The summer is close, and as much as high temperatures affect you, they can affect your pooch even harder. That’s why there are so many products out there that promise to keep your dog cool in the summer. We’ll take a look at some of those cooling dog supplies, their features and try to determine what’s best for your pooch.
Cooling Mats, Pads and Beds
Choosing between a cooling mat, pad or bed won’t make much difference since they are basically the same thing in the way they function and cool your dog. Even the manufacturers themselves often use these terms interchangeably.
While dog cooling mats and pads are almost literally the same thing, cooling beds are usually more comfortable (and more expensive) since they have thicker stuffing, except for elevated dog beds.
Types of Cooling Beds (Mats and Pads)
Elevated beds – This is a unique type of cooling beds designed to be somewhat orthopedic as well, which makes them a good choice for dogs with joint, bone and muscle issues. They are designed in a way that evenly distributes the cool air on all sides of the bed to provide the cooling effect. Typically, there is no cooling gel and they aren't powered by electricity to emit cooling effects; instead, they simply allow for better ventilation and as the dog rests above ground, it's easier for them to cool off.
Water-filled – Water-filled cooling dog beds, mats and pads are a very popular option since water is a very effective cooling agent that's also cheap. These beds simply have to be filled with cool water and they will keep your dog chillier on a summer's day. Some of them require replacing the water occasionally, others don’t. They are more effective at cooling than elevated beds, but they do have a drawback – these beds can often leak or spill and they are not the best choice for dogs who like to chew on things. They can also grow mildew sometimes.
Gel-filled – Dog cooling beds, mats and pads that are filled with a special cooling gel are mostly activated by pressure as the dog lies down on it, although some of them use phase-changing materials which allow them to stay cool longer. These beds usually take in a dog’s weight and absorb his temperature to cool the dog down. Usually, gel-filled beds are most expensive but also most effective among the three.
When you choose the best cooling bed, mat or pad for your pooch, consider the effectiveness of the cooling process, comfort for the dog and durability.
ALSO READ: The Best Dog Cooling Mats for Summer
Dog cooling vests use evaporation to keep your pooch cool, similar to the way humans sweat to get rid of excess body heat. Since dog’s don’t sweat, they can’t naturally get rid of their body heat as effectively as we can.
A dog cooling vest contains a specific layer of fabric that absorbs the water, which takes in the dog's excess body heat. When the water evaporates, the excess heat is also dissipated into the air. Cooling vests are good because they are strategically placed on the dog’s chest, which is one of the areas on a dog’s body where excess heat is collected.
Cooling vests work best in dry air since evaporation occurs faster than in humid air. You can still use them in a humid or other environment, but if you live in the area with dry air, the benefits of a cooling vest will simply be greater.
Cooling vests don’t require any type of power and they are easy to use. You only have to put the vest under some cool or cold water (avoid using ice-cold water) and then put it on your pooch. You can also refrigerate the vest if you plan to go on a long walk, or simply pour more water on the vest if it dries out during the walk.
When you looking to buy the best cooling vest for your dog, you should consider how the cooling vest will fit your pooch. That means choosing the right size and design that will suit the animal's body type.
Another thing to keep in mind is how long it takes for a vest to dry out when used. Generally, vests aren't particularly long-lasting and are intended for use only during a walk or quick play in a park. So look for vests that can work for at least 30 minutes, preferably even longer than that. You might also want to look at vests with reflective strips, in case you end up using it in the evening.
Dog Cooling Bandanas and Collars
Dog cooling bandanas and collars basically use the same technique as the cooling vest and cool your pooch through evaporation. Some of them can be filled with ice and cool your pooch as the ice melts down. Because of their placement, they are not as effective as cooling vests, but they still provide some relief. The best option is using the combination of both cooling vest and cooling bandana or collar.
As far as evaporation in cooling dog bandanas and dog collars go, they are just easy to use as cooling vests. Once again, simply soak them in cold or cool water and put them on your pooch. Of course, bandanas and collars will cover your dog’s neck instead of his body and some owners like to use both bandana or collar and a vest at the same time to provide their dogs with maximum comfort.
Determining what is best will depend on your particular needs. For example, if you need something to keep your pooch cool at home, you should choose a cooling bed, mat or pad – this allows your pup to pick up a spot and cool off when resting. To provide your canine with support and more comfort, choose a cooling bed instead of mats/pads. If you want something you can use outdoors or in a kennel or crate, choose a pad or a mat. Also, mats and pads are a better choice if you need something that is lightweight and portable; and they're generally cheaper than good quality cooling beds.
If you are looking for something that will keep your dog cool on your walks, then opt for a vest, collar or bandana. You can even mix a collar and a vest together and use a combination of both for maximum benefit. The important thing is only to choose the best available product that will have the most effect and last a long time (or as long as you need it to).
Also, keep in mind that using any of these products by themselves is not enough to keep your dog cool in the summer for a long time. You must also keep your dog hydrated and provide shade for him in hot weather. Another great way to provide your dog relief from summer's heat is with a dog pool. If you have a backyard, place one in the shade filled with cool water, and this will likely be the absolutely best option for the pup.