Best Cooling Pads for Dogs

Updated November 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

15 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
150 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best cooling pads for dogs

Last Updated November 2019

Hot weather can be unpleasant for dogs. If the heat is extreme enough, it can even be dangerous. Cooling pads for dogs, which are made of cool materials that absorb body heat from your four-legged friend, can help your pooch regulate her body temperature and generally feel more comfortable on a hot day.

But before you buy, you'll need to decide what type of cooling method you think your pooch will prefer — a squishy gel cooling pad, a water cooling pad, or a chilly ice cooling pad. It's also important to consider the size of each cooling pad so that you buy one that's large enough to accommodate your dog. As for the outer material, it should be sturdy yet comfortable and preferably come with a nonslip base.

Read on for our full buying guide, which will tell you all you need to know about cooling pads for dogs. You can also check out our list of top picks.

Dog cooling pads work via heat transfer — the cool surface of the mat absorbs body heat from your hot dog.

Key considerations

Cooling method

Gel cooling pads are the most common type of cooling pad for dogs. These pads use a special type of pressure-sensitive gel that produces a cooling effect when your dog lies on it. Gel pads don't require refrigeration or any type of power source, so they're extremely low maintenance and need no preparation.

Water cooling pads need to be filled with chilled water to cool off your pup. These require access to a cold tap, but they don't need much forethought so are ready to use when you need them.

Ice cooling pads need to go in the freezer (or have a freezable insert that does) before you can use them, which means you need to plan ahead. They can also be too cold when they first come out of the freezer. You may need to put a towel or doggie blanket between the pad and your pooch, so she doesn't get too cold.

Consistent quality

The Green Pet Shop Dog Cooling Mat is the original gel dog cooling mat that all similar models are based on — so why not go straight to the source? Although it's a bit pricier than some options, the high quality makes it worth the extra cash. With five size options, there's a mat for every pooch, from the tiniest toy dog to giant breeds.

Size

Choose a canine cooling pad of an appropriate size to fit your dog. The best brands usually offer cooling pads in a range of sizes, but some are one size only, which may or may not fit your dog. Some manufacturers list the approximate weight of the dog that's suited to each size pad, but this is just an approximation — so if your dog is tall but slender or short but stocky, these size guides will be inaccurate. Alternatively, look at the dimensions of each cooling pad and compare them to the size of your dog. Remember, a too-large cooling pad is always preferable to one that's too small.

Ease of cleaning

Consider how easy your chosen cooling pad is to clean, as you don't want it to get stinky and have no way of thoroughly washing it. Some are made from nonporous wipe-clean materials that don't absorb odors and can simply be washed down with a damp cloth. If your chosen model can't be wiped clean, we'd recommend picking one with a machine-washable cover

CAUTION

If your dog is showing signs of heat stroke, she'll need more than just a cooling pad to bring her temperature down. Wrap her in cool wet towels and take her to the nearest veterinary clinic immediately.

Features

Nonslip base

Cooling pads for dogs without a nonslip base may slide around on hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors, particularly when your dog lies down and gets up. Unless you have carpet throughout your home, a nonslip base is ideal.

Color

Since it might spend a few months in your living room, it's best to choose a dog cooling pad that goes with your décor or has a fairly neutral, inoffensive color or pattern.

Cooling time

Precisely how long will the cooling pad keep your dog comfortable for? The majority list a cooling time of between two and four hours, but this can vary depending on external factors.

Unfortunately, cooling pads aren't suitable for dogs who are destructive chewers. A cooling vest might be a better option, as they can't be chewed while on a dog's body.

Cooling pads for dogs prices

Inexpensive: Basic cooling pads for dogs can cost as little as $5 to $20. Unfortunately, the cheapest models aren't always durable or reliable. Some cooling pads start leaking gel or water within just a few days of use.

Mid-range: For $20 to $40, you can find canine cooling pads that are fairly sturdy and are great for occasional use or for smaller dogs.

Expensive: High-end cooling pads for dogs cost roughly $40 to $80. This includes the largest and the most durable models.

EXPERT TIP

Dog cooling pads that can easily be rolled or folded are more easily portable for on-the-go use.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Check whether your chosen canine cooling pad has any specific storage instructions. Some can't be folded to avoid splitting the vinyl and causing gel or water to leak. Others might need to be kept in cool spots, out of direct sunlight.
  • Only buy cooling pads for dogs that are made from nontoxic materials. In an ideal world, your dog won't attempt to chew her cooling pad, but if she does, or if there's a split and the contents leak out, you should be safe in the knowledge that it doesn't contain any materials that could harm your four-legged friend.
  • Think about how often your dog will use her cooling pad. If you live in a warm climate, it might be useful eight or nine months out of the year, while people in cooler climes might only get a few months of use each year. Those who'll be using it more often should spend extra on a highly durable model.
  • Don't force your dog to use her new cooling pad. Some dogs love their cooling pad right away, some need a bit of time to get used to it, and others won't be interested at all. If your dog doesn't want to lie on the cooling pad, don't attempt to force it.

Go with the flow

Rather than absorbing heat, like the majority of cooling pads for dogs, the ALL FOR PAWS Pet Cool Mat helps cool your canine companion by allowing airflow underneath him. It's not quite as effective as some options, but it is a cooler place for your dog to rest than a standard pet bed or a couch. As it's available in only one size, it's best for small or medium dogs. 

Other products we considered

The Coleman Comfort Cooling Gel Pet Pad is a medium-size gel cooling pad. The segmented design means it can be folded without damaging the outer material or causing leaks. It stays around five to 10 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature with no need for power or refrigeration. Another great gel option is the Rau De Pet Comfortable Extra-Large Cooling Mat. Measuring a respectable 32 x 38 inches, it's perfect for keeping large dogs cool or for multiple small dogs. Although it strays a little from the realm of cooling pads, we also love the Best Pet Supplies Cooling Pet Bed. The padded sides provide comfort, while the gel insert turns it into a cool spot for a nap.

You can also find some dog beds with integrated cooling pads, providing a cool, comfortable place for your pooch to sleep in hot weather.

FAQ

Q. Why is the heat such a big problem for dogs?
A.
It's difficult for dogs to regulate their own temperature when they get too hot, as they can't sweat to cool off in the same way that humans do. Instead, panting is their main self-cooling mechanism, but it actually isn't a particularly effective method of reducing body temperature. Heat stroke in dogs is often fatal, which is why it's important not to allow your dog to overheat in hot weather. A cooling pad can help your four-legged friend cool down her core temperature, however, which is why we'd highly recommend all dog owners have one.

Q. Can cooling pads for dogs be used both indoors and outdoors?
A.
Yes, the vast majority of dog cooling pads are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. However, when used outside, the cooling effect will be shorter, especially in direct sun. On exceptionally hot days, we wouldn't recommend letting your dog spend too much time outside, even with a cooling pad to help keep her cool. A shaded or air-conditioned room will be much cooler and more comfortable for her.

Q. How will I know when my dog cooling pad is ready to use?
A.
Water cooling pads only need to be filled with cold water before using them, and ice cooling pads simply need to spend time in the freezer first. However, gel cooling pads are a little trickier to gauge, but it's still fairly simple. It takes about 10 to 20 minutes for a gel pad to "recharge" once it's exhausted its cooling capabilities and your dog has moved from it. After this time, it should have radiated the absorbed heat back into your surroundings and will be ready to cool down your pooch again.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey