My little pup, Jelly Bean, doesn’t come to understand the safe distance from the heater and loves snoozing around it. The burning flames in the heater tempt him a lot, and I don’t like to stop him from enjoying the pleasant warmth. But it can be dangerous for him.
Getting too close to the fire can be disastrous, not only for humans but also for pets. However, with a little bit of care, you can keep the dangers away.
If you ever spent winters with your fluffy dog, you must have noticed how much he loves snuggling around the heat sources. Dogs feel colder than we do, so they need more heat in winters than us.
As you bend to turn the heater on or flick the central heating switch, your Coco or Lucy will be there, ready to occupy the ideal position providing utmost warmth.
Reason Why Pets Likes To Stay By Heaters
Dogs are warm-blooded animals that shiver in winters to keep the normal body temperature. However, shivering consumes a lot of body energy that can be utilized in some other way. After shivering a lot, your dog will feel drained and lazy.
To save that energy and make your pooch feel comfortable, turn on the heater or light up a fire.
The normal body heat for dogs is 102oF, which is much higher than ours, i.e., 98.6oF. It means they can tolerate a much higher temperature than us.
That’s why your pup curls up very close to the heater while you prefer a back seat to get warmth.
How To Keep It Safe?
1. No play near the fire
You never let your kids play around flames, so don’t allow your pets either. They may get burnt, or their wagging tail might hit the hot grill or get in touch with the flames, resulting in fire hazards.
During play, your dog may jump and hit the heater for the bouncing ball. You can serve him his favorite food to distract him from playing around the heater.
2. Maintain a safe distance
Don’t let your dog take a nap too close to the heat source. Most of the dogs will change their place when they feel too hot. However, it’s not always the case. Some pets will keep on sleeping under the high heat, which can cause dryness, dehydration, and even burns. Too much heat may cause dryness and can lead to skin allergies.
3. Fence the heater
Keep a fence around the heater, which will gate off your dog and other pets. Dogs are intrigued by the flames and digital, lighted panels of the heater.
The burning flames are not the only thing that can be a threat to your pup. Too much heat can dry their skin, while carcinogens can damage their health. The closer someone stays to the carcinogen source, the higher the risk of getting affected. However, this is not a problem with electric and infrared heaters.
Fence the heater to save your trips to the vet and protect your dog from the potential burns.
The inbuilt heater’s grate won’t be enough, especially if your dog licks almost everything he likes. He may get burned with the hot grate. A fence will keep your dog from getting into direct contact with the scorching grill.
4. Don't leave the fire unattended
It’s a general rule you must follow not only for your pet’s safety but also for your own. No matter what sort of fire it is, leaving it unattended can lead to potential fire hazards. Further, if someone tips over the heater, the result could be a fire, provided the heater does not have tip-over protection. The same is the case if it gets overheated.
Beagles and other skinny dog breeds feel much colder than their heftier counterparts like Huskies. The latter ones have double-coats and thick fur that helps them tolerate the outside cold.
If your canine is spending more time around the heater even when it is off, prefer getting an indoor dog coat for him. Also, you can place warm blankets on his bed.
5. Smoke alarms, detectors, and vents
Ensure the proper functioning of your smoke alarms, to avoid fires.
Carbon monoxide exposure can cause serious health damage to your dogs. So, keep carbon monoxide detectors in your home, especially around the heaters and hearths.
Keep your heaters and rooms adequately vented to keep the smoke and carcinogen gases out of your room.
6. Use UL or CSA certified heaters
Make sure to use UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) certified space heaters.
These certifications ensure that the product has been successfully tested and is declared safe for use. Use a heater that comes with both the tip-over and overheat cut-off feature.
1. Make a comfy bed for your pup
Instead of banning your dog from getting near the heater, try making an attractive and cozy bed for him. Place the bed at some safe distance from the heater where he can get enough warmth.
Encourage him to use the bed while lounging around the heater. You can tempt him with a treat or his favorite food whenever he gets inside the bed. He’ll learn that napping on his bed will get him a gift. Soon he will get habitual of it.
2. Invest in a doggie coat
You can invest in a good warm coat for your dog so that he will feel less cold. You can also use an old sweater or t-shirt to make a dog coat out of it.
3. No playing with the cord
Make sure that you’re your dog does not nibble at the heater’s cord. However, if he does so and the wire gets damaged, get it replaced or stop using that heater.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Too Hot?
Some people are so mindful of keeping their dogs hot in frosty winters that they forget their heater is producing too much heat.
Your dog may get dehydrated and sick if he gets overheated, and this can lead to heat exhaustion (hyperthermia).
Heat exhaustion is a situation in which the pet’s body heat level rises from the normal level, and it can’t regulate its body heat.
You can know when your dog is getting too hot by the symptoms he is showing.
Bright Red Tongue
Thick and sticky saliva
Lack of urine
Panting is the primary indicator of your dog getting too hot. It helps the dogs in maintaining their body temperature when they are subject to high heat.
When a dog inhales from its nose, moisture also goes along with the air. Moisture absorbs the heat, and this heat is released out when the dog exhales through its mouth.
So, if you notice your dog rapidly panting near the heater, the possible reason is that he is getting too hot. The more he pants, the harder it is to regulate the body temperature for him.
How To Treat An Overheated Dog?
- Take your pup to a cooler area.
- Pour cool water over the dog if he is big and uses lukewarm water over small pups. Don’t use cold water, as instant cooling can be very dangerous for your pet.
- Keep on checking the temperature of your dog with a thermometer.
- Turn on the fan until its temperature falls to 103o The fan will enhance the cooling process.
- Get him cool water to drink. The water must not be too cold.
- Take your dog to the vet and get him monitored.
How to Keep Your Dog From Getting Too Hot?
For keeping your pooch from getting too hot, ensure that your heater has an appropriate size. While purchasing a heater, most of us consider the heater power, instead of how hot it gets. People don’t bother much about how hot the heater will get as they can turn it off whenever they need it.
However, for pet’s protection, it’s an excellent idea to look for this feature in a heater. To find the best size for your heater, calculate its heat rise and power needed. Heat rise is the difference between the temperature you want to keep inside and the temperature outside.
For instance, if you need 60°F inside and its 30°F outside, then the total heat rise will be 30 °F. To find the power (in BTUs) needed to reach the desired heat level, multiply the room volume with 0.24, and then multiply this product with the heat rise.
Space Volume * 0.24 * Heat Rise = Required Power
Suppose your room is 4000 cubic feet and you want a 30°F heat rise, then the required power in BTUs will be:
4000 *0.24 * 30 = 28,800 BTU
Covert the BTU into Watts, if the heater under consideration comes with watts rating. One watt is equal to 3.41 BTUs.
28,800 BTU/3.41 = 8446 Watts
So, for heating a 4000 cubic feet room, from 30°F to 60°, F you should buy a heater that comes with a power rating of 8446W.
The heater sizing helps a lot, but it is not a complete solution. How much heat a dog needs depends on its breed. Hefty dogs with thicker coats like Chow-Chow need less heat than the ones with thin coats like Whippets.
Bulldogs and others having smaller noses are not much good at the panting, so it’s hard for them to regulate their body temperature when it’s too hot.
Find the best temperature for your pet
- Take your pup to your room or garage and turn on the heater. Observe him.
- Set the temperature at a low level and see if he starts shivering. If he does so, increase the temperature.
- If at a specific high temperature, your dog begins panting, lower it down.
- Adjust the temperature at which he neither shivers nor pants.
- In this way, you will get to know the best temperature at which your dog is comfortable and safe.
Setting Up A Heater For Your Dog
Keep your dog warm in your garage by positioning the heater at an optimal place, so it heats the maximum of the space. It keeps the entire room warm, and your dog can easily play around. The best option is to mount the heater on the wall.
Heaters that come with infrared technology and convection fans are great to transfer heat to you and your pet. Try using several heaters in a room for an even heat distribution.
Infrared heaters heat in line of sight, so if the area is too hot, your dog can move towards the less warm area.
If you do a little bit of planning, it is easy to preempt the dangers a supplemental heating system poses to your pet. Follow the tips I provided in the article and feel free to submit your feedback.
Have a happy warmer winter, both you and your puppy!