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Do You Need to Leave Your AC on for Pets?

Heating and cooling a home when you’re at work can be expensive. But if you have a cat or a dog, it may be necessary. Cats and dogs have fewer ways to regulate their temperature than people do, and weather extremes can be harmful to them. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are the Best Temperature Settings for Animals?

For dogs, the recommended temperature settings are between 78 degrees and 69 degrees , even though they can technically live in a range between 32 degrees and 105 degrees. Cats are a little more fickle. Cats ideally should be kept between 86 degrees and 96 degrees during the summer and 78 degrees and 80 degrees during the winter. This varies by the cat.

Dogs overheat easily. It’s not just their fur, it’s that they can’t sweat, except through their paws . And that alone isn’t enough to cool them.

Dogs get rid of their heat through panting, which isn’t as effective as sweating. High heat can be dangerous for them. This is especially true for snub-nosed breeds, like pugs. Cats face similar issues: they aren’t able to dispel heat except through panting, and in a hot home, there’s little they can do besides pant and drink water.

It should be noted that all animals are different, and all breeds of animals are different, too. An individual animal may have reduced heat and cold tolerance because of its age. Likewise, some breeds of animal are more vulnerable: Sphinx cats are hairless, and must be kept warm.

Can Fans or Heaters Help?

Fans don’t make a place cooler. But they do make people cooler because they wick heat away from their skin. Fans aren’t as effective on cats or dogs because they have fur and because they don’t sweat through their skin. A fan can help, but a portable air conditioning unit is likely to be better. Fans aren’t going to lower the temperature, they’re just going to make the animal more comfortable.

Heaters, on the other hand, usually aren’t advised. While a small space heater can keep your pet warm all day, they’re dangerous. You’re never supposed to leave a space heater on unattended, even if you’re just in another room.

What About Portable ACs?

A portable air conditioner can be used to keep a single room cool. Window units can also keep a single room cool, if you want to keep your pets restricted to a single area. This saves you from having to cool the entirety of your home, and it’s a viable solution if you have a large home. Of course, this doesn’t help when it’s too cold rather than too hot.

Some people are able to heat and cool their basement rather than the rest of their home, or have a split-level system so they can cordon off their animals in a single area of the property. This can be an effective compromise.

Can You Climate-Control a Dog House?

Sometimes, pet owners choose to invest in a climate-controlled dog house rather than running their HVAC 24/7. A climate-controlled dog house gives a dog a place to go when it’s too hot or too cold, while also letting them enjoy the outdoors while their owner is at work. Of course, this doesn’t work effectively for cats. For cats, it may be better to climate-control a basement or even an attached garage.

Animals can become uncomfortable in temperatures that even people find comfortable, due to the fact that they can’t effectively regulate their temperature. It’s important to monitor your pets and make sure they’re comfortable in the temperatures in your home, before you leave them in those temperatures all day. To investigate your options, contact Advanced Heating & Cooling .