You may feel that a heated dog bed falls into the category of the over pampered pooch, but they have many therapeutic purposes as well. Dogs have hair, (well most of them do), and so most people mistakenly believe that is all they need for insulation even if their surroundings are cool. Mother Nature provided pretty well for most dogs by equipping them for their environment. But sometimes this natural protective coat is not enough. Dogs are on the move globally and living in climates not suited to their nature.
There are many reasons your dog may benefit from a heated bed, besides just living in a colder climate. Perhaps your dog suffers from medical conditions due to age or illness. A heated orthopedic bed is ideal for older dogs with arthritis or joint issues and can even increase their mobility. Dogs recovering from recent surgery or in a distressed state can benefit from use of a heated bed. Puppies recently weaned and removed from the comfort and warmth of their mother do well transitioning with the help of a heated bed.
Not all dogs are allowed in the house, even in winter, so a heated bed for kennels, garages or the porch can be a necessity in some climates. A heated bed can take some of the sting out of being "in the dog house"! Prolonged exposure to cold can lead to a variety of problems for your pet such as: cracked paws, infections, dehydration and in extreme cases even hypothermia. If your dog is shivering and cold this can weaken his immune system. If health issues weren't enough, your dog will be just plain miserable. A heated dog bed in conjunction with the right diet, a good exercise program and proper medical attention will optimize your dog's health.
How to Choose the Right Dog Bed
As with any dog bed purchase, you need to take into consideration your dog's needs, as well as their particular sleeping habits. Make sure the size and shape fit your dog's body type and sleeping positions. Does he curl up or stretch out, is he a fitful sleeper? Do you have a big dog in need of good support, then a firmer pad would be worth a look. If your dog sleeps with part of his body elevated, then a pillow top bed should be considered. If your selection is wrong and your buddy is not happy with the bed you selected, then no amount of warmth is going to make it more inviting. Nothing is worse than spending money on a bed for your beloved pet, only to find out he would rather sleep on the floor that on what you thought he would like. Listen to your dog by watching his habits and you will make a better decision for both of you.
Bring on the Heat
Once you have the basic needs determined, its time to check out the heat. You can choose from a huge variety of shapes and sizes with low-level therapeutic heat. Heated pet beds have thermostats that allow you to control the temperature. If you travel with your pet, some beds have optional AC power adapters allowing them to plug into your car. You can even get a pet bed with a removable heating source, this article allowing you to use the bed year round. Heated beds usually have removable covers, since washing is not always an option. Some models have detachable, chew-resistant cords. Some even come with vibrating massage! You can also purchase a bed that both heats and cools allowing complete comfort. Be sure to check whether the bed you are considering is made for indoor or outdoor use. Smaller heated cushions and mats are very convenient and can be moved around the house, depending on your dog's current favorite nap zone.
You might think of just using the old electric blanket off your bed, but that's not a good idea. Human electric blankets exceed the levels of what is considered safe for your dog. As with any electrical product, you need to be safety conscious by being on the look out for frayed wires and keep them away from pooled water. If your dog likes to chew, you can purchase a cord protector to prevent damage to the cord.
Most dogs will do fine without a heated bed, but there are many who would benefit, so assess your dog's bedding and health issues and see if a heated bed would better suit the needs of your dog.