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Cooling vests are an increasingly popular accessory for dogs of all shapes and sizes. They are a useful way of keeping your doggy cool and comfortable in hot weather and are easy to use. Most, but not all, dogs are happy to wear them and they can be used over and over again. Here’s our no-nonsense guide to the best cooling vests for dogs.
The Ruffwear cooling vest mimics the action of perspiration in humans to keep your pooch nice and cool. Pre-soak the vest in cold water before wringing it out and fastening it to your dog’s body.
The outer layer allows the water to evaporative and this process uses up the heat in your dog’s body. It’s made from multiple layers and is compatible with harnesses from the same brand. There is a good range of sizes.
Uses an evaporative cooling effect
Made from multiple layers
Light grey to reflect heat
Machine washable on a cold wash
Auto-lock buckles makes it easy to put on and take off
Made from lightweight and durable material, the Hurtta focuses its cooling powers on your dog’s heart and chest region, giving their whole body the chance to cool down. By targeting their circulation, your pooch can keep cool without bulking up in a larger jacket. This zipped back vest jacket also has twice the absorption of terry cloth without adding excess weight.
The result is a neat cooling vest that is not too restrictive and works hard to keep your pooch both cool and dry. However, the mesh fabric means it may be best for shorter rather than very long-haired dogs.
An utterly fantastic rainbow-style cooling vest from Canada Pooch! This Chill Seeker Cooling Vest offers cooling without any chemicals, just simple, water-retaining fabric that can keep your pooch cool without drenching them in water. The design is trimmed with a reflective material, too, which will help keep the sun’s heat at bay while your furry friend is enjoying the warmer weather.
And if you aren’t a fan of the rainbow design, there’s also a tie-dye version and a plainer blue version, so pups of any fashion preference can get in on the cooling vest action. The mesh material of the design is lightweight, which makes it perfect for all breeds, sizes, and ages of dog to wear without any concerns for the product being too heavy for them. In fact, even Toy Poodles can wear this particular cooling vest, and larger sizes can fit up to the Bernese Mountain Dog breed!
The Dog Core Cooling Vest by Kurgo is a product that was made by taking the health of your pup into consideration. The material used to create the product reflects the sun in a way that forces the heat away from your dog, thanks to its bright, shiny nature. Additionally, that same material has a breathable, mesh liner, which will help keep your dog cooler in the warm weather. Like most cooling vests, you can activate its cooling feature by soaking the entire vest in cold or cool water and using your hands to rid the vest of the excess liquid.
Back to its design, you can see the quick release buckle on the side of the vest, which will allow you to quickly snap the product off of your pup in an emergency or if they seem distressed. There’s also a two-way zipper that hides a ring to attach your leash clip to – this is excellent because it means that there’s nothing your dog can get caught on if they’re running around without a leash but are still wearing the cooling vest in hot weather.
Light product color and reflective material for added heat deflection
The evaporative cooling principle of this vest will drop the temperature of your dog’s skin once you have soaked the vest in water. The middle absorbent cotton holds water away from the skin and the mesh distributes the cooling effect.
It’s made from a lightweight material which is a pale colour and will deflect sunlight and provide UV protection. There is a leash attachment point and a zipper to adjust the size and neck width for comfort. The reflective strips are for safety in poorer light.
Made from a soft nylon material that doesn’t pull for comfortable movement
With this listing from SCENEREAL, you get two cooling shirts for an amazing price. The best thing about dual packs like this is the choice that it gives dog owners. If you have just one pup, you can choose whichever color you like to accentuate their look for the day, or you can put one cooling shirt on each of your furry friends if you happen to have two! But beyond the aesthetics of this adorable combination of shirts, you gain a pair of vests that are lightweight and can help you keep you pups cool during the warmer weather that summer is bringing to the northern hemisphere right now.
The breathable fabric of these cooling shirts ensures that your dog can stay comfortable on hot days, and all you need to do is follow the simple instructions that the manufacturer provides: Soak the shirt in cool water, wring out the excess water, and dress your pup in the shirt. You can also refrigerate the shirt so that you always have one ready to go!
Something a little different to the cooling vests that we’ve looked at so far, we would like to introduce the Chill Out Dog Ice Bandana from ALL FOR PAWS. Obviously, this isn’t quite a vest, but the bandana could be a perfect alternative for dogs that aren’t happy wearing larger accessories like coats and jackets but are fine with wearing something smaller around their necks. The bandana is also smaller, and therefore, more compact and convenient. It’ll take up less space if you’re travelling.
The Chill Out bandana is suitable for dogs that have neck girths from 30cm to 62cm, so that should be fine for a number of dog breeds, but you should always measure your dog before you buy any products. The fabric of the bandana is comfortable and will not irritate your dog’s skin. Once you’ve soaked the bandana in water and left it in the refrigerator for approximately ten minutes, the cold-sensing technology of the product will take over and help cool down your pup while they’re wearing it.
A matching cooling vest and collar (that can be used independently) that works by drawing heat away from your dog’s body as the ice in the vest turns into water. The vest contains pure frozen water from the USA Great Lakes area. The vest needs to be frozen prior to use.
This is suitable for areas with high humidity because it does not rely on evaporation. The design is simple and available in four sizes. Easy to wash and has no buckles that could cause pinching.
Uses FlexiFreeze® technology to cool your dog as ice turns into water
The Jet Stream cooling vest uses both shade and evaporative cooling. It is most suitable for high-intensity activities and works simply by wetting it. The multi-layered design facilitates water absorption and heat reflection whilst maintaining a durable structure.
The vest also gives UPF 50+ sunlight protection and the zipper makes it easy to get it on and off. The design does not rest movement. It’s available in six sizes and in two colours.
Super-lightweight, this smart cooling vest uses microfiber technology to draw away heat from your dog. The result is a pretty cool looking and acting vest that also offers your pooch UPF50 sun protection. The fabric is lovely and soft, and shouldn’t rub or irritate your pet, and while the design does look pretty snug, owners report a comfortable fit. Available in four sizes, it is also adjustable to get the ideal shape for your dog so they can get on with having a great time. The vest holds its wet cooling for a couple of hours, so you do need to keep it moistened but for both comfort and cooling, this jacket is pretty impressive.
This sturdy yet lightweight bright orange vest cools down your pooch by evaporation using a triple layer of material. The middle super-absorbent cotton holds loads of water yet isolates it from your dog’s skin. The mesh layer spreads out the cool feeling over the surface of the body.
The material is flexible and does not interfere with your dog’s movements and the UV protection stops them from getting sunburnt. It fixes on using an adjustable plastic clip and is available in a range of sizes.
Bright orange reflective colour
Cools by evaporation
Quick fixing with an adjustable strap and plastic clip
This cooling vest from Truelove doubles as a dog harness for extra security when you’re out and about with your pup. Though it’s marketed as a cooling vest, the breathable mesh fabric of the vest enables it to be used during the winter to add a layer of warmth to your dog’s own fur coat. But that’s no all this fantastic cooling vest can do! To activate the cooling feature, all you need to do is soak Truelove’s dog cooling vest in cold water, wring it out, and zip the vest onto your dog.
On the back of this zip up vest, you’ll find an aluminum D-ring buckle. This buckle is extremely durable and is suitable for all kinds of clips for harness attachments and leashes to be fastened to. The dual D-ring buckle ensures that the leash is firmly attached to your dog, while also making sure that if you do pull on the leash, the power of that pull is evenly distributed so that no harm is caused to your pup in an emergency if you need to quickly pull them away from something.
A cool name for a cool product, the Hydro Cooling Jacket from Derby Originals takes your pet’s comfort to the next level. This colorful product not only keeps the heat from overwhelming your dog, but it also protects their neck, as well as their back. Most cooling vests for dogs don’t have a standing collar like the Hydro Cooling Jacket. The benefit of the standing collar is that there’s more cooling fabric to protect your dog, which could be a huge relief for the long-haired pups out there.
Derby Originals designed this jacket with three lightweight layers. The outer layer reflects the heat away from your dog, while the middle layer retains the water that you’ve soaked the Hydro Cooling Jacket in, and the inner layer repels water so that the liquid isn’t soaking your dog’s own coat and weighing them down. In addition to being a cooling jacket, this product can also help soothe the muscles and joints of your pup – just another added benefit from Derby Originals’ design!
This robust Dog Cooling Vest from POPETPOP has an excellent design that allows you to adjust the size of the strap to properly fit your dog, while also providing an invisible socket to secure the vest to a leash – the socket for this is hidden in a zip pocket on the back of the vest. These features add convenience to an already great design, giving you more options for your pup.
To activate the cooling feature of the vest, you only need to soak the vest in cold water, wring it out, and fix the vest in place on your dog. The middle layer of the three-layer cooling vest will store the residue water to provide a constant source of cooling for your dog without soaking their own fur coat. The material that POPETPOP’s Dog Cooling Vest is made of will also ensure that heat is reflected away from your pup, rather than bringing it towards them and making them feel hotter.
Three-layer cooling fabric design
Reflective strip for additional visibility at night
There is a lot of variation in dog cooling vests so it is important to consider the features that may be most useful to you and your doggy:
It Must Fit Your Dog Properly
A poorly fitting dog cooling vest will be uncomfortable, will restrict your dog’s movements, and will not work properly. Some dogs don’t like to wear any type of coat or harness but even if your pooch is a fan of fashion, they won’t enjoy something that is too tight or that flaps around when they run.
It is important to choose one that is available in a range of sizes and adjustable straps may be handy for some fine-tuning of the fit. Read the measurements in the ‘Size Guide’ and check out the reviews for the product to see if the owners felt it was a small or large fit.
A vest that dries out in five minutes is not going to be any use on a day’s hike. You could stop and recharge it in a stream (or even carry water with you) but this is an unnecessary inconvenience. It’s better to select one that will last for a longer time. All vests dry out quicker when the air is dry and windy and in bright sunlight.
Dog Cooling Vests Should Reflect Heat
The whole point of the vest is to keep your doggy cool so the more heat it reflects the better. Select one with a heat reflecting material, which is usually a light color, on the outer layer.
Dog Cooling Vests Should Protect from Sunburn
If you are taking your pooch out in bright sunlight, it is also a good idea to get a UV-resistant vest to make sure that they don’t get sunburn.
Dog Cooling Vests Should Be Easy to Get On and Off
This is a matter of personal preference. Some doggy moms and dads prefer a Velcro fastening because it is simple and there are no sharp edges to pinch the skin or get caught in the fur. Others feel that a zipper or clips are more secure. Some vests have both zippers and clips.
Reflective Strips Are a Useful Safety Feature
Keeping your pooch safe is a priority and reflective strips play an important role in this especially if you are walking at dawn or dusk or near a road. Reflective strips on the vest will keep your dog visible and help to reduce the chance of accidents.
Compatibility With Your Collar and Leash
It is important to check that your dog can wear the vest comfortably with their existing dog collar and leash without crowding or rubbing their skin. Some vests have an integral dog leash clip to avoid this difficulty.
Comfort Against the Skin
Think of how uncomfortable you would feel walking around for hours with a wet jacket on your back! Dogs can also find wet fur irritating. It may be best to select a vest with a wicking material next to the skin. This has pores that are large enough to allow water vapor to pass through and draws it away from the skin.
One key consideration is the materials used in the production of the vest. Most dog vests are made from ‘breathable’ fabrics such as cotton which can also hold a lot of water. You need to choose materials that are non-toxic and will not harm your dog if they chew them. Lightweight, soft materials are more comfortable to wear. Some materials are stiff when they are dry but softer when they are wet.
The ‘look’ of the dog cooling vest is likely to bother you more than it bothers your dog so you have free choice when it comes to color. Most are made from a bright reflective material but there is very little choice when it comes to color. They are clearly more of a functional item than a fashion statement!
The cut of the vest will, however, bother your dog. Dogs that are more active may appreciate a more ‘athletic’ design that does not restrict their movements. An older or calmer pooch who prefers a gentle ramble will be happier with a bulkier design.
Heat exhaustion (you may see it written as hyperthermia) is a real problem in dogs. They have a coat of fur which traps a layer of air next to the skin and keeps them nice and warm in cold conditions. However, it also means that they cannot get rid of heat from their bodies when they need to.
Cooling Down a Hot Dog
It is actually not that easy to cool down a hot dog! Their fur acts as an insulator and traps the heat in their body. Once they are over-heated, it can be hard to get their temperature to drop even when you take them into a cool environment. Therefore, the best plan is always to prevent them from getting overheated in the first place.
The Ways in Which a Dog Keeps Cool
Contrary to popular opinion, dogs do sweat! However, they do this from merocrine sweat glands which are found only on their paw pads. As cooling mechanisms go, this is not that great!
They also pant. You will have noticed that dogs pant more on hot days. Their mouth and tongues are moist and as the moisture evaporates it cools them down. The blood vessels in their ears and face also get bigger (vasodilation) which brings more blood closer to the surface. However, both of these methods have limited effectiveness and many dogs are prone to overheating.
The Dangers of Overheating
Overheating in dogs is a very serious and potentially fatal condition. A dog with heatstroke will be panting heavily, will drool excessively, and will have red gums, a rapid or irregular heart rate, and possibly seizures and muscle tremors. Eventually, they will lose consciousness. Immediate cooling and emergency veterinary treatment are required.
Dogs That are More Vulnerable to Heatstroke
Any dog can get heatstroke if they are left in an unsuitable environment such as a car on a hot day. It is also true that some breeds can overheat more easily in cooler conditions. The brachycephalic breeds (Pugs, Boxers, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, and Shih Tzu) have short noses and cannot lose as much heat from their respiratory tract and by panting. They are therefore more likely to suffer from heatstroke. Dogs with thick fur or who have medical conditions such as laryngeal paralysis and obesity are also more likely to suffer from heatstroke.
There is another group of dogs who are particularly vulnerable and they are the retrieving dogs including Retrievers, Labradors, and Springer Spaniels. They love constant exercise and playtime and have an overwhelming urge to keep running around on hot days, even when they are overheating.
As a dog owner, you have a responsibility to take precautions against over-heating and to be alert for the signs.
The obvious preventative action is not to expose your dog to hot and humid conditions. Make sure that houses and cars are cool and well ventilated. Never leave your dog in a parked car in the sun even with the windows open. Keep your dog well hydrated and allow them to have plenty of rest in the shade.
A cooling vest can work very well to keep your dog cool when you are out and about enjoying time together or when it is very warm in your house. However, they are not a substitute for vigilance and they DO NOT allow you to leave your dog unattended in a hot environment.
The best cooling vests for dogs are the ones that fit well. It is important that your dog’s cooling vest fits well to encourage your dog to wear it and to ensure that it works correctly. If you read the reviews of cooling vets, it is clear that sizing is a major issue for dog owners. Most vests are available in a range of at least four sizes.
Sizing guides are given with most brands of the vest. The most important factor in determining the right size vest for your pooch is its girth. You can measure this using a soft measuring tape. It is the measurement around the widest part of the rib cage. The girth must fit correctly to ensure proper cooling over your dog’s body.
The next factor in determining size is the length of the dog’s back although some vests give neck measurements as well. A dog’s weight is not considered a good indicator of the size of the dog cooling vest you need. It can be hard to find some breeds, including bulldogs, a well-fitting vest because they have large necks and a deep chest but a short body.
As a general rule, a girth of 14-21 inches will suit breeds such as Jack Russells and Yorkshire Terriers; 17-25 inches will suit breeds such as Shih Tzu, Maltese, and Boston Terriers; 22-29 inches will suit Beagles and Wheaton Terriers; 27-35 inches will suit Border Collies; 32-39 inches will suit Retrievers and Labradors and a girth of 35-43 inches will suit Rottweilers.
Dog Cooling Vests FAQ:
Q: What are dog cooling vests?
A: Cooling vests for dogs are a garment that is fastened to your dog’s body to help them keep cool in warm conditions. They can be made from a variety of materials and in a range of styles.
They either work through an ice pack principle or through an evaporation principle. Both remove heat from a dog’s body and keep them comfortable on a hot day. They are not a substitute for vigilance in hot weather and do not allow you to leave your dog in an unsuitably hot environment.
Q: How do dog cooling vests work?
A: Cooling vests work either by evaporation or by the ice-pack effect.
Evaporation vests mimic the action of sweating which keeps us humans cool. When water evaporates, it changes its state from a liquid to a gas (water vapor) and that requires a form of energy. The energy is provided by the dog’s body in the form of heat energy. So, evaporation uses up heat energy and therefore drops the temperature on your dog’s skin. You have to soak the vest before you put it on your dog’s body and it will carry on working until it dries out.
Ice-pack vests work in a similar way. They have to be put in the freezer before use. As the ice changes from a solid (ice) into a liquid (water) it uses up heat energy and this drops your dog’s temperature. Because they do not rely on evaporation they are useful in humid environments.
Q: How long does a dog cooling vest stay cool?
A: Some brands of dog cooling vests give estimates of how long they will stay cool but many do not. This is understandable because there are so many variables that can affect how long the vest will work for including the humidity and temperature of the air, the presence of sunlight, the breed of your dog, and how active they are.
Some reviewers have reported that the evaporative vests will stay wet for periods over five hours but for others, it is shorter than that. Some owners like to ‘top up’ the evaporative vests from hose pipes and water bottles when they are out and about but that only works if your dog doesn’t mind having water poured over them!
Q: How many times can dog cooling vests be used before they need replacing?
A: With proper care, the best cooling vests for dogs can last for many years with regular use. It is very important that you hang them up to dry thoroughly before packing them away because mold can form on them.
Q: How do I clean my dog cooling vest?
A: Each dog cooling vest will come with instructions for use and cleaning. Most need to be cleaned in cold water (not saltwater) and they cannot be bleached or tumble dried. You can pop many of them into the washing machine on a cold wash cycle.
Our Top Pick – The Ruffwear Swamp Cooler
The Ruffwear cooling vest is a three-layered vest that works through the evaporative effect. It’s easy to use by simply soaking in cold water before wringing it out and fastening it to your dog’s body. It is compatible with harnesses from the same brand, has a bright reflective color, and is machine washable. It’s available in a good range of sizes and fits on using auto-lock buckles.
Jarrett, the security officer, and Toxi, his vapor wake dog, work tirelessly to help keep students, teachers, and the public safe on the Notre Dame campus. To help Toxi remain focused, healthy, and happy in his stressful job, Jarret feeds him only top-quality foods and treats. Fun toys are also a must-have as even security dogs need to have some fun in their free time. Aside from protecting the public, Jarret also enjoys sharing his expertise on canine care and diet to help other dog owners keep their pets healthy and content.