If you've ever curled up on a heating pad to treat severe cramps or muscular pains, you know how helpful they can be. Heat therapy is a typical treatment for everyday pain, particularly discomfort from joint or muscle problems. The same may be said with dogs, however there are certain limitations.
Dog parents frequently use heating pads and heated beds to help their dogs recover from injuries or cope with the aches and pains of old age and arthritis. However, you must ensure that you are utilizing a dog heating pad appropriately and that you are aware of any potential safety risks.
Here’s what to know about dog heating pads, including some quick suggestions for buying one for your own canine companion.
The Benefits of a Dog Heating Pad
Heating pads are good to dogs for the same reasons they are beneficial to humans. Heat given to the body in appropriate locations promotes circulation and blood flow. It also provides a brief boost in muscular flexibility.
The benefits your dog might get from a heating pad include:
- Muscle soothing and relaxation
- Relaxation of muscle spasms
- Relief from stiff and/or sore joints
- Relief from arthritis pain
- General pain relief
While all of the advantages of a dog heating pad are just temporary, they may be quite beneficial in aiding your canine companion's recovery. They're also a typical feature in households with aged or older pets, as well as canines who suffer from arthritis, as previously indicated. Furthermore, many dogs like lying on a heated pad, especially on a chilly day.
How to Safely Use a Heating Pad with Your Dog
Although heating pads (including heated beds) are generally safe for dogs, there are a few things to keep in mind. It's critical that you understand how to use them correctly, as well as how a heating pad may go from being good to being detrimental to your dog.
Make Sure It’s a Dog-Specific Heating Pad
Heat tolerance varies between dogs and humans, and your personal heating pad or blanket isn't designed for usage with your dog. Purchase a heating pad designed particularly for dogs and carefully read the manufacturer's instructions to understand how it works and how long your dog may safely stay on it.
Monitor Your Dog When They’re on the Heating Pad
It's natural for your dog to become uncomfortable on the pad and desire to get up. However, if they're arthritic or in pain, they may find it difficult to do so, which might lead to overheating. Never leave your dog alone with a heating pad in a tight place, and assist them if they appear to have had enough. Panting, increased salivation, and a quick pulse are all signs of overheating.
Regularly Check for Wear and Tear
If your dog enjoys chewing, there's a danger they'll gnaw on the heating pad or its electrical components. In addition to discouraging this, inspect the pad for any indications of damage, since this might lead to electrical issues that could endanger your pet.
Buying a Dog Heating Pad
If you think that your dog might benefit from a heating pad, then it’s definitely worth a purchase.
There are various types of heating pads to choose from, including:
- Electric heating pads: These plug directly into the wall and are often thermostat-controlled in order to maintain a consistent temperature. They can get pretty warm, so it’s crucial that you monitor your dog and the heating pad itself. Keep an eye on the cord too, particularly if your dog or other household pets are .
- Thermal heating pads: Thermal heating pads contain a reflective layer that radiates your pet's body heat back at them. They can’t get quite as warm as an electric bed, but there are no cords to worry about—plus no need to worry about overheating, since they can’t exceed your pet’s own body temperature.
- Microwavable heating pads: Similar to a warm compress, microwavable heating pads are filled with a special material (often a gel) that traps heat when you microwave it. They cool down as they’re used so there’s not much risk of your dog getting overheated, however they can come out of the microwave quite hot so check the temperature before letting your dog lay down on it.
- Orthopedic heating pads: Much like regular orthopedic pads and beds, an orthopedic heating pad offers additional comfort for aging or aching dogs. They’re heavier than traditional heating pads, but have extra layers to protect and cushion joints, which could be key.
- Outdoor heating pads: If your dog is going to be using a heating pad outside, make sure to buy one that is specifically rated for outdoor use. These are made with water-resistant outer materials to ensure they can stand up to moisture, and come in both electrical and thermal options.
Make the best decision for your dog and your house by using the information provided above. It's a good idea to first consult with your veterinarian to see what they recommend, both in terms of the sort of heating pad to buy and how to use it safely.
Have other pets at home? They’re in luck! Cats love heating pads too, and many dogs enjoy them regardless of whether or not they’re dealing with pain or injuries.