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Cooling dog vests are growing in popularity as a go-to item for active dog parents in hot weather. These vests advertise some pretty good benefits—like keeping your dog cool on hikes, walks, and in the yard. And since a cooler dog is a happier dog, we thought we would try out the SGODA cooling dog vest to see if it’s up to the challenge.
The SGODA Dog Cooling Vest Reviewed
We chose the SGODA cooling dog vest because it comes in lots of sizes to fit a wide variety of dog shapes and breeds. It’s also reliably available on the market and is moderately priced. It uses evaporative technology, which means you spray it down with a hose (or otherwise get it wet), and the three layers of fabric work to bring the cooler water toward your dog’s skin while the warmer air evaporates. It also has a strong clip on the harness for a leash and features both UV protection and reflective fabric.
- Wide range of sizes available
- Double-zipper system for comfortable, customizable fit
- Mid-range price
- Evaporative design is immediately useable; no freezing required
- Harness-style leash clip
- UV protection + reflective striping
- Water required; it’s a better choice for the backyard or the beach than a dry hike or indoor lounging
- Full-body coverage may be a hard sell for clothing-averse pups
Testing the SGODA Dog Cooling Vest
To test the SGODA vest, we put experienced product tester Ruby on the task. Ruby is a seven-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog who runs hot. She is a snow dog at heart and her beautiful thick coat has her dreaming of snow banks long before the hot summer weather hits.
We limit Ruby’s outdoor time when the weather gets warm and wanted to see if the SGODA vest could buy her some extra outdoor lounge time. Ruby is a hefty 88 pounds, so we went with the extra-large size, which was perfect for her barrel-shaped body. The SGODA vest has a great double-zipper feature, each about an inch apart, so you can actually choose between two sizes on each version.
Ruby is usually a pretty chill product tester, but she really wasn’t thrilled about getting into this vest. It is a step-in model, so you have to have your dog put their front legs through the leg holes, then zip the vest up along their back. Ruby is also a little bit of a clown, so she was having fun doing everything she could to avoid getting into her new vest. What finally worked was having her roll over onto her back, putting her front legs through, then rolling her over again to zip her in. It was a little bit of an effort.
If your dog has a similar sense of humor, here are a few tricks to help:
If your dog has a silly side, don’t wet the vest before putting it on the dog. (Unless you want to get wet too!) It might also get your vest very muddy.
- Try putting on the dry vest indoors, so you and your dog don’t overheat as you try to get your dog to cooperate. Once Ruby had the vest on, she seemed comfortable, so there’s no reason why your dog can’t wear it for a little while (think short car trip) before go-time. (The second time was much easier, once Ruby understood the vest was actually her friend.)
- Once your dog is comfortably in the vest, try wetting it down with a hose (test the water temperature first!), a bucket, or even a pleasant swim in your favorite pond (if you and your dog are already out for your hike).
The Results: A Cooling Plan That Works
Ruby naturally seeks the cooler parts of life, like the muddy patch in the yard, the sprinkler, the bathtub, or her favorite—the snow bank. She’s not opposed to swimming, but it just looks like a lot of work. (Why swim when you can lounge?)
Because of her propensity for chilly things, she was at home in her vest. I could feel the warm air around the outer part of the vest, while the inner part stayed cool. Wetting the vest down while she was in it helped to give her a head start with her cooling, and she had no qualms about being doused with cool hose water—just like bath time!
She has a thick coat, so the UV protection was probably lost on her, but I can definitely see the benefit for a short-haired dog.
Who will like the SGODA cooling vest:
- Backyard loungers and shade seekers
- Beachgoers and waterside hikers
- Pups with moderate tolerance for life jackets and clothes
- Dogs who struggle with sizing on other vests
- Short-haired and light-colored dogs who need sun protection
Who won’t like the SGODA cooling vest:
- Pups who prefer the indoors; this vest is likely to get things wet
- Pet parents planning hikes in dry areas; you’ll have to carry water to re-wet this vest
- Dogs who can’t tolerate any clothing or body coverings
Remember that even with a cooling vest, weather above 85 degrees is too hot for most pups—making it a better day to keep play indoors and potty breaks brief. Scorching pavement and rocky trails can also burn dog paws, so keep an eye on the conditions and put safety first.
What If My Dog Isn’t the Vest Type?
Not sure your dog is going to dig the vest? Luckily, there are a few other options for pet parents who either don’t think their dog would tolerate the vest or who don’t need such an intense option for their pup. Sabine the Bernedoodle was happy to test the All For Paws cooling dog bandana to see how it stood up.
Sabine is usually pretty happy to accessorize, so she had no problem donning her super-stylish cooling bandana. I pre-cooled her bandana by wetting it and putting it in the freezer (just for a few minutes), then sent her outdoors to try it out.
After a few shakes, she seemed to accept that this was her new style and trotted out around the yard. The bandana sits over your dog’s chest to help keep that cool temperature close to their core. If your dog is anything like Sabine, expect some rolling action to get the bandana to smell just right. But also expect it to provide some level of quality cooling while they are outside.
Best of all, these bandanas are easy to clean, so that rolling is easy to address with a quick wash.
- More accommodating for clothing-averse pups
- Long-lasting cool
- Easy to clean after muddy adventures
- Less cooling coverage or UV protection than a vest
- Water required
The Verdict: Dog Cooling Bandanas Are a Great Option
The bandana doesn’t provide as much of a cooling effect as the SGODA dog cooling vest, but it provides some relief to the heat. It’s an easy backyard option. A word of caution—if you are going to put the bandana in the freezer, keep an eye on it. Always test the temperature before putting on your dog. If you are concerned that it might be too cold, try using just regular old tap or hose water.
For Sabine, I think the bandana makes great sense for around the yard. The vest, however, would be a go-to accoutrement for any summer walk or hike. Both have their benefits; it just depends on your needs.
Who will like the All For Paws cooling bandana:
- Pups who can’t handle torso-covering clothes
- Dogs too big for traditional vests
- Pups who need less help staying cool than a full vest offers
Who won’t like the All For Paws cooling bandana:
- Pups who prefer the indoors; this bandana can still get things wet
- Dogs who need sun protection (looking at you, Dalmatians and light-furred friends)
How We Chose
We selected products featured here based on a combination of our own hands-on testing and a survey of customer reviews, prioritizing adjustable fit, cooling power, ease of use, and UV protection. We’re guided by the experience of living and playing alongside our own much-loved and strongly opinionated pets. (And these guys are are never stingy with their feedback.)