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Dogs are often left outside in the elements, whether it is too cool or too hot. This can be especially uncomfortable if the dog is elderly or ill. A therapeutic pad is marketed for both kinds of weather extremes. One plugs in to provide a cushioned heating pad for a doghouse or even inside, while the other is activated by water to cool down the dog days of summer. Therapeutic pads are not only marketed for dogs but for horses as well to make horseback riding more comfortable.
Several companies market a heating therapeutic pad for dogs. As of 2011, some common brand names were Lambriar Animal Health Care®, Thermotex®, Kane® and Lectro Kennel®. Since these pads plug into outlet power, often needing 110 volts, this gift might not be appropriate for dogs prone to chewing.
The therapeutic pad is easy to use, for masters and pets. Though many have two settings — low and high — manufacturers often recommend merely plugging in the pad and setting it to low. Set to high may feel uncomfortably hot, particularly if an animal is not accustomed to the pad. Often, a blanket is laid over the pad so that the dog gets the therapeutic effect without the warm surface temperature becoming bothersome.
Many therapeutic pads are specially designed. They not only provide heat to keep warm but also a comfortable place to lay down. The material used is often memory foam or another soft padding to cushion joints and muscles. This can be particularly therapeutic for animals that have undergone surgery or a broken bone.
A cooling kind of therapeutic pad also is available, since a dog will not want to lay on a heating pad when it is warm outside. The Canine Cooler®, for instance, does not plug in at all. Instead, it is packed with a chemical solution that cools when a dog lays down. This type of pad is recommended for any dog that easily overheats, but is especially effective for those with problem joints and hips. It can be used inside or outside to keep dogs from having to sit on the concrete or tiled floor.
Another type of therapeutic pad is marked for horses and their owners. One of these pads fits under a saddle to give extra padding and to more properly distribute weight, particularly for horses considered withered with a small hump where the neck meets the back. A therapeutic pad also is available for over the saddle too, providing riders with a comfortable and ergonomically correct ride.