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Keeping your dog cool is more than a matter of comfort. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real threats to the health and safety of your four-legged friend; dogs can't sweat to lower their body temperature. If you live in an area where the temperature rises or engage in vigorous activity with your pet, be prepared by investing in products to keep your dog cool.
We looked at dog cooling devices that ranged from core-cooling vests to well-ventilated dog beds, researching products for the best combination of materials, durability, and reliable cooling. Phase-change materials and gels that absorb excess body heat were components of many of the products we evaluated.
Here are the best products to keep dogs cool this summer.
Best Cooling Vest: RUFFWEAR Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest
One of the best summer canine products lauded by consumers and vets alike is a cooling vest. The Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest works by storing water and using it to exchange your dog’s heat as it evaporates. The outer layer reflects heat while the inner layer is cooled by water. As the water turns from liquid to vapor, your dog’s temperature drops, keeping him perfectly cool. As the vest runs out of water you’re able to add more to re-up the cooling effect.
The vest comes in sizes from XX-small through X-large, so be sure to measure your pup before you order for a perfect fit. The vest is designed to work with most harnesses, so you can use it on those long hikes and walks. The Ruffwear Swamp Cooler is a staple for any dog owner who wants to keep their dog happy and healthy when he’s on the go in the heat.
Best Cooling Bed: Dogbed4less Memory Foam Dog Bed
If your dog tends to run hot no matter the time of year, a cooling bed is a great choice for him. We love the Dogbed4less Orthopedic Dog Bed because it’s infused with a gel memory pad to keep your dog cool. Each bed comes with a waterproof liner and two washable covers, which any dog owner will greatly appreciate. The gel-infused memory foam pad is hypoallergenic and alleviates pressure points for arthritic and aging pups, all while reducing the overheating that occurs with some dog beds.
This orthopedic bed comes in six sizes ranging from 35” x 20” to 55” x 47”, all roughly 4” thick. Pet owners rave about the bed’s comfort, stating that it doesn't flatten over time — an important quality in any great dog bed.
Best Elevated Bed: Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed
An elevated bed doesn’t provide any gel-assisted cooling effects but promotes air flow to all sides by keeping your pup off the ground. The Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed comes in six colors and five different sizes, up to 59.8” x 37”. The bed keeps your pup elevated by about eight inches, and reduces pressure on all of his joints. The knitted fabric is UV-resistant, so you can keep it outside — it also repels mold and mildew.
If your pup spends time outside in the summer, the Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed is a must-have. Owners say their four-legged friends can’t get enough of it, which means you won’t have a hard time convincing Fido to give it a shot.
Best Shelter: Suncast Outdoor Dog House
While not a traditional cooling device, a dog house is essential for keeping your dog safe when he’s outside during the summer months. The Suncast DH350 Dog House is one of the most popular shelters on the market. Made from durable resin, the Suncast Dog House is 33” x 38-½” x 32”, and comfortably fits dogs weighing up to 100 pounds. The snap-together assembly is a breeze, with no special tools required.
Providing shelter from the harsh sun is key to keeping your dog safe during the hot months. Plus, who doesn’t love a dog house with your favorite friend’s name engraved on the front? The Suncast comes with vinyl doors and letters to personalize each house for your pet.
Best Crate Fan: O2COOL 5-inch Crate Fan
When traveling with your furry friend, a crate is a great way to keep him safe and protected, but being cooped up in a small space can lead to overheating and exhaustion. Whether you’re traveling long distances in a car or you crate your pup when you leave the house, the O2COOL Crate Fan is a great way to keep his space nice and cool. The two-speed 5" fan provides air circulation directly into your pet’s crate. Designed specifically for metal crates, it uses two brackets to easily attach to any crate wall. The fan takes two “D” batteries, so you can take it wherever you need to go without worrying about cords and plugs.
Pair the O2COOL Fan with a gel cooling mat for the ultimate in cooling protection.
There are many options for keeping your dog cool, but we recommend the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest as a top option for a wearable cooling product. The vest can be refilled with water while you're on the go and is available in a wide range of sizes, from XXS to XL. Even when they're not sprinting around or hiking up hills, your dog will appreciate a cool spot to rest. The Coolaroo Elevated Pet Bed is our top pick for an elevated dog bed. This dog bed stands about 8 inches high, offering excellent airflow from underneath the bed. It's constructed using breathable, UV-resistant mesh material and comes in five different sizes.
What to Look For
There are many different types of dog cooling products, including wearable items, such as cooling collars, vests, harnesses, or bandanas. There are also functional dog cooling products that you might invest in, such as an elevated pet bed with breathable materials or a fan to keep your dog's kennel cool. A combination of several types of products may be your best bet to keep your dog cool and comfortable when heat is a major concern.
Dog cooling products rely on a variety of technologies to dissipate heat and lower your dog's temperature. Some of the most basic options use breathable materials to promote better air circulation. More advanced cooling technology involves the use of gel or phase-change material, known as PCM. Other products to cool your dog rely on evaporative cooling mechanisms to help your pet release excess heat.
Most products to cool your dog only last for so long before needing to be recharged in some way. Check the manufacturer's guidelines or customer reviews to find out how long you can expect a dog cooling product to work for. If you plan to use a cooling product to keep your dog comfortable on a long outing, like a hike or extended walk, choose a product with a long period of effectiveness or something that can easily be refreshed by adding water.
How can I tell if my dog is too hot?
Every dog owner should be familiar with the signs of heat exhaustion in their pet. Although panting is a normal cooling process, watch for excessive panting, thick saliva, lethargy, and failure to respond to familiar commands or drink water. If you suspect that your dog is becoming too hot, immediately move your pet to a cool, shaded area.
Does shaving dogs keep them cool?
Shaving a dog's coat has little impact on body temperature regulation. Dogs primarily cool themselves by means of panting and blood vessel dilation. In addition, the ASPCA points out that shaving a dog's coat robs them of natural insulation that can actually assist in maintaining proper body temperature. Plus, it may increase your dog's risk of sunburn or skin cancer.