Summer heat has the same effect on dogs as it does on humans: heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Dogs have very few sweat glands (in the pads of their feet) and do not sweat to cool their bodies like humans. Instead, they pant in an effort to release excess heat from their bodies. In extreme humidity and heat, panting may not be enough to keep them cool, so pet owners need to step in to help their pet cope with the heat. In addition to providing plenty of cool drinking water and access to shade, owners can use dog cooling vests and dog cooling collars to help their canine companions stay comfortable in hot, humid weather.
How Dog Cooling Vests Work
Dog cooling vests work on the same principle the human body uses to stay cool: evaporation. When a human perspires, the sweat evaporates, taking with it excess body heat. A cooling vest works in much the same way because it contains a special layer of fabric that absorbs and locks in water that evaporates over time, taking the dog’s excess body heat with it. Cooling vests can literally cool a dog from the inside out all day long by pulling excess heat from the dog’s bloodstream and distributing the coolness evenly throughout the body. The key area to cool on a dog is its chest and neck. This is why the cooling vests and cooling collars work so well to keep your dog cool.
A key feature of dog cooling vests is their design. Made from highly breathable fabrics like 100 percent cotton, which can hold up to 400 times its weight in water and is non-toxic so it does not cause irritation and is not harmful if chewed, these vests are lightweight and comfortable to wear. The nylon outer layer dries quickly, while the water repellent inner layer keeps Fido nice and dry. It is critical to not trap heat in, but to allow it to escape through the evaporation magic of the inner cotton layer.
Cooling Vest Sizing
Dog cooling vests are designed to fit a dog from its neck to the base of its tail, covering all vital organs. Getting the correct size for your dog is important so the vest is comfortable to wear and provides the cooling effect throughout his body.
The most important factor in determining the right size vest for a dog is its girth (the size in inches around the dog’s chest). Proper fit around will ensure proper cooling where it is needed most. The next factor in determining size is the length of the dog’s back. Dog cooling vests are sold in extra small to extra-extra large sizes – determined in inches for the girth of the dog.
|Vest Size||Girth in Inches|
|Extra Small (XS)||12 to 20 inches|
|Small (S)||18 to 26 inches|
|Medium (M)||22 to 32 inches|
|Large (L)||26 to 36 inches|
|Extra Large (XL)||28 to 38 inches|
|Extra-Extra Large (XXL)||30 to 42 inches|
Difficult to Fit Dogs
Some dogs, such as bulldogs, might be difficult to fit. Because they are rather large around with large necks and short bodies, it might be necessary to forgo the cooling vest and use a dog cooling pad instead. In addition, some dogs do not like water, so the cooling pad is a good option, as it does not require the use of water to activate its cooling properties. Dog cooling collars are another option for keeping hard to fit dogs comfortable in hot, humid weather.
How to use Dog Cooling Vests
Using dog cooling vests is simple.
- Immerse the vest in a basin full of cool water. Let it soak for a few minutes.
- Gently rubbing the vest will help it absorb water faster.
- Once completely soaked, remove the vest from the water and squeeze the excess water out of it. Pat dry with a towel
- Place the vest on the dog and adjust the neck and chest straps for a perfect fit.
- The vest does not need refrigeration. However, if you want to make the vest cooler, you can put in the refrigerator.
- Avoid using ice-cold water, especially on a dog that is already showing signs of heat exhaustion as it could put him in shock.
- Dog cooling vests are not intended to prevent heat stroke all by themselves. Provide plenty of cool drinking water and shade even when the dog is wearing this product.
- Dogs of all ages can wear dog cooling vests.
- NEVER leave a dog in a hot car – even if wearing a dog cooling vest.
Dog Cooling Collars
There are two types of dog cooling collars: ones filled with ice and ones that cool through evaporation. The cooling collars filled with ice are placed in the freezer, and when worn, the ice melts and cools down the dog. The cooling collars and scarves that cool through evaporation work in much the same way as the dog cooling vests. The collar is soaked in cool water and as the water evaporates, it takes the dog’s excess body heat with it.
When dog cooling collars are used in combination with dog cooling vests, canines stay super cool and comfortable in even the hottest temperatures.
Buying Dog Cooling Vests and Dog Cooling Collars on Keepdoggiesafe.com
Keepdoggiesafe.com (KDS) carries a large selection of dog cooling vests in three different styles: the Guardian Gear Cool Pup Coat, the HyperKewl Evaporative Dog Cooling Coat, and the TechKewl Phase Change Cooling Vest. Each vest design is intended to keep dogs comfortable in high heat conditions through various cooling methods.
Guardian Gear Cool Pup Coat
This unique cooling vest uses water or ice for cooling doggy comfort and contains UVF protection to protect your dog’s skin from the sun. The weight of the coat is determined by the amount of time the vest is soaked in water or how many ice packs are placed inside the coat’s pockets. The ice packs are very small and the vest can be worn with the ice packs or without. The icepacks are made of a special material that doesn’t get too cold and will not hurt the dog’s skin. The Guardian Gear Cool Pup Coat is perfect for humid climates.
HyperKewl Evaporating Dog Cooling Vest
Winner of the Best New Dog Product Award in 2010, and seen on Good Morning America, the HyperKewl Evaporating Dog Cooling Vest is truly a unique concept in dog cooling technology. Designed to work on the principle of evaporation, this vest is an effective way to keep doggy cool inside or out during hot weather. Due to its light weight and comfort fit, this cooling vest is suitable for wear during exercise or play.
TechKewl Phase Change Cooling Vest
Designed to maintain a comfortable cool temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit, the TechKewl Phase Change Cooling Vest is perfect for working dogs that perform in high heat conditions. This vest uses a non-toxic chemical that stays at a constant comfortable temperature for 2 to 3 hours. The Phase Change vest absorbs and whisks away excess body heat to keep doggy cool.
Protect your dog from the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke with a Kool Kollar. The patented Kool Tube freezer tube works indoors to keep your dog cool. Add ice cubes and put it on your dog for outdoor use and it acts like sweat, cooling your dog through evaporation.
HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling Scarf
Working on the principle of evaporation, the Cooling Scarf is made of 100 percent cotton and can be worn comfortably all day. It provides 5 to 10 hours of cooling per soaking by pulling excess body heat away from the neck area as the water evaporates.
Caring for Dog Cooling Vests
If properly cared for, a dog cooling vest should last for years.
- Hang dry after each use.
- Hand wash only with mild soap in warm water. Hang dry.
- Do not use bleach or tumble dry.
- Do not use salt water to soak vest.
- Dry completely before storing to prevent mold and mildew.
Dog cooling vests and dog cooling collars are a great way to ensure the safety of your dog during hot, humid conditions. When cool drinking water and shade are not enough, a cooling vest or cooling collar can provide extra cooling comfort to ward off heat exhaustion or heat stroke and possibly save your dog’s life. Be sure to measure carefully when sizing your dog to ensure proper fit so the cooling vest can effectively provide the cooling protection it is designed to do.