As the snow melts and winter breaks into spring, the heat begins to crank back up. If you and your pup are going to be spending more time outdoors in the warm summer heat, then you may need to invest in a cooling coat for your dog.
Dogs don’t have the same sort of natural biological cooling advantages humans do. This makes them exceedingly more prone to overheating. Thankfully, there are coats and vests designed to help your dog stay cool in the sun while you play the day away.
We’ve put together the eight best cooling coats and vests for dogs to keep them happy all summer long.
The Ruffwear Swamp Cooler
Ruffwear is a well respected company known for their pet performance gear. They offer several different cooling vests, but the “Swamp Cooler” is widely considered one of the most popular. The vest offers evaporative cooling technology and reflective material to bounce off the sun’s rays. It is worth nothing that this is a consistent best seller for cooling coats.
Swamp Cooler pros:
- Three layer cooling: The top layer reflects sunlight, the middle layer absorbs and stores water, while the bottom layer keeps your dog dry and comfy.
- UV Protection: The shape of the vest offers maximum coverage and also boasts UPF 50+ protection.
- Side release buckles: Easy clips to snap the vest on and off.
- Harness compatible: The vest features a portal for a leash to attach to a harness worn under the vest.
- Reflective trim: The vest is lined around the edge without reflective material to aid in visibility in low light situations.
Swamp Cooler cons:
- Price: The vest is one of the more expensive options coming in at around $60.00.
- Evaporation time: Some users reported that the water evaporates too quickly for their tastes
- Bulkier: The vest covers a larger area than some more minimal designs which can bother some dogs.
Swamp cooler takeaway: While this vest is on the more expensive side, it is definitely a high quality product that will serve you and your pup well. Ruffwear is a trustworthy company that cares deeply about their products. The vest comes in a variety of sizes so be sure to measure carefully if you spring for this one.
The Hurtta Cooling Dog Vest
This vest offers a lower profile than many of the other vests we’ve found. If your dog is fussy when it comes to wearing clothes, they may prefer this smaller footprint than a larger vest that covers their whole torso. The vest concentrates the cooling area around your dog’s chest and heart to improve circulation on hot days.
Hurtta cooling dog vest pros:
- More absorbent: The vest is twice as absorbent as terry cloth alternatives.
- Smaller profile: Many dogs find this more comfortable than a full body vest.
- Leash loop: Certain sizes have a leash loop attached for ease.
- Colors and sizes: The vest is offered in both blue and pink and comes in sizes ranging from XXS to XXL.
- Affordable: The vest is on the cheaper side, averaging around $30.00.
Hurtta cooling dog vest cons:
- Tighter Area: Larger dogs may need a vest that cools more of their body.
- Sizing Issues: Some reviews claimed difficulty in obtaining the correct size for their dog, despite using the sizing guide.
- No UV Protection
Hurtta cooling dog vest takeaway:
If you are looking for a simpler and cheaper option or if your dog doesn’t do well with clothes, then this may be the best fit for you. The small profile is often more comfortable and the absorbent material keeps your dog cool longer. Though this does leave the rest of your pup’s torso exposed to the elements.
PupPal Pet Cooling Vest
The PupPal cooling vest is a simply designed product that will keep your pet cool and dry all summer long. The vest is equipped with a velcro closure making it one of the easier vests to slip on and off your dog.
PupPal pet cooling vest pros:
- Velcro Closure: Getting clothes on a dog is tough but the velcro on this makes it a breeze.
- Bright Colors: The vest comes in bright colors to stand out in a crowd at the beach.
- Pre-soaked: The vest arrives “pre-soaked” so it is ready to be used right away. Simply soak it in cold water to reuse it next time.
- Money Back Guarantee: PupPals is confident you’ll love it and offers full refunds, no questions asked, if you don’t.
- Large leg holes: The large front leg holes keeps your dog unrestricted for natural movement.
PupPal pet cooling vest cons:
- Larger Sizing Issues: While the vest comes in a variety of sizes, some users reported issues with the larger sizes fitting correctly.
- Availability: At the time of writing, this vest is unavailable on Amazon and it is unclear when it will be back in stock.
PupPal pet cooling vest takeaway:
If you are looking for a simple and no frills easy to use vest this could be a great choice. Larger dog owners beware that sizing is tougher here. Additionally, it can be hard to track it down as an available purchase.
The Bingpet Cooling Jacket
The Bingpet Cooling Jacket is a great choice for folks who like to bring their dogs into the great outdoors for hiking and hunting. The bright orange color is easy to spot through the trees and the cooling technology keeps your comfy on long summer days.
Bingpet cooling jacket pros:
- Bright Color: The bright orange is highly visible in most situations. This ideal for walks in the woods, hunting, or even nighttime strolls.
- Soft, Breathable Material: The vest is lightweight, soft, and non-toxic and is sure to feel gentle on your dog’s fur and skin.
- Slim Design: The jacket’s unique design covers your dogs back, but leaves most of the sides and belly exposed concentrating the cooling on their back where the sun is the most direct.
Bingpet cooling jacket cons:
- Limited Options: The vest only comes in the bright orange.
- Sizing Issues: Like most vests, some users report issues finding the right size for larger dogs
Bingpet cooling jacket takeaway:
Hunters and hikers may find the best fit here. The bright orange color is the safest option if you are going to be trekking out into the wilderness and the slim profile allows your dog full mobility and comfort while exploring the woods.
Ruffwear Jet Stream
Another Ruffwear product, this time “The Jet Stream.” This vest offers the same high quality technology as the Swamp Cooler mentioned earlier, but comes in a slimmer profile that may be more comfortable for some dogs than the bulky Swamp Cooler.
Ruffwear jet stream pros:
- Ease of Movement: The slim and athletic design of the vest is ideal for dogs that love to run, jump, and tumble.
- Zippered Closure: This vest sports a zipper instead of clasps or velcro. The zipper will stay zipped during high intensity activities.
- Spandex Material: The top of the vest is stretchy with spandex allowing a snug and comfortable fit.
- Multiple sizes and colors: The vest comes in six sizes and two bright colors, blue and orange.
Ruffwear jet stream cons:
- Zipper issues: Some users reported issues with the zipper being tough to close or getting stuck.
- Dries Out Faster: Some users reported that this vest dried out too quickly for their liking.
Ruffwear jet stream takeaway:
This vest is great for dogs that like to be highly mobile in short bursts of activity. The water may not last quite as long as the Swamp Cooler, but the slim design keeps your dog completely uninhibited. The price tag is also slightly more affordable than Ruffwear’s Swamp Cooler.
CoolerDog Cooling Vest and Collar
This option is very different from all the others we’ve mentioned. The above coats work by soaking the vests and evaporative cooling technology. This vest and collar combo uses ice packs tucked inside the material to keep your dog cool. The “FlexiFreeze” packages are filled with water and can be frozen then inserted into the coat and collar on a hot day.
CoolerDog cooling vest and collar pros:
- Easy To Put On: No buckles or zippers. The coat and collar easily velcro in place.
- Multi-Point Cooling: The vest and collar offer cooling to put the torso and neck area of your dog.
- Chemical Free: The ice packs are pure water and contain no chemicals that could be potentially harmful to your dog.
CoolerDog cooling vest and collar cons:
- Short Relief: Most users report that the ice melts in about 20 minutes and at that point there is no way to refresh the cooling effect besides refreezing the ice.
- Small Coverage: The torso area vest only covers a small area of your dog’s torso.
- Overpriced: This combo comes in at around $40.00 which many feel was more than it was worth.
- Heavy: Once you load the vest with ice packs, your dogs has to carry that added weight.
CoolerDog cooling vest and collar takeaway:
While lining your dog with ice packs may seem like a smart way to keep them cool, it turns out that it is only mildly effective. Once the ice melts you are left with no way to refresh the cooling feeling besides taking them in and freezing the ice packs again. This option is worth a try if you don’t plan on being out in the heat for too long with your dog.
DOGZSTUFF Dog Cooling Vest
This microfiber cooling vest from DOGZSTUFF offers a slim and easy evaporative cooling experience. The vest is lightweight and comfortable and boasts UPF 50+ protection. It is also one of the more affordable options on the list.
DOGZSTUFF dog cooling vest pros:
- Price: The vest comes in around $20.00, definitely one of the cheaper models we’ve seen.
- Microfiber Material: The vest is “as comfortable as a T-shirt.” The lightweight microfiber material keeps your dog comfy and free from chaffing.
- Adjustable Sizing: The velcro closure offers a wide range of sizing options to try and fit any dog.
- Money Back Guarantee: The company offers full replacement or refund if you are not satisfied, no questions asked.
DOGZSTUFF dog cooling vest cons:
- No Harness Portal: There is no hole to clip your dog’s leash to a harness beneath the vest. Harnesses need to be worn over the vest.
- Quick Drying: Some users reported that this vest dried out quicker than they would have liked.
- Solid Color: The vest doesn’t include the reflective material we’ve seen on some other similar models.
DOGZSTUFF dog cooling vest takeaways:
This is a highly affordable evaporative cooling option. Most users seem to be pleased with their investment and find that this is a great value for the money spent. If you’re unsure how your dog will react to a cooling vest, this could be a good place to start.
SGODA Dog Cooling Vest
This vest made by SGODA is another option for the rugged outdoors folks looking to bring their pup on an adventure. The bright orange color remains highly visible and the clip closure stays on while traipsing through the woods.
SGODA dog cooling vest pros:
- Bright Orange Color: The vest is highly visible in the worst of conditions.
- Three Layer Technology: The different layers work together to keep your dog cool and dry.
- Heat Reflective: The bright orange material helps to bounce away the hot sunlight and reflect heat elsewhere.
SGODA dog cooling vest cons:
- Short Cooling Time: Many users reported this vest not lasting very long before needing to be wet again.
- No Small Size: The smallest size offered is “Medium,” or 18-22” chest
- Dangling Straps: The elastic straps dangle once tightened and can get in your dog’s way.
SGODA dog cooling vest takeaway:
This is a slightly more affordable bright orange vest than the earlier mentioned one, but maybe not quite as high quality. The clasping system seems to bother several users, but it may prove to be just right for you.
Why Do Some Dogs Need Cooling Vests?
After all this, you may be asking yourself if it is really necessary. Dogs have existed longer before companies were making cooling vests for them. However, a dog’s natural cooling system in their body is considerably more limited than ours, so it may be wise to help them out.
Dogs cool themselves off almost entirely by panting. They are far more limited and easily overwhelmed by regulating their body’s temperature. Some dog breeds are considerably more susceptible to overheating than others.
Dogs with flat noses like pugs and bulldogs, struggle to pant as well as others and therefore struggle to cool themselves off. Obese dogs and dogs with thick fur will also be more susceptible to overheating. Elderly dogs with respiratory problems may need some help as well.
If your dog falls into any of the above categories, you may want to consider investing in a cooling vest. Smaller breeds or breeds with shorter, thinner fur usually don’t have the same overheating issues. That being said, if you live in a particularly hot and dry area and want to spend a longer time outside, these vests could help your dog stay out comfortably.
What Are The Top Priorities For A Dog Cooling Coat?
Most cooling coats and vests work by using the process of evaporative cooling. While many of these vests rely on the same process, some of them simply achieve much better results than others. Let’s look at what should be among your top priorities as you scout a cooling coat/vest.
Does the Cooling Coat Fit Well?
Dogs don’t always love wearing clothes. It takes a while for them to get used to it, and they may never get used to it if it is uncomfortable. When you are selecting a cooling vest or coat for your dog pay careful attention to the shape and the size.
Most of the products offer a sizing guide to help you pick the best fit, but we’ve found that these are not always super reliable. If you purchase a vest and find it isn’t a great fit, don’t force it to work. Try again and make sure that you are finding the right size for your dog otherwise you’ll create more problems than you’ll solve.
Besides just sizing, you’ll want to make sure that your dog has a comfortable level of mobility. Some of the coats/vests above offer a slimmer and more streamlined approach, while others cover more of your dog’s body and may get in the way a bit. If your dog loves to run, jump, tackle, and play, then you’ll definitely want to be sure they can still do all of that in the vest.
How Long Does the Cooling Vest Last?
The goal is to keep your dog cool and comfortable for as long as possible while playing outside. No cooling vest will last forever, but ideally it will last at least 15 minutes before needing to be rewet. If the vest is completely dry in five minutes, then it doesn’t really offer much protection for your dog.
The climate will affect how quickly the vest dries out. If you live in a dry, arid climate then the vest will dry out quicker than it would in a humid, moist climate. Alternatively, the vest may not work as well in humid climates because it may not evaporate quickly enough to provide the cooling qualities.
Under the best of circumstances, the cooling coat should keep your dog comfortable for at least 15 minutes and maybe up to 30 minutes. Anything less isn’t very helpful and anything too much more might not be really evaporating all too well.
The Best Vests Are Reflective.
Evaporative cooling is great and will be the key factor working to keep your dog cool. But some vests go even further and incorporate reflective material to bounce away the sun’s rays. This keeps your dog even cooler and offers the benefit of some added UV protection.
Brighter colors tend to be better at reflecting the sun’s rays, while darker colors absorb more of it. Bright oranges and blues are popular in a lot of these designs. Steer clear of any dark colors even if they don’t mention reflective material.
Cooling Vests Can Also Be Safety Devices
Think hard about the activity you and your dog will be doing and your intended use for the vest. Ideally, the best vests have at least some reflective safety material for better visibility. We’ve mentioned before, if you plan on bringing your dog hunting, definitely go for the bright orange reflective materials.
Even if you aren’t going hunting, it is always nice to have reflective material on your dog’s clothes. This way they stand out better at night or in headlights and you can feel a bit safer keeping an eye on them.
Does Your Cooling Vest Work With Your Harness and Leash?
Trying to put clothes on a dog is frustrating enough. It is even more frustrating if you have to figure out some way to attach your dog’s harness over the clothes. The best cooling coats and vests offer a design that incorporates a leash into it.
Some coats and vests have leash loops already built in for super simple use. Others have a portal built in for your leash to go through and clip onto a harness underneath. If the coat or vest doesn’t have either of these options, then it will be more difficult to get the best use out of the coat since you’ll have to probably put the harness on top of it.
Does the Cooling Vest Keep Your Dog Dry?
Ideally your dog’s fur should remain completely dry while wearing the cooling coats and vests. Many are built with several layers of material to keep your dog cool and dry at the same time. However, some may not be built quite as carefully.
Wet fur can be uncomfortable and lead to matting and chaffing. A soaked vest should not also soak your dog. They may be a little damp and that’s fine. But if every time you take the vest off, you find they are soaked, then it is time for a new one.
How To Keep Your Dog Cool In The Summer Heat
A cooling vest is a great start towards keeping your dog happy all summer long. But the cooling coat or vest should only be a piece of your summer plan for your dog. Here are some other ideas to ensure your dog stays happy and healthy while you beat the heat:
- Seek Out Shade: It’s not always possible to avoid direct sunlight, but whenever you can bring your dog to shady areas. The ground will be cooler on their paws in these areas.
- Stay Hydrated: Playing in the hot sun can quickly dehydrate your dog. Be sure to stop and take frequent water breaks.
- Avoid Hot Pavement: In really hot dry areas, the blacktop can be burning up and really painful on a dog’s paws. In these areas, try to stick to grass and dirt.
- Schedule Cooler Times: The early morning and evening after sunset will definitely be cooler than midday and may be more comfortable times for high activity with your dog.
- Rest Often: You may find that your normal walk is too much for your dog during peak temperatures. Give them a chance to rest in the shade before trekking on.
- Use Canine Sunscreen: Dogs can in fact get sunburned. It isn’t so common and needs to only be considered with light or thinly furred dogs, but it may be worth looking into.
- Go Swimming: If your dog is up for it, take a dip in the pool or lake with them. A quick jump into some water is always a great way to cool off.
Giving your pup a break from the sweltering heat is not only good for them, but also a good reminder to take a break yourself!
What Is The Best Cooling Coat Or Vest For Dogs?
The eight options above offer a variety in value and price. Each one had favorable and not so favorable reviews, and they all seem to suffer from some potential sizing issues. That being said the Ruffwear Jet Stream seems to be an ideal choice for most dog owners.
The Jet Stream’s slim design is perfect for high energy pups looking to run, jump, fetch, and play all day long. It also comes in a very reasonable price point compared to some of the other options. Ruffwear is a great and trustworthy company with excellent customer service so you are sure to be satisfied with your experience.
Buying clothes for your pets often involves a lot of trial and error. What works well for one dog may be terrible for another dog of the exact same breed. While trial and error can be nerve wracking when you are spending a decent amount of money, give one of the above coats a try with your dog and see how things go.
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