My dog has a short coat (pit bull) with no insulating undercoat, so she gets cold easily. We went backpacking last weekend and I brought her a fleece blanket to lay on/under, but that wasn't good enough and she was shivering (the low that night was 39*F). I had to let her get in my sleeping bag, which needless to say, kept me from sleeping very well. She gets pretty compact, but is still too big for both of us to fit comfortably into my mummy bag. So I am wondering if anyone has any ideas for a dog sleeping set-up. Obviously I need to get her a pad too, but I think she is going to need some insulation on top... I was envisioning something like a circular (or square) sleeping pad that has a quilted insulated cover attached 3/4 of the way around. I'm not sure this thing exists and may end up as a DIY project (problem is I don't own a sewing machine). Thoughts?
You can probably find something like this on eBay or Craigslist for $10 or so and have someone cut it down even smaller for you. I've seen hundreds of cheap bags for sale on both sites. You might find a used on at a local Goodwill if they carry that sort of thing-or at a garage sale.
Edited by TomD (01/31/1204:41 PM)
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
Loc: San Diego CA
I use a square high density pad and throw my down jacket over my dog. Works pretty well for us (dog is 50 pound german shorthair). A possible downside is that the jacket tends to smell like a dog (Compared to me that is not bad tho...). I have two old REI bags where the internal baffles came apart and I am remaking one into a dog quilt. Basically it is half peanut shell shaped item to place over her with one end open to stick her head out of.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
How active is your dog at night? My dog gets up several times a night, stretches, and then turns around 3 times before going back to sleep (I call him my Robert Benchley dog*), which would be a problem with a sleeping bag. Certainly any blanket ends up wadded in the corner of the tent! Also, he has a pretty furry coat so a sleeping bag would probably be too warm. I have a lightweight coat (Ruffwear Cloud Chaser) for him to wear on cold nights or if his coat is wet at bedtime. That's in addition to his Gossamer Gear Nightlite Torso Length pad.
A thin-coated dog like a pit bull probably needs a jacket in the daytime, too, if it's cold and/or rainy. It might be that the jacket could double as bedtime wear. My daughter had an Apache River fleece coat for her Viszla (they also have very thin coats, and her dog would start shivering in the mid 50's F). It's heavy fleece and has more belly coverage than most dog jackets. Her dog wore it for sleeping as well as on cold mornings and evenings. You could probably make a similar dog jacket out of a child's fleece jacket, for a lot less money. You probably want a thin rain jacket to put over the top of the fleece when it's raining.
* "A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down."--Robert Benchley
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
A thin-coated dog like a pit bull probably needs a jacket in the daytime, too, if it's cold and/or rainy.
Remember we are in Texas! Not very cold in the daytime. But yeah, she actually does have a fleece vest, which is actually an old vest of mine with the sides pinned up. We just forgot to bring it! (left it in the car.. stupid, stupid). That probably would have helped a lot. Maybe I can try with just a CCF pad and the vest. She is pretty spoiled when it comes to padding - has a nice fluffy bed at home, or makes one out of a big pile of dirty clothes pulled out of the hamper, so I definitely need to get her some kind of pad.
She does not move around much at night normally, if she is comfortable. She did sit up a few times in response to nearby dogs barking (we weren't very far from civilization).
A friend picked up a down jacket at a thrift store and made her shorthaired dog a sleeping jacket. A couple of buckles across the underbelly and a tail hole, and he's able to walk around with it on. It's funny, when the sun starts to go down and it gets cold, he starts following her around until she puts it on him.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki
Thanks for all the suggestions. I bought a wal-mart CCF pad and am planning to cut a piece just big enough for her to curl up on. I will bring that, her vest, and the fleece blanket and see how that goes. We are planning to go for another overnight next weekend, so I will let you know how it works out!
Loc: Eastern Washington
I frequently take my dog on trips with temps. below freezing. My method: 2 thin dog coats (pet store variety) +small "sleeping dog bag" + 1/2" thick EVA pad inside the bag. Bag is made from an old down vest with the bottom (waist) and arm holes sewed shut. On cold nights this combination keeps her from shivering and she is quite content.
You should be able to find a vest or (jacket) at a thrift store and can easily modify/sew this by hand--as long as your dog isn't too large!
He wears the jacket to bed when it is cold. The bed sits on a cheap-o blue foam pad, cut in half, and double-stacked. Then, I drape a cheap-o fleece blanket on top of him. He sometimes gets up to stretch and turn around, but the colder the temps, the less he does it. Usually all you can see of him is the tip of his nose poking out from under the blanket. When he does get up, it wakes me and I am able to tuck him in again.
Loc: Santa Cruz CA, Sierra Hiker
I've always used a kids bag that I cut off at the zipper and sewed the end so it is shorter. My dogs loved them. Conveniently I had kids that outgrew the bags first...:) I do have a fleece sweater I can use, but I almost lost a dog to hypothermia so it would have to be pretty warm for me to use it...