I’m getting an infrared sauna next month and I wondered if my dogs can go in an infrared sauna with me.
Yep! I’m that crazy dog lady that wants to share as much of my life, and activities, with my dogs as I can.
I wondered if they would enjoy the dry heat of an infrared sauna because they love to soak up the hot sun in the back yard.
I wondered if the high temperature was safe for them.
I wondered if an infrared sauna provided similar therapeutic benefits to dogs as they do to with humans.
So I did what I always do – I immediately started to research it. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
What Is An Infrared Sauna and What Are The Benefits?
A sauna in general is a small room that heats up to a high temperature, which penetrates the hair, skin, and muscles of the person in the sauna.
Heating up of the body is said to have these benefits:
- Increases circulation
- Facilitates the release of toxins
- Aids in recovery after intense physical activity
- Increases metabolic activity within the cells to help repair and recover
- Relaxes muscles
- Soothes aches and pains in both muscles and joints
- Relieves stress
- Boosts the immune system
The term infrared is short for far infrared Light. This refers to the way the sauna is heated (the other primary ways being a wood stove or electric heater).
Infrared light is a type of radiant energy that, although undetectable to the human eye, penetrates the body and generates heat we can feel.
Infrared light heats the body from the inside out, allowing the ambient air temperature in the sauna to be lower of the three main heating types.
The maximum ambient air temperature of an infrared sauna is typically 150 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas air inside a sauna heated by wood or electricity can reach 190 degrees.
Also, there is no ability to pour water on infrared light panels to create steam like with the other types of saunas.
Therefore, the heat inside an infrared sauna is dry (unless you add a humidifier).
Is An Infrared Sauna Safe for Dogs?
When I began my research, I found that far infrared heat technologies have been used to warm and soothe different pets without any risk for years to help relieve pain and inflammation.
Some horse owners have been using infrared therapies for decades in the form of far infrared wraps and blankets.
Some reptile owners use use far infrared ceramic heaters in their aquariums.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links (Amazon Associate or other programs we participate in). As an affiliate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
There are several pet products on the market that use infrared heat like:
- Infrared Pet beds
- Infrared Pet Heating pads
- Light therapy “lasers” like the LumaSoothe (similar concept to the cold laser I use for my Dachshund’s IVDD)
- Infrared Dome Pet Sauna
- An infrared sauna marketed “for you and your pet
While a sauna is a totally different method for delivering the infrared heat therapy to dogs, the concepts and benefits are similar.
As an added benefit, it will “treat” the whole body at once, not just the side your pet is laying on (in the case of a bed or pad) or at the exact point you are using a light therapy “laser” unit on them.
The heat is gentle and healing with no sweating for a pet.
So, yes, infrared saunas are safe for dogs.
BUT there are a few caveats.
Beware of EMF
When selecting an infrared sauna for you and your dog, make sure the it’s certified as “low EMF”.
EMF stands for Electromagnetic Field. EMFs exist everywhere naturally but ones emitted from manmade technology can have negative effects on the body.
Specifically, prolonged exposure to high manmade EMFs can significantly lowers our body’s ability to regenerate and heal and disrupts our normal biological processes.
Only infrared saunas rated “low EMF” will not create these potential negative health effects.
Use your best judgement
Whether an infrared sauna is safe for your dog comes down to the individual dog, any health issues, and whether you feel safe taking your dog into an infrared sauna or not.
Only you can make the right decision about letting your dog use an infrared sauna.
While using infrared light/heat technologies have been used to help animals for decades, the use of an actual infrared sauna is a newer concept and not as widely accepted.
Private saunas only
I’ve worked in the pet industry for over 10 years. I have watched as, over the years, people have demanded more and more health products for humans be adapted to work for their pets.
I am not aware of any public or semi-private (like at an Air BNB rental) sauna in the United States (or anywhere but that is where I live) that allows you to bring your dog in with you.
Therefore, at least for now, dogs are only allowed in private saunas – either your own or a friend’s with permission.
Never leave your dog unattended
You must always monitor your dog closely when they are in the sauna to make sure they are not overheating.
Signs that your dog may be overheating, or that they have had enough and want to get out, include becoming agitated like they are looking for a way out or acting in a strange way that may indicate they are done with the session.
If you are not constantly present with your dog and watching them, you may miss these warning signs that it’s time to end the session.
Real-Life Pet Owner Experience with Dogs and Infrared Saunas
I wrote this article before we have received our infrared sauna and I have tried it with my small dogs so I can’t share my personal experience.
Yet. I will come back and update here once I have tried it with my dogs.
While I haven’t taken my dog in an infrared sauna yet, I’ve heard from pet owners that have.
However, I did her from one Dachshund owner that said this (I’m paraphrasing for privacy reasons):
“My Miniature Dachshunds love to go in our infrared sauna, which I heat to a max of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Our senior Dachshund only likes to use it a few times a week for about 15 minutes at a time.
However, my younger Dachshund loves to follow me in there every morning and will easily stay for 20 minutes.”
So, based on my research, I believe that an infrared sauna would be safe for my dogs.
I plan to start slow with a lower heat setting, and a limit of 10 minutes, and see how it goes.