- Dog Cooling Vests: Summary Table
- What is a dog cooling vest?
- How do Dog Cooling Vests Work?
- How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather
- Ideas For Keeping Your Dog Cool Indoors
- Ideas for Keeping Your Dog Cool Outdoors
- Our Top 6 Best Dog Cooling Vests
Before we discuss keeping your pooch cool and comfortable in hot weather – picture the scene. Summer is here, and it’s time to grab the sunglasses, hat, suncream and hand fan. But what about your dog?
We all (hopefully) know that too much sun can be very unpleasant for a dog. Hot cars can be deadly. Hot hard road surfaces can be damaging to their pads and, like humans, the general sun can make them hot and tired.
It is worth saying that when reading about cooling clothes for dogs to be careful to avoid confusion with actual dog harnesses. Most cooling vests are to be used as stand-alone when your dog does not require a lead and in addition to a practical harness when they do.
Dog Cooling Vests: Summary Table
|Position||Harness||Online Rating||Available Online|
|1||Ruffwear Swamp Dog Cooling Vest||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Ruffwear Jetstream Lightweight Cooling Vest||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Prestige Cool Coat||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Hurtta digPets Collection Cooling Vest||Buy on Amazon|
|5||Frontpet Dog Cooling Vest (US only)||Buy on Amazon|
|6||All For Paws Chill Out Ice Bandana||Buy on Amazon|
What is a dog cooling vest?
Much like a dog harness, a dog cooling jacket is designed to fit on your dog comfortably and reduce heat. With humans, we have the (arguably anyway) luxury of sweating to cool ourselves down. Sadly, canines do not share this with their owners so often need some help in keeping cool. This is where a cooling jacket comes in, adding a protective cooling layer for your dog.
Different sized cooling coats will suit different breeds, so check measurements as you would a dog harness. When the sun is shining, and the heat is up – you use a cooling vest a little like you would a jumper in the winter.
How do Dog Cooling Vests Work?
We can thank the Ancient Egyptians for industrialising the simple act of holding a wet finger in the air when there’s a breeze. The concept is evaporative cooling, and it is the earliest known forms of air conditioning. Referred to as swamp coolers in the USA, this method is not only practical but cheap.
The Egyptians achieved this by hanging wet blankets across the doors of their homes. When hot, dry air passes over or through the water, the air will cool off. You may notice similarities to how a dog will cool off naturally by panting.
In their basic design – this is generally how many dog cooling coats work. The dog cooling jacket is run under cold water, rinsed by hand, put on your pooch and then cools as it dries.
How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather
You mustn’t expose your dog to too much heat or direct sun. Like human beings, dogs can become ill when over-exposed to hot conditions.
Remember, dogs do not sweat like humans. They lose heat from the areas not covered by fur such as their nose and paw pads – this is why they pant too much when they are hot.
Over-exercising your dog in the summer months as well as too much exposure to heat can make your dog sick and lead to sunstroke. This can be very serious – so contact your vet immediately if your dog develops symptoms.
The most obvious way to keep your dog cool is to give them access to plenty of fresh cold water. Indoors you can even include ice-cubes in their water bowl. Outdoors you can carry squeezy water bottles.
In some households, there are air conditioning units. This is a great way from keeping your dog cool – but remember that air conditioners can lead to dehydration quicker – so make sure your dogs have access to plenty of water. Alternatively, some homes have fans, curtains or open windows that can help keep cool. Our Cavalier King Charles loves lying on our hardwood floor when he gets too hot – so there are different things in different houses.
More equipment is available, one being dog cooling mats. Like the dog cooling vests in this article, there are many to choose from, and some are better than others – so check the reviews before you buy.
Never EVER leave a dog alone in a hot car (or any car for that matter) – it may kill them. If out on the road, try and keep the back windows covered if possible and the air conditioning on.
Ideas For Keeping Your Dog Cool Indoors
- Invest in a dog cooling products such as a cooling jacket
- Keep curtains closed and windows open
- Invest in air conditioning but remember this can dehydrate your dog so provide plenty of fresh water
- Provide an ice-pack or wet towel for your dog to lay on
- Include ice cubes in their water bowl
- Look for alternatives to a crate when it’s particularly hot
- Use a dog cooling mat – good for both daytime and night
Ideas for Keeping Your Dog Cool Outdoors
- Don’t over-exert or over-exercise your pooch
- Invest in a dog cooling vest
- Alternatively, bring a wet towel or similar on walks
- Bring plenty of water – sometimes a plastic bottle with a nozzle with make all the difference
- A paddling pool or shallow pool can be great for short bursts
- Create makeshift shade or allow access to shade
- Cooling mats are good for gardens
So let’s grab a cold lemonade, open the windows and delve into our curated collection the coolest vest for dogs out there.
Our Top 6 Best Dog Cooling Vests
1. 🏆 Ruffwear Swamp Dog Cooling Vest
|RUFFWEAR Cooling Vest for Dogs, Medium Sized Breeds, Size: Medium, Graphite Grey, Swamp Cooler||334 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
Regular readers of Collar and Harness will know that we have a lot of love for Ruffwear harnesses. We use them regularly on our own Great Danes and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – and have several lying about for dogs we foster and look after. For those unfamiliar, their hugely popular Front Range harness is a feature-rich harness designed to reduce pulling in dogs.
In addition to this, they also have two great dog cooling vests, one of which we will look at now. The Ruffwear Swamp cooler is one of the best dog cooling coats we’ve seen. Designed to cover a large proportion of your dog’s body, this is particularly handy for extended walks and treks out in the sun.
Using the swamp cooler is simple. You soak the vest in cold water, wring it out and then place the jacket on your dog. The coat uses three-layer construction for effective wicking, absorption and cooling your dog.
The first wicking outer layer facilitates evaporation and reflects heat. The absorbent middle layer stores the water you added for dissipation. Finally, the inner layer transfers the cooling effect to the dog as well as being comfortable.
The nylon mesh fabric on the outside is light-coloured. The cover has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 50+.
Some may find the Ruffwear to be a little bulky for their tastes – but it gets the job done. For practical purposes, this vest has a leash portal which allows leash attachment for taking your dog walking.
It also means this can be worn in conjunction with a walking harness (such as the Ruffwear Front Range No-Pull harness) – so you don’t have to trade comfort for control and safety.
The cooling vest comes in six sizes – so remember to measure your dog before you buy.
Small is also for smaller breeds like Cocker Spaniels and Beagles.
Medium suits medium-sized breeds like Border Collies and Samoyeds.
Large for Labrador retrievers and German shepherds and finally XL for huge breeds like Rottweilers and American bulldogs.
Overall, this is the best cooling jacket for dogs we’ve used. It’s easy to use and doesn’t limit us to walking without a no-pull harness.
Some may be put off by the pricing, and it may not be for everyone who is perhaps just wanting a quick cool down for their pooch.
But if you’re out and about on trails and parks – this may be the thing for staying cool.
2. Ruffwear Jetstream Lightweight Cooling Vest
|RUFFWEAR Lightweight Cooling Vest for Dogs, Medium Sized Breeds, Size: Medium, Salamander Orange,...||49 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
It’s lighter and less expensive than the swamp but still provides excellent coverage for keeping your dog cool while out walking.
Available in two colours (Salamander Orange or Blue Lagoon) and six sizes (ranging from XXS to XL).
This dog cooling vest is better suited to activities such as running or high-intensity exercises.
Like the previous vest, the Jet Stream can be soaked in water, wrung out then zipped onto your dog.
The zip creates a snugger fit, so the jacket doesn’t move around when running.
The back (top) panel is lightweight spandex with a UPF of 50+. There is a wicking outer layer which not only reflects heat but also facilitates evaporation.
The absorbent middle layer stores the added water for evaporative cooling and finally, the inner layer transfers the cool and comfortable effect.
This doesn’t quite have the cooling impact of the previous cooling jacket, it’s missing the reflective trims, and it’s not designed to work in conjunction with a walking harness. But if you’re out running with your dog and still want to keep them cool – this could be the cooling vest for you.
3. Prestige Cool Dog Cooling Coat
If you’re looking for a more affordable cooling jacket, you may want to consider the prestige cool coat.
The vest comes in five sizes ranging from Extra Small to Large.
The coat is made from 100% synthetic material and is incredibly soft to the touch.
This is another example of a cooling vest which has excellent absorption so will stay cold long before it starts to dry.
Another great addition to the collection – and worth investigating further.
4. Hurtta digPets Collection Cooling Vest
|digPets Hurtta Collection Cooling Vest Harness for Pets, Medium, Blue||68 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
The size of this jacket gives it a little more absorption than other cooling coats and uses terry cloths on the inside to keep the water. Like other coats – just run it under the cold water tap, wring it out and place it on your dog.
Unlike some other cooling vests – this canine coat has a lead loop for attaching your leash to a harness or collar (note: this is only on the XXS – Small-sized ones). This may not be as useful as it sounds as generally, you would have to place a harness over the cooling vest to get the proper use from it.
The cooling vest is fitted like a jumper with a zip at the top (back) for closing. Using this design means it’s not adjustable – so double-check that you’ve selected the right sized one for your dog’s frame — the sizes available range from XX-small to large.
Overall this is probably not the greatest dog cooling coat, it’s not flash with few features – but it does have that extra absorption which could make all the difference on a long hot day.
5. Frontpet Dog Cooling Vest
The Frontpet cooling vest was recommended by American readers and not one easily available in the UK.
Similar in style to the Ruffwear, this cooling harness is designed to fit on the dog’s body. You soak the vest under a tap, wring it out then place it on the dog.
There are adjustment straps on the side for a better fit and a clip lock to attach. The colour is bright blue with reflective side stripping for better visibility when out and about in dark conditions.
To dry, remove the cooling vest, lay it flay outside and let the sun do its thing. Like the others, this jacket works by wicking away heat with the mesh via evaporation.
Reviews for this cooling vest have been overly positive. Unlike the Ruffwear, however, this does not come with holes to fit in conjunction with a lead attachment or walking harness. This may not be ideal for a dog who is a puller requiring a harness or who you don’t trust off their lead. Otherwise, it’s a good dog cooling vest without too many frills but will keep your four-legged friend cool in the sun.
6. All For Paws Chill Out Ice Bandana
This isn’t a dog cooling coat, but I wanted to include this in the list for those looking for something cheap and cheerful. Very simply, this non-toxic bandana is soaked in water then wrapped around your dog’s neck. I’ve used several of these over the years, and they’ve done the trick.
Maybe not the best when out walking, and if you’re looking for something indoors – you may want to consider a cooling mat or similar.
But for casual cooling power for your dog when playing in the yard (if you have one) – this is a great, cheap and straightforward way of keeping your pup cool.
These come in three sizes – large, medium, small – remember to measure your dog’s neck in advance as ordering one too big or small will be pretty useless.
This is often reviewed as one of the best dog cooling bandanas out there, so if you’re looking for an alternative – this may be it.
That’s it for our collection of the best dog cooling vests. It’s a tricky one to list as the end goal from these is simple – keeping your dog cool in hot weather.
We went with the Ruffwear at number one because of the sleek and sturdy design – but we also found that several other vests absorb more water and for longer.
Whatever you decide, please please please keep your dog cool in the hot weather. It’s as uncomfortable for them as it is for us when they don’t cover up. Keep your dog hydrated and give them access to plenty of cool, fresh water.
Keep an eye out for any symptoms of heatstroke, including excessive panting, fatigue and vomiting. If in doubt, contact your vet. Stay cool!
If you have used a dog cooling vest or have hints and tips for keeping your dog cool – let us know below or using our Facebook page.