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During the long, hot summer days and nights, dogs can’t escape their fur. And while all dogs can be susceptible to overheating in warmer months, some may be more sensitive than others. Large breeds and long-haired breeds may be less active in the summer, and brachycephalic breeds (such as English and French bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers) may have trouble breathing in hot weather. Cooling dog beds are a great tool to help keep our four-legged friends comfortable.
Whether your dog is at home, on a walk, or riding in your car, you can watch for physical issues or changes in mood that indicate that warm weather is taking a toll on your usually active and playful friend; for example, they may be snappish and less receptive to petting, especially from strangers. You can help keep your canine cool by walking them at cooler times of the day and making sure they always have access to shade and plenty of fresh water.
A cooling bed, with gel or water, will provide some additional heat relief. They work best when kept in a cool area and out of direct sunlight. Typically, it takes dogs a few days to discover the pad and get used to it. (If it turns out your dog’s not crazy about the gel- or water-filled beds, you might try one of these elevated beds that improve airflow.)
Top Cooling Dog Beds
To help our furry friends stay cool this summer, we’ve pulled together our top choices for cooling pet beds. Please note that with any of these beds, it’s a good idea to check them frequently for damage. If your dog is chewing on the pad, you’ll want to remove it. Gel pads are filled with non-toxic material, but even so, ingesting the filling can cause loose stools and stomach upset, and more problems in rare cases.
Get ready to chill.
This solid-gel mat from Arf Pets is made of sturdy nylon fabric that holds up to wear and tear. It’s weight-activated and capable of responding to your pup’s body heat for up to three hours. Nontoxic, lightweight, and durable, this is the go-to cooling dog bed for many pet owners.
The smooth surface cleans easily with a damp cloth. Fold it up along the creased lines for summer travel or winter storage.
The line of FurHaven cooling dog beds includes these indoor/outdoor beds, available in four sizes. The durable poly-canvas covers can be removed and machine washed. The interior cushion has a gel-foam core, plus a layer of memory foam that’s topped with gel-infused memory foam. Caution: Not recommended for dogs who chew.
Another popular self-cooling dog bed, this pad is weight- or pressure-activated. Its cooling effect lasts up to four hours and the pad requires only 15–20 minutes of non-use to recharge.
This pad comes in five sizes and is foldable and easily portable, making it the perfect accessory to take along for that family trip to the beach, or even on long car trips. To clean, simply take a damp cloth and wipe it down.
The latest update to this water-cooled dog bed features a tough nylon/vinyl exterior. To use, fill it with the recommended amount of water, adjust the pad’s air valve, and place it away from direct sunlight to give your dog instant relief on a hot day. The water remains at ambient air temperature, keeping the bed cooler than the dog. (The bed is intended for use in temperatures below 95 degrees F.)
For traveling, drain the water to make the pad lighter and more portable—you can fill it up again when you reach your destination. To keep the water bacteria-free, the manufacturer recommends adding a drop or two of grapefruit seed extract.
This affordable cooling bed stays five to 10 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.
Coleman Cooling Gel Pad
This cooling mat promises to maintain a temperature that’s five to 10 degrees cooler than the room it’s in.
These pads come in three different sizes and are made from comfy-yet-durable material. It’s perfect for hot dogs as well as other animals that are older, 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. No need to worry about the gel inside—it’s non-toxic and safe for dogs, children, and the environment.
Chillz Cooling Dog Mat
This cooling mat is available in three size options and is made from comfy but durable material.
This premium gel-infused cooling dog bed is a great choice for older dogs with arthritis or joint pain, thanks to the additional comfort of memory foam. Choose from five sizes and three neutral colors.
The bottom of this pad is made from rubber anti-slip and waterproof material. The top is anti-microbial fleece fabric to prevent mold and mildew but is not rated as “chew-proof”—so not a good match if your dog is a chewer.
Dogbed4less Memory Foam Gel Cooling Bed
Available in five sizes, this gel-infused cooling dog bed is made of memory foam and is a great choice for older pets.
This dog cooling sofa bed with comfy bolsters is ideal for pets that need some extra support. It boasts an orthopedic foam core with a top layer of gel-infused memory foam to wick away heat. The cover is machine-washable, and the bed comes in three neutral tones and three sizes to accommodate most pets.
More Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool
To help keep dogs cool during summer exercise:
- Move walks to early morning or late evening.
- Walk along a shady route.
- Carry a doggie water bottle and a collapsible bowl with you for water breaks.
- Avoid asphalt and hot pavement, since they can burn dogs’ paws.
To 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, 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 them!