Unlike humans, dogs cannot perspire. Therefore, when your furry friend goes out in the heat or goes on a long walk of running and playing, they rely on panting to keep themselves cool. However, this isn’t always efficient and even pups with thin coats can struggle to release excess heat trapped inside their bodies on a hot day. Of course, you can always put them in an air-conditioned room or use a fan to aerate their crate, but you’re very likely to end up with a big energy bill at the end of the month. This is where the best dog cooling mat comes in and could be a great addition in your dog’s life.
They help to cool your dog down without continuously running up the energy bill and can last a long time. However, there are a lot of different cooling pads — different brands, different types and different factors to consider — and it can be difficult to know which one is going to be right for your doggo to help keep them cool. Luckily for you, we have complied a buying guide below and our favorite products, so you can choose the one that fits your canine.
What Is A Cooling Mat For Dogs?
A cooling mat for dogs is a mat that your dog can lay that helps to reduce their core body temperature. There are two main types of cooling mats for dogs available — water beds and gel pads. They both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Dog water beds are very similar to human water beds that many of us have in our homes. They are filled with water and use this water to absorb the body heat as your dog lies on it. Unfortunately, these products are not as popular as they used to be because their efficiency largely depends on the material that contains the water inside. If this material is cheap or thin and the water bed punctures, then the water bed can become unusable. Luckily, you can patch these punctures up and continue using them.
Gel mats are generally preferred over water beds because they are low maintenance and very easy to clean. They are also flexible and portable and can be used anywhere as well as stored in many different places.
How A Dog Cooling Mat Works
To understand how cooling mats work, we need to understand how thermal energy is transferred from one object to another. This is how cooling mats help to cool your dog down. You must remember that the movement of thermal energy typically occurs from an object with a much higher temperature to an object with a substantially lower temperature.
There are two methods in which heat transfers in cooling mats:
Conduction is the movement of heat from an object with a higher temperature to an object with a lower temperature. Therefore, when using a canine cooling pad, your dog’s body will be a much higher temperature than the mat. The thermal energy will transfer from your dog’s body to the cooling mat and help to cool them down.
How well the conduction works depends on the temperature difference between your dog and the mat. If your dog and the cooling mat are the same temperature, then the conduction will stop. Therefore, if you want the mat to work well, it will need to be much cooler than the temperature of your dog’s body and, this way, the conduction will work better and quicker. The smaller the temperature difference between your dog and the mat, the shorter the duration of the mat’s effectiveness.
Another factor you should consider in a cooling pet pad is it’s thickness. The thicker the mat, the longer it will take to heat and the longer it will cool your dog because it will be able to accommodate more heat molecules. If the mat is very thin and has a small surface area, then it will heat a lot quicker. The heat-absorbing elements inside the mat also play a big part in how long the mat takes to heat and how long it will cool your dog for. Water can absorb heat well, but synthetic gels have physical properties that allow them to absorb more heat. Therefore, the amount of gel inside the pad also plays a big part in how long it takes to heat.
When the cooling mat and your dog have reached the safe temperature, conduction will stop, as we mentioned above. Therefore, the mat will need to move heat away from itself through thermal radiation and into the surrounding air. Since the mat is now “hotter” and has taken the heat from your dog, it will be much more effective at radiating this heat away from the mat. This is effectively the cooling mat recharging itself.
Features To Look For In A Dog Cooling Mat
There are a few things to look for in a cooling mat that will determine how well they work for your dog and how convenient they are to have in your home.
As mentioned above, the efficiency of a cooling mat depends on the temperature difference between your dog and the mat, the surface area of the mat and the thickness and amount of filling the mat has. It is for these reasons that some cooling mats have a cooling time of two hours, and others have a cooling time of five hours. You should look for a cooling pad with a higher thermal efficiency so it can cool your dog for longer. It is also important to consider how quickly the mat will return to it’s original state after it has cooled down your dog. This is to do with the radiation that we also mentioned above. Some will take only 10 minutes to cool down again, while others will take longer.
You should find a cooling mat that will last you a long time and you won’t have to replace very often. Unfortunately, cooling mats are generally not great for those with dogs who chew or bite things as they can puncture the mats and then they can become unusable. Even if this is your dog, you should still consider the durability of the materials when purchasing so the mat lasts as long as possible.
Many people think that cooling mats are only to be used on hot summer days when the weather is very warm, but cooling mats can be used all year round. Some dogs who get very hot will use a cooling mat as their bed, and therefore, you will want to consider the portability of the mat. You may want to take the mat away on vacation with you, or move it to different parts of the house. It should also be easy to store away or easy to roll up.
Ease Of Cleaning
A dog cooling mat should be easy to clean. Luckily, most of the products out there today are waterproof and can be wiped clean. However, you must remember that the majority of cooling mats are made from fabric materials and you should never use any chemical products to clean them.
You want your dog cooling pad to be of a reasonable size, depending on how large your dog is. In the summer or when they are really hot, your dog may think of the cooling mat as their bed and they will want to be able to lay down and stretch out on the mat. This also relates to the mat being an adequate size to fit into a dog kennel or crate if being transported. Of course, you don’t want the mat to be too big either, so it doesn’t take up too much room in your house.
Tips For Buying A Dog Cooling Mat
There are a few tips we recommend to be sure you get the most out of your dog cooling mat. First of all, if you are worried that the cooling mat is not quite cold enough to cool your dog, you can stick it in the freezer for a while. Of course, this depends on whether you have a freezer big enough!
You should always remember to clean your dog’s cooling mat. In the summer they will likely spend a lot of time on it and therefore it can become quite unhygienic. You can also trim your dog’s fur so they can feel the full effects for the cooling mat, especially if they have very thick fur.
Dog cooling mats should be kept out of the sunlight and you should choose a dry place for your dog to lay on it, to ensure it lasts longer. If you are at all unsure of which mat is right for your dog and their size and breed, you can always consult your vet.
If you’re ready to find the perfect cooling dog mat, take a look at the ones we recommend below, available to you on Amazon.
Best Dog Cooling Mats Reviews
This solid gel cooling mat from Arf Pets is a great way to keep your dog healthy and comfortable even in the hottest, most humid conditions. The safe and sturdy nylon cushion features an innovative cool gel interior, cooling your dog for up to three hours at a time. The latex material that this pet cooling pad is made from is non-toxic and, as well as being comfortable and supportive for your pup, is also lightweight and easy to transport or fold away.
As a self-charging pad, it requires absolutely no water, refrigeration, batteries or electricity, making it a truly low maintenance option for the home as it recharges in just 15-20 minutes. The exterior is very easy to wipe clean and it is puncture-resistant for long-lasting use.
The Green Pet Shop’s dog cooling pad is pressure-activated, meaning as soon as your dog sits or lies on the gel mat, the mat will start to work. This mat offers cooling relief for up to three hours and, because it is automatic, does not require any water, electricity or refrigeration and features a special gel formula that automatically recharges after 15-20 minutes of non-use. This mat is lightweight and folds easily, meaning it can be moved around the house, taken in the car with you or even taken on vacation.
While this particular mat is designed for extra large dogs over 90 lbs, this mat also comes in four other sizes based on your dog’s needs. It is easy to wipe clean and so will last you a long time.
Perfect for medium sized dogs, the Coleman Pressure Activated Comfort cooling gel mat contains pressure-activated gel that begins to cool your dog as they lay on it. This mat actually stays 5-10 degrees cooler than room temperature to keep your pet comfortable, so the mat still feels cold against your dog’s body when they first go to sit on it. All automatic, this mat needs no refrigeration or electricity and is easy to fold away, roll up or transport in the car or on vacation. It is also very easy to wipe down, making it durable and long-lasting. This mat also comes in four great colors and you can even purchase a mat in the shape of a bone!
The American Kennel Club cooing mat is great for keeping your dog cold both indoors and out. Made of non-toxic liquid cooling gel, it’s safe for your dogs as well as safe to be around adults, kids and the environment. One of the great things about this mat is that it is reversible so, even if one side gets dirty, you can always flip it over and use the other side. It is still easy to wipe clean though, too, and is compact and simple to transport around.
Made of highly durable outer material, this cooling mat is both water and tear resistant, although not recommended for dogs who are teething or have chewing tendencies. This mat will help keep your pooch cool for hours and only takes between 16-20 minutes to recharge and be ready to use again. Available in a range of sizes and colors, you can choose the one that suits the decor of your home.
This cool bed by K&H Pet Products is a water bed, perfect for reducing the temperature of your dog’s body. All you need to do is to simply add water to the cool bed and no tools are required. The more water used, the more cushioning and cooling capabilities the dog cooling mat will have, but you can experiment with what feels right for your dog. The bed can be used all year round and only needs to be filled once — it can be packed away and stored with water still inside too as it never dries out.
The manufacturer recommends adding GSE (grapefruit seed extract), a natural non-toxic antibacterial, to the water to help prevent bacterial growth. This pad works best when kept out of direct sunlight and is easy to wipe down and keep clean. It comes in three different sizes for your dog, based on their needs and also in two different colors.
Although this mat from Dogbed4less isn’t specifically a cooling mat, it is a memory foam pet bed, infused with gel that gives great breathing properties and helps to keep your dog cool in the hotter weather. This temperature regulating gel inside the mat ensures your dog never gets too hot in the summer and never gets too cold in the winter, while the memory foam gives great support for older dogs or dogs with joint issues. With a 1.2” thickness, this mat comes in five different sizes and is covered in a plush velour fabric for maximum comfort.
The bottom side under layer is made with high-quality waterproof SBR rubber to protect the floor and also has anti-slip material to keep the bed in place. It is also treated with advance fresh anti-microbial treatment for superior resistance to mold and mildew. This memory foam cooling dog bed is stain, dirt and wrinkle resistant, washable and keeps in it’s original shape even after many washing cycles.
Similar to the mat above, this cooling mat from Maxcare is a memory foam mat that is infused with cooling gel to help regulate your dog’s body temperature in both the summer and the winter. With a 1.2” thickness and a 4 lbs density rating, this mat is especially perfect for dogs that need a softer place to lie or those with joint and muscle issues. It is also shock-absorbing and, when your dog isn’t using it, is great for activities such as yoga or pilates! The cover is soft velour fabric and the underside is waterproof and anti-slip.
It is also treated with an anti-bacterial spray to ensure that if anything is spilled onto the mat, no bacteria will grow. This mat is machine washable and can easily be moved around the house.
Available in three sizes, this Hugs Pet Products Chillz cooling mat keeps your pet cool and comfy with pressure activated gel technology. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, this mat folds away easily for convenience and can be transported wherever you go — in your dog’s crate, in the car or on vacation. It is also lightweight and puncture resistant and does not need to be refrigerated to work. The gel inside is non-toxic gel and is therefore safe for the environment and for your pets and for children to be around, and the gel is self-recharging when not in use so it can be used time and time again. The mat is also easy to wipe clean and is very durable, so will last you a long time.
This pet cooling mat from DORA BRIDAL requires you to wet the mat in water, wring it dry and then put it in the refrigerator for ten minutes before giving to your pet to use. Although not as simple as some of the other mats we have in this list, the material used is very breathable and a great way to keep your pet cool. With high-tech cooling fiber, this material has a lot of holes in that allowing the body heat to dissipate away from the mat. It can also be used as a towel to wrap round your dog and is lightweight enough to fold up and transport around.
It is soft and comfortable against your dog’s skin while also being very durable and easy to clean. Even better, the fabric is very safe and it is reversible, so you can still use the mat even if it is dirty on one side!
Another by Dogbed4less, this dog bed isn’t strictly a cooling dog pad but, with the gel-infused memory foam, has cooling properties that help to regulate the temperature of your dog’s bed both in the summer and the winter, making sure they aren’t too cold and they don’t ever overheat. The memory foam offers orthopedic support and is therefore perfect for older dogs or those with joint pain or arthritis and the washable removable suede cover gives a smooth and comfy place for them to lay their head.
The combined benefits of pressure point relief, alignment support, cooler sleeping surface and less allergens come together to create the ideal environment for deeper and more restful sleep for your dog, at any stage of their life. This dog cooling bed comes in a range of sizes and two different colors for you to choose from. Even better, this bed comes with a spare cover and a bonus non-slip external case.
Dog Cooling Mats FAQ’s
Why does my dog need a cooling mat?
Aside from the obvious of keeping your dog cool in the hotter weather, dog cooling mats have other benefits too. These pads can provide a cool sleeping surface for your dog in their crate, and they are also softer than the floor or the tiles. They can also help in managing body temperatures for senior or overweight dogs, whose body temperature management system does not work as well.
Dog cooling mats are great for transporting when you go on vacation or if you are in the car, and they can also provide relief from painful inflammatory ailments such as arthritis, swelling and Cushing’s disease.
Can a cooling mat be used outside?
Yes, you can use a cooling mat outside. If your cooling mat is transportable, you can take it out into the garden, to the beach or to the park for your dog to lay on.
How long does a cooling mat take to work?
The time a cooling mat takes to work depends on which one you buy, including factors such as the size, the type and the thickness. However, generally, dog cooling mats start working within 15-20 minutes and can work from anywhere between 1 hour to 5-6 hours.
If you live somewhere hot or your dog has trouble keeping themselves cool, a cooling mat can be the answer. Helping to reduce any excess heat trapped in your dog’s body, there are many different cooling mats out there for you to choose from. Whether you are looking for a water bed or a gel pad, remember to check the thermal efficiency of the mat before buying as well as it’s durability, portability and ease of cleaning so you can be sure you get the right mat for you and your doggo.