June 19, 2019

Is it actually safe for pets to lie so close to the heater?

Is it actually safe for pets to lie so close to the heater?
Dr. Chris Brown

Our pets provide us with many mysteries. But just why they insist on lying so close to the heater in winter is a big one right now. Part of the answer lies in an important fact. All of our pets, furry and feathered, run hot. While our normal body temperature is around 37 degrees (98.6F), they sit and stay at around 39 degrees (102F) meaning what’s a comfortable room temperature for us, may even be a little on the cold side for them. So naturally when there’s a spot right in front of the heater for rent, they’ll gladly take up residence.

But here’s where their fur coat comes into play. It’s normal job is to insulate them against the cold. But it also insulates them against radiant heat just as well. It essentially acts like an insulating blanket, meaning their skin can be moderately warm while the outer protective layers are quite literally smoking. And they’ll have no idea.

The solution? You have to be the judge of what’s too close and move them back from the ‘ring of fire’. Otherwise, like hundreds of pets each year, your mate might have that sweet sleep interrupted. Unfortunately I have seen dogs and cats end up with singed hair or even serious burns from lying too close. So ignore the burn of their glare when you move them back, the alternative could be far worse…

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