With unruly summer sun beating on me and my pooch here in Southern California, some kind of cooling vests for dogs were just the kind of things I was looking for my pooch.
To be honest, initially I didn't even know that cooling vests for dogs was even a thing. But my research led me to customers praising the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler and claiming how it seems to be working out well for them. Well, I have to say – my dog Trevor is pretty cool in it (pun intended).
I love my pal, buy him different kinds of dog products all the time, and obviously it bothers me whenever he seems to be exhausted after just 5 minutes of walking in the sun. Trevor loves to run around with me in the morning but that heat had started to finally get to him. I found a plethora of information online on how to keep your dog cool in summer, but cooling vests for dogs seemed to be the way to go.
Ruffwear is a 20-year old (established in 1994) and well-known outdoor performance pet gear and supplies American company that manufactures all kinds of really unique dog products. If you go to their website, you'll find these cooling vests for dogs, as well as dog coats, harnesses, life jackets, safety packs and all kinds of other gear that your average dog owner wouldn't be interested in because some of us might just be too lazy for that stuff. It's just cool that it exist though!
“Our Mission: To build performance product to enhance and inspire outdoor adventures for dogs and their human companions.“
Most of companies' products are aimed at enhancing “interaction between dogs and people.” For example, take a look at this jacket they have – it's waterproof, windproof, with three layers of soft-shell upper fabric for your dog's protection. I didn't even know such a thing exists!
Anyway, their customers seem to love them and after going through most reviews on Amazon, I didn't hesitate to give them a chance as well. This Ruffwear Swamp Cooler review will summarize how well the product seems to work.
Key Specs of Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest
- Very easy to use: All you have to do is to soak the vest in cold water and refrigerate it for a few hours. Whenever I plan on using it the next morning, I'm keeping the cooling vest in the refrigerator overnight. However, if you need to use Ruffwear swamp cooler quickly, you can soak it up in very cold water and store it in the freezer for an hour or so instead.
- Strong buckles on the sides: These buckles do a good job at holding the vest in place. You could take your dog out on a run or for a walk – it doesn't slip off at all.
- Allows full range of motion: What I really liked about Ruffwear swamp cooler was that it did not restrict my dog's movements in any way. He could do whatever he wanted to without feeling uncomfortable because of the vest.
- Consists of the 3 layers to maximize cooling effects: The outer layer of the jacket would facilitate the evaporation process. The middle layer absorbs and stores water while the inner layer keeps your dog cool in the summer heat. I think the cooling vest keeps my pooch cooler for a lot longer than I thought it would!
- Grey/Blue color: The light grey color allows the vest to reflect sun's UV rays so that the vest itself doesn't get affected by the heat (same with the blue one). Plus, it looks great on the dog. Although that probably depends on your friend's color.
Pros of Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest for Dogs
- Made in the USA by reputable company: The company has manufactured the product while keeping three, very important, features in mind: aesthetics, purpose and longevity. I've had the product for over 3 weeks now. It looks great, it still keeps Trevor cool in the heat and so far its quality has not been compromised in any way.
- Available at a reasonable price: You would expect these things to be expensive but I guess fortunately they aren't. At least on Amazon it's still available at a very affordable price.
- Keeps your dog “alive” for longer: We’re all aware of how the temperature can affect our pets (and us!) It can be extremely humid or the heat can be unbearably hot and ‘dry’ sometimes. Ruffwear swamp cooler works well for the dog, regardless of the weather conditions. Makes me want to buy one for myself. So far, the longest trip we've had was 2 hours and it wasn't a problem whatsoever.
- It's very easy to put it on, wear and take off.
Full Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Vest Review
Your dog will be eternally – or at least during those hot summer months – grateful to you!
If we, people, feel as hot as we do in summer, one can only imagine how much worse the heat could be for our dogs. So, I braced myself and ordered one of those Ruffwear's cooling vests for dogs for my own pal.
I was skeptical at first, but multiple different sites with plentiful of very positive reviews, especially those on Amazon, pushed me into this. I have to say, I'm glad they did. It's the middle of July, and Trevor not only looks really good in the vest – it keeps him cool for long hours outside.
There was that initial worry that my dog will feel restricted or that he’d be nudging at me to get that thing off of him, but that's not the case.
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler vest allows full range of motion with no restrictions. The dog can move, run and walk just as he would with the vest off. In fact, I feel that Trevor actually moves better when he is wearing the vest as its cooling effects keep him going for longer.
What I really liked about the product was that there’s nothing too complicated or overly-technical to it. All you need to do is to place it in cold water and refrigerate it for a few hours. I would advise dog owners to keep the vest in the refrigerator at a lower thermostat on most days. Only use the freezer on days when you intend on taking your dog for long walks or on exceptionally hot days.
All of Ruffwear's cooling vests for dogs retain water well and the three-layer innovative design construction actually does maximize the cooling effect.
Amazon customers' rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
“Your dog will thank you!” (read the full Amazon review): “This product is simply amazing!!! I am sooo happy with it! I run with my friends Vizsla in our local mountains and I am always overly cautious about heat stroke. This jacket completely put my mind at ease. Running in So Cal in the heat can be hard on people, but deadly for dogs. I read many reviews on other sites (all of which were 5 star ratings) so I decided to give it a shot. Getting it ready was…” 5 out of 5
“I didn't think it would work, but I was incorrect!” (read the full Amazon review): “I purchased this for my English/French Bulldog/Staffie mix. She had difficulty walking in temperatures above 75 degrees. She would have to stop and “frog out” in the shade for 5-10 minutes during our walks and she had a very difficult time breathing which made me nervous. A 45 minute walk became a 1.5 hour long walk because…” 5 out of 5
“Keeps my goldie cool” (read the full Amazon review): “My 15 year old golden retriever is now wearing this vest for the 3rd summer in a row. When she was 12 she started overheating to the point of almost fainting. She would throw up and be ill the rest of the evening during our hot DC summers. I bought the swamp cooler vest from REI and it's literally saved her. Without it we'd be…” 5 out of 5
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler vest sizes
Where would Ruffwear Cooling Vests for Dogs not work?
All kinds of cooling vests for dogs, including Ruffwear Swamp Cooler, will do wonders for your dog in places like Arizona and Nevada.
But beware if you live somewhere with a very humid climate like South Florida.
In high humidity climates like South Florida, you'll notice that the water just doesn't evaporate fast enough! In fact, it might even work against your dog because it just becomes a little steam-room in there. Although, customers report that it works well in places like Savannah, GA, which is somewhat humid.
Disadvantages of Ruffwear Swamp Cooler for Dogs
Stains easily. Depending on the environment you're in, most cooling vests for dogs can be quickly stained and removing these stains can be difficult sometimes. Plus, since the product is grey in color more often than not all those marks are pretty visible.
Dries up quicker on a hotter and drier day. You might find that the product dries up fast on days when humidity levels are low and the temperature is extremely high.
Quick tip for that: Jog, walk or hike early in the morning or a bit later in the day. The idea is to prevent the product from getting exposed to sun's worst ultraviolet rays, which are usually between 11am and 2pm.
Might not work well enough in too humid climates. All cooling vests for dogs won't always work perfectly trying to keep your dog cool in very humid climates. This is because the water won’t evaporate fast enough.
Quick tip for that: Soak Ruffwear Swamp Cooler in the water a few hours and before you go to sleep, put it in the freezer or lower the thermostat of your refrigerator. Though the moisture might not evaporate too fast, the vest itself would be cold enough for your dog. You will have to monitor though.
VIDEO Review of Ruffwear Swamp Cooler
So is it worth it?
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler is (almost) a perfect product for those of you who wish to keep your dogs cool in the summer heat, but as with most cooling vests for dogs, you'll have to be wary of your environment.
I dug up the negative factors from other people's responses, but I myself felt as if though Ruffwear had kept all of my dog’s needs in mind when they were manufacturing the product. If you are someone who likes to jog, run, hike, go for longer walks in general or play with their dogs outside often – your dog would definitely benefit from something like Ruffwear Swamp Cooler.
It's easy to use and the three-layer construction keeps pets cool for longer. Just like their very own cooling system. When, exactly, are people getting these too?
Would I say that this is the best product out there? No, because I don’t like that the product is so difficult to wash. And the fact that I can’t get it dry-cleaned does bother me a bit.
However, the pros outweigh the cons, in my opinion. I would definitely recommend the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler to any dog owner who enjoys exercising with his/her dog during the hot summer days.