An Expert's Advice on Dog Heating Pads, Plus 10 Options to Try
On a cold winter day, all any of us want to do is snuggle up somewhere cozy and warm—and as pet parents, we of course want our dogs to be just as comfortable as we are. While there's certainly nothing wrong with sharing a blanket with your pup or outfitting them in a thick sweater, another option is to buy a dog heating pad to keep your furry friend feeling snug and toasty no matter the temperature outside.
The Benefits of Dog Heating Pads
Although the idea of buying a heating pad for your dog might sound odd because they're covered in hair, there are actually several benefits to doing so, according to Graham Brayshaw, DVM and Director of Veterinary Medicine at the Animal Humane Society. For some puppies, senior dogs, or sick dogs who "cannot regulate their own temperature," explains Brayshaw, the instant, regulated warmth of heating pads can offer easy comfort. That's not to say healthy pups can't also enjoy the pads to combat the cold weather, "especially if your dog has a shorter coat or is smaller, like a Chihuahua or dachshund," he notes.
Are Dog Heating Pads Safe?
"If used properly," says Brayshaw, heating pads are absolutely safe—but you have to be extremely careful. When giving your dog a heating pad, cover it with a towel or other material to prevent "direct heating pad to skin or fur contact" that could burn your pup, advises Brayshaw. Also, check the pad's temperature often, keeping in mind that "if it is too hot for you, it is probably really too hot for your dog," he says. Lastly, don't force your dog to stay on the pad; give them the choice to leave any time they want. "Your dog best knows what is comfortable for them and when they get too hot or too cold," says Brayshaw. "You should give them the option to move onto or away from a heating pad." Dogs who have trouble moving around due to conditions like arthritis may need extra help getting on or off a heating pad. It's important to check on these dogs more often when heating pads are in use.
How to Choose the Right Heating Pad for Your Dog
"While you can find animal-specific pads and beds, human pads are fine as well if you follow the above rules," says Brayshaw. When shopping for a heating pad, consider whether it's the right size for your dog, but it's important to also take into account whether the pad comes with an automatic turn-off and if its temperature can be adjusted, he explains. Always monitor you pet while they are using the heating pad to ensure they don't become too hot, and always ask your vet about your dog's specific needs.