If you have an older pet or a dog who is suffering from some type of joint- or bone-related discomfort, a heated dog bed can be one of the best ways to help ease your pet's pain. Heated beds will provide your pet with a place to sleep during the night or when it's cold. These are the two times when your pet's joints and bones will be most exposed and most likely to cause him discomfort. There are two primary ways of building a heated bed for your pet. One involves using an electric heater and is designed for longer lasting use, while the other is safe for outdoor use but will need to be maintained every hour or two.
Step 1 -- Set Up the Cushion
The cushion or pillow should be placed in a comfortable location for your pet. Your dog should be able to access it easily and without having to strain; it's best if you put the cushion on the same level as your pet's food and water so that he does not have to climb up or down stairs. Lay additional pillows or smaller cushions on top of the rounded dog cushion if you desire. Cushions that have spring support are oftentimes the best for dogs with joint and bone pain.
If you don't have a rounded dog cushion, empty a pillow out of a pillow case and stuff the case with plastic bags or another type of loose pillow stuffing.
Step 2 -- Affix the Electric Heating Device
If you plan to use the electric heater, place it underneath the cushion. A heating device that consists of a flat pad is the best in this case, as it will not disrupt the shape or comfort level of the cushion but it will provide your pet with additional heat for his comfort. Set the temperature level for the heating device to a low level, then plug in the device.
As you test out the device, adjust the temperature to a higher level. Do not overheat the device, as it may cause your pet discomfort or may pose a danger to the cushion itself. Remember to unplug the heating device when not in use.
Step 3 -- Use a Hot Water Bottle
If you don't have an electric heating device, or if you plan to use the cushion in an area where an outlet is not easily accessible, fill up three hot water bottles and place them inside the cushion so that they don't jut out. Oftentimes it's best to include hot water bottles in a partially stuffed pillow so that your pet will not be disrupted by the bumps of the water bottles. You'll need to check on these bottles every hour or so and will need to refill them as they cool down.