Dog’s are part of our family and as such when the temperature drops we worry that they might get cold, especially at night. One solution to this is to purchase a heated dog’s bed, but with so many different types and styles available, how do you know where to start? Our panel of pet lovers and dog experts have compiled a list of the 5 best heated dog beds to get you started.
Best Heated Dog Bed Buying Guide & FAQ
There are of course numerous ways to keep your dog warm at night, from blankets to having them in your bed. But, there are disadvantages to many of them, including the risk of your dog overheating. A high quality heated dog bed reduces this risk and many others. In this part of the buying guide we look at the key benefits of a heated dog bed, the factors you should consider when buying one and other questions that such beds may raise.
The Advantages of a Heated Pet Bed
The main advantage of a heated pet bed is that it keeps your dog warm and comfortable on cold nights. This makes them more likely to use their own bed and less likely to want to share your bed. It also gives you peace of mind that they are happy, comfortable, and less likely to catch a chill. However, there are also several other health benefits from such beds, particularly for pet pooches with existing medical conditions. These advantages include:
- Relief from arthritis
Arthritis can be extremely painful for humans and pets alike. It is a joint disease that can either inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Symptoms of the former include swelling (inflammation) and joint pain. Symptoms of non-inflammatory joint disease include degeneration of the joints, pain, and stiffness. A heated dog bed can help to soothe your dog’s stiff joints and loosen tight muscles. A high quality heated bed that includes and orthopedic base can also provide support for the whole body, giving a more comfortable sleep.
- Soothing hip dysplasia pain
Hip dysplasia occurs when your dog’s ball and socket joint in the hip does not fit together properly. When this happens, the ball can slip from the socket causing wear and tear on the joint above what normally occurs as part of the aging process. This causes difficulty walking and standing and results in increased amounts of pain for your pooch. The heat generated from a heated dog bed can help to relieve the stiffness and pain associated with the condition.
- Reducing back pain
When combined with an orthopedic pillow or base, a heated bed can support dogs that have medical problems with their spines or have undergone a spinal injury. Heat helps to stop the muscles that support the spin from contracting and spasming, making movement easier and reducing pain and difficulty moving.
- Supporting senior pets
A heated bed can improve circulation and improve flexibility, which can support senior dogs and help them to stay more mobile, reducing the risk of injuries and age related joint conditions.
Factors to Consider in Heated Dog Beds
The type of heated dog bed you choose depends on the main reason for needing the bed and where it will be placed. A dog with one of the medical conditions considered previously will have different needs to one that needs a little extra warmth in their kennel. However, there are some key features to look for that help you to make the right decision for your pet regardless of the main reason for the purchase.
As with any dog bed, you need to ensure it is the right size for your four-legged friend. If it is too small, then your dog is not going to be comfortable and is unlikely to use the bed. However, if it is too big, then they may not get the full benefit of the heat. This is particularly true of beds that self-warm as they only reflect back the heat your dog creates.
- Heat source
Heated dog beds are generally either self-warming or use a low wattage heater to create the right temperature for your dog. There are many benefits to both, however, if you are choosing one with a heater, ensure that it is thermostatically controlled so that your dog does not overheat.
- Safety features
Thermostats are only one safety feature to look for in heated beds that include a heater. Heaters should be thoroughly tested and reach the required safety standards for use in a pet bed. Also check that the cable is chew-resistant and that the heater is covered with a waterproof cover to avoid moisture getting into the heating element. All the materials included in the bed should also be fire retardant.
- Non-slip base
This is particularly important for dogs with mobility issues. Having the bed move as they step in or out of it could cause additional pain and increase the risk of accidents.
- Washable covers
Keeping your heated dog bed clean is important, especially if it is used outside in kennels or sheds. Look for a completely machine washable bed or one that has removable and washable covers. For those with heating elements, the waterproof cover should be wipe clean and covered with a washable soft cover.
Types of Heated Dog Beds
While heated dog beds come in a range of shapes and sizes, they can be separated into two main types – self-warming and those that use electricity to heat the bed. Here we look at both types in a little more detail.
- Self-warming heated dog beds
Self-warming beds use your dog’s own body heat to create a warm bed. Instead of your dog’s body heat simply being absorbed into the bed as would usually happen, in these beds the heat is reflected back to your dog. This is achieved by using special materials that work in much the same way as space or survival blankets. These beds are great because they do not use electricity. There is no additional cost to keeping your dog warm and no need to place near an electricity outlet.
It also means there are no leads and no risk of your dog chewing through the lead or through to the heating element below. However, self-warming beds rely on your dog being in them to produce heat, so when they leave the bed they cool down quickly. It also means that if your dog is having difficulty maintaining their body heat, the bed will not produce as much heat. This makes them unsuitable for use outdoors or in kennels.
- Electric heated dog beds
These beds include an electric heater in the base of the bed, which produces heat to warm the bed. The best electric heated dog beds are thermostatically controlled so they cannot overheat. The thermostat allows you to maintain the bed at your dog’s usually body temperature. Some can also be set to maintain a lower temperature when your dog is not present so that your dog can return to warm bed without it costing a fortune in power usage.
Such beds can come as either full pet beds with cushions and bolstered sides or as sleep mats. While the full beds are usually intended for indoor use only, the mats can often be used outdoors, in kennels, dog houses, or sheds, as well. However, it is important to check with the manufacturer before using any heated pet bed outdoors.
The key things to consider with electric heated pet beds are the safety features, including ensuring that the heater is MET safety listed and that the cable is chew proof. Electric heated beds are not suitable for pets who have a tendency to destroy their beds or other furniture as there is always the risk that they will chew through to the electrical element.
Q: What is a Heated Dog Bed?
A: A heated dog bed is one that either self-warms through the use of special heat reflective materials or includes an electric heater to provide additional warmth for your dog. Such beds come in a range of styles from full lounge sleepers to sleep mats.
Q: Why Buy a Heated Dog Bed?
A: Heated dog beds help your dog to maintain optimal body temperature regardless of the air temperature. This gives them a more restful and comfortable sleep and reduces the risk of them catching a chill and becoming susceptible to other illnesses. Heated dog beds can also help to reduce the pain and suffering of a range of joint and back conditions including, arthritis, hip dysplasia, and spinal problems. They can also provide support for senior dogs who may have more stiffness and joint pain than their younger health counterparts.
- The Orthopedic Benefits of Heated Pet Beds, VetInfo
- Are Heated Beds Safe For Your Dog?, American Kennel Club
- How to Greatly Improve the Life of a Dog with Arthritis, wikiHow