If you're always on the lookout for a way to increase your dog's comfort, you should take a look at cooling vests for your best friend. These are more than canine couture. They're clothing that doubles as a cooling unit to keep your dog comfortable in the summer heat.
Why Does Your Dog Need a Cooling Vest?
Dogs don't sweat like humans do, but there is a price to pay for never having to worry about pit stains. While you release body heat through the millions of pores on your skin, your dog only has two channels through which she releases heat: her foot pads and by panting. This cooling mechanism has served dogs for millions of years, although it isn't the most efficient way to regulate body temperature.
Staying in a cool spot out of the heat helps make sure your dog doesn't roast, but you can help keep her body temperature at a comfortable level with a cooling vest. Vests that use water as a cooling mechanism were designed with emulating human sweating in mind. As unattractive as that sounds, the idea is actually very effective. It works by dipping the vest in water and then placing it on your dog. As the water evaporates, it takes excess body heat along with it -- just like when you sweat. The fabric that water vests are made from is exceptionally good at absorbing and retaining water so it releases the moisture slowly while still efficiently cooling your pup. And the interior lining is laminated, so you won't have that lovely wet dog aroma to deal with.
One type of cooling vest for dogs was originally designed for hard-core working dogs, those in law enforcement, search and rescue or in the military. These vests have two pouches on each side that run the length of your dog's body. The pouches hold special gel-filled cooling packs to keep your pooch's body temperature down. The cooling packs are supposed to last for up to 2 1/2 hours and are re-cooled by submerging them in ice water for about 20 minutes or placing them in the fridge for a half an hour.
Other Cool(ing) Products for Dogs
When the pet supply shelves overflow with dog cooling products, you know it's a widespread concern. There are a number of items, besides vests, available to help your dog keep her cool. Neck wraps or bandanas designed for cooling work similar to water vests, as you soak them in water before placing them around your dog's neck. For keeping your furry friend comfy at home, there are cooling mats that you can put in her bed or on the floor. Some are filled with water and others are filled with gel, but they both work by pulling the heat away from your dog's body.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.