Despite all the fluff and fur, pets may need help keeping warm, particularly during the colder seasons. While heated dog blankets can come with hazards, production companies have rid former issues (such as electrical shock or fire from overheating). This is achieved as their products undergo rigorous testing before they’re ever available for purchase by the public. With that in mind, let’s discuss some of the benefits heated blankets for dogs, heated pads, or heated beds may offer your pet as well as how to avoid risk.
5 Benefits of Heated Dog Blankets and Beds
Due to the design of these products, they come with their own set of pros and cons, and those differ significantly from heated blankets and beds designed for humans. Here are the five main reasons you may want to consider such a blanket or a heated dog bed (which is not the same as a self-warming bed) for your pooch.
1. Extra Warmth Outdoors
Dogs should always be brought indoors during extreme temperatures – whether it’s a sweltering summer’s mid-day or freezing winter’s night – but for the times that they aren’t in your home, a heated blanket or bed inside a dog house or other kind of enclosure (perhaps a garage) is a much-needed rest area where they can find comfort, extra warmth, and shelter from outdoor conditions.
2. Help with Body-temperature Regulation
Certain breeds, such as Greyhounds, have some difficulty in regulating their body temperature, which means they’re often a little cold in low temperatures. In fact, it’s this quality that draws some to adopt this racing hound as they seek affection and cuddling in order to maintain their core heat. It’s not just Greyhounds that have this issue, however; puppies and geriatric dogs alike have a hard time keeping warm in winter.
3. Additional Comfort to New Puppies
Puppies will benefit from a heated blanket or a heated dog bed as it adds a level of comfort if they’ve recently been taken away from their mother and litter. The warmth will not only mimic the feeling of being snuggled up into mama’s belly, but it’ll also soothe a hyper puppy into a more comfortable sleep.
4. Health and Recovery
Senior canines suffering from joint pain may experience some relief from such pain when resting on a heated surface. Heated dog beds, for instance, are sometimes constructed with orthopedic support as well as liquid-resistant materials for pets who may be on medication that causes them to lose control of their bladder or older canines who are more prone to accidents than their younger counterparts.
5. Coerce Your Pet Into Cuddling or Sleeping With You
Sometimes dogs, particularly adopted or fostered ones, aren’t familiar with affectionate humans, which may make them resistant to hopping into your lap trustingly. Additionally, they have been punished for getting on furniture in a previous household, making them skittish or timid when you encourage them to join you on the couch or in bed.
In order to help such a pet learn that you’re more than happy to share couch or bed space with them, place a doggie-approved heated blanket or pad on the couch when you’re watching TV or with you when you get ready for bed at night. The dog is likely to be drawn to the warmth and alongside your gentle encouragement and enduring patience, they’ll come around. You’ll both love the added warmth and affection to your daily routine.
Please note, however, that while some are cuddly, not all dogs enjoy cuddling and you should never force a dog into a situation like this as it can cause them to avoid you or even become aggressive. More independent breeds, such as Shiba Inus, may prefer to enjoy their naps and resting alone, in which case, your being respectful of their preferences will be appreciated.
3 Dangers of Heated Blankets and Beds
Because these products are specifically designed with canines in mind, the dangers of a heated dog blanket or bed are minimal. However, this rule does not apply to such blankets or pillows that are designed for humans, as these work with a higher voltage, which dogs don’t need, want, or should have as it’s often too hot for their sensitive skin.
Electrical cords or battery devices built within the material can be a hazard to dogs that are avid chewers. Things may be chewed, choked on, or even swallowed, which could lead to digestive issues and risky, expensive surgery. The potential of choking on cords and wiring is typically mitigated by the companies that design warming pet bedding by installing chew-resistant cords.
While it’s an understandable worry, heated pet blankets are not known to overheat often or at all, especially in the modern marketplace. Older blankets, however, are at a higher risk of causing sparks as they may or may not have a preventative mechanism designed and installed to turn the blanket off once it reaches a certain temperature or is left on too long.
Additionally, some heated dog beds and mats are designed to match, but not surpass your dog’s own temperature, therefore, keeping them warm but not uncomfortable.
3. Electric Shock
General wear and tear or an exposed cord can cause electrical shock which may be a fire hazard. Most heated bedding for dogs will not have an exposed cord, because the desire to chew is often so present in our canine counterparts and that's always taken in account.
However, if you do purchase one with a plug-in cord and your pup is an avid chewer, then consider these safety precautions:
Spray the cord with a deterrent. The pet-care industry is flooded with deterrent sprays and topical solutions that come in a variety of unfriendly flavors. These products can be safely used on virtually anything you don’t want your dog to lick at or chew, including power cords. While the sprays are safe if ingested, should your dog decide they don’t mind the bad smell or taste.
Cover the cord. Many pet owners find success in running electrical cords through an old, cut up water hose or PVC pipe. This extra layer of protection will keep you pup from chewing on a dangerous electrical cord and potentially hurting themselves or causing a house fire.
Things to Note Before Shopping
Knowing the benefits and potential hazards of heated bedding for dogs most likely has you considering purchasing a new bed for them or upgrading the one you already own. A few things to know when hunting for the perfect option for your canine companion are how the mechanisms create and use heat, and how your pet is likely to respond to it.
Electric v. Thermal Heat
Mammals, including us and our canine friends, let off the warmth their own bodies create in several ways. One of the more common is radiation, meaning the heat that naturally comes off our skin radiates into our surrounding atmosphere. Even if we are cold, this heat is, essentially, being stolen from us. And while our bodies will do what they can to keep warm – such as shivering to bolster up some active energy to warm the body – radiation is continuously naturally occurring.
Thermally heated bedding doesn’t necessarily create more heat, as an electrical source does, but instead works to trap some of the heat that’s let off during the process of radiation. Metalized fabrics and resources take a body’s naturally-created heat and absorb it instead of allowing it to emanate.
Perception of Heat
Dogs process temperature differently than we do, and most dogs’ bodies are built to store heat. This is the reason why bath time for Fido is often met with tentative adjustments of the water temperature and asking, “Is that too hot?” As all dog owners know, a steamy bath may be great for themselves, but for their furry friend it could be scalding.
Keep this in mind when shopping for heated dog bedding: what may feel slightly warm to us can be extremely toasty to your pooch (which is why blankets/beds/pillows made for people are not suitable for pets). Most heating products for dogs will operate only at low temperatures to create just the right amount of warmth, so don’t feel the product isn’t working when you linger the back of your hand over it only to feel a slight radiation of heat.
The Right Kind of Heating Product for Your Dog
With so many versions of heated pet bedding for canines available, there are a few key factors that’ll help you sift though and choose the perfect one for your pooch. While typically inexpensive, you’ll want to consider your price point, and you’ll also want to think about how often the product will be used, as well as your pet’s size, their general likes and dislikes (some pooches are picky), and where the heated bedding will be placed (in your home or outdoors?)
This compact fabric-lined pad is ideal for dogs who prefer to lay on flat surfaces and/or dogs who are crate trained. Warming pads are most likely the preferred option if your dog enjoys his or her naps stretched out and long; for dogs that prefer to curl up into the smallest ball of fluff they can manage – check out dog beds and bolsters.
- Price Range: $10 – $45
- Durability: Some pads/mats will come with a removable, washer-friendly cover which will allow you to give it a good cleaning every now and then. This expands its durability, for sure. However, if your dog is a chewer, you may go through one every year or so.
Some dogs prefer to take up their humans’ beds and some humans love the cuddling so much, they don’t seem to mind the lack of space or spare hair. However, for those that do, it’s likely you’ve purchased a dog bed for your canine counterpart.
If the pooch took to the bed, then you may choose to upgrade to a heated dog bed, especially for those chilly fall and winter evenings. Note that if your pet is extremely attached to a dog bed you may have already purchased for them, consider a heated blanket to lay over the top of it or a heating pad to place underneath the bed.
- Price Range: $70 – $200
- Durability: Since these beds are designed and manufactured for dogs, they’re typically made from fabrics that can be easily washed (should an accident occur) and materials that hold up against excessive chewing. Beds with memory foam, and additional spinal support will often last longer and are an incredible sleep aid to senior or injured dogs, although they will cost anywhere between $100 to $300.
Heated Bedding for Outdoors
If you own land or have a backyard your pet simply never wants to leave, you might consider adding some bedding specifically designed to endure seasonal elements, especially if you live in a state that gets into the lower digits.
- Price Range: $50 – $100
- Durability: These products are typically made out of material and fabric tested to withstand rain, shielding itself from moisture and mold development. Additionally, many of them may utilize reflective materials to take advantage of natural heat from the sun.
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