Can Dogs Go In Saunas? Is Sauna Safe for Pets?

Many people who have pets want to share as much of their lives and activities with their pets as they possibly can. These days sauna is quite the hot topic and many people have been recently made aware of its amazing benefits. If you are one of these people, you must be wondering if going into saunas is safe for your dog. The answer to that is… yes! It is generally okay for your dogs to tag along with you into the saunas, provided that they are in prime condition in terms of health, and are fully developed.

Can Dogs Go In Saunas?

While your dog may turn out to be a big fan of saunas, there are some things to consider before letting your dog into the sauna to decrease the risk of overheating and dehydration as much as possible – the ideal temperature and humidity levels, and the time of duration.

Unlike humans dogs do not sweat glands to help by their body temperature regulation. Instead, they have a thick coat of fur that serves as an insulator of heat. Thus, it is not safe for them to be under temperatures any higher than 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). Moreover, their duration should be limited to only 8 to 10 minutes in the beginning. If your dog enjoys the sauna session, and you decide to make the visits part of their regular routine, then the time can be gradually increased by 3 to 5 minutes as they get accustomed to the heat. However, experts recommend against letting dogs stay into the sauna for more than 25 minutes at a time. After a visit, ensure that your dog drinks plenty of cold water.

Beside these, pay special attention to your dog if they have a short snout or a ‘squished nose’ as they may struggle to breathe in the sauna. Dogs which are acclimated to the cold will also find it difficult to adjust to the hot temperature of the sauna. Big and obese dogs have a greater surface area to volume ratio so they tend to hold onto heat more and so, there is a greater risk of overheating. Gradually all of these dogs may ease into the sauna but keep their time short and let them out if they appear to be uncomfortable.

Furthermore, experts advise against taking puppies and elderly dogs into saunas. Puppies under 6 months might not have developed some of their vital organs yet. This would make it even harder for them to regulate their body temperature and would thus make sauna a risk. The same is the case with elderly dogs. Some of their vital organs may have weakened or fail to perform their functions as they once did so they may not react to the heat adequately.

Which is the best sauna for dogs?

As you may already know, saunas are not only of one kind. There are roughly three kinds of saunas and each type has a different heat source and a different temperature range. To find out which sauna is the most suitable for your dog, you need to know how hot each of them can get.

  1. Traditional Sauna

Traditional dry saunas have humidity levels that are between 20% and 40%. The surrounding air is heated up within the range of 150 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit (or 66 to 88 degrees Celsius using sauna rocks.

Nowadays electric heaters with safety switches are used to heat up the saunas. You can set a temperature yourself to accommodate your dog. It will be maintained throughout the session and the heater will turn off automatically after 60 minutes. This is convenient as the temperature range in traditional saunas is higher than the maximum recommended temperature for dogs.

Traditional smoke saunas are heated up to the same temperature as the dry saunas but by pouring hot water on the sauna rocks. Although the temperature range is the same as the one for dry saunas, humidity builds up in the smoke ones, which causes it to be riskier for dogs as an average dog is safe within only humidity levels of 65%.

While a traditional sauna session may leave your dog energized, there are limited benefits of bringing your dog into one, other than relieving minor pain (The heat makes the blood vessels relax and dilate, causing a decrease in the blood pressure. Sore muscles are put at ease and the tension in the joints is reduced.) In fact, it is not entirely safe either due to the high temperature. Keeping all this is mind, taking your dog for a traditional sauna session would not be the best option.

  1. Steam Room

A steam sauna functions by the continuous release of steam into an enclosed room. This steam is formed by the boiling of water by a steam generator. The temperature inside the room is between 90 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (32 to 50 degrees Celsius). However, it can be felt as hotter than other saunas due to high levels of humidity. As the room is airtight and filled with moist heat, the humidity can build up to even 100%.

The enclosed room takes away the option from your dog to leave if they are not feeling okay so, pay attention to your dog if they seem to be looking for a way out, let them out. Moreover, the high humidity levels increase the risk of dehydration. If your dog is lethargic, vomiting, excessively panting, or hyperventilating, they are most likely dehydrated. In that case, remove them from the sauna immediately and make them drink a lot of cold water. In spite of that, steam can also be beneficial for dogs.

How can steam be an advantage for dogs?

Steam is used to aid in the treatment of sinus-related matters such as congestion or the kennel cough. It helps break up the congestion in the sinuses and lungs and therefore, makes breathing easier and deeper. If a dog is suffering from kennel cough, they may show these symptoms: persistent and forceful coughing, sneezing, a runny rose, eye discharge, loss of appetite, and low energy levels. Veterinarians say that keeping a dog with the kennel cough in a well-humidified area will significantly minimize the coughing.

  1. Infrared Sauna

In infrared saunas infrared heating panels are used to produce radiant heat infrared waves. These waves penetrate the skin and generate the heat that is then felt. Unlike other saunas, infrared saunas do not heat the surrounding air but rather the body directly by increasing its core temperature. a natural, non-toxic, and completely safe This makes it the best for dogs as there is no humidity and the temperature range of 80 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit (or 26 to 55 degrees Celsius) is much lower than that of other saunas. The only drawback of infrared saunas is the EMF radiation.

Why is EMF dangerous?

EMF stands for Electromagnetic Field and exists everywhere naturally but the ones emitted by man-made technology can have adverse effects on the body. They can drastically lower the body’s ability to regenerate and heal and can disrupt normal biological processes. Prolonged exposure to EMF in dogs has been linked to certain issues like; inability to sleep, fatigue, irregular heart rate, digestive issues, and even some cancers. There are infrared saunas available which are certified as “Low EMF”, so do your research about the radiation levels before letting your dog into an infrared sauna.

Far Infrared Therapy and Red Light Therapy

Far infrared heat penetrates the dermis 2 inches beneath the fur and heats up the body from inside out. The heat is soothing, subtle and gentle, non toxic, and totally safe. Veterinarians claim that they have yet to come across a dog who does not like Far Infrared Therapy. The majority love the deep, comforting warmth and often calmer after the treatment.

Animal cells have a film of moisture surrounding them. Far Infrared heat the water present in the film of moisture, causing it to vibrate. This releases toxins and energy, and relieves pain.

Far infrared also helps with the regeneration of tissue growth which thereby supports wound closure. The immune system is also boosted. Fevers increase the capability of our bodies to fight infection so- heat heals. Infrared heat induces an artificial fever and thus helps kill bacteria and viruses by increasing white blood cells, antibodies, and other disease-fighting agents.

The heat also drives the body to release endorphins. If your dog has been edgy and restless recently, infrared light will relax them and also help with anxiety.

Red Light delivers an energy boost to the cells, providing a number of health benefits. Red and infrared lights penetrate your dog’s tissue, muscles, tendons, and even bones to increase blood circulation. This further promotes and boosts the healing process. By boosting the energy levels of the cells, red light is said to help with a number of health conditions in animals. These include: relieving of muscle pain and muscle soreness, osteoarthritis, healing of injuries, and helping with inflammation.

Are pets allowed in saunas?

Most saunas have a strict no-pet policy unless they are service animals. The best option would be researching on saunas and buying one that could accommodate your dog too. Or you could talk to private sauna owners. If your dog is well-behaved, the owners rarely ever deny you. Other than that, there are pet spas available and sometimes the vet’s clinics also have saunas for pets. If nothing else, there are pet devices available such as the pet sauna beds, infrared pet blankets, infrared pet heating pads, and the infrared heaters. These devices have been designed for pets specifically and are as safe as they can get while providing maximum advantage to your pet. You can also install infrared panels to the ceiling easily. It is out of reach and a small infrared panel can heat up an area to a 100 degree Fahrenheit. This makes it safe enough to use while providing far infrared therapy.

Conclusion                                                           

Dogs love heat. You may have observed them basking in the sun in your backyard multiple times. While dogs in general feel comfortable within temperatures of 110 degrees Fahrenheit, no two dogs are the same. Dogs sweat through their tongues by panting. There are other factors that also determine the amount heat loss, such as their size. You must not leave your dog in a sauna unattended or be distracted by a book. Pay attention to how your dog reacts to the heat and if they seem unwell let them out and give them plenty of water. It is also highly suggested to keep an option for the dogs to get out if the warmth is not preferable.

Hi People! My name is Monica Khemsurov, and I am the founder of SaunaSavant. I am Finnish, a professional swimmer, and a lifelong sauna & spa enthusiast. In this blog, I will share my insights, suggestions, and recommendations on everything related to saunas and indoor living. Please let me know (through the contact box) if you have any feedback. Cheers!