Best Dog Sleeping Bag (Review & Buying Guide) in 2018

Sleep is important for optimal physical and cognitive development among our furry friends. Sometimes, even behavioral tendencies such as irritability and aggressiveness are the consequences of the lack of quality sleep. As dog parents, the responsibility in ensuring our pets have the best sleep every time falls on our shoulders. Start by giving them the appropriate sleeping bag.

Yet don’t fall into the trap of buying the sleeping bags based on price. Not all expensive dog items are the best options for your pups since their sleeping needs differ across breeds, body builds, age, and personality. You’re lucky to have landed on this page. We’ve surveyed the market to give dog parents like you the top 5 best dog sleeping bags to guide your purchasing decision.

dog camping

Best Dog Sleeping Bag Buying Guide & FAQ

Why are Dog Sleeping Bags Necessary?

Whether it is camping, backpacking, hiking, trekking, or mountain climbing, or just about anything that you can think of whenever we’re talking about outdoor activities, you’d want your pet to feel safe and comfortable during the entire time that you’re outside the comfort, security, and safety of your home. And when it comes to safety in camping, one of the most essential gears that every outdoor adventure-minded individual has is a sleeping bag. If you deserve a good sleeping bag to protect you from the bitter cold of the wilderness, don’t you think your dog deserves to have the best dog sleeping bag, too?

While some dog breeds are naturally adapted to cold weather environments such as the descendants of Nordic and Arctic dogs, there are still some dog breeds that are especially susceptible to extreme cold temperatures. If you think that the environmental temperature is unbearably cold, what more to your dog?

This is the fundamental reason why dog sleeping bags are necessary especially when camping or sleeping outdoors where the environmental temperature cannot be controlled. This is very different from your air-conditioned room where you can easily adjust the thermostat to make it a lot warmer and more comfortable for your pet. There are no such thermostat controls in the wilderness, so you and your dog are often at the mercy of the elements, so to speak.

Your dog may not experience frost bite, but being exposed to cold temperatures for prolonged periods of time can also have negative effects on its health. If their body temperature gets to substantially low levels there is a possibility that the dog’s heart rate as well as breathing can slow down. This disrupts the efficient flow of oxygen and nutrients as well as other substances throughout the dog’s body.

If blood is not circulated to the brain neurological problems can arise which can include confusion, hallucinations, convulsions, seizures, decreased level of consciousness, and coma. If it is the muscles of the heart that are no longer receiving adequate blood this can lead to heart attack. If it is the kidneys that are no longer being supplied with blood it can go into urinary insufficiency before developing into kidney failure.

Using dog sleeping blankets can help minimize your dog’s exposure to extreme cold and help prevent the development of hypothermia. While not all camping adventures will instantly lead to hypothermia, it is still best to take the necessary precautions.

puppy in bed

Different Types of Dog Sleeping Bag

One of the things you’ve got to consider whenever picking a sleeping bag for your four-legged friend is the type of sleeping bag for canines. Unlike human sleeping bags, these especially-designed sleeping contraptions for man’s best friends can come in different shapes and sizes.

Doggie sleeping bags are generally designed to cater to the sleeping habits of dogs. There are those that love to curl up whenever they sleep while there are Ringos that feel a lot more comfortable with their four legs stretched out towards the side. And then there are dogs that can remain perfectly still throughout the duration of their sleep while others tend to be as ‘active’ in bed as they are during the waking hours.

Here are some of the more common styles or types of dog sleeping bags that you may want to know about.

  • Den

This is perfect for dogs that are more accustomed to sleeping in a cave-like contraption. It resembles a burrow or perhaps even a house. But since it’s a doggie sleeping bag you can expect it to resemble more an igloo sans its lengthy entranceway. It is perfect for curlers or for dogs that love to sleep all curled up. The ‘roof’ of the den or cave provides adequate protection from the cold air while the enclosed sides and bottom keep your pet warm and comfy.

  • Cup

This is a lot similar to a donut type of doggie bed, except that this has higher sides. It’s like a nest type of doggie bed that is ideal for pets that also love to curl but absolute hates the cover afforded by a top layer of fabric.

  • Flat

As the name implies, this type of dog sleeping bag is perfect for canines that prefer to sleep fully stretched out. This means they don’t curl up so they will use the entire space afforded by the dog sleeping bag. These technically resemble the sleeping bags that we humans use.

  • Pod

This style of dog sleeping bed is a lot similar to the cup style. The only difference is that it has much thicker sides or walls as well as bottom to make it extra-comfy, cozy, and warm for your dog. Like the den or the cup style of dog sleeping bag, the pod is also intended primarily for pooches that love to curl up whenever they’re sleeping.

  • Bed

This style of dog sleeping bad is quite unusual, but there are companies that obviously manufacture such types of products. It’s called a dog sleeping bag bed that is more a combination of a doggie bed and a cover that serves more like a blanket or even a bed cover.

What to Look for in a Dog Sleeping Bag

Learning the different types of dog sleeping bags should already give you a rough idea on what product you are going to buy for Fido. Suffice it to say, this is often not enough, of course. You will still have to check other factors that might have an impact in the safety and comfort of your pet using the dog sleeping bag in the real world. Here is a list of the important things that should always be considered when buying a doggie sleeping bag.

  • Size

Obviously you want something that is slightly bigger than your hound. This somehow depends on the sleeping behavior of your dog. If Fido loves curled up when sleeping, then you can always go for a smaller size of sleeping bag. But if Bongo loves sleeping sprawled then choosing a much bigger or larger dog sleeping bag is a must. Always allow at least 6 inches of additional interior space for your pet to move about. For example, if Fido is about 26 inches long, then you should go for a pet sleeping bag that is at least 32 inches long.

  • Bottom layer

You will need to consider the location where you’re going to place the dog sleeping bag on. Will it be over rocky surfaces or will it be grass? Is it sandy or muddy? If the ground surface will have lots of twigs, pebbles, or even rocks it is imperative that the bottom layer of the dog sleeping bag be made of extra-thick fabric complete with ample padding. Alternatively, you can also bring extra sheets of towels or even a portable dog bed to go inside the sleeping bag. If it is grassy, then moisture- or water- resistance is a must as it can get dewy especially at dawn.

  • Insulation

If you’re heading into really cold environments it is often imperative that you check the weather rating of the dog sleeping bag. Just because it has a thick shell doesn’t necessarily mean that it can already be used in freezing conditions. Make sure there is a heating element or at least thermal insulation layer built into the design of the dog sleeping bag to help keep your pet comfy and warm. But, of course, if you’re not going camping in freezing conditions, then there is no need to look for such a feature.

  • Weather-resistance

Sleeping in the wild means you’re technically at the mercy of Mother Nature. And unlike your thermostat-controlled home, there’s no way you can tell beforehand if Mother Nature is going to unleash her fury once you’ve set up camp. As such, the doggie sleeping bag should also have excellent weather protection. Perhaps, the most important thing here is to never go out whenever you expect a storm. But then again, nature can be very unpredictable. It is always best to stay prepared rather than be sorry later. Getting a dog sleeping bag that has exceptional weather-resistance and water-proofing can go a long way.

  • Closure system

Take note of the construction of the closure system. Most pet sleeping bags come with zipper closure. Unfortunately, some are haphazardly constructed that a single zip of the closure is all it takes to damage the entire system. Always look for products with reliable hardware.

  • Weight

Unless you’re going to train your dog to carry its own camping gear, you’re most likely the one who’s going to carry the dog sleeping bag. And if you already have a lot of stuff on your back, you don’t want another heavy item to weigh you down.

dog laying down

Best Dog Sleeping Bag FAQ:

Q: What size of sleeping bag should I get for my dog?

A: You should always measure the size of your dog to have an idea of the size of sleeping bag that you’re going to get for your pet. Look at how they sleep and try to measure them in their natural sleeping position. Basically you will be measuring the area that their bodies occupy when they are asleep. You will then need to add an allowance of about 3 inches on all sides of the measured dimension to allow for movement inside the sleeping bag. For example, if Fido is a curler and will typically take an area of 18 inches long by 15 inches wide to sleep on, then the minimum dimensions of the sleeping bag should be 25 inches by 21 inches.

Q: How do I get my dog to use the sleeping bag?

A: Training your dog is important if you want it to be comfortable with its sleeping bag. But if your dog has been sleeping in a doggie bed, it shouldn’t be a problem getting your hound to love the sleeping bag as well.

First, acclimatize Bongo to the sight, scent, and feel of the sleeping bag. Some dogs don’t even need acclimatization at all since they already know what they should do. But for those who don’t, it’s imperative that they be eased into the presence of the sleeping bag. You can throw your dog’s favorite doggie toy onto the sleeping bag or entice it to go there with a treat. It’s like crate training, except that this time you want your pet to use the sleeping bag.

Time your training sessions to coincide with your dog’s sleep routine. This way it will learn to associate the sleeping bag with rest. By the time your dog is already accustomed to sleeping on the bag, you can then try moving the sleeping bag outdoors. Do it slowly and gradually.

Q: What if my dog has anxiety?

A: If your dog has anxiety you can give it its favorite toy. There are a number of doggie toys that are designed to relieve a pet’s anxiety by diverting its attention and focus from whatever is making it anxious to something more productive. You can also give it dog chews that will typically last several days. Again, this can take your dog’s mind off the anxiety-inducing event or thing. Puzzle toys are also preferred as these can keep dogs preoccupied.

Massaging your dog just before it goes to sleep also helps. This can help promote relaxation and help alleviate anxiety. Taking your dog for a good run at the campsite can also dispense of that excess anxious energy so it will be able to sleep sooner and sounder, too. You can also try playing soothing and relaxing classical music. It has the same calming effects in dogs as much as it does in humans.

If nothing seems to work, you can try anxiety-relieving dog vests. You can also ask your veterinarian to prescribe anti-anxiety medications for your pet. Lastly, it is also important to check your own anxiety levels. We have this tendency to rub our negative energies onto our pets. Dogs can become so anxious if their pet parents are also very anxious.

corgiNot everyone may agree with the need for a dog sleeping bag. However, these contraptions are important in making sure that our dogs not only feel comfortable when we are temporarily living in the wild, but will also ensure their safety.

Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for MyPetNeedsThat.com, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!