As summer gets into full swing (and record heat waves sweep through the nation), finding ways to keep yourself and your family cool is a top priority. Of course, that includes our beloved dogs, who may need a little extra help beating the heat this time of year. Because dogs don’t sweat, they “can be very sensitive to high temperatures and high humidity,” explains Pure Paws Veterinary Care owner Dr. Stephanie Liff, especially for more at-risk groups like short-nosed breeds, obese pets, elderly dogs, and puppies. “When dogs become overheated, they are at risk for heatstroke, which can result in vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and, in severe cases, clotting disorders, seizures, and even death,” adds veterinarian Dr. Tory Waxman, the founder of Sundays dog food. “Products designed to cool your pet are one of the ways you can help prevent heatstroke and keep your pet comfortable when the thermometer spikes,” says Rover trends expert Kate Jaffe. To find out which products are the best, we asked Liff, Waxman, Jaffe, and seven other experts, including veterinarians, trend trackers, and Strategist dog parents about the cooling clothing, collapsible dog bowls, and dog beds they use to keep their pups cool.
The experts we spoke to were in agreement that the most important thing is to keep your pet hydrated by providing constant access to cool water for them to drink. “Always carry fresh, clean water and a collapsible bowl, especially when going on a hike or traveling,” says Waxman. Liff agrees, calling collapsible water bowls a “great” idea. Dr. Sara Ochoa, a veterinary consultant for DogLab.com, adds that if your dog will be outside for a long time, “you can even freeze part of their water so it stays cold as the block of ice melts.” Waxman calls the Ruffwear Trail Runner packable dog bowl “a great lightweight option for providing hydration on the go.” Strategist editor Maxine Builder uses a Ruffwear Quencher dog bowl when she’s out and about with her dog, Harmony.
Both Strategist writer Chloe Anello and Strategist contributor Ashlea Halpern use these collapsible dog bowls for their pets. “We tuck them into our carry-on bags and keep one in the glove compartment of our car,” says Halpern. “The durable silicone is lightweight and easy to clean, and it won’t tip over in a moving vehicle.” Anello always keeps one in her backpack for her dog, Rudy.
New York Magazine newsletter editor Kelsi Trinidad loves the clever design of this hybrid water bottle and dog bowl, which she says she “brings everywhere,” for her dog, Lupita. The water bottle has a built-in filter and comes in two sizes.
“For dogs who love (or will tolerate) wearing apparel or accessories, Canada Pooch makes some fashionable and functional cooling items,” says Jaffe. Trinidad bought one of these vests for Lupita that she says “really works on our long walks and hikes.” The instructions are easy to follow: “Simply soak the vest with cool water and then fit it to your pet to bring their core temperature down as the water evaporates,” explains Jaffe. The vests come in multiple sizes to fit a range of breeds and in three different colors, including blue, rainbow, and tie-dyed.
Another cooling vest option is this one from Ruffwear, which Erin Askeland, an animal health and behavior consultant at Camp Bow Wow, calls “a favorite.” She says, “It’s ideal for longer days outdoors when you’re on the go, and it acts as a sun protectant as well.”
Along with the vest, Trinidad uses this (frankly adorable) Canada Pooch cooling hat for Lupita; it comes in sizes small to extra large. The brand’s site offers two handy size charts (one by measurement and one by breed type) to make it easy to find the right fit for your pup.
Jaffe also recommends Canada Pooch’s cooling bandana, which is a great option for dogs who aren’t the biggest fans of wearing clothes.
A hot day also means hot pavement that can burn your dog’s sensitive paws. “When the ground is too warm to hold the back of your hand on it for five-to-seven seconds, it’s too hot for your pup’s paws,” explains Askeland. She suggests trying protective booties, like these from Pawz, which are designed to protect against hot pavements as well as snow, rain, and mud, so you’ll get use out of them year-round. Askeland likes that these boots have a “lower profile” compared with other brands, “so they can be more readily accepted by some dogs.” Liff also has this advice when it comes to walking your dog on very hot days: “At-risk pets should go out early in the morning and after sunset and for limited time periods to use the bathroom.”
Cooling beds and mats
“To help your dog stay cool, I recommend using a cooling mat, which gives your dog somewhere to lie down,” says Ochoa. Dr. Jamie Richardson, chief of staff at Small Door Veterinary, told us it’s a “great option” for dogs that have double coats and overheat easily. Jaffe agrees: “Cooling pads are an easy, functional way to keep pets of any size or breed comfortable during hot weather.” She recommends this self-cooling dog bed by the Green Pet Shop because it’s pressure-activated by your dog’s body weight, “comes in five sizes, is foldable and easily portable, and lasts up to four hours.” Since your dog itself activates the cooling gel, this mat “requires no water, refrigeration, or electricity, making it super-easy for trips,” Jaffee adds. The pad can be placed directly on the floor or on top of your dog’s favorite bed.
For dogs that prefer a cooler place to rest during warm days, their usual fluffy bed may not be an ideal choice, especially outdoors. In our roundup of the best beds for dogs, Jessica Gore, a certified professional animal behaviorist, recommended this cot-style bed from K9 Ballistics as “a cooler option” because its design allows for more airflow. She says the brand’s beds are “durable and supportive” as well as “easy to clean,” since they can be rinsed with a hose. This bed is available in five sizes and colors.
“If you’re outside playing or having a cookout or picnic, consider a dog pool like this one for water-loving pups,” says Askeland. In addition to providing a spot for your dog to cool off, it allows them to “splash and play.” If you are going to set up a pool, she adds, “make sure to monitor your pup” for safety.
And for dogs who like to cool off in the ocean or other bodies of water, Jaffe says a life jacket is a must, “even if your dog is a great swimmer.” She especially likes this one from Outward Hound because it’s bright red “for high visibility” and has two handles “to make rescues and controlled pickups a lot easier.” It’s also “adjustable and affordable, and it comes in four sizes.”
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