Keeping dogs safe and comfy in a cold house
November 23, 2021 11:47 AM   Subscribe

The heat is out at my house. If I need to go somewhere for a few hours, I don't feel comfortable leaving a space heater on and running in my absence. But I have small dogs (under 15 lbs) whose health is a big priority. What kinds of options do I have for keeping them safe?

The interior temperature will likely be hovering around 50-60F, which is not too bad if there's a space heater nearby. The heat doesn't look like it'll be fixed anytime in the next week or so, so I would really like a plan for keeping my dogs safe if I have to step away for an afternoon or a few evening hours. Thanks!
posted by knotty knots to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As long as they can nest in blankets, they'll be okay. Hot water bottles (covered, no exposed rubber) can be useful at night, too -- they can self-regulate by cuddling it or moving away.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:50 AM on November 23 [12 favorites]

Are you ok with dog sweaters/jackets? (Ours are not - the bigger ones wrestle with the little ones more if they are "dressed-up". Maybe they are jealous of the fancy clothes)

Or leave out a fuzzy blanket or two - I have one small Chihahuaha (amongst other progressively larger breeds) - and he is perfectly ok at very cold temps (we leave a window cracked - even in far colder temps), as long as he can get under a blanket.

If you have more than one, and fuzzy blankets - they will cuddle together in a ..."dog pile"...

If you want to get fancy ($$$$) - there are electric or oil heaters that can be mounted to the wall, so they won't tip.
posted by rozcakj at 11:52 AM on November 23 [1 favorite]

Blanket nest or heating pad (they can automatically shut off after a couple hours) or both.
posted by anderjen at 11:58 AM on November 23 [2 favorites]

Electric heated pet bed. About $30. Not hot like a heating pad so it can stay on all the time.
posted by KayQuestions at 12:04 PM on November 23 [6 favorites]

There are long acting heating pads made for feral cat colonies and the like that you can microwave and then stay warm for up to 12 hours. Your mileage may vary - my dog was scared of the squishy texture, but she’s easily spooked.
posted by A Blue Moon at 12:08 PM on November 23 [4 favorites]

So we're looking at an indoor, sheltered temperature of between 10 and 15c? I think as long as your dogs have a place to sleep that is well-padded (maybe on a sofa away from the floor and drafts) they will be ok. Especially as they have each other to penguin-huddle with. I like the idea of a long-release heating pad too, as long as they also have a non-heated bed to choose from in case the pad is too warm.
posted by Balthamos at 12:43 PM on November 23 [3 favorites]

i agree with some blankets to nest in they will be fine in those temps. If you have kennel that they will go in, you could drape a blanket over that and leave the door open they will have a cave to snuggle together in.
posted by domino at 12:49 PM on November 23 [5 favorites]

I have small dogs, not as small as yours (15-20lbs), and turn my heat down to 60 at night. Both dogs are fine and honestly seem to sleep much better when it's cool. Your dogs will also be fine for a few hours.

Definitely leave blankets available and make sure they have a few inches protection from being directly on the floor. I leave a heap of blankets on my couch all season long and my dogs LOVE it. The blanket heap smells like me, smells like them, and they will happily nestle themselves down in it. It's a cozy place and it's also a warm place.

Depending on the kind of hair your dogs have, maybe stay away from sweaters. Short haired varieties will benefit from that extra layer of protection, but if you've got a dog with a wiry or double coat, or a dog with any kind of poof or fluff to it, that kind of hair does a really excellent job of insulating all on its own, and you don't want to collapse down those air sacs with a shirt.
posted by phunniemee at 12:56 PM on November 23 [6 favorites]

These dog pajamas keep my small dog very warm.
posted by dianeF at 1:09 PM on November 23

You can make a rice bags by filling up some tube socks with uncooked white rice and then tying them closed. Microwave each filled sock for 2-3 minutes along with a mug of water, until very warm but not too hot to the touch. Place the warm rice sock under a blanket or dog bed. It'll stay warm for quite some time.
posted by mezzanayne at 1:51 PM on November 23 [5 favorites]

Inside dog house with a 100 Watt bulb inside keeping it a bit warm. Really just a smaller space where body temperature and dogs are warm can get and keep a smallish area up to a comfortable temperature. You'd be amazed at how fast a box with a hole to get in/out can warm up to comfortable, 50-60 is like nothing in a house inside a little box that warms up pretty quickly when you curl up inside.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:23 PM on November 23 [2 favorites]

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