Keeping Pets (And Energy Bills) Comfortable

By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen

We love our pets and we love saving energy. This month, we’re answering some common energy efficiency questions from pet owners:

Q: We’ve thought about installing a pet door. Will this impact my energy bill?

Cats love blankets, too.
Photo Source: Patricia Hebert

A: Pet doors are convenient for pet owners and pets, but they can impact energy bills. A pet door that is poorly made or improperly installed will create unwanted drafts that increase energy bills and reduce the overall comfort level of your home. The wrong type of door may also be pushed open during high winds.

Consider installing a pet door that is certified by the Alliance to Save Energy or has a double or triple flap. These types of pet doors can reduce energy loss and make life easier for you and your furry friends. The best solution may be a high-quality electronic door that is activated by a chip on
your pet’s collar.

It’s difficult to undo a pet door installation, so do your homework before taking the leap. There may be other strategies that will give you and your pet some of the convenient benefits without the downsides.

Q: Is it OK if my cat or my dog sleeps in the garage overnight?

A: U.S. Department of Agriculture rules suggest this should be fine if your garage temperature stays between 50 and 85 degrees. Pets might be able to handle a lower temperature if they have a warm, insulated bed.

This pup understands the comfort of an insulated bed to sleep on.
Photo Source: Torsten Dettlaff

Heating or cooling your garage for your pet could lead to extremely high energy bills, which makes sense because an uninsulated, heated garage could easily cost more to heat than a home. A better solution is a heated pet house, which you can purchase from multiple retailers. If you’re willing to
spend a little more, you can even find climate-controlled pet houses that include heating and cooling options.

You can also purchase heated beds for cats and dogs. Some beds use as little as 4 watts of electricity, so they won’t drain your energy bill.

We hope these tips will be helpful as you work at saving energy while caring for your favorite furry friend.

This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency.

Learn More Online

Visit to find out how much hot and cold your pet can handle. Look under the Energy tab.