Should You Get Your Dog a Cooling Pad?

The Benefits of a Dog Cooling Pad—and How to Choose One

Small brown dog laying on bed outside with eyes closed and face up toward sun.

Shalom Ormsby Images Inc / Getty Images

Staying cool when the temperatures get hot can be difficult, especially when your entire body is covered in fur.

Dogs have a variety of natural mechanisms to keep cool, including panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose. But because they can’t sweat (and because of that aforementioned fur coat), they can really struggle to stay comfortable when the temperatures rise.

There are a number of things that you can—and should—do to keep your dog comfy in the warmer months, such as providing plenty of shade, AC, fresh water, and the occasional cool treat. And as a nice addition, you could also consider getting a dog cooling pad, which your pup can use inside or outside to regulate their body temperature and combat those blazing temps.

Here’s what to know about dog cooling pads, including how they work, what they’re good for, and some suggestions for purchasing one.

What Are Dog Cooling Pads?

Dog cooling pads (which are great for cats too!), are special mats that function in various ways to provide a cool surface for your canine companion to lay down on.

Unlike many heating pads, cooling pads are not electric. Instead, they use water or non-toxic gels to absorb heat from your dog’s body. Because of this, they’re easy to move around and travel with, and they’re also safe for your dog to stay on for as long as they’d like. Once your pup gets up, the material will “recharge,” releasing any gathered heat into the air so that your dog has a cool surface to return to.

There aren’t too many safety concerns around using a dog cooling pad, however do make sure to check the material occasionally for any damage. You also want to make sure your dog has a comfortable option to lie down in an area without a cooling pad in case that's their preference. While they’re made to be puncture resistant, dedicated chewers might be able to tear holes that render the cooling pad ineffective and/or release the inner gel or water.

Benefits of Getting Your Dog a Cooling Pad

If you live somewhere with hot summers or a year-round warm climate, then a dog cooling pad could be the perfect addition to your home. Here are just a few of the benefits that these simple but effective mats can offer for your pet:

  • They can help prevent overheating and heat stroke. Dogs are prone to overheating in hot weather, and in some serious cases, this can lead to heat stroke—a scary and sometimes fatal condition. Cooling pads help your dog regulate their body temperature and combat excessive heat, which keeps them more comfortable while also preventing against heat-related issues.
  • They can help your dog sleep better. Dogs, like humans, may have a tougher time sleeping when the weather is warm. And although they can’t kick off the covers, dogs can find relief in cooling pads, which provide a nice surface for both bedtime and long afternoon snooze sessions.
  • They can provide added support for aging pets. Aging and senior dogs aren’t quite as mobile as their younger peers, and that can make it tricky for them to get and stay comfy—especially when it’s hot out. If you have an older dog, look for an orthopedic cooling pad, which provides added joint and muscle support along with a cooling effect.

Cooling pads also offer all of the general benefits of a quality dog mat. This includes giving your dog a clean and cozy place to nap and relax, as well as keeping your dog off the floor and away from dirt and germs.

Tips for Buying a Dog Cooling Pad

If you’re sold on buying a cooling pad for your dog, then your next step is to figure out what kind you’re going to purchase.

Standard water- and gel-filled self-cooling pads tend to be the most popular option, and both offer about five to seven hours of reliable relief for your furry friend. If you’re open to spending a bit more, you might want to look into phase-changing cooling pads, which contain a special “phase changing gel” that stays cool for longer than water or traditional gel.

Either way you go, be sure to prioritize quality and comfort. You want a cooling pad that can stand up to regular use (and scratches and chews), as well as a pad that will be comfortable for your dog to lay on for long periods of time. And as mentioned before, if you have an aging dog, an orthopedic cooling pad offers added support and is probably the way to go.

Buying a dog cooling pad is a great way to help your pup combat summer heat. While you’re shopping, check out other dog cooling products too, such as crate fans and cooling vests.