best heated dog bed

Sleep quality is one of the biggest determining factors in mood, energy levels, and general outlook. Even bodily function is greatly reduced when the proper amount of rest is not achieved.


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These are facts not only for humans but for many other animals as well—including dogs. While there are many things that can interrupt and deter sleep, perhaps one of the most difficult to overcome is cold.

Anyone who has gone camping frequently, or spent time in an unheated cabin perhaps, or lost power during a winter storm can attest to the fact that trying to fall asleep while cold not only interferes with how quickly sleep comes, but with the quality of that sleep as well.

Humans employ their advanced skills to help ward off the cold: starting fires, wrapping up in sleeping bags, huddling together, but dogs do not have the same luxury of ability. Perhaps long ago, before dogs were domesticated, they had innovative ways to stay warm during colder months, but centuries of domestication have wiped most of that out.

Dogs experience cold for a number of reasons. Whether they are simply old and their bodies no longer properly regulate body heat, they are ill and either their medications or their illness itself interferes with their internal temperature, or they are simply outside dogs, cold is a real danger to the safety and well-being of many pets.

Each year, horror stories surface of dogs attempting to sleep outdoors that did not make it through the night. Oftentimes this is not the result of neglect by the owner, but the fact their efforts to keep their dogs warm sometimes prove insufficient against mother nature’s ravages. Most people have never themselves slept outside during the coldest months of the year, which makes it difficult to understand just what outside dogs are enduring.

For some, there is no way around keeping their dog outside. Allergies, small children, and even the preference of the dog can all play into that decision. Most people know to provide a spacious and well maintained pen, as is some sort of shelter.

While these precautions are great, and instrumental in protecting the dog from things like heat and wind, they do little to shield it from the cold. Even some more rudimentary forms of insulation are not enough to stand up to freezing temps.

It’s not just outdoor dogs that need the help—young and healthy indoor dogs can even use a little temperature boost if they are quite small, or have a thin, short coat. In fact, studies have found that dogs without a substantial coat experience a whopping 35 degrees higher surface temperature than long-haired dogs in the sun. It stands to reason that they also experience cold in equally disproportionate measure.

Luckily, there are more effective heating options for dogs who may be cold for any of the stated reasons, and any others beyond them. Heated dog beds, pads, and mats can help to lend chilly dogs some help in warming up, and keep them safe and comfortable.

These heated items come in both electric and self warming options; we’ll explain exactly what that means and outline our top picks below to help concerned dog owners feel certain that they’re making the best choice for their pet.

Electric vs. Self Warming Dog Beds

Humans figured out a long time ago that the right kind of insulation improves quality of life greatly. This is evidenced by everything from filling the walls of our homes with insulating material to sleeping under blankets. Now, technology has extended that same logic to man’s best friend.

The difference between these two types of beds is somewhat self-evident in the names, but it goes a little bit beyond the obvious. Yes, one is electric and one is not, but the technology involved with each of these types of beds has been fine tuned to meet dogs’ specific needs.

Electric dog beds are just that. They are plugged into an outlet, and emit heat for as long as they remain plugged in. Some maintain a baseline heat until the dogs lies on them, at which point they warm more. These types of beds come with special covers that prevent overheating or combustion, so dog owners considering this option should take care not to cover electric beds with other items.

These beds self-regulate to a maximum 102 degree temperature—the ideal internal body heat of a dog—to ensure that dogs using electric beds will not overheat. When a dog is not using the bed, the heat produced will radiate into the air, perhaps warming it slightly.

Electric beds are slightly less convenient than other sorts as most have to be plugged and unplugged in order to start and stop function (very few contain switches), and cleaning them is a more involved process since the heating component must be removed prior to washing.

Self warming beds are much simpler in design. They require no electricity, and there are no internal components to be careful of. Everyone who has slept with a dog knows how much heat they produce, even while doing nothing. These beds utilize a heat reflective material that uses a dog’s own body heat, sending it back to them as it is absorbed into the bed.

Of course, this option does not provide as high a degree of warmth as electric beds, but it is a great comfortable and soothing option for dogs who just need a little bit of a temperature boost for dogs who are not in need of that more drastic assistance.

Both types of heating beds are sure to give dogs a comfort boost during cooler times of year, the right choice just depends on exactly how much of a temperature lift is needed.

Different Types of Heated Dog Beds

As with anything else in the pet care world, there are seemingly endless options for heated dog beds. We will do our best to sift through all the products and provide specific information about what exactly they are to help dog owners make informed decisions.

While electric and self warming are the two big distinctions in heated dog beds, there are several other types that fit within those two categories. Each of these subcategories could be purchased in either electric or self warming.

  • Beds: Bed is often used as a blanket term to describe any comfortable item that a dog can lie on. In reality, a true bed will have a good amount of cushion, and will also usually (but not always) have a higher sort of wall around the perimeter. Beds are, of course, the most comfortable of any item a dog can sleep on.
  • Pads: Similar to beds in that they provide some amount of cushion, pads are a sort of middle of the road option in terms of sleeping items for dogs. They are flatter than beds and can easily cover more space, like the bottom of a crate or kennel, but they provide more cushion than a mat.
  • Mats: The thinnest of these tree types, a mat is ideal to place on the floor of a crate to add a bit of extra heat for a dog. Electric mats are completely thin whereas self warming ones still provide some extra fluff for a dog to lay on.

Each of these choices is the best option in different scenarios. Dog owners always want to make sure their companions are as comfortable as possible, but that does not automatically mean that a bed is the best choice every time. It is important to consider how the bed, pad, or mat will be used, and make an educated decision that fits the situation.

For example, a bed is likely not as appropriate as a mat when the intended use is placing it in a dog’s crate or kennel. It is important to do research on these options before settling on one.

Now that we have discussed what electric and self warming pads are, and the different kinds of bedding options in which they come, we will outline our top picks in a number of different categories!

Overall Best Heated Dog Bed, Mat and Pad in 2019

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Pet Cuddle Cushion Pet Bed

Key Features:

  • Electric heated bed
  • Plush design made of microfiber
  • Good for toy and small breeds
  • Can be washed if heater is removed

Overall Best Heated Dog Bed — This electric dog bed is so luxurious that pet owners are likely to wish they could climb in too. Below the extremely plush cushion, a low wattage heater begins heating to the dog’s ideal body temperature as soon as they step on. Until the dog gets on the bed, it will rest at around 15 degrees above the ambient air temperature.

In another layer of added convenience, this bed can be washed. Owners must simply unplug and remove the internal warmer, they can choose to wash and dry the entire bed or the pillow alone, ensuring that their dog gets all the comfort with none of the mess.

As mentioned above, small dogs are particularly susceptible to the cold, which accounts for why this bed is only available in a small size. Since these are the dogs most likely to need the warmth assistance, we still feel this is the best electric heated dog bed.

Pros:

  • Plush and comfortable
  • Easy to use
  • Washable

Cons:

  • Comes in only one small size
  • Cushion is not secured so it can be moved by pet
  • No off switch, just a plug

Aspen Pet Self Warming Pet Bed

Key Features:

  • Utilizes the same material used in space blankets
  • Four size options
  • No-slip bottom
  • No chords or electricity necessary

Overall Best Self Warming Dog Bed —This self warming bed comes in a classic, cushioned design and is topped with faux wool. The interior material which reflects a dog’s heat is described as being similar to the material used in space blankets, but no chords are necessary for this bed to perform its intended function.

Why not use some of man’s most advanced technology for a loyal non-human companion? This high degree of technology combined with its attractive design and convenience is what lands this bed at the top of its category for us.

Being that it has no extra components to weigh it down, the Aspen Pet Self Warming Pet Bed is lightweight, easy to transport, and machine washable. The fact that it comes in four sizes gives owners with larger breeds a chance to keep their dogs cozy as well.

Pros:

  • Can accommodate toy—large breeds
  • Lightweight for travel
  • Plush for comfort

Cons:

  • Sizes run somewhat small
  • Cannot provide the same warmth as an electric bed
  • Tends to lose its shape over time

K&H Pet Products Self-Warming Pet Pad

Key Features:

  • Soft microfleece covering
  • Can be flipped on either side
  • Two color combinations to choose from
  • Self warming interior

Best Self Warming Dog Pad — Sometimes there’s no need for anything extra or ornamental when it comes to pet bedding. Any pet owner knows that their dog has specific preferences that sometimes baffle the mind (like choosing that old, ripped up toy over a shiny new one), so for dogs who prefer the simpler things in life, this pad is perfect.

It will provide a soft, comfortable, and gently warming space for dogs to get some rest, or just to relax. Owners have the option of flipping the pad on either side so that the color better coordinates with their home. Just looking at a picture of this pad, it’s obvious that the exterior is extremely soft.

The simplicity of this design paired with its evident comfort (not to mention the aesthetic benefits to owners) make it our favorite for a self warming pad.

Pros:

  • Simple, comfortable design
  • Two double-sided color combinations
  • Machine washable

Cons:

  • Only available in one small size
  • Will not provide high level of warmth
  • Likely to slip around easily (lacks grip on bottom)

K&H Pet Products Deluxe Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Bed

Key Features:

  • Dual thermostats to warm in very cold temperatures
  • Removable cover for easy cleaning
  • Three sizes: small, medium, and large
  • 5.5 foot cord included
  • Padded and fleece lined for comfort

Best Outdoor Heated Dog Bed — Can you tell we love K&H Pet Products? This is the third one we have featured on our top list because they are hard to beat in the world of warming dog bedding. This product is especially important because it is crucial to keep outdoor dogs warm when the temperatures dip down into dangerous territory.

The Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Bed features dual thermostats to ensure that the dog will stay cozy even when it is extremely cold outside. It is also easy to wash, as outdoor beds tend to get dirty relatively quickly.

An inferior bed would fail to counteract truly cold temperatures, and would therefore not serve a dog in need properly. The care K&H Pet Products has taken to meet that standard with this bed make it our top pick for an outdoor heated bed.

Pros:

  • Effective heating technology for outdoor dogs
  • Three size options
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Cushion comes off easily
  • Sizes run somewhat small
  • Perimeter gets warmer than the center

Paws & Pals Self Warming Pet Crate Mat

Key Features:

  • Made without harsh chemicals
  • Pillowed top and non-slip bottom
  • 24 inches
  • Self-warming interior

Best Heated Mat — Remember when we mentioned that a bed will not work as well as a mat in a crate or kennel? Here’s a perfect example of why. There’s a reason this product is listed as a crate mat, and that’s because it provides the perfect amount of cushion and warmth to keep a dog comfortable indoors while in their crate without making it feel overheated within a few hours.

Heated dog bedding tows a fine line between being just right and too hot. Especially when a dog is in an enclosed area, it is crucial to make sure that line is not crossed.

This mat will provide a thin layer of cushion to dogs, and the textured bottom helps ensure it won’t slip around easily when pawed at. This mat should not be machine washed, it is recommended that it be spot cleaned only.

Pros:

  • Simple design
  • Provides gentle warmth
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons:

  • One size that is somewhat small
  • Surface is a little rough
  • Since it is a mat, it is quite flat

Those are our top picks in each of these categories, and while it’s not to say that there are not other great heated dog beds on the market, we do our best to take into account multiple factors when making these recommendations.

These top rated picks are sure to serve dogs in every situation, and make for happy owners too.

Still have questions about heated dog beds? That’s only normal; we’re here to be a resource and provide as much information as possible, so we have answered some frequently asked questions about heated dog beds below.

FAQ:

Are heated dog beds safe?

Definitely! Electric heated dog beds are equipped with internal thermometers that only allow the bed to heat to a dog’s optimal internal temperature. As long as a dog has space to get up and move if it is feeling too warm, there is no danger in supplying a dog with a heated bed.

Of course, not all dogs are good candidates for heated dog beds, and there are others who can especially benefit from them. The American Kennel Club has some recommendations about which kinds of dogs in particular could use a heated bed.

Do self heated dog pads work?

Yes—just not as well as electric ones. Self heated dog pads are ideal for healthy dogs who are indoors or outdoors in a moderate climate, because they cannot provide the same high level of warmth that electric heated dog pads do.

Self heated pads employ the same kind of technology people have been using to heat themselves for many years: they are stuffed with material that reflects body heat back to the dog. This is a tried and true scientific principle, and there’s no reason to distrust it.

Are heated blankets safe for dogs?

Not necessarily. It may seem like an easy solution: give a cold dog the heated blanket that’s already in the closet, not being used. The problem lies in the fact that humans and dogs can withstand a different amount of heat. The average heated blanket gets up to around 120 degrees (they can get even hotter); this is more than 15 degrees too warm for a dog, so the risk of overheating is greatly heightened with a heated blanket.

As with any questions regarding pets, lingering curiosities should be discussed with a veterinarian. As all loving owners know, every dog is different, and their individual needs should be met as best as possible.

No one wants their dog to be cold without the option of comfortable recourse. Since it is impossible to know exactly what a dog is feeling, the only sure way to protect a dog that is susceptible to uncomfortably or dangerously low body temperatures is to preemptively supply countermeasures.

Owners should consider the discomfort they feel after a poor night of rest, and ask themselves if they would ever want their dogs to have to suffer the same symptoms, especially due to something as preventable as being cold.

For a young, healthy dog who is not frequently subjected to the elements it is probably unnecessary to spring for an especially advanced, electric heated bed. This is particularly so for dogs with full coats; those with thinner coats may actually benefit from the extra heat (especially if they are small, with low body mass).

Older dogs, sick dogs, and ones who spend the bulk of their time outside, however, can greatly benefit from a bed that provides a good deal of extra heat. Being the loving, loyal creatures that they are, dogs often do not let on to their own discomfort, so it is for the most part up to owners to try to intuit potential pain points.

Some good questions to consider when trying to decide which type of dog bed is appropriate are: How old is my dog? How healthy is my dog? What is my dog’s coat like? How much body fat does my dog have to keep it warm? Does my dog sleep outside? How cold does it get at night during the chilliest time of year?

Hopefully this guide has supplied some of the tools to point owners in the right direction based on their answers to that series of questions.

While an electric heating bed may not be the right choice for every dog, there are hardly any that couldn’t benefit from a self-warming bed. This gives dogs the option to choose the bed should they be feeling a little chilly.

What’s more, the reality is that some great self warming beds cost less than regular, plush beds. Why not do everything possible to ensure a dog’s comfort, since it is impossible to know exactly what they are feeling? A good self warming bed will never cause a dog to feel overheated, it will simply emit the same heat it produces back, rather than absorbing it.

We hope that this guide has helped dispel some of the confusion surrounding heated dog beds, and shed some light on the best possible option for keeping pets cozy, whatever the reason may be. We also hope that dog owners will take our top picks into account, and consider taking steps toward providing their pets with a little extra coziness.

Give The Family Pet The Gift of Comfort — Shop Heated Dog Bedding Today

Many mistakes that pet owners make arise from the best intentions, but occur simply because they just do not know any better. This is a valid reason for a misstep, as being a dog owner can be tough work.

Now that we have had the chance to provide a little bit of education about the subject along with our top picks, we can’t imagine that anyone isn’t chomping at the bit to buy their dog a heated bed, pad, or mat.

Not knowing any better is no longer a viable excuse—we have provided the facts, now it’s up to owners to take the next step. We encourage everyone to take a thorough look at our top choices in order to make a determination on which type of bedding will best suit their dog.

Dogs are like surrogate children in many families, and they deserve a similar sort of consideration. Dogs love their owners like family, and they deserve to be treated as such. Take care of man’s best friend—given them the luxury of a comfortable, heated bed!

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