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Now that it’s really getting hot out there, we have to pay special attention to our four-legged friends—you know, the ones who can’t escape their thick fur regardless of the humidity outside.
Luckily there are plenty of new and improved cooling beds for dogs that help give them relief during the hottest of days. A cooling bed is usually filled with either gel or water and works best when kept out of direct sunlight.
Most dogs will take a few days to get used to the pad. If your dog isn’t crazy about the gel- or water-filled beds, opt for an elevated bed that improves airflow.
Our top choices for cooling pet beds emphasize great reviews, ease of use, and value.
Top Cooling Dog Beds This Year
Please note that with any of these beds, it’s best to keep an eye out for damage and remove it as soon as (or if) your dog starts chewing on it.
Gel pads are filled with nontoxic material, but even so, can cause loose stool and stomach upset when ingested, and more problems in rare cases.
Now, let’s dig in!
Really effective cooling pads are often made of nylon fabric because it holds up to wear and tear while staying breathable.
This solid-gel mat from Arf Pets is self-charging, which makes it easy to use. It’s also weight-activated so it responds to your pup’s body heat for up to three hours. Nontoxic, lightweight and durable – it’s no wonder this is the go-to cooling pad for many pet owners.
The smooth surface is easy to wipe down, so you can keep this pad around for years to come. Fold it up along the creased lines for simple travel storage.
Helpful Review: “My Bichon Frise loves this mat! I live in the South and we have already had hot and humid days. One main reason I selected this mat because it didn’t need water to work. (It appears to work like my “cooling” bed pillows, which she likes.) This mat can be used on the floor or furniture. My dog goes outside to sunbathe, comes in and lays on the mat for 10 minutes or so, and then gets on the sofa. I bought the 23×35 size and it works very well for her.”Buy Now on Amazon
Another popular, self-cooling pet pad, this pad is also weight- or pressure-activated. It provides additional coolness that lasts up to four hours and only needs 15-20 minutes of non-use to recharge.
This pad is designed for medium to large dogs but is also super portable, making it the perfect accessory to take along for that family trip to the beach, or even long car trips. To clean, simply take a damp cloth and wipe down the pad.
Helpful Review: “It feels cool to the touch to me. My 72lb Lab mix lays on it all the time. We placed it over his favorite spot where he lays in the family room. He took to it right away and even tries to bunch it up by scratching it before he lies down. I’ve read other reviews warning how easy it is to puncture but that hasn’t been the case with his scratching at it. My dog doesn’t chew on things he’s not supposed to so I don’t worry about that either.”Find on Amazon
This pad keeps canines cool by using actual H2O. The “Cool Core” inside the bed absorbs your dog’s body temperature (102º F) and then converts it to room temperature, creating a cooler surface for your dog to enjoy.
Be warned, the water-filled cooling pads are a little heavier than their gel counterparts and won’t be quite as easy to lug around for day trips. However, you can empty the water to make the pad lighter and more portable—you’ll just have to fill it up again when you reach your destination.
To keep the water bacteria-free, the manufacturer recommends adding a couple drops of grapefruit seed extract. For best results, don’t place this pad in direct sunlight.
Helpful Review: “We’ve now owned four of these beds. They’re good quality, but if you have a young destructive dog you might find yourself buying more. These are GREAT for the dog during the summer. They keep the dog cool on both carpet and tile. I can’t overstress how well these work. My dog is basically glued to it when it’s hot out, and it’s also way better for his elbows than the tile when he plops down on it. It’s great for geriatric dogs too.”Shop on Amazon
This affordable cooling bed stays five to ten degrees cooler than room temperature. Perfect for using alone or in a pet carrier, this bed is also tough enough to deal with those unruly dog nails. It’s filled with non-toxic gel and can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth.
Helpful Review: “I have a pug and a toy fox terrier/chihuahua mix and they absolutely love this thing. I just leave it sitting on the living room floor and they gravitate towards it when they need to cool down (and sometimes fight over it). Both fit simultaneously if they are in the mood for sharing the space. The mat is tough too – I don’t think the dog nails can penetrate it. I definitely recommend this product.”Buy on Amazon
The Chillz Pads come in three different sizes, so you’re bound to find a size that suits your dog. Made from comfy (yet durable) material, this cooling bed is not just for hot dogs – it’s also perfect for older animals, or those dealing with joint pain or recovering from surgery.
You can clean the pad with a damp cloth and fold it down the middle for easy storage and travel. And no need to worry about the gel inside since it’s non-toxic and safe for dogs, children, and the environment.
Helpful Review: “I have 2 of these in medium for my Cavalier King Charles who’s really bothered by heat, even in Winter. I leave one in the fridge while he’s using the other one. They’re very sturdy especially when you consider how lightweight and slim they are. This is the second set I’ve purchased in 3 years because it seems the gel loses its ability to maintain a cool temperature. For what these pads do, the price is terrific and I think 18 months of constant use is a more than reasonable life span. Such a small price to pay to make my pup so happy!”Shop on Amazon
For a higher price, you can get your dog a premium gel-infused cooling bed complete with memory foam. This option could be especially appropriate for older dogs with arthritis or joint pain.
In case your dog is prone to accidents or tends to run to their bed, the bottom of this pad is made from waterproof and anti-slip material. The rest of the bed is made from anti-microbial material to prevent mold and mildew.
A word of caution though: the material is not rated as “chew-proof” so if you’ve got a heavy chewer on your hands, this may not be the best option.
Helpful Review: “Be aware that you cannot wash these in a washing machine and expect it to come out well. I tried it on one and it still works for its purpose but doesn’t look quite as pretty and took forever to dry outside in the summer heat! I notice that now the instructions say NOT to machine wash it. Just wipe it off as needed. I do vacuum mine and it looks just like new as long as I’m careful not to have the vacuum suction too high.”Find on Amazon
Designed with dogs and pet parents in mind, this cooling pet bed is lined on all four sides with comfy bolsters and includes a removable, pressure-activated cooling pad. To clean this bed, simply remove the gel pad and toss the bed into the washing machine.
It comes in two neutral tones that won’t offend your decor as well as two sizes to accommodate most pets.
Helpful Review: “The cooling pad is under mesh that makes it a little less effective than other cooling beds, however it makes it super simple to clean. Love this bed and so does my pup!”Buy on Amazon
More Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool
Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean you have to skip your walks. To help keep dogs cool during summer exercise:
- Move walks to the early morning or late evening hours.
- Walk along a shady route.
- Carry a doggie water bottle and collapsible bowl with you for water breaks.
- Avoid asphalt and hot pavement, since it can burn dogs’ paws.
Don’t have A/C? Here’s how you can keep dogs cool at home:
- Make sure your dog has access to plenty of shade and water when they’re outside.
- If your dog normally stays outside for long periods of time, move them inside.
- Keep air circulating inside. Air conditioning is better than fans, but you can also open windows to create a nice cross breeze. Or place a bowl of ice right in front of a fan that oscillates.
- Be sure to have plenty of clean, fresh water available in a few different locations in your home.
- Whip up some frozen dog treats—couldn’t be easier, and dogs love ’em.
- Best Dog Pools To Keep Your Dog Cool This Summer
- DIY Hack For Keeping Your Dog Cool
- Tips For Keeping Your Dog Cool
- Your Guide to Summer Grooming For Dogs
Stay cool out there!