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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Consider Heating Pads for Dogs When the Weather Gets Cold

By Anton Hout, author of The Guide to Aussie Training & Care

H eating pads for dogs, electric dog beds and even self-warming beds are all available options to help keep your Aussie warm as the temperatures drop. This may be a particular concern these days as heating costs climb and you lower the thermostat to save money. We can easily throw on an extra sweater to keep warm but our pets can't make the adjustment as easily so they need a little help from us.

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You may think that your dog's fur would provide natural insulation and keep him warm no matter how cold it gets. While this is true to an extent, it doesn't work in all circumstances and, of course, not all dogs are created equally. Some dogs have much shorter coats, which makes it harder to regulate temperature. Temperature regulation can also vary depending on a dog's age and if it has particular health concerns, which is where heated dog beds can make a big difference.

Like humans, dogs can begin to develop health issues as they get older. Arthritis and other joint ailments, hip dysplasia, circulation issues, and spinal injuries can all be conditions that respond well to the extra warmth from an electric dog bed. The heat from these beds can help to soothe aching joints and orthopedic beds can offer extra support. If your aging dog has difficulty getting up, however, you need to monitor his use of these beds to avoid injury.

Consider Heating Pads for Dogs When the Weather Gets Cold  - Photo: Portrait of a happy old dog on her bed with a blue plush toy.

Mary Lynn Strand /

Pros and Cons of Heating Pads for Dogs

While there are many types of heating pads for dogs currently available, you need to consider them carefully before choosing one to ensure that it is the right option for your dog. Here are some pros and cons of heated dog beds to help make your choice:

Pros of Heating Pads for Dogs:

  • Extra Warmth – of course the biggest plus when it comes to any electric dog bed is providing an extra layer of warmth to guard against cold temperatures. This is particularly important for dogs that spend the majority of their time outside, including working Australian Shepherds.
  • Regulating Body Temperature – this is most important for short coated dogs like Greyhounds, but it is important for all dogs to regulate and maintain their core temperature.
  • Additional Level of Comfort – for puppies who were recently weaned from their mother or removed from their litter, heating pads for dogs can be a helpful substitute for the warmth and comfort they'd get from snuggling.
  • Health and Recovery – as mentioned above, heated dog beds can help with recovery from injury or improving the health of older dogs.

Cons of Heated Dog Beds:

  • Chewing – all dogs are prone to chewing, but this is a particular issue with growing puppies. Unfortunately, chewing can become a problem when it comes to the power cord for an electric dog bed. Some companies use chew-resistant cords or hide the cords to prevent this hazard.
  • Overheating – since dogs tend to absorb heat rather than radiate it as humans do, they can easily become overheated. Most manufacturers avoid this problem by ensuring that their heating pads for dogs operate at a much lower temperature. For this reason, it is crucial that you only choose a pad or bed designed specifically for dogs. Don't assume that the heating pad you use for yourself will work just as well for your pet as this isn't the case. Also, choose a newer model which will likely have a self-regulating switch that will shut off once a particular temperature is reached, preventing the possibility of fire.
  • Electric Shock – frayed or chewed cords can become a greater risk for shock, which is why most manufacturers of heated dog beds cover or hide their cords to prevent chewing. If the cord is exposed, you can use a deterrent spray to make it unpalatable to your pup or cover it yourself with old garden hosing or PVC pipe.
Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Once you've weighed all the pros and cons and opt to get an electric dog bed for your pet, you'll need to take all of the various options into consideration to make the best choice. There are a number of sizes and styles available depending on the size of your dog and his sleeping style. You can even choose from heating methods, either opting for a traditional electric bed or a self-warming thermal bed.

Consider Heating Pads for Dogs When the Weather Gets Cold  - Photo: Sleeping Australian Shepherd taking a rest on a dog bed.

Brenda /

Regular dog beds are great most of the time but when it turns cold your dog will appreciate an electric dog bed.

Heating pads for dogs come in a variety of shapes, including round, rectangular or blanket style that your dog can snuggle into. On the lower end of the price range, you can opt for a standard pad or you may opt for one of many higher end heated dog beds.

A rounded electric dog bed with high sides is ideal for dogs who like to sleep curled up while larger beds with bolsters are better for dogs who like to sleep stretched out or leaning against something. For Australian Shepherds and other breeds that spend a lot of time outdoors, you can find models at Amazon and other retailers designed to be used in outdoor dog houses and beds and made to endure extreme weather conditions.

To avoid issues from chewing electric cords, you might want to opt for self-warming dog beds that use a layer of insulation to help retain your dogs own body heat.

Whatever type you choose, heating pads for dogs can be an excellent option for helping your best friend make it comfortably through the harsh winter weather. Just be sure to do your homework and choose a bed or pad that will keep your pet cozy, warm, and safe all winter long.

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Heating pads for dogs, electric dog beds and even self-warming beds are all options to help keep your Aussie warm as the temperatures drop, especially as heating costs climb and you lower the thermostat. #australianshepherd #aussie #doggear #dogbeds #aussielovers icon

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

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