on multiple occasions, and it works well for us.
You can put them in one of the portable dog crates like mentioned above, or use a seat protector like this to keep your seats safe from possible leaks or scratches.
Although a thick blanket would work just as well.
This option is good if the weather is very mild, not hot but not cold and as long as you can safely get to your dog from where you are sleeping.
The downside is that it’ll be difficult to hear you dog whining if they need help or need to use the bathroom, and you’re not inside the car with them.
But if you are tent camping and they can’t sleep in the tent with you, the car will protect them from the elements and from any critters like snakes and such.
Choosing Appropriate Dog Camping Bedding
Whether your dog is in your tent, their own tent, a crate or the car, you’ll also want to take their bedding into consideration.
Bedding helps keep your dog warm and insulated and gives them some protection from the elements.
It can also make them feel cozy and safe, for which is good for their overall well being.
You can take a look at some of the bedding options we rounded up below to see what might be a good fit for you and your dog.
Here are the most basic types of bedding for camping:
|Type of Bedding||Pros||Cons||Good For|
|Dog Sleeping Bag||Keep dogs warmer at night||Some are too small for larger dogs, can be costly and too thin||Backpacking, Tent, Car and RV camping|
|Raised Dog Bed||Keeps dogs off of the ground providing heat in cold weather and ventilation in hot weather||Can be expensive and difficult to pack and carry||Good for Tent & RV camping|
|Foam Mat||Provides insulation between dog and the ground, inexpensive||Can be thin and usually needs to be used with blankets/additional bedding||Backpacking, Tent and RV camping|
|Blankets||You probably already have several, can help provide a soft bed and keep your dog warm||Depending on the blankets, may not provide enough heat||Tent, Car and RV camping|
|Tradition Dog Bed||If you have a dog bed your dog loves and can fit when packing your gear, this can be a great option||Often larger and difficult to pack||Tent, Car and RV camping|
This was just a quick overview. Lets look a little further into these options.
Dog Sleeping Bag
I’ll be honest, before I had a dog, I would have laughed out right at buying a doggy sleeping bag.
I haven’t actually gotten one yet, as our mat and blanket method has been working well for us.
But after doing a bit of research, I may upgrade to a sleeping bag in time.
For the most part, you’ll need to make sure to get a sleeping bag big enough for your dog.
I’ve got my eye on this doggy sleeping bag. It supposed to be one of the top rated dog sleeping bags.
However, it only works for smaller to medium sized dogs, roughly under 65lbs.
If you’ve got a larger dog, you may want to consider a child sized sleeping bag, or even just an adult sized one you can use for your dog.
For the most part, you’ll need to make sure to get a sleeping bag big enough for your dog.
You’ll also want to consider if you want a ultra efficient sleeping bag for really cold weather or if a normal thinner bag will work for your needs.
This regular sized sleeping bag is rated great, made for lower temperatures (20-60 degrees F) and has a great price.
A great choice for bigger dogs.
Raised Dog Bed
A raised dog bed has the benefits of keeping your dog off the ground.
This helps them regular temperature a bit better as they won’t be affected by the grounds temperatures.
It’s also a great place for them to hang out without getting dirty at the campsite.
The down side to raised dog beds is that they are bulky and hard to carry around.
So if you are planning on back packing, this is definitely not the type of bedding you’ll want to choose for your dog.
This is a good option for tent or car camping or when using your RV.
It’s smart to get a basic foam camping mat and use it under a sleeping bag or when using regular blankets.
It’s not necessary though if your dog is going to sleep in the car or in a dog bed.
The reason a foam mat is good is that it offers a slightly more comfortable sleeping surface for your dog, and can help insulate the bedding.
This means it’ll be easier to keep your dog warmer or cooler if needed.
Another easy option is to just bring a few extra blankets from home.
This is the very cheap way to bring a little comfort to your dogs sleeping area at the camp site.
A few thin flannel blankets can provide just enough heat to keep your dog snug in comfortable weather.
If you plan on camping in colder weather, you’ll likely have to consider a heavier blanket or a sleeping bag like above.
Their Own Dog Bed
Finally, you could just bring their dog bed from home.
This is a dirt cheap way to give them a place to sleep that’s not only cozy but familiar.
The downside is that dog beds tend to be bulky. But if you can pack it comfortably and aren’t backpacking, it’s an easy option that requires no extra thought.