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  • Post last modified:March 15, 2024
  • Post category:Camping
  • Reading time:14 mins read

How to Keep Dogs Cool While Camping

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Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, and it’s even better when you can share the experience with your furry friend. However, as much as dogs love exploring new environments, they can be susceptible to overheating, especially in warm weather. This article will guide you on how to keep your dogs cool while camping, ensuring they stay comfortable and safe throughout your outdoor adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-timer, these tips will help you prepare for a fun and stress-free camping trip with your dog. Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents
Tent camping with dogs

Understanding Your Dog’s Needs

Like humans, dogs can also be affected by extreme temperatures. But, unlike us, they don’t sweat, so they control their body temperature by panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose. It’s essential to understand how heat can impact your dog to ensure their safety during your camping trip.

How Heat Affects Dogs

When canines are subjected to high temperatures for long periods, they may experience heatstroke, a condition that can be fatal. Indicators of heatstroke in dogs comprise excessive panting, drooling, reddened gums, vomiting, diarrhoea, a lack of coordination, and collapsing.

Signs of Overheating in Dogs

It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of overheating in your dog. These can include heavy panting, increased heart rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. They may also have seizures, bloody diarrhoea or vomit, and their body temperature can rise to more than 104°F (40°C).

It is crucial to be aware that some dog breeds and sizes are more susceptible to heat-related health issues. For instance, breeds with short noses and flat faces, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, are particularly at risk as they have limited ability to pant. Moreover, older dogs, puppies, overweight dogs, and those with pre-existing health conditions are also more vulnerable to the adverse effects of heat.

Preparation Before Camping

Before you head out on your camping trip, there are several things you can do to ensure your dog stays cool and comfortable.

Choosing the Right Camping Gear for Your Dog

It’s a good idea to invest in a high-quality dog bed that is insulated to provide a comfortable and cool resting place for your furry friend. You can also use cooling mats or vests to regulate your dog’s body temperature. Don’t forget to pack a collapsible water bowl and plenty of fresh water so that your dog stays hydrated during the trip.

Importance of Hydration and Food

Hydration is key to preventing overheating. Always have fresh water available for your dog and encourage them to drink regularly. You might also consider bringing electrolyte-enhanced water or dog-friendly popsicles to help keep them cool.

When it comes to food, avoid feeding your dog large meals during the hottest parts of the day. Instead, opt for smaller, more frequent meals. This can help prevent overheating and also keeps their energy levels stable.

Camping with dog

Keeping Your Dog Cool at the Campsite

Once you’ve arrived at your campsite, there are several strategies you can employ to keep your dog cool.

Finding a Shady Spot

First and foremost, try to set up your campsite in a shady area. Direct sunlight can quickly raise your dog’s body temperature, so it’s important to provide a cool, shaded spot where your dog can rest. If natural shade isn’t available, consider bringing a portable shade tent or umbrella.

Using Cooling Mats or Vests

If you’re planning to go camping with your furry friend during hot weather, consider using cooling mats or vests to help prevent heat-related issues. These products are designed to absorb your dog’s body heat and release it back into the air, thus helping to keep your dog cool. However, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the product’s effectiveness.

Importance of Fresh Water Availability

Always have fresh water available for your dog. Dehydration can lead to overheating, so it’s important to encourage your dog to drink regularly. Consider bringing a collapsible water bowl that’s easy to pack and carry.

Activities to Keep Your Dog Cool

While camping, you can engage in several activities that not only entertain your dog but also help them stay cool.

Safe Water Activities

If your campsite is near a body of water, such as a lake or river, allowing your dog to swim can be a great way to cool them down. Always supervise your dog while they’re in the water and ensure the current isn’t too strong. If your dog isn’t a strong swimmer, consider investing in a doggy life jacket.

Early Morning and Late Evening Walks

It is recommended to schedule walks for your dog during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening. This is because during these times, the sun is less intense and temperatures are lower, making walks more comfortable for your dog. 

Remember, the ground can get very hot in the sun. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Always check the ground temperature before taking your dog for a walk.

Keeping Dogs Cool While Camping

What to Do If Your Dog Overheats

Despite your best efforts, there may be times when your dog shows signs of overheating. Here’s what you should do in such situations:

Immediate Steps to Take

If you notice any symptoms of heatstroke in your dog, it is crucial to take immediate action. Move your dog to a cooler area immediately, preferably in the shade or an air-conditioned space. Offer fresh, cool water, but don’t force your dog to drink. You can also use cool (not cold) water to lower your dog’s body temperature. Apply the water to their neck, armpits, and between the hind legs, and you can also wet their ear flaps and paw pads with cool water.

When to Seek Veterinary Help

If your dog’s symptoms persist despite your initial first aid, or if your dog collapses or seems disoriented, seek veterinary help immediately. Heatstroke can lead to serious complications like organ failure, so it’s crucial to get professional help as soon as possible.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. By following the tips in this article, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable camping experience with your dog.

Also Read: What to Wear When Hiking Summer


Camping with your dog can be a remarkable experience, but it’s important to maintain their comfort and safety in mind. By understanding your dog’s needs, preparing properly, and knowing how to keep your dog cool at the campsite, you can ensure a fun and safe outdoor adventure for both of you. Remember, always monitor your dog for signs of overheating and know what to do if they become too hot. With these guidance, you and your dog can enjoy many happy camping trips together.


To further enhance your understanding and preparation for camping with your dog, here are some useful resources and videos:

American Kennel Club: Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

PetMD: Heat Stroke and Hyperthermia in Dogs

Rover:The 9 Best Outdoor Dog Beds for Every Pup, From Backyard Loungers to Adventurers

Watch this video if you want to learn more about How to keep Dogs Cool While Camping

Remember, it’s always best to consult with your vet before going on a camping trip with your dog, especially if your dog has health conditions or is not used to being outdoors for extended periods of time. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the signs of overheating in dogs?

Signs of overheating in dogs can include heavy panting, increased heart rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. They may also have seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomit, and their body temperature can rise to more than 104°F (40°C).

There are several ways to keep your dog cool while camping. These include finding a shady spot at your campsite, using cooling mats or vests, keeping fresh water available at all times, and engaging in safe water activities.

If your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, move them to a cooler area immediately, offer fresh, cool water, and use cool (not cold) water to lower their body temperature. If symptoms persist, seek veterinary help immediately.

Insulated dog beds, cooling mats or vests, and collapsible water bowls are all useful items to help keep your dog cool while camping.

Not all dogs are natural swimmers, and some breeds may struggle more than others. Always supervise your dog while they’re in the water and consider investing in a doggy life jacket for added safety.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Always monitor your dog closely while camping, especially in hot weather, and consult with your vet if you have any concerns.