The Best Dog Cooling Mats of 2017

Last Updated:
Tuesday
August 08, 2017

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When it reaches those summer temperatures and you see your poor pooch panting, it might be time to invest in a dog cooling pad. Especially for those loveable breeds with thick coats of fur, they’re almost essential depending on the climate. We all like to be comfortable, so let’s work on keeping those we love cool as well when the thermometer climbs. It’s the least we can do for all the free love and affection they give us.

What to Look for in a Dog Cooling Bed

If you’re the more discerning type, or not just willing to take our word for it that we’ve picked one of the best. Specialized dogs take specialized needs sometimes though, and that means that just grabbing the pad that we’ve deemed the best overall might not be the best choice for you and your canine companion.

Look for the following before deciding on the final pick:

Gel

Water powered pads have fallen out of favor in recent times since the need for refrigeration makes them super impractical for most people. Gel pads work by using a gel which causes an endothermic reaction when compacted, that is to say, they get cool when crushed. For most dogs, this is ideal since it requires nothing other than throwing down the pad. Unfortunately, pad durability, toxicity, and lifespan varies and it can be hard to tell before you get down to it.

Durability

The durability of a pad can be a concern when it comes to those dogs who really like to chew on… well, everything. We’ve all known one or two of these masticating mastiffs over the years and they tend to make a mess of things. A really good pad should stop all but the most determined of canines from destroying things. For some breeds, this really should be the deciding factor.

Ease of Cleaning

Face it, dogs make a mess. We love them anyways, but drool and hair tend to get on things and in the case of those particularly excitable of the bunch you’re left with urine stains as well. An easily cleaned surface can help you make sure that the pad doesn’t begin to smell the place up just by existing.

Our Pick

There’s a ton of mats out there, but we think there’s definitely one that stands above the rest. If you’re looking for something more specialized, or cheaper, we’ll also cover that but for our money, this one is the best of the best.

Our Favorite

Arf Pets Self Cooling Mat Pad for Kennels

This gel pad cools your animals off amazingly well and has a pretty good “lifespan” to boot. You’ll get about three hours of cooling out of the gel with a quick recharge time of only 15-20 minutes.

Gel pads are particularly convenient for the human owners since they don’t require any water, refrigeration, or even electricity on your part. Throw the pad down, convince your dog to use it, and you’ll be able to give them all of the benefits.

One of the coolest parts of this mat: the gel inside is almost completely non-toxic. Safe for both humans and animals, in the event of a rip, tear, or particularly vicious “play” session there’s no need for a rush to the nearest pet ER.

The entire surface is easy to clean, being made of a smooth latex material which can easily be wiped off with a rag to get extra fur out of the way. It also comes in three convenient sizes, the largest of which should be enough for all but the most mammoth of mutts.

Our opinion: Of course, with this kind of quality, you’ll also be spending a little bit of money, and if your dog is the type that regularly likes to chew on the expensive things you buy for them… well, we’ll have some other options for you later in this guide.

4.9 Stars

  • Long lifespan
  • Quick recharging
  • Superior cooling
  • Three convenient sizes
  • Easy to clean

  • Expensive
  • Not the most durable of the bunch

Small Dog Pads

For small dogs, you might not need an extensive pad. We’ve picked out two of the best for those of you who prefer their puppers on smaller scale of things. You can save money and space by fitting your pad to your dog well, after all.

The Green Pet Shop Premium Cooling Pet Pad

While these pads come in a few sizes, their small is one of the best you’ll be able to find. Perfectly sized for tiny terriers, or even small cats, they’ll keep them cool through the hot summer months like nothing else.

It stands at just 15.7”x11.8”x0.2” to make sure that you can fit it nearly anywhere your little guy or gal prefers to take their rest.

Our opinion:
Unfortunately, this one isn’t one to keep outside, but with its small size and super thin profile, it makes a great way to keep small dogs cool no matter how hot it might get outside.

4.7 Stars

  • Non-toxic gel
  • Super thin
  • Perfectly sized for puppies
  • Lasts three hours

  • Super thin also means super easy to tear, not for chewers
  • Not for outdoor usage

Dog Puppy Cooling Mat Comfortable Cooling Pad

Coming in at 11.8”x15.7” on the smaller end of things, this super light pad relies on a non-toxic gel to keep temperatures low for those small dogs and puppies who just need a nice place to cool off.

The nylon liner is a definite plus as well, being a bit more resistant to those toothy pups that we all love but can’t seem to get to quit teething. Best of all… it can also be used outdoors, which makes it a great way to keep a cool laying area for the dog outside. It’s also a little bit thicker than many of the pads made for small dogs, giving it more padding.

Our opinion:
Throw it in a shady corner of the yard during a hot summer day and you’ve got a winning solution for your small dog’s comfort.

4.5 Stars

  • Tough nylon liner
  • Pressure activated gel
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors
  • Quite soft

  • Not “ultra-thin”
  • No information on gel toxicity

Large Dog Mats

A big mutt calls for a big mat. We’ve taken some time to figure out just who can deliver you the best value for your dollar when it comes to the bigger, and often more expensive, cooling mats available for our canines.

Ouzen Pet Chilled Dog Self Cooling Mat Pad

Being thin, eco-friendly, and one of the few dog cooling pads which isn’t a boring blue you’ll find this offering from Ouzen offers a lot. Most importantly, for big dog owners, the XL version of this mat comes in a size of 37.5”x31”.

It works a little bit differently from most of the gel options on the market, however, since it causes the heat to dissipate further through the mat and release where your dog isn’t lying. This means that it’s not quite as effective as some of the other options that we’ve brought forwards to you.

This is primarily an indoor mat, which means that you aren’t going to want to use it as a permanent outdoor mat either.

Our opinion:
For something a little bit different, however, it’s certainly got a bit of style and some flair. It might not be the best for those heavily furred large dogs, however.

4.3 Stars

  • Stylish
  • Very long lifespan
  • Easy to clean
  • Very thin

  • Not as efficient as standard gel pads
  • Not for prolonged outdoor usage

Pet Dog Self Cooling Crate Kennel Cage Cushion Pad

Measuring in at 42”x28”, we’re looking at a pretty darn big pad for large canines here. This is the usual gel type, but also has a raised lip for your dog to lay their head on. Just an added bonus, really.

This one also comes with some color options, which is nice when you compare the standard “tarp blue” that a lot of dog cooling mats come in.

The whole affair is 100% waterproof and easy to clean in case your pet is prone to messes. It also comes with a non-skid bottom, great for those of the frisky variety.

Our opinion:
All of these amenities come with a little bit of cost, however, and it’s not quite big enough for some of the largest breeds around. But, if your dog fits… you’re in good hands.

4.9 Stars

  • Raised lip
  • Multiple colors
  • Non-skid bottom
  • Thick enough for support

  • Pricey
  • Pad holds odors

Breeds at High Risk

Some breeds of dog are just at higher risk of overheating in warmer climates than one might think. Many dogs possess a double coat which can increase their chances of overheating and dehydration during the warmer months.

For these types of dogs, this might not just be a matter of comfort but instead one of vital importance to their safety.

While everyone knows that their dark colored husky probably shouldn’t be lounging without shade in summertime Arizona, you’d be surprised at what some of the breeds which overheat the most are.

These include some of the following:

  • Pugs
  • Bulldogs
  • Pekinese
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxers
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

While some of these have obvious features which lend them to overheating, we’d be willing to bet others will surprise you. In particular, bulldog and boxer type dogs are at high risk due to some of the problems with the breed.

If your dog doesn’t fall on the above list, then some of the things to look out for when considering a heating pad are:

  • Dark coloration
  • Short noses
  • Thick fur

Keep in mind this isn’t a “conclusive” list, as all dogs can suffer heat stroke to some extent when the temperature gets soaring. It does mean, however, that some of the dogs which many of us thought were less at need for dog cooling mats than usual are actually more at need.

Keep your dog safe, heat stroke is no laughing matter and it can happen in many more climates than you’d normally think.

Other Ways to Cool Your Dog Off

Of course, a dog cooling mat isn’t the only way to make sure that your dog stays safe during the hottest months of the year.

The best way to avoid heat stroke is, of course, to avoid activities during the hottest parts of the day. The breeds we mentioned above are particularly prone to getting hurt during play activities when the sun is at its peak.

Always leave your dog with plenty of shade and water when you’re not around. Even if they’re messy drinkers, fill them to the brim no matter what the consequences might be. Fido might make a mess, but put a towel under their bowl when you’re not around. Adding ice cubes in particularly rough climates might not be a bad idea either.

Fans are another particularly good way to keep them cool when you’re not around.

If you are around and it’s clear your dog is suffering with no activity taking place, try using wetted towels. Many dog owners swear by them and you’ll find that a wetted towel can cool down even the thickest furred dog in almost any climate.

Refrigerating the towel after wetting can be an even better idea if they’re not in dire need already.

Above all, keep your furry family members safe when the mercury gets high. You’ll be glad for it in the end.

Conclusion

Dog cooling mats are a great idea to help with your dog’s comfort. Don’t rely on them as a last ditch effort, of course, but as an aid to some of the other methods, we described they can be absolutely invaluable. Even if your dog isn’t at risk, shouldn’t you give their comfort some thought during those hotter months of summer though? Pick one up, you’ll never regret it.

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