What Is the Ideal Room Temperature for Your Dog?
We recently talked about how cold it is too cold to walk the dog outside. But what is the optimal indoor temperature for our furry friends? Short answer: Generally, what’s comfortable for us will be comfortable for them (unless you’re one of those people who sleeps with windows open in New Jersey winters).
Long answer, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC): “The ideal temperature does not exist for all dogs, as their normal body temperature will vary with size.” They do not recommend a specific temperature range for your home, but there are some general guidelines that we can follow.
Why you shouldn’t keep your house too warm
Dogs can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke due to elevated temperatures just like humans. It is even more inconvenient and potentially dangerous when there is high levels of humidity in the air. Because of the insulating coat, dogs do not generate heat by sweating through their skin, as we do. Breathlessness is your dog’s main cooling mechanism and he needs to breathe cool, dry air. The faster and more superficial the shortness of breath, the hotter it is.
Dr. Barry Kellogg told the Humane Society : “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which removes heat from their bodies. If the humidity is too high, they won’t be able to cool down and their temperature will jump to dangerous levels – very quickly.”
However, the general consensus is that a comfortable indoor temperature for most dogs during the warm months is 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 26 degrees Celsius).
Why the house should not be too cold
In addition to the uncomfortable feeling of cold, temperatures that are too cold can exacerbate certain health problems in dogs. Cold can exacerbate arthritic pain and lead to increased joint pain and painful, cracked paw pads (just like our skin is prone to flaking and cracking in dry, cold winter conditions).
According to Top Dog Health , exposure to cold can be especially detrimental to sick or older dogs. “Low body temperature can affect the functioning of the heart, cause an irregular heartbeat and cause a lack of oxygen in the body or a change in blood pressure. It can suppress the immune system, leading to higher infection rates and slower wound healing.”
During the winter months, a comfortable indoor temperature for most dogs is 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius).
What does the size, weight and type of wool have to do with it?
Coat type : In general, dogs with longer, thicker coats are more resistant to cold than their short-haired counterparts, who lose body heat faster and are more susceptible to cold in the air.
Size and weight. Small dogs lose body heat faster than large dogs and may need extra warmth in the room. On the other hand, large, overweight dogs have a harder time regulating their body temperature and may benefit from additional cooling during the summer.
Age: Just like we warm our homes for newborns and seniors in our lives, we should do the same for puppies and senior pets. Consider raising the temperature a degree or two for a new puppy, or an aging puppy whose internal thermoregulatory system has seen better days, or who may have ongoing illnesses, infections, or joint pain.
Always consider your dog’s individual breed, size, and overall health when choosing room temperature. Never let the room temperature drop below 60 degrees or rise above 80. Watch for signs that the room is too cold or too hot, such as excessive breathing, heart palpitations, or confusion.