4 Best Dog Heating Pads to Keep Your Pup Warm

Written By: Kelly Rowett | Last Updated: October 9, 2020

A dog heating pad can keep your pooch warm on winter days and soothe aching joints. Here are four of the best dog heating pads, along with a guide to help you make the right choice for your dog. 

Dogs feel the chill of cold weather just like humans. And for elderly or arthritic dogs, plummeting temperatures can cause joints to become more painful. 

A dog heating pad provides a warm place for your pup to curl up when it’s chilly outside. They are especially useful for small dogs, short-haired breeds, and elderly pets, although many dogs can benefit.

With that said, even the best dog heating pads aren’t suitable for all dogs. Breeds with thick fur or double coats are naturally insulated, so a heating pad may be unnecessary. Heating pads can also be dangerous if your pet can’t move away when they get too hot.

For these reasons, the best heating pad for your dog depends on their breed, behavior, and health. To help you choose, this article explains the different types of dog heating pads and how to use them safely. I’ve also recommended four of the best dog heating pads, so you can find the right one for your pup. 

Our #1 Pick

K&H Pet Products Self-Warming Pad

K&H Pet Products Self-Warming Pad

Soft exterior and a machine washable design

The K&H Self-Warming Pad is our top pick for a heated dog mat. It’s effective at reflecting your dog’s body heat, which provides a gentle warming effect without the need for electricity. It also has a soft microfleece exterior and a double-sided design.

Which Dogs Can Benefit From a Dog Heating Pad?

Heating pads can be a useful tool to keep your pup warm and soothe aches and pains. Let’s take a look at which dogs can benefit from a heating pad:

  • Elderly dogs – As dogs get older, they become more prone to feeling the cold. Many dogs also develop joint pain as they age. Getting your elderly dog a heating pad can be a great way to soothe stiff joints and keep them comfortable on chilly days. However, if your elderly dog struggles to get up, you should monitor them to ensure they don’t overheat. 
  • Dogs with joint pain/arthritis – If your dog has health issues such as arthritis, joint injuries, hip dysplasia or a circulatory condition that can affect their joints, a heating pad can help to soothe discomfort. Orthopedic heat pads are the best choice, as they cushion pressure points and support painful joints. Again, if your dog has mobility issues, you should supervise them while they use the heat pad to ensure they don’t become uncomfortably hot. 
  • Short-haired dogs – Short-haired breeds, like greyhounds and whippets, are more prone to feeling cold when the temperature drops. A heating pad can keep them warm and cozy in the winter months. 
  • Toy/small breeds – Small breeds, such as chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers and dachshunds, can often benefit from a warming pad. These breeds have a larger surface area to volume ratio, so they lose body heat at a faster rate than larger dogs. Small dogs also often have lower levels of body fat, which can make it more difficult for them to stay warm. 

Many dogs can benefit from a heated pad, but they’re not suitable for all dogs.

You should avoid heated pads if your dog has thick fur or a double coat, for example, as it could cause overheating. You should also watch for signs that your dog is getting too hot, such as panting or drooling.

Obese dogs who are carrying a lot of extra fat are also prone to overheating, so a heat mat may not be suitable. If this is the case, it’s important to visit your vet to get your pet started on a healthy weight loss plan.

And, of course, always make sure your dog can move off the mat if he or she gets too hot.

Note: Heating pads are often thin and don’t provide as much support as a bed. Make sure you use them in combination with a thicker bed – especially if your pet has joint pain.

Types of Heated Pet Pad

There are three main types of heated pet pads: self-heating pads, electric heating pads, and microwaveable heat pads

Each type has benefits and drawbacks. The right option for your dog will depend on their needs, behavior, and whether you can supervise them during use. 

Self-heating Pads 

Self-heating pads are made from reflective material that absorbs your dog’s body heat and radiates it back to keep them warm. This type of pad doesn’t require electricity, so you can place it wherever your dog likes to sleep. 

Because they use your pup’s body heat, self-warming pads are a safer option. They minimise the risk of overheating, as they cannot exceed your dog’s body temperature. 

Self-heated pads also don’t have electrical cables or elements that may present a risk of fire or electrocution if damaged.

Electric Heating Pads

Electric heated pads usually have a soft outer layer that covers an electric heating element. As they actively heat your dog, they are more effective in cool weather. They can also reach higher temperatures, making them a good option for arthritic dogs or those with thin coats.

Safety is a concern with these beds. While some include thermostats to prevent overheating, many do not. There’s also a risk of overheating if your dog can’t (or won’t) move away from the pad.

Additionally, because these pads have power cables and internal elements, they must be used with supervision to limit the risk of injury if damaged. They also must be placed near a plug socket. 

Most electric pads have reinforced power cables to resist chewing, but they are not completely chew-proof. It’s best to avoid electric heating pads if your dog is prone to destructive behavior. 

Microwaveable Heat Pads 

Microwaveable heat pads are less common. These pads are usually filled with gel or other material that has heat-retaining properties. When heated in a microwave, they release heat over a few hours while they cool down.

Microwaveable heat pads are useful for warming up your dog’s bed or soothing sore joints, but it’s more difficult to control the temperature. You should always test the temperature before giving it to your pup, and make sure the pad is covered to limit skin contact. 

What to Look for When Choosing a Heating Pad for Dogs

Aside from these three main types, there are some other features to keep in mind when choosing the best heating pad for your dog. 

  • Pad Size. Size is an important factor, so you should look for a pad that’s large enough for your pup to lie on comfortably. If you’re using the pad with a bolster bed, make sure it fits the inner sleeping surface.
  • Comfortable Surface. Coziness is also key. Heated pads with plush covers are the best choice for sleepy snuggles on chilly days.
  • Thickness. Thicker pads provide more joint support, especially for heavier breeds. You’ll almost certainly need to combine the pad with a thicker bed if your dog is going to spend time on it though, as even the best options are only around 1” thick.
  • Durability. If your dog likes to relax in the yard as well as in the house, it makes sense to choose a heating pad that can be used both outdoors and indoors. Most electric pads are not suitable for outdoor use though.
  • Easy to Clean. A heating pad should be easy to clean, as they quickly become dirty. We recommend looking for models with a removable and machine-washable cover.

As with all dog products, safety is a key concern with buying a heated pad – especially electrical options.

The best electric heat pads for dogs have chew-proof cords, thermostatic heat sensors that adjust to your pup’s body temperature, and an auto-off function.  

An electric pad should also be safety tested and certified, so be sure to check certifications before purchase. 

Are Heating Pads Safe for Dogs?

Heating pads are generally safe for dogs, so long as they are used correctly. 

Self-warming pads are the safest option, as they use your dog’s own body heat and do not have electrical components. 

Electric heating pads come with an increased risk, but the best models include thermostats that regulate the temperature to prevent your pup from overheating. 

Electrical heat pads should always have chew-resistant cords. However, if you have a puppy or a destructive chewer, they should never be used without supervision. Chew-resistant cords provide some protection, but are rarely fully chew-proof. 

If your pup has a tendency to chew, we recommend avoiding electrical heat pads altogether and opting for a self-warming pad. You’ll still need to supervise during use, but they are a safer choice. 

It’s also important to recognize that heat pads are not suitable for all situations.

It’s crucial that your dog is able to remove themselves from the heat. Heating pads are not safe for elderly dogs who struggle to get up, dogs recovering from surgery, or when the dog is in a crate without supervision.

When your dog uses their heat pad (especially the first few times) you should monitor for any signs of discomfort, such as rapid breathing, panting, fidgeting, or chewing.

For electric or microwaveable pads, you can check the temperature by holding your hand on it for an extended time. This will help you to judge whether it’s too hot for your pup. 

Can You Use Human Heated Pads for Pets?

No. You should only use dog-specific heat pads for your dog. 

Your heated blanket may seem like a viable alternative, but humans and dogs have different body temperatures – so human heat pads can be dangerous for your pup.

Heated pads for dogs have a lower voltage and are specially designed to heat up safely for our canine friends.

4 Best Dog Heating Pads

Listed below are four of the best heating pads for dogs. I’ve chosen a range of self-warming and electrical options, so you can find the right choice for your pup.

Note: This list only includes heating pads, not heated dog beds. If you’re looking for heated beds, check out our guide to the best heated dog beds.

1. K&H Pet Products Self-Warming Pad

K&H Pet Products Self-Warming Pad

Our top choice is the K&H Pet Products Self-Warming Pad. It features a plush microfleece outer that’s super soft and cozy for your pup, along with a machine washable design and a great price. 

Like all self-warming pads, the K&H absorbs your dog’s body heat and radiates it back. This is effective at keeping your dog warm in cool weather. As it doesn’t require a power source, you can place the pad wherever your pup likes to sleep. 

This pad is only available in one size (21 x 17 x 1 inches) so is best-suited for puppies, toy breeds, and small dogs. It can be used both indoors and outdoors, as long as it doesn’t get wet, making it a versatile option. 

Another great feature of the K&H Pet Warming Pad is its double-sided design. Each side has a different color, so you can switch it up to match your decor. It also comes in a choice of two neutral colors, either black/gray or oatmeal/chocolate, making it easy to blend in with other furnishings. 

Anxious dogs will like that the non-skid backing reduces the chance of the pad slipping. Mucky paws aren’t a problem, either. This warming pad is fully machine washable for easy cleaning – just be sure to stick to a gentle cold cycle, as a hot wash will damage the microfleece.  

Why We Recommend It: The K&H Pet Products Self-Warming Pad is great for small breeds that feel the cold. The microfleece outer is soft and radiates body heat back to keep your pup warm without the need for a power source. The non-skid base won’t startle anxious dogs, and we like that it’s machine washable for easy cleaning.
  • Type: Self-Warming
  • Indoor or Outdoor?: Suitable for Dry Outdoor Conditions
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • Self-warming design doesn’t require a power source.
  • Soft micro fleece cover is cozy for chilly pups
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors (must be kept dry)
  • Non-skid materials are great for nervous dogs
  • Only comes in one small size

2. K&H Pet Products Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Pad

Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Pad

If you have an elderly pooch or one who suffers from joint pains, the K&H Pet Products Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Pad is a great option. 

Available in a choice of three sizes, this pad features supportive orthopedic foam that reduces pressure points. The 1.5-inch thickness is also more supportive than many other pads, although you’ll still need to combine it with a bed.

The internal electric heating pad is thermostatically controlled, so it automatically responds to your pet’s body temperature to prevent them from overheating. The outer layer of the heat pad is also made from soft, water-resistant PVC, making it resistant to scratches and punctures from your dog’s claws.

This mat is suitable for use both indoors or outdoors, and it can be wiped clean if your pup stands on it with muddy paws. It also comes with a plush, fleecy cover for extra coziness when the weather gets cold. The removable cover can also be machine-washed.

It’s important to note that this model isn’t recommended for destructive dogs or those who like to chew. The power cord is wrapped with steel wire for added protection against the occasional nibble – but it isn’t completely chew-proof and should always be used under supervision.

Note: As with all heated beds, the K&H should not be placed in a confined space that doesn’t allow your dog to move if they overheat.

Why We Recommend It: This electric heating pad is great for soothing your dog’s sore joints and keeping them snug in winter. The thermostatic control keeps your dog at their normal temperature, and the pad is durable enough to be used both indoors and out. We like that it comes with a plush cover for extra comfort and is easy to keep clean.
  • Type: Electric
  • Indoor or Outdoor?: Suitable for Outdoors
  • Machine Washable: Yes (Cover Only)
  • Orthopedic inner foam cushions sore joints
  • Durable outer layer for use indoors and outdoors
  • Thermostatic controls prevent your pup from overheating
  • Comes with a plush, washable cover for extra coziness
  • Not suitable for heavy chewers
  • Must be placed close to a power outlet

3. FurHaven ThermaNAP Faux Fur Self-Warming Dog Mat

Faux Fur Self-Warming Dog Mat

Another great choice for chilly pups is the FurHaven ThermaNAP Faux Fur Self-Warming Dog Mat. Available in two sizes and a choice of 6 different colors, this self-heating mat is lightweight and soft for optimum coziness.

The FurHaven ThermaNAP doesn’t require an electrical connection, so you can put it anywhere your pup likes to relax. The plush outer is ideal for snuggling, while the insulating polyester core absorbs your dog’s body heat and radiates it back to them to keep them toasty warm.  

Because it’s so lightweight, this mat is great for travel with your dog. It’s also fully machine washable, so you can keep it clean and fresh.

The main drawback is its thickness. The mat is quite thin at only 0.25 inches in depth, so heavy dogs or those with sore joints won’t feel much of a cushioning effect. It also doesn’t have a non-slip backing, so anxious pups may find it a little unnerving if it moves beneath them.

Why We Recommend It: This mat is best suited to lightweight dogs who need a little extra warmth. The self-heating material means it doesn’t need a power outlet and it can be placed anywhere your dog likes to sleep. The lightweight design is convenient for traveling, and it can be machine washed.
  • Type: Self-Warming
  • Indoor or Outdoor?: Indoor Only
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • Self-heating, no electrical connection required
  • Lightweight, plush design is great for traveling
  • Machine washable for easy cleaning
  • Comes in a wide range of colors
  • Very thin, so doesn’t offer much cushioning for joints
  • Doesn’t have a non-slip backing

4. RIOGOO Pet Heating Pad

4. RIOGOO Pet Heating PadVIEW PRICE

Last on our list is the RIOGOO Pet Heating Pad. This electrical heating pad comes in a choice of three sizes and offers multiple temperature levels. It also provides excellent value for money.

An interesting feature of the RIOGOO is its seven layer design. The inner heating element is sandwiched between layers of insulating refractory wool, which helps increase the pad’s warmth. These layers are then followed by a water-resistant PVC outer layer to protect the element, and a machine-washable polyester outer cover.

At half an inch thick, it offers decent cushioning, but it’s not the thickest option on our list. As with most heating pads, you’ll need to combine it with a soft pet bed to ensure your pet is comfortable.

This model is a good option for elderly or arthritic pets, as you can adjust the temperature to meet their needs. The temperature control allows you to set the temperature between 80℉ and 130℉ as required, and you can also set the timer so that it will switch off after a specified duration between 1-12 hours. 

We like that the power cord has a protective steel outer layer to defend against damage from chewing. This is important on the off chance your pup has a nibble, but if your pooch is a determined chewer, you should avoid electric mats altogether. 

This pad also has a safety sensor to prevent the temperature rising above your chosen setting if a fault occurs. But the main drawback of this model is that it doesn’t have a thermostatic control that allows it to adapt to your dog’s body heat. This means that there’s a risk of your pup overheating if they’re unable (or unwilling) to move off the mat. 

For this reason, you should always supervise your dog during use, and keep a watchful eye for any signs of discomfort. You should never use this mat (or any other) in a crate where your dog is unable to move away if they wish.  

Why We Recommend It: The RIOGOO Pet Heating Pad allows you to adjust the temperature to meet your dog’s needs. This can be useful for arthritic pets or those who struggle to warm up after cold-weather walks. The timer also ensures it will switch off automatically, in case you forget to turn it off yourself.
  • Type: Electric
  • Indoor or Outdoor?: Indoor Only
  • Machine Washable: Yes (Cover Only)
  • Adjustable temperature settings and auto-off timer function
  • Machine washable cover
  • In case of a fault, a safety sensor ensures the temperature doesn’t rise above the setting chosen
  • No thermostatic control. This means that the heat level doesn’t adjust to your dog’s body temperature to protect them from overheating.
VIEW PRICE

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Heating Pads Really Help Dogs With Arthritis?

Yes, a heated pad can help to soothe joint pain in arthritic dogs, especially when the weather turns cold. Just make sure you combine the pad with an orthopedic bed to support their joints, and supervise for signs of overheating if they struggle to get up. 

Heat isn’t the only way to help your arthritic pup feel better, though. Certain health supplements and gentle exercise can also be beneficial. And, if your dog is a little heavier than they should be, speak to your vet about a weight loss plan to take some strain off the joints. 

If your elderly dog struggles to get in the car, you should also consider getting a dog ramp to make it easier for them. 

Can You Use Heating Pads Outdoors?

Some heating pads can be used both outdoors and indoors. 

In the case of electrical heating pads, it’s vital that you check whether the product is suitable for outdoor use. Most electric pads are not designed to withstand wet weather.

Self-warming pads don’t have electrical parts, so are generally safe to use outdoors. You should still follow the manufacturer’s directions, however, and keep in mind that they won’t be effective when wet. 

What About Heated Dog Beds?

Heated dog beds work in much the same way as heated pads, but they are often larger, thicker, and look just like any other dog bed. Check out our guide to the best heated dog beds to learn more and see our top picks. 

Summary & Our Top Pet Warming Pad

Heating pads aren’t suitable for all dogs, but they can be a fantastic tool for keeping your pup cozy and comfortable when winter hits. Pads can soothe joint pains in elderly or arthritic dogs, and take the chill away from short-haired breeds who struggle to stay warm. 

All the heating pads I’ve reviewed are great choices when used correctly, but my favorite and top pick is the K&H Pet Products Self-Warming Pad

This self-warming pad requires no electricity to heat up, making it a safe and effective choice for dogs who feel the cold. The soft material absorbs your pup’s body heat and directs it back at them, so they can stay snug without the risk of overheating. 

Because it has no electrical components, this heating pad can be used indoors or outdoors, so your pup can relax in the winter sunshine (just be careful that it doesn’t get wet.) The neutral colors and double-sided design look great in the home, and it’s non-slip, so nervous dogs won’t get spooked. 

I also appreciate that this heating pad has a machine washable cover for easy cleaning. Because let’s face it, cold weather usually equals dirty paws!

What do you think? Will you be buying a heating pad for your dog? Be sure to let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Image of Kelly Rowett

About The Author: Kelly Rowett

Kelly is a full-time freelance writer who’s passionate about pets and animal welfare. In the past, she has volunteered at shelters and veterinary clinics, worked as a part-time pet-sitter/dog walker, and played a hands-on role in rehoming street animals from the Middle East to forever homes in Europe. When she’s not writing about pets, you’ll find her hiking coastal trails with her rescue pup, Sidney.