It is no secret that dogs love the heat. Your dog more than likely lays in the yard basking in the sun for hours on end. Knowing how much your pet enjoys the warmth, you may be struck with the idea of taking your dog inside the sauna with you. Saunas are quite beneficial for humans, but can your dog go into a sauna to benefit from the heat as well?
Yes, your dog can go into a sauna as long as your dog is fully developed, shows no signs of health issues, and the sauna heat is set to 110 degrees °F or lower. Additionally, you should limit session time and keep your dog hydrated to ensure their safety.
Read on to find out how you can share the sauna with your furry friend and safely maximize the experience.
Is it safe for dogs to go into the sauna?
It is generally safe for your dog to go into all types of sauna as long as special conditions are applied and sauna settings are set to accommodate your pet.
Dogs that have been in saunas tend to love their sessions and are even overcome with excitement when they return. Although it may be tempting to allow your dog some extra time in the heat, taking your pet out of the sauna is important after about 10-15 minutes. If your dog enjoys their session, and you decide to make the visits part of their regular routine, you can gradually add time to the session up to the recommended maximum time of 25 minutes.
The temperature of the sauna is also quite important. The ideal temperature for your dog’s sauna session is 110 degrees °F or lower. Because dogs do not have sweat glands and do have a thick coat of fur, they do not regulate their body heat like humans.
Besides the temperature and length of the session, there are other considerations that need to be made when deciding if the sauna is safe for your dog. No two dogs are made the same, meaning their bodies will react differently to the sauna. Here are a few types of dogs or conditions that could make a sauna session risky.
- Brachycephalic – Dogs with a short snout or “squished” nose can struggle to breathe, resulting in the inability to cool themselves properly.
- Big dogs – tend to hold onto heat more than smaller dogs, making overheating a greater risk for larger breeds.
- Obese dogs – Obese dogs also tend to hold onto more heat than a thinner/healthier dog.
- Puppies – Puppies under six months have not fully developed their vital organs. Because of this, their organs may not react to the sauna’s heat adequately.
- Elderly dogs – Similar, yet opposite of the puppies risk, elderly dogs may have failing or weak organs, which increases the risk of heat-related complications.
- Acclimation – Dogs acclimated to colder weather will have a more challenging time adjusting to the hot temperature within a sauna. Dogs living within cold climates should gradually ease into the sauna, with smaller sessions and lower temperatures to start.
150-175 degrees °F is the preferred temperature in the traditional sauna with humidity levels of between %20- %40. The average dog is safe in humidity levels of %65 or less, making the traditional sauna’s humidity safe, but the temperature could cause concern.
Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can become dangerous for dogs at around 80+ degrees °F; therefore, if you take your dog into a traditional sauna, you will need to set the temperature much lower than the average temperature.
There are limited benefits of bringing your dog into a traditional sauna other than helping relieve some minor pains.
Therefore, the traditional sauna should be your last choice when deciding which sauna to bring your dog to.
Steam rooms are usually heated to around 100-120°F and have about 100% humidity levels. These temperatures are ideal for your dog; however, humidity can become dangerous.
Dogs cool down with their tongue by panting, which takes the moisture from their bodies and cools them. However, when the humidity levels are high, the moisture on their tongue cannot evaporate; This may result in your dog having a hard time cooling down and may even become hotter.
If you stay within the recommended session time of about 10 minutes for your dog’s first few sessions, as well as monitor their breathing and comfort levels, the steam room can be a safe option.
Can steam help dogs?
Like humans, dogs can get sick, and steam can be a helpful tool to aid in relieving sinus-related issues like kennel cough or congestion.
Kennel cough in dogs can be compared to bronchitis in humans. When your dog develops this illness, it usually lasts around ten days. During this time, your dog may have heavy coughing and congested sinuses with difficulty breathing. Having your dog in the steam room can help break up mucus within the sinus cavities resulting in easier breathing and less coughing.
Steam rooms can cause dehydration, so make sure your dog is drinking plenty of water. Your dog may be dehydrated if they are lethargic, vomiting, excessively panting, or hyperventilating. If you notice any of these symptoms, remove your dog from the sauna immediately, give them water, and monitor their symptoms.
Infrared saunas are usually heated to about 110-130 °F and have no humidity. These temperatures and lack of moisture will be the most comfortable and safest sauna for your dog.
The one downside of the infrared sauna would be the levels of EMF radiation. EMF radiation is an electromagnetic field that is a byproduct of artificial heating. EMF can be dangerous for all living beings when these radiation waves are not produced naturally.
Prolonged exposure to EMF in dogs has been linked to certain cancers, sleep disturbances, irregular heart rate, digestive issues, and fatigue. There are infrared saunas available that have significantly lower EMF levels.
Be sure to research or ask about the specific radiation levels given off in the sauna before using it. If you keep your dog’s sessions short and limit their visits, there will be a significant decrease in risk.
Far infrared light therapy for dogs
Far Infrared light therapy has been used as an alternative medical treatment in humans and animals for over two decades. Some veterinarians are now suggesting incorporating far-infrared light therapy into the treatment plan of animals.
Infrared light can penetrate as deep as 2 inches beneath the skin-reaching your bones, blood, and muscles. Because of lower temperatures and deeper penetration, infrared light is a gentle and soothing way to relieve pain, relax your muscles, boost your immune system, and more.
A 2017 study researched the bone healing time in dogs when treated with infrared light therapy. The results of this study showed a significant increase in healing time for broken bones and fractures.
Is infrared heat good for dogs?
Yes, infrared heat is suitable for dogs. Besides bone healing, there are many other illnesses and symptoms that are treated by infrared heat, such as:
- Surface wounds
- Hair loss
- Skin conditions
- Inflammation and swelling
- Tendon and ligament Injuries
- Hip dysplasia
Additionally, infrared heat can be used as a preemptive measure for the maintenance of your dog’s cardiovascular system, digestive tract, vision, and joints.
Can you use red light therapy on your dog?
Yes, you can use red light therapy for dogs. There are many red light products on the market specifically designed for your pets.
For example, you can choose from handheld devices such as red light pens, flashlights, or wands. In addition, there are infrared therapeutic pet blankets and even infrared saunas for pets.
Are dogs allowed inside saunas?
Most public saunas do not allow dogs inside unless they are service animals. If your dog is not a service animal, but you would like to bring your pet into the sauna with you, your best bet is to ask privately owned spas or saunas for permission. Judging by my research, the owners may agree if your dog is well behaved.
If you have no luck finding a sauna that will permit the entrance of your pet, there are many pet spas, pet stores, and vets the have saunas available for use.
Most large gym franchises/companies like CrossFit, planet fitness, and the YMCA have a strict no-pet policy. These policies are in place for safety and allergy reasons.
The exception to this rule would be service animals.
Spas also have a no pet policy except service animals.
However, many major hotels such as Hyatt, Wyndham, and red roof inn allow pets and have a sauna and/or spa amenities.
You are most likely to find a sauna within a recreation center, YMCA, spa, gym, or a public sauna location. You can call around to your local facilities and ask about their pet policies.
Pet spas and infrared devices are a great option if you have no luck finding a public sauna that will grant your dog access!