Americans love their pets, according to American Pet Products Association (APPA), an astounding 70% of U.S. households owned a pet as of 2022, which translates into 90.5 million homes.
Dogs are still a big favorite, 69 million U.S. households have a dog, while cats came in second with 45.3 million households. Pet ownership has been growing steadily over the years, 56% of households owned a pet in 1988, and that number grew to 67% in 2019 and hit 70 percent in 2022.
We also love to treat our pets, according to APPA data, Americans spent an estimated $109.6 billion on their pets in 2021. It’s not just food and vet care that pet owners are spending money on, according to Forbes Insights, the global pet clothing market is now worth over $5 billion and only expected to grow.
Heated pet gear is moving into the mainstream with the number of available options growing every year. While pet heating pads and heated houses are currently the most popular heated pet gear, heated vests and even heated bird perches are becoming more popular.
We thought it might be fun to look at hearted pet gear, how it works, and answer the question, “are pet heating pads safe,” so you can keep your pet nice and warm as the temps drop. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about heated pet gear:
What is heated pet gear?
Heated pet gear is simply anything for your pet that produces heat to keep them warm and comfortable. The most common heated pet product these days is a pet heating pad, but there is plenty of other heated pet gear available as well. Here is a quick list of a few of the heated pet products we were able to find:
Pet heating pads: Pet heating pads are simply heating pads designed for dogs, cats, rabbits, and other animals. They are larger (in most cases) than heating pads designed for humans but have many of the same features, as well as some features designed specifically for pets.
Most pet heating pads have built-in safety features to keep your pet safe, everything from auto power-off function to multi-layer protection to prevent burns, as well as structure UL-approved heating wire and chew-resistant power cords.
Heated pet houses: Heated pet houses are fairly standard dog and cat houses with the added bonus of a heated sleeping pad on the floor. They work great to help keep both your pet and the entire pet house nice and cozy when it gets cold outside.
Heated pet houses have plenty of built-in safety features such as auto shut-off timers, chew-resistant power cords, and plenty of layers to prevent your pet from getting too hot.
Heated vest: While heated pet vests haven’t hit the mainstream just yet, there are a few options out there. Heated pet vests have a rechargeable lithium battery that powers the heating elements sewn into your vest keeping your pet nice and warm. Many have Bluetooth connectivity so you can adjust the heat from your phone.
Heated bird perch: If your pet has wings, a heated bird perch is a great way to keep them warm and happy when the weather gets ugly. Most heated bird perches use a safe 12V electrical current which is thermostatically controlled ensuring nice and warm feet for your birds, without having to worry about your bird being burned.
Heated pet bowls: Heated pet bowls will help keep your pet's water liquid instead of letting it turn into a big chunk of useless ice when the temps drop below zero. These bowls can be used for dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and even small farm animals.
Most heated water bowls can keep water from freezing even as temps drop to negative 20 and many have an auto shutoff feature when the water temperature reaches 113°F. Heated pet bowls can also be great for any stray, barn, or feral cats who spend most of their time outdoors.
Heated bird baths: Heated bird baths are an excellent choice for anyone looking to provide a comfortable and safe bathing experience for their feathered friends. Heated birdbaths typically use 80-watt heaters that can be removed when spring rolls around. The heater keeps the water nice and warm, preventing it from freezing and giving your neighborhood birds a nice warm spot to bathe and hang out.
Are pet heating pads safe?
Absolutely, pet heating pads are extremely safe as long as they are used properly, and you keep an eye on the pad and your pet. Since a pet cannot tell you if the heating pad is too hot it is important to check on them from time to time to make sure they are not getting too warm.
While you absolutely need to keep an eye on your pet when they are using a pet heating pad, the majority of pet heating pads have plenty of built-in safety features. Safety features include chew-resistant cords, multiple layers to prevent burns as well as adjust heat settings and auto shutoffs so you can be confident that your pet is safe.
Industry experts recommend checking the pad's temp level on a regular basis and if it feels hot to you, it is almost certainly too hot for your pets, so turn the heat down. In addition, never force your pet to sit on a pet heating pad and allow them to come and go as they please. Pets know best if they are too warm and will move off the heating pad when the heat becomes too much for them.
Always make sure you use a pet-specific heating pad as dogs and humans deal with heat differently and human heating pads often get too hot for dogs. Purchase a pet-specific heating pad and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
If your dog is an aggressive chewer, a pet heating pad may not be a good idea. While most heated pet beds have chew-resistant cords, they are not chew proof so if you can’t keep your pet from chewing the cord, it could become a danger to them, maybe consider a microwavable or thermal heating pad that doesn’t plug in or use electrical power.
Check your pet's heating pad on a regular basis looking for rips, and tears, and examine the cord as well to make sure your pet is not chewing the cord.
One last consideration is pets that have mobility issues. While a pet heating pad can often provide game-changing relief to elderly or injured pets, if they have trouble getting up or moving around, you will need to check on them more often to make sure they are comfortable and not getting too warm.
Benefits of heated pet gear
Heated pet gear provides a wide variety of benefits to pets. Here are just a few reasons pets love heated gear:
Elderly pets: Pets, particularly dogs and cats, much like their owners tend to get cold easier as they age. They may not be able to regulate their body temperature as easily so a heated pet bed can be a game changer for them. In addition, a heated bed is a nice place to spend the day napping for just about any older pet.
Pain relief: Heat can be a huge help when it comes to aches and pains and it works for dogs and cats as well. In fact, the American Kennel Club suggests trying a heated bed for pain relief for elderly pooches or dogs that suffer from joint issues. Warmth can also help with circulation, making a heated pad or bed an excellent choice for dogs or cats suffering from arthritis and hip dysplasia.
Provides warmth for smaller dogs and cats: While huskies are probably happier out in the cold than indoors, many smaller dogs are not really built for cold weather. If you have a dog that hates the cold and has a hard time staying warm, a pet heating pad, heated vest, or heated bed can be a game changer.
It’s not just dogs that can benefit from some heat. Cats love being warm and cozy and if they are cold, it can impact their temperament. When a cat is cold and uncomfortable, it may whine and scratch or even howl for attention until they find a warmer place to hang out. Heated pet pads or a heated bed can make them more comfortable and help them fall asleep, even in chilly temperatures.
Shop heated pet gear
Ready to change your pet’s life for the better? We looked at a wide variety of heated pet gear and found the best of the best for your pet. You can shop a huge selection of heated gear, we found heated pet pads, heated pet houses, heated water bowls, and even a heated vest to keep your pet happy in even the coldest of weather.