Whether it’s the hottest part of the summer when the sun is beating down every day, or you simply have a dog who gets toasty no matter what time of year it is, a cooling vest is a great way to keep them from hiding out in a dark room all day, hugging the tile floor and panting miserably. That said, there’s a wide range of styles and qualities to consider. If you want to ensure your precious pooch stays cool for the long haul, you need to get the best cooling vest for dogs that you can find. But what should you look for?
First of all, you’ll want to decide which type of vest you want. The most common style is the “evaporative vest” which you dunk in water and place on their body, allowing the cold material to cool them down. Another kind, which is less common, is the “ice vest,” which you store in the freezer and take out when it’s time to cool your dog down. Finally, there’s the “dry vest,” which is filled with water and provides a few days of cooling at a time. All are great choices — it’s just a matter of personal preference.
Once you’ve decided on a style, the next thing to consider is how much your dog likes to move. If you have an older pup who’s less prone to jumping around, a full-coverage vest that spans the length of their body will work great. This kind is also ideal for
thick, fluffy dogs who get especially hot and need the extra cooling properties. On the other hand, if you have an excitable, hyperactive pooch who hates wearing coats and doesn’t like to feel constricted, you might want to go with one of the more minimalist styles.
Other than that, you’ll want to make sure it has sturdy straps — Velcro, or extra zippers to ensure it fits properly — and that the materials are high-quality and durable. To help you out, I’ve put together a list of the best dog cooling vests to keep your furry friend cool and comfortable all year long.
1 The Fan-Favorite Dog Cooling Vest
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler dog vest has more than 1,400 reviews and an impressive 4.5-star overall rating, making it one of the most popular options with pet owners on Amazon. The three-layer vest with mesh lining reflects heat and evaporates water to help your pup stay cool and dry, and there are side-release buckles for easy on and off. What’s more, the vest has built-in UPF 50+ sun protection. It’s also compatible with most dog harnesses and has a reflective trim for visibility in low light. An enthusiastic reviewer: “Keeps my very short haired boxer pattie mix on the trail with me on hotter days for longer hikes. Due to his short hair, he doesn't tolerate the heat. Tried it first on a 6 mile flat hike. Yesterday made a 12 mile hike with some ups and downs. I carried extra water to rehydrate vest in case we didn't have water in the creeks. Kept my guy cool. Definitely a game changer for our walks.” Available sizes: XX-Small — X-Large 2 An Ice Vest That Uses A Frozen Insert To Chill Your Pup Down
With special FlexiFreeze material, this
cooling vest operates similarly to ice packets you use on sore muscles. It has a separate panel you store in the freezer and when it's time to cool your pup down, just take it out and slide it into the vest. The flexible fabric holds the chilled material around your dog's torso, keeping your pooch cool while still offering enough mobility to run and play. There's a separate neck wrap with its own built-in cooling properties and an adjustable Velcro strap to connect the two pieces. Best of all, the cold insert is removable, so you can drop the whole vest in the wash afterward. An enthusiastic reviewer: “My dog is black and fuzzy, but he is also hyper, so he needs at least one nice long walk each day. Unfortunately, in the summer, that can be quite problematic. After getting the Cooler Dog vest, though, I noticed my dog can go quite a bit longer without panting and seems like he's a lot more comfortable.” Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large 3 A Full-Coverage Vest For Dogs Who Get Extra Hot
Unlike some options that only cover the torso, this
neck-to-tail cooling vest provides your pooch with full-body coverage, complete with an extra tall collar to offer shade for their neck. The cooling technology relies on a three-layer system that holds cold water inside the middle layer of fabric, which slowly evaporates and cools your furry friend down in the process. The outer layer features UV-blocking material that reflects heat while the bottom layer prevents water from soaking into their fur. Just dunk the vest in cold water, strap it onto your pup, and watch them grin with relief — it will stay cold for up to 10 hours. An enthusiastic reviewer: “Today it was so hot, it was absolutely unbearable. I soaked this item in cold water and then placed it on my dog. We were outside when I put this on her and she was panting. About a minute after I put this on she completely quit panting. I did not used to get to take my little dog for a walk because it was too hot out. Now thanks to this item I’m able to take my dog for a walk every day regardless of how hot it is.” Available sizes: 8 inches, 10 inches, 12 inches, 14 inches, 18 inches, 22 inches, 26 inches, 28 inches 4 A Medium-Coverage Vest That Gives Dogs Room To Move
evaporative cooling vest uses similar three-layer technology, except it only covers the middle section of your dog, leaving their neck and tail open. The benefit is that your pup will have more room to move its body without feeling constricted, although the downside is that they'll lose some of the cooling effects. Like the bigger vest, you dip this one in cold water, allowing it to soak up the liquid and disperse it over the next few hours. It has a top-grade zinc-alloy ring on the back to attach a leash, and an extra zipper around the neck to adjust the width. An enthusiastic reviewer: “I was skeptical about whether or not this would really keep my dog cool but it worked! He wore it while we were kayaking at the beach in the bright sun on a very hot day and never even panted! Highly recommend.” Available sizes: XX-Small — XX-Large 5 A Minimalist Vest That's Perfect For High-Energy Dogs
If you have a pup who hates wearing coats or is simply extra bouncy and playful, this
minimalist-style vest is a great way to provide a little cooling comfort while retaining as much mobility as possible. The evaporative material, which you dip in water just like the other coats, is constructed to surround your pup's key heart and chest zones where circulation is high. It offers twice as much absorption capacity as your standard terry cloth jacket and stays cold for an exceptionally long time. An enthusiastic reviewer: “Our little dog loves to go everywhere with us, to the beach, kayaking and hiking and this worked great to help keep him cool. I also used it this summer when taking walks to the park on hot days and it helped keep him cool.” Available sizes: XX-Small — XX-Large 6 A Dry Cooling Vest That You Fill With Water
If you want a cooling option that lasts for days, it may be worth spending more on this
dry cooling dog vest. All you have to do is fill the vest with water and it’ll cool up to 59 degrees Fahrenheit below ambient temperature — and it lasts for up to three days without needing a refill. The exterior of the vest stays totally dry while it cools, and it has adjustable straps and stretchy material at the shoulders for the most comfortable fit. Plus, it’s easy to machine wash as needed. An enthusiastic reviewer: “Fantastic product. We have a 30Lb French bulldog and size small fit perfectly. Just got back from a road trip through Texas with 95 degree heat. While other dogs were panting ours was not. Keeps the dog dry unlike other brands [...].” Available sizes: Small — X-Large 7 This Bright Orange Vest With A Reflective Band For Added Visibility
It’s easy to keep an eye on your dog thanks to this
bright orange cooling vest with a reflective band. The lightweight and breathable three-layer vest reflects heat and allows water to evaporate, keeping your dog comfy and cool. What’s more, the side release buckles are easy to adjust for the best fit. An enthusiastic reviewer: “I'm always hiking with my dog and we are often near hunting areas. This is perfect for my 100 lb Coonhound/ Shephard/Huskey. Also, there are no lights in my neighborhood for night time walking; again, this jacket is perfect. And, it's a cinch to put on!!” Available sizes: Large — XX-Large 8 This 2-Pack Of T-Shirt Vests
Some dogs may find this
cooling vest shirt more comfortable since it’s made from soft and stretchy fabric with no buckles or straps. The two-pack of vests comes in two color combinations — blue and yellow or green and pink — and you just soak the vest in water and wring it out before putting it on your dog. Also great: These vests are machine washable and super easy to store. An enthusiastic reviewer: “This shirt goes on easily, my little dog doesn’t mind it, and it seems to do a great job absorbing the heat when we go on walks! A harness also fits over it with no problems at all. It also just looks cute on her.” Medium Available sizes: — Large 9 A Performance Vest For Active Dogs
Another popular option from Ruffwear, the
Jet Stream cooling vest has a 4.5 overall rating after more than 1,000 reviewers have weighed in. It’s designed with a high-performance fit and zippered closure that allows dogs to run and play freely, while the three-layer construction reflects heat and helps with evaporation. Plus, the vest provides UPF 50+ sun protection. Choose from two colors: blue lagoon and salamander orange. An enthusiastic reviewer: “Ended up giving this a shot after getting worried about the high temps during the summer. The pup is very active and will keep going and going, doesn’t know when to quit so I wanted something to cool him down. This fits nicely and he doesn’t seem to mind wearing it. Not only does it protect from the heat but also adds a layer for running through the woods. Definitely recommend if you have a high energy pup who is always on the go during the summer!” Available sizes: XX-Small — X-Large 10 This Colorful Vest That’s Perfect For Summer
Not only is this colorful
rainbow dog vest perfect for summer, but it’s made from water-retaining fabric that can help your pooch stay cool on hot days. The vest features breathable mesh layers that allow for air circulation, and there are adjustable buckle straps for even more comfort. In addition to this rainbow color, the vest also comes in tie-dye and aqua. An enthusiastic reviewer: “My dog went from walking slowly in the heat to once again having a spring in his step. My dog has a thick, double coat and struggles with high heat [...] this coat and carrying water made a huge difference in my dogs comfort.” 11 A Lightweight Vest With Full Coverage
microfiber cooling vest offers full back and chest coverage and features adjustable Velcro straps for easy on and off. It’s available in two colors — rose red and dark blue — and also provides UPF 50+ sun protection so your pooch can fully enjoy the warm weather. You can also fit a dog harness over the vest during walks. An enthusiastic reviewer: “Seems to work well for our black lab mix. We hike a lot, and this keeps her cool enough to tolerate several miles in upper 80s heat. Takes a minute to get wet, then has no problem absorbing water. Easy to wash.” Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large 12 A Vest With Long-Lasting Cooling Packs
dog vest comes with two ice packs for long-lasting coolness. Just insert the frozen packs before heading out to keep your dog cool for up to four hours on hot days. The adjustable belts attach easily around the neck and torso, and there’s even a lead hole that’s compatible with dog harnesses. An enthusiastic reviewer: “I have an older little guy 14 and the Texas heat is tough on him. I wasn't sure this would work but I liked this option better than ones that just utilized water. I put this on him before a walk in the afternoon leave it on him for 20 or so minutes when we come in and it works great!” Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large 13 This Stretchy, Breathable Vest
Another stretchy T-shirt option, this
dog cooling vest is lightweight and breathable. Just soak the soft material in water, wring it out, and place it on your pup to help them stay cool. It even features an icy blue pattern, so the vest looks cool while it chills your pup. Plus, the vest is machine washable for easy care. An enthusiastic reviewer: “I bought this for our dark haired dog to wear when we kayak. Luckily I packed it in the RV, because on a recent very warm trip to see family, no air conditioning was available. I was able to soak this in water, wring it out, and cool down our little sweetie.”
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This article was originally published on
July 14, 2018