Cooling Gear for Summer Adventures with Dogs

When you are active with your dog in the summer, it can be easy to unintentionally do the bare minimum to keep your canine buddy comfortable (i.e. always just having water available). When you do competitive sports with your dog — you quickly learn what is needed to keep him performing optimally! Miles is one of those dogs that shows his stress towards heat very quickly and clearly. Last year, we did a few summer agility trials, and was that ever a wake up call. Miles shut down completely due to the heat. It has taken me a long time to figure out what combination of things help keep Miles comfortable and able to do the activities we love in the summer. I’ve finally got a solid routine down, and I think our go-to gear list is useful for anyone who is active with their canine buddy.

Times when having good cooling gear available for your dog is important:

  • Road Trips
  • Picnics & BBQs
  • Backyard Parties
  • Hikes
  • Camping
  • Outdoor Sports
  • Dog Agility
  • RVs & Cabins
<b>Cooling Gear</b> for Summer Adventures with Dogs

Our Go-To List

There are a lot of products that are marketed towards keeping dogs cool, and many of them are pricey. After a lot of trial and error (literally, dang last summer’s expensive trial entries!), I now have a fail-proof go-to list of what I consider to be the most useful dog cooling gear. And surprise surprise, several items aren’t exclusively marketed towards dogs. In many cases, you can save money by buying carefully chosen, high quality general-use gear. Here are the top seven items I recommend using together to help keep a heat-sensative dog cool, safe, and most of all happy in the heat!

Battery-Powered Misting Fan

Me and Miles really like O2Cool‘s portable fans. Miles took to them immediately, and they have served us very well. This year, I decided to up the ante and try out their biggest portable fan, which also provides misting. Even though Miles hates water, I always find him resting against the misting area of this fan (video below). The misting setting is independent from the two fans, and can be set to work continuously or intermittently.

Mini Battery-Powered Fan

I have had this fan for a year, and I bring it along on every summer outing, including car rides. It is so versatile, and small enough to bring even if you might not be staying at an event long. You can hang it against your dog’s crate anywhere, or use it in the car for extra cooling power. This is especially useful if your dog is in a crate in the back of the vehicle, far from the A/C in the front. I have found that this fan works hard and uses minimal battery power. I also think that this fan is worth adding to any dog first aid kit, as I have used it when I had to keep Miles’ temperature down when he was sick, and we were away from home without A/C. At under $10, I think it is a great buy.

Aluminet Shade Cloth

Go to any summer dog agility event, and you will observe a sea of space-age-looking tarps covering just about everything. I held off for ages on buying my own. They aren’t exactly cheap, and they look gimmicky. But it turns out, these were designed for use in greenhouses, and they really do work. I recently bought three: Two small ones to use on Miles’ crate and/or x-pen, and a big one to clip to a tent. Tips: Look for 70% shade cloth (easiest place to buy the same kind I got is on Clean Run). To set up your shade cloth, have gear ties or rubber bands on hand, plus a few little clips (which you can get at a hardware or dollar store). Easily store and protect shade cloth when not in use by rolling it up and wrapping it up with a bit of saran-wrap.

Cooling Towels

There are lots of expensive dog crate cooling covers on the market. I say, forget buying extremely expensive covers for your dog’s crate! Instead, get a few top-of-the-line cooling towels (quantity depending on the size of your dog – Miles has two), soak them in water, and hang them over your dog’s x-pen or and/or crate. My favorite cooling towels are O2COOL’s ArctiCloth Sport Towels, which are affordable ($14 each), provide UV protection, are machine-washable, and shrink when dry to become ultra-compact. These are freezing cold even in scorching heat, and require nothing but water to activate. Tip: Direct a fan towards a cooling towel to circulate the chilly air evaporating off of the towel.

Cooling Pad

There are countless cooling pads available that are specially designed for dogs. I’ve found that brand doesn’t make much of a difference as far as cooling goes — they all work well, and the good ones don’t need to be frozen to provide a cool area for your dog to rest on. Like the cooling towels, you don’t have to limit yourself to buying an item that is specifically made for dogs. Our cooling pad (like our fans and towels) is made by O2COOL, and it is has more frills than the average cooling pad marketed towards dogs. Tip: I like to freeze ours the night before, keep it in our cooler to keep our snacks and lunch cold (in the place of heavy ice cubes or packs, this pad can keep the contents of a medium cooler fridge-level cold for 8+ hours), and then I let Miles sleep on it on in the car on the way home. I like to pack light where possible, and this routine is serving us very well. Note: This cooling pad does not need to be frozen to provide a cool surface for your dog.

Cooling Jacket

When you are in the actual activity of your event, or just outside on a walk, a cooling jacket for your dog is wonderful in hot weather. Especially if you are hoping for a heat-sensative dog to do a sport like agility! My friends dogs and Miles all love their Chillybuddy cooling jackets (like the shade cloth, they are available on Clean Run). This jacket can be worn dry, or soaked in water to up the cooling power. I start Miles out wearing the jacket dry in the morning, and then soak it every few hours when the weather heats up. Proof the jacket works? The second I take it off Miles, he begins to pant. When we are competing in agility, Miles has run “naked,” so I wait until the absolute last second at the gate to take it off, and throw it back on the second we are out of the ring. Tip: if it is extremely hot out, have your dog wear his cooling jacket while resting. The fan blowing on the cooling jacket will provide significant cooling, especially if the jacket has been soaked in water. I am actually careful about doing this unless I am nearby because I don’t want Miles to get too cold!

Stainless Steel Dog Water Bucket

I always travel with a stainless steel dog water bucket. They are compact and sturdy yet fit a lot of water (which also makes them nice and heavy once filled — and difficult to accidentally knock over), so you never have to worry about your dog being without water. They also fit my “pack handy, pack light” motto, because they are useful for many side tasks. Tip: Soak your cooling towels and dog cooling jacket in the bucket while you are setting up your dog’s resting area. Once everything is set up, hang the towels, put the cooling jacket on your pooch or hang nearby, empty the bucket, and re-fill it with fresh drinking water for your dog.
<b>Cooling Gear</b> for Summer Adventures with Dogs

{ Miles’ cool hangout spot }

<b>Cooling Gear</b> for Summer Adventures with Dogs
<b>Cooling Gear</b> for Summer Adventures with Dogs
<b>Cooling Gear</b> for Summer Adventures with Dogs
{ Our misting fan in action }
<b>Cooling Gear</b> for Summer Adventures with Dogs
{ Full view of Miles’ cool hangout spot for hot outdoor events:
A portable fan is inside blowing against the cooling towels to
circulate cool air, while shade cloth keeps the heat of the sun out.  }
<b>Cooling Gear</b> for Summer Adventures with Dogs
{  Miles in his cooling jacket waiting
for our turn to run an agility course. }
<b>Cooling Gear</b> for Summer Adventures with Dogs
{  A car ride home fit for a hard-working canine athlete!
A/C + cooling towels, cooling pad, and mini fan.
Miles can sleep instead of staying awake panting! }
<b>Cooling Gear</b> for Summer Adventures with Dogs
<b>Cooling Gear</b> for Summer Adventures with Dogs
{ Our cooling gear will be hard at work the next few
months! What sort of summer adventures do you
have planned with your canine buddy this year?  }

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