The Best Dog Cooling Mats, Beds, and Pads to Keep Your Pup Cool This Summer
Summer heat is just around the corner. We would all love to be outside with our dogs for those fun summer activities like taking your pup camping or going for a daily run together, but in the heat of the moment of summer fun (see what I did there?) our dogs can quickly become uncomfortable and even overheat.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) provides easy tips on how to protect your dog during summer months. They say dog owners should plan to leave their doggie pals at home when the heat begins to rise. If you do decide the temps are safe enough to bring Fido along, watch for signs of heat stress like excessive panting, restlessness, drooling, unsteadiness, and anxiousness. If your dog's temperature is not well-regulated they can experience heat stroke, which can quickly become life threatening, so recognizing when it is just too hot for dogs is crucial to keeping them safe.
Our canines are just not well-suited to high temps and high humidity. Since dogs pant instead of sweat like we humans do, you need to monitor their behavior and provide them constant access to shade. You should also avoid leaving them alone outside (and never in a car!) for any amount of time, and avoid walks or other forms of exercise on hot asphalt or during the heat of the afternoon and early evening.
One additional way to give your pup a little extra help to prevent dangerous overheating is by using a dog cooling mat or cooling dog bed. There are many different brands and styles out there, but they're all designed to help lower your dog's body temperature.
"I keep cooling mats all over my house and especially in my car for my dogs, " says Haylee Bergeland," CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, RBT, editor of pet health and behavior for Daily Paws. "No matter what breed of dog you have, cooling mats are a summer must," she says.
How Do Cooling Dog Beds and Mats Work?
These cooling dog beds and mats generally are filled with either water or a heat-absorbing gel. Some will cool automatically, and others require refrigeration ahead of time. Lying on these beds will help lower your pup's temperature to match that of the bed.
"It's important to have options, especially if you have a breed that is more prone to issues from the heat. In the car I keep mats that cool automatically readily available. In my house I might keep one or two smaller mats that can be kept in the fridge and pulled out when my dog seems to want one, like after a quick walk or just on an especially hot day, " says Bergeland.
Does My Dog Need a Dog Cooling Mat?
It's difficult for dogs to cool themselves down since they don't sweat—especially dogs with thick, long coats, like golden retrievers and German shepherds. They can try lying in the shade or on a hard-surfaced floor to cool off on hot days but a cooling mat provides a little extra comfortable boost. You can help give them some relief by making a dog cooling mat available in their crate, doghouse, or other favorite spot.
What Should I Look For in a Cooling Dog Bed?
- It should be large enough for your dog to comfortably lie on—we don't want any dog booties hanging off the edge!
- Make sure it's easily transportable—most fold up and are very mobile.
- It should have plenty of cooling power. The best dog cooling mats and beds reach and remain at 15–20 degrees cooler than the air temperature.
- Make sure the mat is made from durable materials so your dog doesn't puncture it with a sharp nail.