Want to keep your dog safe and cool during the hot days of summer? This guide will help you choose the best cooling products for your four-legged best friend. Read on to discover why your dog needs additional cooling, what technologies are available to protect dogs against sunburn and dehydration, and what types of products you can buy to help your dog deal with the excess heat. We’ll cover the TOP 24 Best Dog Cooling Products on the market to make choosing one less of a hassle!
- Why is it important to keep your dog cool?
- Signs and symptoms of hyperthermia
- What to look for when buying
- Types of cooling products and devices
- 4 best dog cooling collars
- 7 best dog cooling vests, jackets & coats
- 2 best dog cooling bandanas
- 7 best dog cooling pads
- Best dog cooling elevated bed
- Best dog cooling ventilator
- Best dog cooling house
- Best dog cooling house with fan
Dogs are super-playful animals that would do anything to keep us happy and pleased. They don’t know when to stop and are willing to keep going despite the heat. That is why it’s important to recognize the signs when your dog is getting too warm and help her cool down. In this guide, we’ll go through signs and symptoms of hyperthermia in dogs and what devices you can use to prevent it.
Dogs are homeotherms, which means that they try to maintain a constant body temperature of about 101 and 102 degrees by adjusting internal heat gain and loss. Unlike us, dogs can’t cool themselves by sweating. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not sweat through their paws. The only internal mechanism that a dog has for cooling herself and releasing body heat is panting.
You might think that shaving your dog can help her feel less hot on sultry days of summer, but this popular thinking is totally misleading because fur can actually help your dog combat heat stress. Fur primarily acts as a thermoregulator which prevents the body from taking on too much heat.
But despite all the natural mechanisms that dogs have developed, panting sometimes is just not enough. Dogs can quickly overheat if they’ve played for too long in the sun or been left in the hot house or car. Heatstroke happens when a dog is unable to cool itself and regulate the body temperature.
According to the article in the Washington Post, the following breeds are particularly susceptible to heat stroke: Siberian Huskies, Alaskan malamutes, Akitas, chow chows, pugs, bulldogs, and Boston terriers. Male dogs and those with darker coats also tend to get hot relatively quickly. So if you happen to be an owner of the above-mentioned breed you’ll often have to be on a watch out for symptoms of hyperthermia.
- Difficulty breathing
- Hyperventilation, panting very hard
- Excessive drooling
- Seizures and muscle tremors
- Rapid heart rate
- Dog acting sluggish or confused
- Tongue and gums looking bright red (and then gray or purple)
- Signs of fear and lack of coordination
Whenever you see the following signs, you should seek veterinary help immediately. If the dog’s temperature rises above 106 degrees, there can be brain damage or swelling, abnormal blood clotting, damage to internal organs, among other serious conditions. Dogs can collapse relatively quickly, sometimes within 10 minutes, so it’s important to take precautionary steps and prevent exposure to excess heat. Fortunately, science is to your rescue. There are numerous technologically advanced cooling devices available on the market, and while some of them won’t save your dog unless you follow simple summer safety rules, they will definitely help alleviate summer heat stress and help your dog cope with the scorching sun.
There are a few things you should consider when shopping for a cooling device or garment for your four-legged.
For example, if you’re looking for a dog cooling vest, jacket, coat, or collar, then ensure that:
- Clothing fits your dog properly: look for garments that would be suitable for your dog’s body type and size. Take measures off your dog and put her on the scales to determine her correct weight
- Clothing stays cool for long: you don’t want to end up with something that’ll be hot again in 20 minutes
- Clothing has reflective material: the optimal garment has to reflect sun rays for extra protection
- Clothing doesn’t make your dog soak with water: the quality garment won’t make your dog’s fur soaked but rather should keep it dry but cool.
Now let’s talk about types of technologies available at your disposal, so you know what to look for and what to avoid.
Evaporative cooling is based on the evaporation of a liquid which removes the heat from the surface from which it evaporates. Regular sweating has the same evaporative mechanics. When the water evaporates from the surface, the temperature drops, when enough water is evaporated, then the temperature can drop significantly.
With this type of clothing, all you have to do is soak it in water, wring it out a little, and put it on your dog. Usually, the garment stays cool for about 2 hours. Then you need to activate it again by soaking it in and wringing it out.
This is a sophisticated technology that’s based on NASA research. Phase change material (or PCM) is a chemical substance that absorbs or releases heat when it solidifies or melts. Stays cool for 2-3 hours. Some PCMs are relatively non-toxic, while others have a high toxicity rate. It’s important to read the label carefully and see if the PCMs that are inside your dog cooling garment are safe. PCMs become toxic when a dog raptures or tears the cooling pouches that contain chemicals. But don’t worry, quality PCM cooling products from established manufacturers usually utilize sturdy and very durable materials which make them practically impossible to tear. But again, if something like this happens, you should seek veterinary help immediately.
Ice pack cooling
Ice packs are based on a very easy and straightforward science that is super safe and non-toxic: just freeze the water pouches till they turn to ice and wear the garment on your dog. Usually stays cool for 2 hours.
Gel cooling products look the same as ice pack and PCM cooling garments, except for the substance in the pouches. Instead of water and PCM chemicals, the packs contain a cooling gel which is not very effective, to say the truth, but might be a viable and affordable option, if you want to try the technology or save a buck.
You can just look for breathable materials for your dog bedding, ensuring the material doesn’t get hot. Breathable fabrics include bamboo, cotton, and linen, among others. Look for special tiny air vents throughout the material for better air circulation.
Now let’s look at the types of cooling devices that are available for your four-legged pet. Here we’ll cover everything from cooling clothing like collars, vests, and even bandanas, to bedding, pads, and houses!
Cooling collars for dogs are essentially collars that you fill with water and freeze overnight, or freeze the water, PCM, or gel-based pouches that come with the collar, and insert these pouches into the collar before use.
Now, if it sounds a little complicated, don’t get discouraged, it’s very easy and doesn’t require much preparation. First, you need to determine your dog’s neck size: take a measuring tape; put it around your dog’s neck to correctly measure her size; look at the size charts of your preferable product and choose the best close or suitable option.
Now, let’s look at the Chill Collar from All Four Paws, which is made of non-rigid silicone and represents the type of collar that you have to fill with water first and freeze it overnight. Be careful not to pour in too much water, since when the water freezes it expands. The consumers loved the product, with a few saying it’s a tad pricey and looks kind of funny. But in fact, when you see the collar is no longer cool and your dog doesn’t need it anymore, you can unbuckle the collar and your dog can drink the water from the inside. It’s very practical.
Another water-based cooling collar worth mentioning is Kool Collar. It comes with a water tube that has to be frozen before inserting into the collar. Everything else is pretty straightforward. Consumers are positive about the product, with a handful saying that the quality suffered and the fabrics are too flimsy.
If you’re looking for a gel type of collar, then EraseSIZE Summer Pet Dog Cooling Collar might be an option for you, besides, it’s very affordable. It’s made of high tech polyester fabric and comes with a gel tube that needs to be cooled down for at least 20 minutes in the freezer and then inserted in the collar. There’s not enough consumer response on this one to determine its efficiency, but beware that gel stays cool less than water and PCM-based collars.
For the simple collar made of natural cooling fabrics, we can recommend K9 Chill Dog Cooling Collar. Its lightweight stretchy materials allow the collar to retain moisture for hours longer than an ordinary cotton towel. You have to rinse the collar in water and put it on your dog. But remember, it’s just fabric and not a sophisticated technology.
There’s a great variety of cooling vests for dogs on the market. They don’t differ much from those worn by humans. Take a look at a few of the best examples:
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler is by far the bestseller on the list of evaporative cooling types. It doesn’t come cheap, though, but it’s worth every penny. Soak it in cold water, gently squeeze out the excess moisture and fasten it around your dog. This versatile vest is compatible with the Front Range harness and Web Master harness. There’s a convenient leash portal for you to easily attach the leash to the harness. The material is sturdy and durable and designed to reflect the heat from the sun. Available in 6 sizes. The consumer reports were positive, and those who wrote negative comments often complained about the bulkiness of the vest and sizes. Well, all vests are inherently bulky, even the best ones, so this is just something you have to prepare yourself for.
Ice Vest Cooling Vest from Go Fresh Pet is another accessory one won’t feel sorry for recommending. First off, because GF Pet is a reliable manufacturer based in Canada, second of all, Ice Vest has received positive reviews from the myriad of consumers. Besides, just as with any evaporative cooling vests, it’s very easy to use: soak it in water, wring it out, and put it on your pooch.
For a PCM dog cooling vest, we recommend TechKewl Phase Change Cooling Coat. Although it costs an arm and a leg, it will work in any environment and regardless of the breed. It’s made of super durable and high-quality fabrics and comes with a set of PCM packs that need to be activated by putting them in an ice cold water or freezer. The cooling bag is also included for the price. Beware that PCMs are toxic so you have to make sure your dog won’t tear them open.
Another cooling vest that makes an easy recommendation is Hurtta Cooling Dog Vest, that’s much cheaper than the previous options, but lacks the same advanced technologies. You have to run the cold water over the vest, gently squeeze, and put it on your dog. The outer shell of the vest is riddled with small air holes for better air circulation.
If you want both a neck cooler and a vest for your dog, but don’t want to spend a fortune buying those two separately, then Cooler Dog Cooling Vest and Cooling Collar is made for you. It works with FlexiFreeze ice pouches, which you can buy separately, in case you want to have an additional set of ice packs. Just freeze the packs and insert them in both the collar and the vest. The price is very affordable which makes this set of cooling wear easy to recommend.
Dog cooling coats are essentially the same as dog cooling vests. A few options we can recommend are from Canine Equipment, the Canadian brand, and HyperKewl, TechNiche sub-brand, both of which are based on evaporative cooling. Both products have an array of sizes, so if you have a super small or super large pet, there’s guaranteed to be a coat exactly tailored for your dog!
The outwear which is essentially called a “jacket” is intended for cold weather, rather than hot. They keep your dog warm on cold breezy days of winter. Some of these might include RUFFWEAR - Climate Changer Breathable Fleece Jacket or Ruffwear - Powder Hound Hybrid Insulation Jacket for Dogs. There are even rain jackets for dogs that are both waterproof and breathable, like RUFFWEAR - Aira Full Coverage, which non-insulated design allows for use in warmer climates and can also be worn over insulated layers for use in colder climates.
Dog cooling bandanas are made specifically for those pets who don’t mind wearing a fashionable accessory. Look at this Chill Out Ice Bandana from ALL FOR PAWS that’s both stylish, thin, and effective. The mechanics behind Chill Out bandana is based on cooling gel: freeze it for a couple of hours and get it on your dog. It fastens with a Velcro for convenience and stays in place even if your dog tries to scratch and shake it off. Testers overwhelmingly recommended the purchase.
The Dog's Right! Cooling Bandana is a bandana with ice packs. Soak the collar in water, wring it out, and insert frozen pouches of ice inside, put the bandana on your dog: very simple! Customers loved the product, some others expressed their concern that there were not replacement ice packs available of the same size in case one of the ice packs pops up or cracks.
There are plenty of good quality products on the market for dog cooling pads, which are based on numerous technologies, like pressure activated cooling gel, cooling memory foam, phase change materials, or just self-cooling breathable fabrics. Some of the bestselling gel pads are from the Hugs Pet Products, Green Pet Shop, and Coleman.
Those who were not satisfied with Hugs Pet cooling gel pad, said the get was all lumpy bumpy and could not stay flat. The material in Green Pet Shop happens to be toxic for dogs, so watch out for your dog and don’t let her chew on any part of the mattress. The critics of Coleman said the cooling effect was very short.
Dogbed4less, a small company operating out of California, specializes in gel-infused memory foam orthopedic bedding for dogs. We can recommend two of their products that seem popular among the consumers: Gel Cooling Memory Foam Dog Bed and Orthopedic Gel Cooling Memory Foam Dog Bed. Both options are available in an array of colors and sizes. The critics mostly focused on the fact that some dogs preferred to sleep next to the pad rather than on it. But don’t worry, these were just a few!
The water-based pads are those that have to be filled with water. K&H Pet Products Cool Bed is one of those beds. Simply add the recommended amount of water through the easy fill cap and burp with the new easy air adjustment valve. Cool Bed is designed to radiate heat back into the air to keep the dog cool. The bedding is made of durable nylon/vinyl.
If you are looking for just a plain cool fabric, then the PAWZ Road Dog Blanket Cooling Snuggly Mat is your best bet. It’s made of breathable mesh and self-cooling fabric.
Another way to keep your dog cool is to purchase her an elevated bed, like Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed. It’s made of breathable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) fabric; off-the-ground design promotes greater air circulation; strong powder-coated steel frame is extremely durable for pets of all sizes, yet, still very lightweight. The critics said the concept was great, the materials had to be worked on.
In case you must carry your dog in a crate, then you definitely want to consider investing in a little portable cooling fan that can be easily attached to a crate. This pet cooling fan from O2Cool comes highly recommended. O2Cool is a reputable company that’s been in business for a while, hence can be trusted. You may also contact the company directly if you think you need a replacement or have any other product concerns. The cooling fan in question is very easy to install: just hang the bracket on the door or any side of the crate and switch it on. The device is battery operated, but the batteries are not included. The fan has two speeds with minimal noise. The customers who didn’t like the product were just annoyed that they had to buy batteries separately.
You definitely have to think of providing the best housing for your pet, especially if she’s outside for the most part of the day. Look at this beautiful Dog House by Suncast, it’s easy to assemble, looks nice and comfy and does its job properly, providing a cool shade for your four-legged friend.
If you want your pooch to feel comfy at all times, then you can’t go without buying her a cooling house with both a heater and a fan! This Deluxe Dog Palace from ASL Solutions lives up to its name! It’s sized for medium to large dogs, has foam insulation in every panel, and a special bedding area. Your dog won’t get disappointed, trust us! Customers loved the product, with only one critical reviewer saying it was pricey.
Pros and Cons of cooling devices for dogs
- Cooling devices are a great way to stay out in the sun with your pet longer enjoying the summer breeze and playing out
- There are a great variety of products to choose from or if you can’t make up your mind on one, buy several! I’ll go with the elevated bed, cooling collar and cooling vest for longer walks!
- During the summer heat, your pet is still under risk of heat exposure, so you have to watch out for the dangerous symptoms and if anything, rush her to the veterinary
- Some cooling devices contain toxic chemicals that can result in neurological damage if consumed
- Sizing sometimes can be difficult, with a lot of customers complaining they can’t figure out which size to buy
Even with all the cooling stuff on, please, follow the simple safety tips that will protect your dog from excess summer heat:
- Well, the first one is obvious: stay out of the sun! Sometimes it’s just not possible, I know, but try your best to look for a shade to protect your dog and yourself
- Carry water: stop and give your dog water to drink as often as possible
- Do not exercise or train your dog too much when the temperature soars
- Take breaks
- Pour water over your dog or get her a swimming pool
- If you see any signs of heatstroke in your dog, go to a veterinary ASAP!
Are dog cooling mats toxic?
Some of them are. Especially those based on PCM or gel. They might contain toxic chemicals which can be deadly for pets.
Are dog cooling coats safe?
Those that contain gel and PCM are not entirely safe. While some dogs won’t react on the accidentally consumed chemical, others can become lethargic and even die.
Are dog cooling mats any good?
Yes, a lot of customers praise the cooling qualities of those mats.
Are cooling vests good for dogs?
They can definitely help your dog in the summer by cooling her down, however, you still have to take precautionary measures and follow the safety tips to prevent any adverse situations.
How dog cooling mats work?
Depends on the technology that’s being used in the mats/pads. Some are water-based, meaning you have to add water into them, others are pressure activated gel infused memory foam pads, that don’t require any special steps for you to activate them.
Is there any dog cooling for car?
Yes, you can take any cooling mat described above and use it in your car!
Cooling dogs with ice cubes?
You can actually make your own DIY dog cooling collar with ice cubes. Take any piece of fabric and ice pouches. Flap the fabric around those ice packs. Then sew the fabric on both sides so the pouches won’t fall off and freeze the resulting collar in the freezer. Now, put it on your dog. Easy!
Comparative chart of Dog Cooling Products
We’ve tried to cover all types and aspects of dog cooling products that are currently available on the market in 2018. Thanks to technology, you have plenty of options to choose from, but make sure you still keep an eye on your pet during exhaustive summer days. We hope that described above devices will keep your canine needs satisfied until next time!