Camping With Dogs: Where Do They Sleep?

Miranda Merchant 
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Exploring the big outdoors is one of the most fulfilling and humbling activities that you could undertake. Viewing new locations, trying out different activities and tasting delicious local delicacies, is an exciting and inspiring experience. It’s only natural that you would want to enjoy this with your fellow furry friend. However, where do they sleep?

Dogs readily adapt to new sleeping arrangements and will certainly give whatever you throw at them a go. Dogs can sleep in tents (either with you or in their own doggy tent), in the car, in the RV and on hammocks. Each dog is different and where one sleeping arrangement is perfect for one dog, it may be disliked by another. Trial and error will help you discover which sleeping arrangement your dog likes best when camping.

Read on to discover the different types of sleeping arrangement for your dog and the pros and cons of each.

Where Do Dogs Sleep When Camping?

Planning this in advance will give you and your dog the best chance of enjoying it. It might be trial and error that finds what works best for you both but the below will outline what options are available and the associated pros and cons.

Sleeping arrangements can come via; sleeping in a tent, sleeping in your car, sleeping in a campervan, and sleeping in a hammock.

Dogs adapt well to new sleeping arrangements and so trying one if not all options can be an exciting time.

  • Tents

Tents are a form of portable shelter consisting of cover, poles, guidelines and pegs. Usually made from cloth, it can still offer a weather barrier against rain and wind.

a dog sleeping in the tent

Image: istockphoto.com

Tents are an option available as a form of accommodation when you and your dog are away from home.

On warm evenings, dogs may enjoy lying by the zip door feeling the breeze from the night air and on cooler evenings, your dog may enjoy snuggling with you to keep warm.

Pros: 

  • Once your trip is over, the material of the tent makes it easy to clean meaning it will not be hard work removing any stray hairs or mucky paw prints.
  • Rather than sleeping outdoors, tents provide suitable shelter for your dog away from natural debris, keeping your dog clean and comfortable.
  • It’s a great opportunity for your dog to experience different environments and you are only an unzip away from your dog getting ample amounts of fresh air and exercise.

Cons: 

  • Some dogs will not like the confined space that tents create.
  • You cannot leave your dog unaccompanied in a tent; new senses and sounds can scare them. They will also need letting in and out of the tent when they need the bathroom.
  • It’s difficult for dogs to regulate their temperature in tents and so additional adjustments may be required e.g., blankets and fans.

 

  • In The Car

Rather than have your furry friend sharing your tent with you, they can sleep in the car whilst on a camping trip.

dog sleeping in car during camping

Image: istockphoto.com

Sometimes, allowing your dog to sleep outside may not be an option. The campsite might not be dog friendly or there may be wild animals that would not take kindly to another animal being in their space.

If this is the case, allowing your dog to sleep in the car could be the best option.

Pros:

  • It’s an easy option if sudden reasons disallow your dog to remain with you in your tent or on the site.
  • The car provides solid protection from other dogs or wild animals.
  • It can be made into a comfortable space for your dog, leaving them relaxed and snug.

Cons:

  • Some dogs will not like being left in the car on their own and become distressed.
  • You must be aware of the temperature and weather conditions throughout the evening. Fluctuations in temperature can cause hypo or hyperthermia.
  • You will need to reside as close to the vehicle as possible. Not only so that they can sense you and remain calm, but also so that you can hear when your dog needs the toilet.

 

  • RV Camping

RV/Campervan camping is a great way to travel further on your adventures and have your necessities with you without having to worry.

A suitable sleeping space for you, it also becomes a second home on wheels for your dog, meaning you can both enjoy and relax on your camping trip together in more comfort.

Pros:

  • There is more space in an RV for your dog to roam and for there to be a special nook for your dog’s bed.
  • The RV is a safe place for your dog to be and with you sleeping in the vehicle also, your dog will be more relaxed.
  • It is a cheaper option for you to take your dog with you in an RV and have all that is required easily to hand, than paying for doggy residential stays.

Cons:

  • Regardless of how you feel in the heat or cold in the RV, your dog might not be able to express this to you. Ensure that the RV is not too hot or cold to reduce the chances of hypo or hyperthermia.
  • Although cars and RVs are a safe place for your dog to be away from other dogs and wild animals, it still does not mean that your dog can be left unattended in the vehicle.
  • Be mindful of taking your dog in the RV with you if the RV is not yours. Companies may not take kindly to dog hairs or dirt that falls from the paws or hairs of your dog, and you may receive penalty charges.

 

  • Hammock Camping

A more unusual option for your sleeping arrangements, hammock camping means you will be sleeping on a suspended fabric platform.

dog sleeping in hammock camping

Image: istockphoto.com

A lightweight and space saving option, it can be an exciting experience spending a few nights sleeping more openly in the outdoors.

As unusual as it sounds, hammocking can be a sleeping and camping arrangement for your dog too.

Pros:

  • The swinging motion that the hammock produces can be a relaxing feeling for your dog and help them to fall asleep after an exciting day.
  • If you enjoy sleeping with your dog next to you, there are larger hammock sizes available where you can enjoy quality time together and sleep next to each other.
  • Dog hammocks can be suspended lower towards the ground, meaning they can exit it on their own with ease if they need to go to the toilet in the night.

Cons:

  • Hammocks may not be a camping arrangement for all dogs as not all dogs enjoy the feeling of being suspended above ground in a hammock.
  • Your dog cannot have long nails when sleeping on a hammock as long nails can become trapped or caught in the fabric and cause them to fall out.
  • Hammock camping leaves your dog exposed to other dogs and wild animals.

FAQs

We have discussed a lot of options about where your dog can sleep at night, but you may have additional questions. Below, we have provided several answers that you might have about specific camping methods.

Q: How do I know what inflatable dog bed is right for my pet?

Larger dogs will become upset with a dog bed that is too small, and larger beds add unnecessary weight for smaller breeds. Make sure you know the dimensions of the inflatable bed before you buy online and that it will be the right size for your dog. If you go to a store in person, you will have the chance to test it out if you bring your dog to the store.

Q: Can my dog scratch or pop my sleeping pad?

When you and your dog sleep together in a tent, you want to ensure your sleeping pad is protected. Popping a sleeping pad can make your evenings quite uncomfortable. Before you go on your trip, make sure you cut your dog’s nails so they cannot pop your sleeping pad. This also is true of inflatable beds and hammocks.

Q: Will my dog be comfortable with their sleeping arrangements?

A long camping trip can be awful for your dog if they are uncomfortable with where they sleep. We suggest trying out some methods on a quick overnight trip. That way, you can know your dog likes where they sleep at night.

Q: Does my dog need protection from cold temperatures?

You might think dogs with thick coats of fur are safe from freezing temperatures, but this is not true. Even dogs with the thickest coats of fur can get dangerously cold when the temperature is freezing. If you are backpacking in these temperatures, bring a blanket, dog sleeping bag, or protective warm booties to ensure your pet is safe.

Conclusion

No matter which option you choose as your accommodation for camping, your dog will at least give it a go if not enjoy where you let them sleep.

Although we have outlined pros and cons for each type of camping, the best option for you dog may become the one where they can be closest to you.

Trying each sleeping arrangement together is a great way for you to bond and discover new things about your furry friend. Your dog will appreciate the adventure with you and enjoy getting some fresh air and exercise.

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