Preventing heat stroke in a pet during the very HOT days is something that all pet parents should take note and be prepared for during extreme bouts of heat. Why?
Because unlike people, dogs don't sweat out excess body heat. Dogs really don't sweat too much, and the fact is that they spend their lives in a thick fur coat, so hot days can be especially uncomfortable for them. Dogs generally sweat through rapid, open-mouthed breathing, called panting. However, excessive panting and signs of discomfort indicate overheating in dogs.
Using a cooling pad for dogs will (help) STOP your pet from overheating!
But the problem with shopping for an effective pet cooling pad is that there are SO MANY options. It’s easy to purchase one that doesn’t work or is not even remotely cooling.
To help you meet that challenge, and to find a cooling pad for dogs that will bring cooling sweet relief to your pup effectively and comfortably here is a look at five of the best cooling pads for dogs available at the moment that also happen to be some of our personal favorites.
This cooling pad is a great choice for those who travel with their pup a lot as it does not need to be charged, does not need batteries, does not need to be filled with water and cools continuously for up to three hours.
Hugely popular with pet parents and their pups, the Green Pet Shop Pressure Activated Cooling Mat works on, as its name suggests, pressure activation, which means the cooling gel contained inside the pad's cover begins to work only when your pooch is lying on it. It will then continue to cool for up to three hours, and will 'recharge' its cooling powers within fifteen to twenty minutes when not in use.
Customers like that it cools efficiently without being too cold and it is easy to wipe clean and lightweight enough to carry to the park or beach.
The one downside noted by some - although this is noted by the manufacturer - is the fact that smaller dogs simply don't exert enough pressure when lying on the pad to activate it properly. For this reason it is best for dogs weighing of between 35 and 65 pounds only, making it a great choice for big dogs, who can sometimes be hard to shop for when it comes to dog beds and accessories.
It's amusing to note that in a number of reviews, pet parents make a confession: they have purchased one cooling pad for their pup to use and one to use themselves!
The Chillz Cooling Pad For Dogs is very similar in many ways to the Green Pet Shop offering but as it is slightly thinner and not quite as large small and medium-sized dogs are large enough to activate its cooling powers with ease.
Once again this cooling mat needs no batteries or electricity, does not have to be pre-chilled and even rolls up so that it can be carried in the same way as a beach mat. Those who have purchased this cooling mat for their pup (and in some cases for their outdoor loving cats as well) love it for its ease of use, the tough, durable but easy to clean cover and its inexpensive price.
Some customers report that because the cooling mat is lightweight, and stands up well to a little chewing, their pup is able to carry it themselves from room to room to stay cool wherever they are. It will not, some pet parents report, stand up to very aggressive chewing, but should a pup bite into the mat the pressure activated gel is non toxic and will not make the dog ill. However should that occur the mat should be removed and replaced, as some dogs may choke on the small pieces.
This cooling pad is especially designed for use inside a crate or kennel so that pups can sleep in cool comfort even when the temperature rises. It is a thin, latex free pad that makes use of cooling gels in the way that the products we have already mentioned do, but in a slightly different way.
The Arf Pets Dog Self Cooling Mat Pad does not rely on pressure to activate the cooling gel, but on body heat instead, The hotter your pup the higher the level of cooling. As they cool down the pad adjusts, and keeps working for up to three hours, which is long enough for your pup to enjoy a long, cool nap on even the hottest days
The mat can be used outdoors on the ground as well, but as it is quite thin some pet parents report that it does not offer enough comfort in that situation for their dog to seem to want to make use of it for too long.
Pet parents who like this product do so because it fits easily into a standard crate for a small-medium sized pup and can even be folded for comfortable use on the back seat of a car to keep their pup cool there too. Many pet parents also report their surprise at how durable the mat is able to withstand both sharp claws and the occasional light chew or poke from a stray sharp claw.
Cooling pads are great, but what happens if you live in an area that boasts nights that are hot, as well as days? Even in air-conditioned homes some pups can overheat at night, and so a cooling dog bed can provide them with relief and allow them to get a better night's restful sleep.
This large dog bed is best suited to medium to large breed dogs. Its cooling 'powers' come from a layer of gel that is sandwiched between two layers of memory foam. It is similar, in many ways, to the cooling memory foam mattresses that have become very popular with humans. If your pup is smaller it still offers cooling, but some reviewers report that their pups 'look lost' in such a large space and benefited from a smaller version.
The bed comes with a washable microsuede cover and is more of an investment than a standard gel cooling pad, but for those living in year round hot climates - like those found in Texas and Arizona - it seems to be an investment worth making, as it also offers support for your pup's joints - great for older dogs - as well as a cool, comfortable place to sleep.
This cooling dog bed is also popular with the pet parents of brachycephalic dogs like pugs and boxers. These short nosed breeds often heat up faster than other breeds and in lower temperatures, so some pet parents do report making use of it as their pet’s ‘regular’ bed so their bodies remain at a safe and comfortable temperature.
If you are looking for a lightweight, cooling dog bed for your small dog then this is a great choice. Although thinner than the Dogbed4Less product it offers plenty of support for small dogs and promises that it will keep a small to medium-sized dog's body temperature at 22% less than that in the air around it.
The bed cools thanks to a layer of water saturated gel that pulls heat from your pup's body and draws it down into the bed, away from them, cooling them down almost immediately. The heat is then dispersed into the air, away from your dog helping them stay cooler longer.
This is a rather different product to the others on the list as it does need to have cold water added to it before use. Customers report that this is actually quite easy to do however. The one downside noted by some reviewers however is that their dog did not seem to like the ‘squisher’ feel of the water and did not like to lie on it for long.
Because the Cool Bed III does use water to help it function while it can be used outdoors in the shade it should not be used in direct sunlight, as the sun will heat the water and rob the bed of its cooling powers. However, if you are looking for a way to keep your dog cool as he relaxes in his crate or kennel on a hot day, this is a great choice!
Dog Cooling Pads Buyers Guide
The products we have reviewed are, as you will find out before you begin to shop, just a handful of the cooling pads for dogs currently available. While they are some of the best-selling, best reviewed and in our opinion, great choices they are far from the only ones out there for you to choose from.
The fact is that every pup is unique and what suits one dog may not be quite right for another. There are some things, however, that you should consider and keep in mind as you shop for the best cooling pad for your dog, no matter which model you eventually choose.
Here is a look at some of the most important of those considerations.
Most of the cooling pads for dogs available today come in standard sizes, with some companies offering several different options. When you are choosing the right option for your pup you need to make sure that you pick a cooling pad that is big enough for your pup to lie on comfortably, and that her whole body fits on the pad with ease and that she still has room to move around.
Even the best cooling pad in the world won't be helpful if you pup refuses to make use of it, and if a cooling pad does not give her room to stretch out comfortably it won't be very attractive to them.
The best way to determine if a cooling pad will be big enough for your dog is to measure her for it, in the same way you would for clothes.
1. Taking a tape measure note down your pup's length from the tip of her nose to the base of her tail.
2. Then note down the distance between her shoulder blades at the widest point to determine her 'width'.
3. Next, add six to twelve inches to both of these numbers. This should give you a basic idea of the right size cooling pad needed to accommodate your pup comfortably.
Because many dog cooling pads are pressure activated, you should consider their weight as well. A smaller dog will not exert as much pressure as a larger one, and some cooling pads are not rated to be efficient for them. That means that when reading the specs for each bed you should keep their weight, as well as their 'height' in mind as well.
Also read: The best small dog beds
Your dog's age and general health
Any cooling pad for dogs should be comfortable for them to sleep on, but older pups, and those who suffer from stiff or painful joints will benefit from a little extra support. Some cooling pads may not quite be supportive enough, and you should consider opting for a bed type option rather than a simple pad.
Different cooling pads for dogs cool in slightly different ways. When shopping it does help to understand just how these pads work, and what you will need to do to make sure they remain as effective as possible.
Although they may do it in slightly different ways, all cooling pads for dogs function on the principle of heat equilibrium.
What does that mean? When you put a glass of cold water in your hand, you hand will get cooler, and the glass warmer until the two are about the same temperature. The same thing occurs when your pup lies on a cooling pad for dogs.
The pad is cooler than he is, so it draws the heat away from his body and down into the mat to balance the temperature difference out. Of course, heat also radiates into the air from your dog's body all the time, but when he is lying on a cooling pad heat loss occurs more rapidly and he cools off more rapidly.
Cooling mats achieve this in one of two ways. They are either filled with a special cooling gel or they are filled with water. Some mats even offer a combination of the two, as is the case for the K&H Pet Products Cool Bed III featured in our top picks section.
Whatever they are filled with, the mat makes use of its heat distribution powers until its temperature is the same as the pup lying on it. At this point your pup may naturally wander away, looking for a cooler spot and you will know that it's time to give the cooling pad a break to recharge. Some cooling pads also work faster when greater pressure is exerted on them.
When shopping for the right cooling mat for daytime use you will find that most of the best options offer cooling for two to three hours before they need to be recharged. A bed type cooling pad is designed for longer use, but is not as 'powerful' and so is better used indoors.
No cooling pad for dogs will keep working without a break to recharge indefinitely. Many of the pet parents who are looking to purchase their pup a cooling pad do so only for short term use, a few hours in the shade in the backyard perhaps, or to help them stay a little cooler when they are lounging on the porch, or hanging out with the rest of the family at the beach.
When used in these situations a cooling pad for dogs that offers three to four hours of cooling - as several of the options on our top picks list do - will be more than sufficient. For a pup whose night time naps may run a little hot - those who live in a warmer climate - may need something that will cool for a longer period of time, as one of the specialist cooling bed type options we covered will.
Your dog's chewing habits
There are some pups who just love to chew. Training may help decrease their habit, but a sensible pet parent knows that if they have a furkid who likes to explore new things with their teeth as well as their eyes and nose making sure that their stuff is as durable as possible is a must.
In addition to looking for a cooling pad that is sturdier and well-constructed, take a few minutes to research what the bed is filled with and whether that filling would be harmful to your dog if they did accidentally puncture and damage it.
Will you be traveling?
If you want to take your pup to the beach, or the park, with the rest of the family the last thing you really want to do is take along a heavy, bulky dog bed. In these situations the lighter and more portable a cooling pad for dogs is the better, so look for one that is lightweight and can be easily transported, and even perhaps rolled up for even greater portability.
Ease of care
Dogs do not sweat the way we humans do - they primarily cool themselves down by panting - but they do get dirty and often even wet playing in the sun - and so their cooling pad will probably get grimy after a while too. Lying on a dirty cooling pad is not something you want for them (or they would want for themselves) so it is very important that you choose a cooling pad for dogs that can be cleaned successfully and relatively easily. Look for one that can be sponged down easily or has a removable cover that can be tossed in the wash.
Cost is always a factor any time you make a purchase, but in this case cost should not be the primary consideration when you are choosing the best cooling pad for your pup.
The choices we made for our best picks are all reasonably priced, but we know that there are cheaper options out there. The problem is that you do tend to get what you pay for.
Many of the bargain basement options that might seem similar to those on our list - but considerably cheaper - are flimsy 'knock-offs' that either don't do what they are supposed to - keep your dog cool - very well or are flimsy and will fall apart very quickly. Worse still, some contain potentially harmful filling that could injure your pup should they accidentally ingest them.
While we would never suggest you overpay for your pups supplies, and encourage you to bargain shop - do so sensibly. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Health effects of overheating in dogs
The biggest reason to buy your pup a cooling pad is to keep him safe and healthy in the heat. Overheating in dogs is not something that can ever be taken lightly.
Although, while researching our top picks for the best cooling mats for dogs we encountered some pet parents confessions about 'borrowing' their pup's cooling pad to get a quick 'chill thrill', humans really don't need them. We can cool ourselves off via sweating and we can move ourselves indoors or into the shade when we start to overheat
Although dogs have some small sweat glands on the bottoms of their paws, those do little to cool them off. They cool off by panting, but sometimes even that is not enough.
Heat exhaustion in dogs can occur quickly when their body temperature rises about its normal safe level (about 103F). Should it reach 105 or above their life could be in danger. This is why the fact that a good cooling pad for dogs can quickly lower body temperature by as much as 22F is so significant.
If a dog becomes too hot, he becomes susceptible to any of the following:
- Organ failure due to heat stroke
- Heart attack
If your pup appears to be overheating experts advise that you do the following:
- Move him to the coolest area possible. Indoors in air conditioning is ideal, but in the shade near a fan is the next best thing.
- Use a rectal thermometer to take his temperature. Heat exhaustion, as previously mentioned, occurs at between 103 and 106 degrees. If you pup's temperature falls into that range call your vet. By calling ahead of taking your dog to their office you can help ensure the staff will be ready to take immediate action when you arrive.
- If your dogs' temperature is under 103, you can help him cool down by letting him take a dip in water, or use cool, damp cloths on feet and around head to lower his temperature faster. You should also offer him water to drink, but don't force him to, as the water may end up in his lungs.
Signs of heat exhaustion in dogs
Excessive panting is the most obvious sign that your pup is getting overheated, as they struggle to cool themselves down. There are other, more subtle signs you should watch out for however. Your pup may seem very listless or drowsy, and he may not respond to his name when you call. Signs that he is dangerously overheated include vomiting, seizures and excessive drooling.
Although the heat can affect any pup, some dogs may be at greater risk, including:
- Those who are overweight are at a higher risk as they have a greater body mass to cool.
- Brachycephalic breeds—dogs with short noses and flat faces, such as boxers, pugs, french bulldogs and shih tzus.
- Dogs with very thick coats such as huskies, Newfoundlands and Alaskan Malamutes.
- Dogs with known chronic health problems such as heart disease or diabetes.
Preventing heat stroke in dogs
The following steps provide information you need to effectively deal with and prevent heat stroke in dogs.
Using cooling pads for dogs
As we have now covered extensively, one of the best ways you can help prevent heat exhaustion in dogs, and help your pup stay cool and comfortable is to buy him a cooling pad and keep it close to hand when the weather warms up, and especially when he is outside.
It's a good idea to introduce your pup to his new cooling pad before he needs to use it. Lay it out indoors and encourage him to lie down on it. This will help him understand that this is his special 'bed' and allow you, as a pet parent, to make sure that he likes it.
Some pups with sensory issues dislike certain surfaces, especially to lie on, and if that turns out to be the case you'll have time to try a different option or to adjust the cooling pad to better suit your pup's preferences.
Change your dog's exercise schedule
In the hot weather, dogs benefit from being walked and exercised in the early morning or evening, when the temperatures are at the lowest levels of the day. You should also exercise caution if walking on asphalt or pavement, as they can heat up very quickly and not only increase your dog's body temperature but burn his paws as well.
If yours is a very lively pup, one who needs to move more to let off steam and excess energy try to get them some water playtime. If you are not near a safe swimming lake or pond, try setting up a children's paddling pool in a shaded area and adding a few waterproof toys so your pup can enjoy a gentler, more cooling playtime. You can even consider running a sprinkler for a short time if they insist on running around.
Ensure fresh water is always available
It is very important that humans stay hydrated in the heat, and so you probably have a water bottle, or pitcher of water, at hand when out in the sun. This should be the case for your pup as well. Ideally, if you are staying in one spot - the backyard perhaps - you dog should have access to cool water in a shaded spot. If you are on the move, make sure that you have enough chilled water on hand for both you and your dog and that you take frequent breaks if walking or hiking to rehydrate and recharge you both!
When in doubt, let your dog stay indoors
The summer is a great time to enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities, and as they are a member of your family it is only natural that you would want your dog to be a part of the fun. However, if it really is just too hot it is better that they be allowed to stay indoors and out of the sun.
If you are traveling, remember that leaving your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day, even for a few minutes, can be fatal. If you are getting out for a rest stop break during a road-trip make sure that your pup will be able to safely do the same, or leave him at home with a sitter this time around.
We hope our guide has been helpful and you now feel better equipped to make the right choices when choosing the best cooling pad for dogs.
Every pet parent wants their pup to be as happy and healthy as possible every day. And every pet parent wants to include their furkid in as many fun activities as possible. By choosing, purchasing and making use of the right cooling pad for dogs, as well as keeping the other cooling tips for dogs we offered in mind, you can include your pup in all kinds of things all summer long and create some truly wonderful memories.
When choosing a cooling pad for your dog I recommend the Cool Pet Pad, with more than 1,775 customer reviews on Amazon, it is by far one of the most popular cooling mats for dogs on the market.