For most homeowners, winter's cold weather means adjusting your thermostat to maintain a comfortable temperature. This, of course, raises your energy bill, so it's common to lower the thermostat when leaving for work each day. What you might not realize is this potentially makes life in the home difficult for those left behind — your pets. If you're interested in learning about how to keep pets comfortable while also controlling your energy bills, it helps to know more about how your pet's body works.
Like their human owners, dogs and cats do not respond well to abrupt temperature changes, so be careful when bringing them from very cold weather into a warm house.
Several aspects of a pet's physical composition play an important role in its ability to regulate body temperature. Their coats provide them with insulation that keeps them comfortable, but some pets' coats are not able to provide as much temperature regulation. Short-haired pets with smooth coats are more susceptible to temperature changes than longer-haired, shaggier animals.
Panting is another way pets regulate their body temperature. Panting doesn't necessarily mean they are uncomfortable; It just means their internal cooling mechanism has kicked in.2 Dogs are not the only ones who pant; cats do too if it gets very hot.
Another way cats regulate their body temperature is to clean themselves. This cools them similarly to sweating: the evaporation of the liquid on their skin cools them.
If you like to keep your home very warm or cool, you might want to pay attention to whether your pet is using a temperature-regulating technique frequently.
Regular body temperature for cats and dogs is around 3°-4° higher than for humans, so if your home's temperature is comfortable for you, it's likely also comfortable for your pet.
An easy way to make sure both you and your pet stay comfortable this winter is to install a programmable thermostat. Once programmed, this device will make adjustments automatically to deliver your desired temperature at any time of day.
For more tips on winter weather care for your pets, check out our Live Brighter Blog.