Evaporative Cooling Vests

Dan misting the dogs

Evaporative cooling vests & harnesses

Have you ever heard of evaporative cooling vests & harnesses? There’s a bunch available I especially like the Ruff-Wear Swamp Coolers. You see as the water evaporates like we sweat it can help cool them. But, humidity levels affect this process and can slow it or stop it or even work in reverse as it can trap the heat in the dog. There’s been some independent research done on this that confirms these results you can google for more of those tests and read other opinions. The underside (belly area) also another very effective area to cool them as their internal organs are located in that region. I spray them there also and if possible submerging their underside (like swimming) is extremely effective also. On some of my rigs I have built in misting fans that spray and fan the dogs as they run as the fan further helps with the evaporative cooling process. I have included some research my team did independently of my opinion so you can read below! 

Cooling Vests for Dogs: An Effective Solution for Beating the Heat?

Cooling Vests for Dogs Introduction

Understanding the Evaporative Cooling Process

How Cooling Vests Work

Do Cooling Vests Work for Dogs?

Heat Injuries in Dogs

What is Heat Stroke in Dogs, and How do you avoid it?


Cooling Vests for Dogs Introduction

As the summer temperatures rise, it's natural for us to find ways to keep ourselves cool and comfortable. But have you considered how our furry friends cope with the scorching heat?


Dogs, like humans, can also struggle with high temperatures, leading to discomfort and potential health risks. One popular solution gaining traction is the use of cooling vests.


In this article, we will explore how cooling vests work for dogs, specifically focusing on the evaporative process and whether they are effective in keeping our four-legged companions cool.


Understanding the Evaporative Cooling Process

Evaporative cooling is a normal, natural phenomenon occurring when water molecules absorb heat from their surroundings and convert from a liquid to a gaseous state. This phase transition absorbs heat energy, resulting in a cooling effect. Many dog cooling vests utilize this principle to help regulate their body temperature.


How Cooling Vests Work

Cooling vests for dogs are designed with special materials that can retain water and facilitate the evaporative cooling process. These vests typically consist of three layers:

  • An inner layer that absorbs water.
  • A middle layer that retains moisture.
  • An outer layer that helps with evaporation.


To use a cooling vest, pet owners need to soak it in water, making sure the inner layer is thoroughly wet. Excess water is usually wrung out to prevent excessive moisture. Once the dog wears the vest, the water within the vest starts to evaporate, drawing heat away from the dog's body and lowering their body temperature.


Do Cooling Vests Work for Dogs?

While cooling vests can relieve and help lower a dog's body temperature, their effectiveness may vary based on various factors. Here are some important considerations:


Breed and Fur Type: Some dog breeds are more susceptible to heat-related issues due to their thick fur or respiratory limitations. Cooling vests may be more beneficial for these breeds, as the evaporative process can cool their bodies and offer comfort.


Humidity Levels: Evaporative cooling is more effective in dry climates than humid ones. In areas with high humidity, the evaporation process slows, reducing the cooling effect. It's essential to take humidity levels into account when considering the use of cooling vests.


Proper Fit and Design: It is crucial to choose a cooling vest that fits your dog correctly. Ill-fitting vests may impede the evaporation process and reduce the overall effectiveness. Additionally, specific designs offer better coverage and cooling effects than others, so selecting the right vest for your dog's needs is essential.


Heat Injuries in Dogs

  1. Heatstroke: Heatstroke occurs when a dog's body temperature rises to dangerous levels, typically above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This could be life-threatening, needing immediate veterinary attention! Symptoms include excessive panting, drooling, red or pale gums, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and collapse.


  1. Burns: Dogs can sustain burns from walking on hot surfaces such as pavement or sand. Paw pads can easily get burned, resulting in pain, limping, blisters, or even peeling of the skin. Additionally, dogs can also suffer from thermal burns if they come in contact with hot objects or substances.


  1. Dehydration: Hot weather can cause dogs to become dehydrated, especially if they don't have sufficient access to water.


Signs of dehydration:

Dry gums, lethargy, loss of appetite, sunken eyes, and a lack of elasticity in the skin when gently pulled


  1. Paw pad injuries: Walking on hot surfaces for prolonged periods can lead to paw pad injuries, including blisters, burns, and abrasions. Dogs may show signs of discomfort, reluctance to walk or put weight on their paws, and licking or chewing at their affected paw pads.
  2. Sunburn: Dogs can suffer sunburns just like humans, especially in areas where fur is thin or absent. Dogs with light-colored coats, short hair, or areas with less hair coverage, such as the nose, ears, and belly, are more prone to sunburn. Symptoms may include red or inflamed skin, hair loss, and discomfort or pain.


The key is prevention when it comes to protecting dogs from heat injuries! Offering shade, access to fresh water, and avoiding hot surfaces during peak temperatures can help keep them safe and comfortable.


What is Heat Stroke in Dogs, and How do you avoid it?

Any heat stroke-related injury is a severe condition in dogs that occurs when a dog's body temperature rises to a dangerous level. It typically happens when dogs are exposed to high temperatures or extreme heat, especially when they don't have access to shade or water to cool down.


Common signs & symptoms of heat stroke in dogs include:

Excessive panting, drooling, rapid breathing, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, and even seizures


If you suspect that a dog may be experiencing heat stroke, it's crucial to take immediate action! Move the dog to a cool area, preferably with air conditioning or shade, and offer fresh water. You can also use cool (not cold) water to wet their coat or place cool, wet towels on their belly, armpits, and groin area to help lower their body temperature.


Generally speaking, if a pet's body temperature exceeds 103°F (39.4°C), it is considered abnormal or hyperthermic. Body temperatures above 106°F (41°F) without previous signs of illness are most commonly associated with exposure to excessive external or environmental heat and are often referred to as heat stroke.

Heat Stroke in Dogs | Camillus Animal Clinic Camillus, New York. https://camillusanimalclinic.com/2017/06/15/heat-stroke-in-dogs/


Remember that prevention is key to avoiding heat stroke. Always provide access to fresh water and shade, never leave your dog in a hot car, and be mindful of exercising them during the cooler parts of the day.


Certain dog breeds, such as brachycephalic breeds (e.g., Bulldogs, Pugs), older dogs, and those with underlying health conditions, are more susceptible to heat stroke and require extra attention in hot weather conditions.


Cooling Vests for Dogs: Summary

Cooling vests for dogs offer numerous benefits. Here are some key advantages:


  1. Temperature regulation: Cooling vests help dogs maintain a comfortable body temperature during hot weather, preventing overheating and heat-related illnesses.
  2. Heat stress prevention: They can significantly reduce the risk of heatstroke and heat exhaustion, particularly in breeds that are more prone to heat-related issues.
  3. Comfort and well-being: By keeping dogs cool, these vests contribute to their overall comfort and well-being, allowing them to enjoy outdoor activities even on hot days.
  4. Physical performance: Cooling vests can enhance a dog's physical performance by minimizing the negative effects of heat on their stamina, endurance, and recovery time.
  5. Safety during exercise: They are particularly useful during intense activities like running, hiking, or agility training. The vests help prevent rapid overheating, ensuring that the dog can exercise safely and comfortably.
  6. Versatility: Cooling vests are available in various sizes and designs, making them suitable for different breeds and body types. They are also adjustable, allowing a snug fit and maximum cooling effect.