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Beat The Heat: Your Guide To The Best Dog Cooling Vests For Hiking

Pawdrick at the crag with his cooling vest on laying on dog bed

There’s nothing quite like hitting the trail with your furry best friend by your side. The fresh air, the beautiful scenery, and of course, the shared excitement with your four-legged companion make every hike a memorable adventure.

But as we bask in the glory of the great outdoors and the warm weather, it’s important to remember that our canine pals may not handle the heat as well as we do.

That’s where dog cooling vests come into play.

Picture this: it’s a sweltering summer day, you’re in the middle of a hike, and while you’re sweating buckets, your pup is panting heavily. That’s because dogs don’t sweat like we do—they cool down by panting. But sometimes, panting isn’t enough, especially during hot weather hikes.

A dog cooling vest is designed to help your pooch stay cool and comfortable, even on the hottest summer days.

In this article, we’ll discover the best dog cooling vests for hiking. We’ll explore why they’re a must-have for any dog owner who loves to hike, how to choose the right one for your furry friend, and even review some of the top options available in the market today. Trust us, your dog will thank you!

Check out our article on what to bring on a hike with your dog for a list of other items to keep your pup happy and healthy on your hike!

So, leash up your pup, grab your hiking boots, and let’s get started. There’s a lot to learn and even more trails to conquer!

This post includes affiliate links, but rest assured that we only recommend items we would use ourselves. And if you choose to make a purchase, we receive a small commission. No sponsorships, just the truth about our favorite finds.

What is a Dog Cooling Vest?

Ever found yourself on a sunny uphill trek, wishing you could share your ice-cold water bottle with your panting pup? Enter the dog cooling vest – your furry friend’s ultimate summer hiking gear.

So, what’s a dog cooling vest? Picture your favorite moisture-wicking workout shirt. Now, imagine that technology tailored for your four-legged hiking buddy. A dog cooling vest is a wearable piece of tech designed to help your pup beat the heat.

A cooling dog vest works using something called evaporative cooling technology. You soak the vest in cool water, wring it out, and put it on your pup. The middle layer absorbs water, the inner mesh layer stays dry to keep your dog comfortable, and the outer layer is wicking and helps reflect the sun.

Other options include adding ice packs to the vest or filling it with water, but the concept is the same!

As the water evaporates from the material, it draws heat away from your dog’s body, helping to lower its body temperature. It’s like giving your dog its very own personal air conditioner – pretty cool, right?

Benefits Of A Dog Cooling Vest

Now, you might be wondering why dogs need their own cooling device. Even the best-informed pet owners don’t know this, but while humans can sweat from nearly everywhere to cool down, our canine companions can only pant or sweat a little through their paw pads.

This means they can have a more challenging time handling high temperatures, especially during strenuous activities like hiking.

The benefits of a dog cooling vest are substantial. It keeps your pup at a comfortable temperature during your summer adventures. It prevents overheating and reduces the risk of heatstroke – a serious concern for dogs in hot weather.

Plus, a cooler dog means a more energetic companion ready to explore every nook and cranny of the great outdoors with you!

So next time you’re packing your hiking gear, remember to include a dog cooling vest. It’s a simple, effective way to ensure your adventure buddy stays safe and comfortable, no matter how high the mercury rises. After all, the trail is always better when you’re both having fun!

Why Your Adventure Buddy Needs a Cooling Vest

Best dog cooling vests for hiking

If you’re an avid hiker, you know the importance of staying hydrated and cool on the trail. But what about your four-legged companion? Like us, dogs can also feel the heat; sometimes, their cute little panting might not be enough to keep them cool.

Dogs are just as prone to overheating as we are, if not more so.

  • Fur: They wear a fur coat all year round. While their undercoat helps keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer, sometimes it’s not enough.
  • Panting: Dogs don’t sweat like we do. Instead, they pant to help evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. However, on hot days or during intense exercise like hiking, panting may not be enough to keep their body temperature in check.

Next, let’s go over some of the signs of overheating so you can make sure your furry companion is safely handling the heat.

The Dangers of Overheating In Dogs

It’s not just about your pooch feeling uncomfortably hot. Overheating can lead to heatstroke, a condition that can make your dog feel really under the weather.

But don’t worry. With a cooling vest and some careful observation, you can ensure your pup stays cool and safe. Here are a few signs to watch out for:

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing: If your dog is panting heavily even after rest, it might be a sign that they’re finding it hard to cool down.
  • Increased heart rate: This is another sign that your pup’s body is working overtime to try and cool down.
  • Drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea: These are signs of distress and could indicate that your dog needs to cool down ASAP.
  • Weakness or collapse: If your dog seems unusually sluggish or stumbles, they may be overheated.

A Cool Solution for Hot Trails

So, what’s the best way to prevent your pup from overheating while conquering those summer trails? Enter the dog cooling vest. These vests use the evaporative cooling method to draw heat away from your dog’s body, helping them stay comfortable even on the hottest hikes.

Plus, they’re easy to use – soak the vest in cool water, wring it out, and voila! Your dog gets their very own personal air conditioner.

In our next section, we’ll look at choosing the perfect cooling vest for your furry friend.

How to Choose the Right Cooling Vest for Your Dog

Cooling vests are a fantastic way to keep your pup cool during those hot summer hikes. But how do you pick the perfect cooling vest for your beloved companion? Let’s delve into it!

Different Dogs Need Different Cooling Vests

Firstly, consider your dog’s size, breed, weight, and coat type. Larger breeds or dogs with thicker coats may need a more robust cooling system than smaller breeds or those with short hair.

Similarly, an active breed may require a sturdier vest than a less energetic one. You know your dog better than anyone, so choose a cooling vest that fits their energy level, size, and needs.

Cooling Vest Vs. Cooling Harness

When you search for a dog cooling vest, you may be surprised to see dog cooling harnesses as well. So, what’s the difference?

A harness is primarily used for control and safety during walks, while a cooling vest is designed to keep your dog cool. Some cooling vests even double up as harnesses.

Cooling harnesses are an excellent choice for dogs that pull on the leash or get a little too excited around other people or dogs. It keeps them cool while giving you complete control of your furry friend so you can keep them safe.

If you’re unsure how to hike with your dog on hot days, give our article a look on how to hike and rock climb with your pets. We give you the low-down on handling every situation while hiking with your fuzzy pal – cats included!

How To Size Your Dog For A Cooling Vest

Now, you’ve decided to get a cooling vest for your dog, but how do you ensure it fits perfectly? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Measure the Chest: Wrap a flexible tape measure around the widest part of your dog’s chest. This is usually right behind their front legs.
  2. Measure the Length: Start at the base of the neck and measure along the spine to the base of the tail.
  3. Measure the Neck: Measure around the thickest part of your dog’s neck.

Use these measurements and the sizing guide for your chosen vest to get the correct size for your pup. Remember, the vest should fit snugly but not too tight – you should be able to fit two fingers between the vest and your dog’s body.

Armed with these measurements and tips, you can choose the perfect cooling vest for your adventure buddy!

Top Dog Cooling Vests for Hiking

Onto the fun part – picking out a dog cooling vest! Below, we’ve listed some of the top dog cooling vests on the market. From Ruffwear to Chewy, we’ve got you covered.

Dog Cooling VestBest AttributesSizes AvailablePrice
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler VestLIght-colored to help reflect solar radiation. Side-release buckles for easy on/off. Abrasion-resistant for ultimate pet comfort.Chest: 13” – 42”$79.95
Kurgo Core Cooling VestCooling action is centered on dog’s core. Reflective. Two-way zipper for access to harness or collar.Chest: 19” – 45”Neck: 16” – 26”Back: 13” – 27”$58.95
Horay World Cooling VestUses ice packs instead of water to keep your dog dry and cool. Chest: 7.08” – 39.4”Neck: 8.27” – 31.5”$54.99
Chill Seeker Cooling Vest (also known as Canada Pooch)Interesting designs and colors available. Uses water-retaining fabric and mesh. Slit to attach leash.Back: 8” – 32”$18.45
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler HarnessSimilar to the Swamp cooler vest, but in a harness style. Has its own leash attachment point.Chest: 13” – 42”$69.95
Dry Cooling Dog VestNever wet. Stays cool for 1-3 days. Fill with water at the valve.Back: 10” – 36”Chest: 16” – 38”Neck: 14” – 26”$100 – $114, depending on size
happy dog in his cooling vest at the local crag

Some other things you should consider when choosing a dog cooling vest are whether or not it’s machine washable, where the leash attachment point is, and the different sizes available.

For our pup, we use the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Harness. We love not having to put an additional harness underneath the cooling vest. We also like that it has three adjustable buckle systems – this really helps with a 3-legged dog!

How to Use a Dog Cooling Vest

Let’s delve into the world of dog cooling vests – what they are, how they work, and how to choose the right one for your canine companion.

There are different types of cooling vests available, each with its own unique cooling mechanisms:

  1. Soak and Go Vests: These are designed to be soaked in cold water, wrung out, and then put on your pup. The water evaporates over time, providing a cooling effect.
  2. Ice Pack Vests: These come with pockets or compartments to insert ice packs. The melting ice provides a constant source of coolness.
  3. Water Valve Vests: These have a built-in valve where you fill the vest with water. The water slowly seeps out, providing a consistent cooling effect.

Now, let’s talk about how to use these vests effectively:

Step 1: Measure your dog correctly. This includes their chest, neck, and length to ensure a snug yet comfortable fit.

Step 2: Secure the vest correctly. Make sure it’s not too tight to cause discomfort or too loose that it could come off during your hike.

Step 3: Use the vest as intended. If it’s a soak-and-go vest, soak it in water before putting it on your dog. If it’s an ice pack vest, ensure the ice packs are frozen before your hike. For water valve vests, fill it up before you hit the trails.

Plan your hikes near bodies of water whenever possible to get the most out of your cooling vest. This way, you can easily re-wet the vest when needed. If that’s not an option, consider carrying extra water solely for this purpose.

Lastly, here are some safety tips for hiking with your dogs in hot weather:

  • Continuously monitor your dog for signs of overheating, such as heavy panting, lethargy, or excessive drooling.
  • Take frequent breaks in shaded areas.
  • Keep your dog hydrated by offering water frequently.

As adventurous pet parents, it’s our responsibility to ensure our furry friends are safe and comfortable during our outdoor escapades. So, gear up, prep that cooling vest, and let’s conquer those trails together.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Cooling Vests

Dog cooling vests aren’t a standard item you necessarily have to have for a dog. Because of this, there are a lot of unknowns and mysteries surrounding dog cooling vests.

In this section, we’ll answer some of your burning questions and dispel some of the common myths about these wonderful pieces of dog-cooling tech!

Who would benefit from using a cooling vest?

Any dog parent who loves taking their pooch on outdoor adventures, especially in the heat, can benefit from a cooling vest. It keeps your dog cool, comfortable, and safe during those sunny hikes or park visits.

How do cooling vests work?

Cooling vests use the science of evaporative cooling. You soak the vest in water, wring it out, and put it on your dog. As the water evaporates, it removes the heat from your dog’s body, keeping them cool.

For ice-pack vests, you simply freeze the ice packs. Before your hike, take the ice packs out of the freezer and insert them into the pockets or compartments on the vest to keep your pooch cool.

The last type of vest, a dry cooling vest, is filled with water at a valve on the vest. The water never actually touches your dog, so the vest stays dry. However, the water inside the vest remains cool, helping to keep your pup comfortable on hot days.

Are cooling vests good for dogs?

Absolutely! Cooling vests are safe for all dogs. However, it’s essential to choose the correct size and design that suits your dog’s breed and size. Ensure it’s not too tight to cause discomfort or too loose to slip off.

Do Dog Cooling Vests Work?

Studies such as the one reported in the Animals Journal found significant differences between dogs that wore no vest and those that wore cooling vests during and after exercise.

They looked at military working dogs using three scenarios:

  • Dogs with no vests
  • Dogs with ice-pack vests
  • Dogs with evaporative cooling vests

They found that the evaporative cooling vests worked best to keep the dogs cool during exercise and help cool them down afterward.

The difference between vest-wearing dogs and no-vest dogs was 0.62 degrees Celsius, which may not sound like a lot, but the vest’s point was to keep dogs at a neutral or cooler temperature instead of their temperatures increasing.

In this study, they used the Ruffwear swamp cooler vest!

Should you wet the vest before use?

Yes, most cooling vests need to be soaked in water before use. The water gradually evaporates, providing a cooling effect. Some vests also come with pockets to add ice packs for extra chill.

What is the cost and durability of a well-made cooling vest?

A good quality cooling vest can range from $20 to $100, depending on the brand and features. But remember, a higher price often means better durability and effectiveness. These vests are designed to withstand the rough and tumble of outdoor activities. With proper care, they can last several summers.

So, there you have it, folks! A handy guide to all your dog cooling vest queries. Remember, having fun with your pets outdoors is awesome, but their comfort and safety should always be a priority.

happy dog hiking on the trail

Trail’s End: Wrapping Up Our Best Dog Cooling Vests for Hiking

Alright, adventure buddies, we’ve reached the end of our trail today, but before we pack up and head home, let’s recap!

We’ve discussed how dog cooling vests are a game-changer for those hot summer hikes. They’re designed to keep your furry pals cool, comfortable, and safe, so they can enjoy the great outdoors just as much as you do.

Remember, it’s not just about keeping them comfy – it’s also about their health and safety.

Whether it’s a soak-and-go vest, an ice pack vest, or a water valve vest, these nifty items use the power of evaporative cooling to help your pup beat the heat. And the best part? They’re safe for all dogs, provided you choose the correct size and fit.

Regarding price and durability, you might have to shell out a bit more for a well-made vest, but believe us, it’s worth every penny for the comfort and safety of your four-legged friend.

So there you have it, fellow explorers – your ultimate guide to dog cooling vests. We hope you’re now ready to conquer those sunny trails with your cool, comfy canine companion by your side. And if you need to decide whether to take your furry pal on your hike, check out our article on the highs and lows of hiking with your dog!

But hey, the adventure doesn’t stop here! We’d love to hear about your own experiences. Have any of you tried these vests on your furry friends? Got any tips or tricks for hiking with dogs in hot weather? Share your stories in the comments below – let’s learn from each other and make every adventure a safe, fun-filled experience for our furry family members.

Until next time, keep exploring, stay safe, and remember – no adventure is too big when you’ve got your best friend by your side!

For more tips on hiking with your dog or cat, check out our hiking blog!


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