A dog is considered elderly somewhere between the ages of 7 and 10 years, with large breed dogs earlier and small breed dogs at the later end of the scale. As dogs age, they exhibit many symptoms that humans do, including the inability to regulate their body temperature as well as they could at a younger age. Poor circulation and medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease, lead to your old pet requiring extra furnishings in his bed. Proper and safe bed warmer use helps to keep your dog warm when it's cool outside. He may get so comfortable that he will stop climbing in your bed and stealing your covers.
How to Use a Pet Bed Warmer for Elderly Dogs
Items You'll Need:
• Carpet squares with rubber backing
• Orthopedic pet bed
• Thermostat controlled pet bed warmer -or- microwavable pet bed warmer
• Dog treats
Step #1 - Place carpet squares with rubber backing on tile or hard floors in the area that you want your senior pooch's bed to reside. Carpet squares are generally 16 to 20 inches in size. Place one or more on the floor to accommodate the pet bed size. Choose an area that is free of cold outdoor drafts from opening doors.
Step #2 - Set your dog's bed on top of the carpet squares to insulate the bed bottom from cold floors. Choose an orthopedic bed with memory foam to support his ailing joints due to arthritis, dysplasia or calluses.
Step #3 - Plug an electric pet bed warmer into a powered-up surge protector (to protect from voltage spikes). Turn the dial to a low setting, or heat a microwavable pet bed warmer for the time recommended on the package.
Step #4 - Place either type of pet bed warmer in the bed. Add one or more blankets on top of the bed warmer and call your elderly pooch to the bed. Introduce him to the bed by coaxing him into it with a tasty dog treat.
Step #5 -
Observe your dog in his bed when using an electric bed warmer. If he appears to be chilly, turn the temperature up. If he starts panting in his bed, turn the thermostat down. The temperature should never exceed 102 degrees.
Use a warmer that is thermostat-controlled in order to regulate the temperature at all times and only under your supervision.
Elderly dogs may still have enough spunk to chew on electrical cords. If this describes your four-legged friend, opt for the microwaveable bed warmer over the electrical type.
By Mary Lougee
ASPCA: General Dog Care
PetPlace.com: 10 Ways to Keep Your Pet Warm This Winter
Dog Health Guide: Dog Beds
American Kennel Club: Winter Care for Canines
American Animal Hospital Association: Winter Pet Care
WebMD: Behavior Changes in Aging Dogs
PetPlace.com: How to Help Your Pets Weather the Cold Winter
American Animal Hospital Association: Senor Pet Care
About the Author
Mary Lougee has been writing since 2004 and specializes in pets with publications in "Modern Dog" and "Pet Planet." Lougee gained extensive pet knowledge and expertise in care and rehabilitation, built a farm, and cares for rescue animals from small to large. She holds a bachelor's degree in management.