Dog Cooling Mats: What are they and are they worth it?

Unlike us humans, dogs actually don’t sweat through their skin. They actually sweat through their paws but mostly rely on panting to cool themselves. Dog Cooling mats may be a great investment to keep your precious pooch warm in those scorching Aussie summers. Although dogs do pant it isn’t actually effective so these poor darlings have to sit and suffer in the heat. In this article, we’ll be explaining what a dog cooling mat is (a surprising amount of people don’t know - not going to lie, I was one of them before this article) and if they are really effective.

Dog Cooling Mats: What are they and are they worth it?

What Is A Dog Cooling Mat?

Do you remember when you were a kid, you used to lie on your tiles (inside your home) to keep cool in the summer months - nobody? Just me? Ok. Well dogs do a similar thing. A Dog Cooling Mat provides the same comfortability that tiles do as they keep your dog fresh and cool. Interestingly, although cooling mats were all made with the same intent - to keep your dog cool, there are different types.

What is Inside Pet Cooling Mats?

So I know what you’re thinking. “Tony what is this a Dog Cool Mat made out of? What is inside it?” Well I’ll tell you. This really varies on the type of cooling mat that you purchase. Some are just as simple as filling the inside with tap water before every use and others have special chemicals (like those ice packs that they used to give you at school). Although the chemical ones stay cooler for longer, if the mat does break, your dog could ingest these toxic chemicals, resulting in injury or death. Here are some more differences:

Water Filled Mats

This is the safest option when buying a dog cooling mat. All you need to do is fill these bad boys up with cold tap water. They are also very affordable and will stay cold for up to 7 hours. They can make a mess if your dog is a chewer

Ice Pack Cooling Pads

There are cooling pads on the market that actually come with ice packs that you might need to put in the freezer overnight before inserting and giving to your dog. Although this may seem like the coolest option (see what I did there?), some dogs actually find them uncomfortable.

Pressure Activated Cooling Pads or Gel Cooling Pads

These cooling mats don’t need electricity or water but rather absorb the dog’s temperature and cools it down. It is activated when it feels the weight of your dog and will recharge itself after a period of non use - bet your Tesla can’t do that Elon Musk!. You also want to look for a cooling pad that doesn’t use toxic gel. You’re able to freeze or refrigerate them. If you do decide to purchase the pressure activated cooling pads, don’t use them in the sun as this will destroy them.

Phase Changing Cooling Pads For Dogs

Spoiler Alert: These stay coolest for longest. This type of cooling mat is filled with a unique chemical substance and works by going from a solid state to a liquid state, absorbing heat throughout the process (Year 10 Science Anyone?)

How Do You Use A Dog Cooling Mat?

So you’ve bought the cooling mat but now need to figure out how to use it?. Well unlike that table you bought from Ikea that’s now sitting in your garage unassembled because you gave up, it is really easy to use. All your dog needs to do is lie on it. Now because this is a new object, dogs may be a little hesitant and not know what to do with this cooling mat, its would be best to try and make the experience a little more interesting and interactive. I suggest placing toys or treat on the mat and getting your dog to pick them up. You can even praise your dog and give them a treat every time they lie down on the mat. You’ll find that once your dog lies on the mat a couple of times, he or she will start doing it any time they feel hot or uncomfortable.

Can You Put Your Dog's Cooling Mat in the Fridge?

This isn’t a necessary procedure however, if you’d like to make the mat colder quicker then yes you absolutely may.

Are Dog Cooling Mats Safe?

Dog Cooling Mats are a safe, effective and efficient way to keep your furbaby cool on those hot summer days. In most situations, cooling mats are safe however due to our fur friend’s need to chew everything, everything can be dangerous. As noted, some of the cooling mats mentioned do have hazardous gels inside. It is best to monitor your dog's behaviour on and around the mat before leaving him or her alone. You can also consult your vet or a dog trainer.

Are Dog Cooling Mats Toxic?

If the mat’s seals aren’t broken or damaged so that the liquid inside can’t come out, no they are not toxic. However, if the mat is chewed or damaged by your dog this may lead to your dog ingesting the chemicals inside and potentially dieing.

Are Dog Cooling Mats Safe for Humans?

Absolutely! I would even recommend getting one for yourself and lying on it on hot days. You can even buy two, one for you and one for your dog and set them up next to each other so you both can chill (literally). When first getting your dog a cooling mat, you can lie down on it first to show him or her that it is perfectly safe.

How Can I Keep My Dog Cool at Night?

Who else hates humid nights? The Dog Cooling mat is a great way of keeping your dog cool as a cucumber at night. But. This is only if you trust them with the mat. If your dog has a habit of chewing items maybe it's best you lay off the mat for a while. Try other methods like a wet blanket or towel at night. You can even freeze water bottles that are filled with water and wrap them in a towel to put next to your dog. Also remember to keep your dog’s water bowl filled.

Do Fans Work?

The white noise provided from the fan may relax your dog as it may block out outside noises like cars passing or people talking, but it isn’t effective. Remember, fans don’t cool air they work through convection and sweat evaporation. This is great for us but bad for your dogs as, as noted, dog’s don’t sweat.

So, Are Dog Cooling Mats Worth Your Money?

This ultimately depends on how receptive your dog is of the mat. As noted, you can place treats and toys on the mat but it really comes down to your dog. I personally would invest in one. Think of it this way, if worse comes to worse you can use it for yourself. If you don’t want to use it, you can always donate it to the local pet shelter.