Many of us have pets in our homes; they are a source of joy and members of our family. But, pets do incur a cost in food, veterinarian bills, and other ways that may not be as obvious. In addition to the more obvious costs, pets to cost us money because they require heating and cooling throughout the year. Let’s take a look at this subject in more detail and examine some ways to keep your pet comfortable and keep your energy bills under control.
Keeping Your Pet Warm in Winter
A recent poll in the US found that over 50% of homes keep the heating, TV and/or radio on to keep pets warm and entertained during the day. When people have pets, and they are not home to look after them, it’s easy to feel guilty. We all want the best for our furry friends, and although there is no data on American habits, it’s likely that we behave in a similar matter to our friends across the pond. In fact, some people believe that our energy bills may be even higher than the UK due to warmer summers and colder winters in many parts of our nation.
The US poll makes interesting reading; around 50% of dog owners and 40% of cat owners said that they heated their homes more than they would if they had no pets. Approximately 25% of pet owners left the TV or radio on to entertain their pets. Among younger people in the 18-24 age bracket were almost twice as likely to keep the heating on for pets compared to those over the age of 55. Around 64% of men said they kept the heating on for their dogs compared to only 44% of women questioned.
Given this information, it’s clear that people want their pets to be warm and even entertained when they are not at home. This costs energy, but many people won’t care about the cost when it comes to a member of the family. But, a fundamental thing that most people get wrong is that they assume that their pets have the same needs as humans.
How Pets Handle Colder Weather
The most popular pets in our homes are cats and dogs, and many breeds have their own layer of hair or fur to keep them warm. Most cats and dogs are happy in lower temperatures than we are, and they can sleep on a warm pet bed. If you watch your pet during the winter, you can tell if the animal is too hot or too cold. If they are too cold, they will seek out patches of sunlight from the windows and settle in those areas. If they are too warm, they often head for a tiled floor and flop down there to keep cool. It’s also interesting to watch your pet drinking water to regulate their internal temperature because they lack the ability to sweat to cool down their skin. Cat’s love the heat, and every dog will quickly stake out a space near an open fire or a warm radiator. That being said, a dog is extremely well equipped to handle temperatures that are lower than a human would find comfortable in winter.
Keeping Pets Comfortable Without Breaking the Bank
Luckily, it’s not necessary to pay higher energy bills for heating and air conditioning to keep your pets at a comfortable temperature. This may be required during very hot or cold temperature extremes, but most of the time, they will be happy in a broad temperature range. The most important thing that you can do is pay attention to the external temperatures and add or deduct a few degrees.
The most important aspect of maintaining a stable temperature for a cat or dog is to provide plenty of fresh and clean water for drinking. If you’re going out to work, it’s essential to make sure that each of your pets has a full bowl of clean drinking water available. This will allow them to regulate their own internal temperatures as they need to throughout the entire day until you get home.
Shade and shelter are more important when it comes to keeping your pets warm or cool during the winter or summer months. If you have a dog outside, it must have shelter from the wind and rain that can double as shade from the sun in summer. This also applies to certain areas in your home. If you have a lot of windows, the sunlight can stream into your rooms. A surprising amount of heat can buildup in a room that has a lot of windows, even in winter. So, if a pet is going to have access to a room like this, they need to have somewhere to retreat to if it gets too hot for them. Because you’re not at home, you will not be able to observe your pet’s behavior unless you invest in a smart home system. So, you will need to put yourself in your pet’s position and think about how they behave when you are at home. This will help you to set up the home to meet their passive heating or cooling needs.
As far as entertainment goes, it’s probably a little excessive to have the TV or radio on for the entire day. Invest in a simple timer switch for a basic radio and set it to turn off around an hour after you leave. This will give your pets enough time to settle down and find something to entertain them. Hopefully, they will chew on a toy or a bone that you left for them and nap throughout the day. If you have a more modern TV, it may have a timer built-in that you can set to turn it off after an hour or so has passed.
If you want to know more about using smart or programmable thermostats to remotely control the temperature in your home, contact your local HVAC specialist today.