Mar 24, 2024
The 12 Best Dog Cooling Vests of 2023
Keep your pup cool with one of these top-rated picks Olivia is a writer and content creator that has written about a wide range of subjects, including health, beauty, relationships, culture, and
Keep your pup cool with one of these top-rated picks
Olivia is a writer and content creator that has written about a wide range of subjects, including health, beauty, relationships, culture, and music. When she's not working, you can find her perusing coffee shops, reading, or catching up on reality TV.
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People / Kristin Kempa
While you will inevitably sweat if you get overheated, your dog doesn’t have the same experience, and it's important to know how to tell if your dog is overheating. Dogs release and regulate their temperature through their mouths, nose, and paw pads, and they still need protection from the heat and sun like we do. A cooling vest is a great way to help them stay cool, especially if they’ll be doing outdoor exercise with you, like hiking or running.
We took to online retailers and scoured reviews by pet owners to put together a roundup of some of the best cooling vests on the market, whether you’ll be spending the summer camping, hanging by the pool, or exploring outside. It's important to note that sometimes it's just too hot and humid to do strenuous outdoor activities with your dog, and a cooling vest won't change that. Still, for everyday summertime fun, a cooling vest is a great way to ensure your dog stays comfortable.
Cooling vests can be an excellent tool in the summer months, but there are some things you should be aware of before you rely too much on them, according to Erin Askeland, MSc, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, an Animal Health and Behavior Expert for Camp Bow Wow. “Cooling vests may not be effective in extremely humid conditions where evaporation is limited,” she says, “If not used properly, cooling vests might [also] make the dog too cold, leading to shivering or discomfort.”
She also urges the importance of monitoring your dog’s behavior when they’re wearing a cooling vest; you are the one who truly knows what’s normal for them. If they show any discomfort or irritation, you should take the vest off and find another approach to keep them cool. And of course, cooling vests should not be a substitute for proper hydration or shade.
With this in mind, keep reading for the best dog cooling vests of 2023, according to pet owners.
Pet owners that want a good quality yet affordable cooling vest, and don’t know what specific qualities they need other than that.
If you want something in a certain color or with a lot of style options, this one only comes in one style and color.
We love this cooling vest by Rantzow because it manages to be lightweight but effective. If your dog isn't used to wearing anything more than a collar, they’ll still be able to keep this on without feeling uncomfortable or fighting and chewing it off. All you have to do is soak it in water, wring out the excess, and put it on your dog.
What’s unique about this cooling vest is the fact that it is designed in layers — the inner most works to absorb the water you submerge it in, while the outermost has UV-resisting technology that repels heat and allows for slow evaporation that will keep your dog from feeling weighed down. Both of these features work in tandem to prolong the amount of time it stays damp and subsequently keeps your dog’s temperature regulated.
Pet owners said they’re particularly impressed by how long this vest lasts — while many vests that work this way have the caveat of drying quickly, this one stays damp whether you’re on a neighborhood walk or a long hike. We also really appreciate the adjustable belly band for better sizing customization and the opening on the back for easy leash and collar access. These features come at a very reasonable price — even the largest size (XXXL!) is under $25. You truly cannot go wrong with this dog cooling vest if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for besides something that's of good quality and affordable.
Price at time of publish: $14.49 to $23.99
Material: Polyester | Colors: 1 | Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large, XXX-Large
This is a great option if you want a cooling vest that won’t break the bank, or you have a one-off outing where your dog will be exposed to hot temperatures and you want something that will give them relief.
This one isn’t ideal if you want something more sturdy, or you’re looking to make a long term purchase for regular use.
Although this cooling vest is lighter and on the cheaper side, it still does a great job of keeping your pet cool and comfortable. After getting it wet, some pet owners suggest putting it in the fridge for a few minutes to make its cooling properties last even longer, but it still stays relatively cool if you just get it damp.
The soft, self-cooling fabric is also stretchy and moves with your dog, so they won’t be constricted if they’re in the backyard playing or jumping in the pool. If you want a cooling shirt that’s still affordable (all sizes are under $15) you and your dog will love this one.
Price at time of publish: $11.99-$13.99
Material: Self-cooling fabric | Colors: 1 | Sizes: Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large
Regular adventurers who want a cooling vest they can use over and over.
If you’re working on a tight budget or don’t plan on using the vest much, this wouldn’t be a practical purchase for you.
Are you worried about finding a cooling vest that will last for the long haul? This cooling zip vest by Ruffwear won our vote for best investment because it’s a great choice for those of you looking for something that you can get years of use out of. Its three layers work together to retain cooling effects, while also releasing heat from the outside. The innermost layer, which is made of mesh, keeps it breathable so that your dog doesn’t feel bogged down. The oversized armholes allow maximum mobility so your dog can run and play without interruption.
One thing that really signals the high quality of this vest is the top-to-bottom zipper that allows for quickly taking it on and off. Pet owners love this vest for how long it stays damp and cool, and how easily it wicks off any mud or dirt that your furry friend will inevitably encounter in their adventures. Coming in at just under $60, this is a little more of a splurge — but if you are willing to spend, you’ll absolutely love it.
Price at time of publish: $59.95
Material: Spandex/Nylon/Polyester Blend | Colors: 3 | Sizes: XX-Small, X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
This one is great for dogs that don’t spend too much time outside, but need something light to stay cool on walks or potty breaks.
If your pet has a thick coat or spends significant time outside in high temperatures, they’ll probably need something more substantial.
This vest won our vote for best lightweight because it is equipped with a single cooling layer that will keep your dog comfortable without too much added weight. One thing we love about this vest is that it’s reversible — one side is a solid color, while the other side has an adorable star pattern that is revealed when it’s wet. As the water evaporates, the stars fade, which is an excellent way to track when you need to wet it again. This would be perfect for dogs who are primarily indoors but need something that will keep them cool on walks and bathroom breaks throughout the day.
Price at time of publish: $13.99-$31.99
Material: Self-Cooling Fabric | Colors: 5 | Sizes: XX-Small, X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large, XXX-Large, XXXX-Large, XXXXX-Large
This cooling vest is perfect for dog’s with thicker fur because of how easy it is to take on and off, and its generous coverage.
If your pet is smaller or has fine hair, this vest may be too bulky for them.
Cooling vests are especially helpful for dogs with thick coats that are already predisposed to struggling with heat regulation. Putting them in one during the summer months, especially if they’ll be going on long walks or playing outside, can help to keep them safe and comfortable.
This one, like most other cooling vests on the market, is activated by submerging it in water — the innermost layer concentrates the coolness from the water while slowly allowing the water to evaporate and release the heat along with it. We love this cooling vest by JOYPAWS for dogs with thick fur because it runs big, so it won’t be too tight on your pet. The easy-release buckle side enclosure also makes it easy to snap on and off, and it covers a significant amount of your pet’s back, evenly distributing the cooling properties across their body.
Price at time of publish: $19.99 to $29.99
Material: Multi-layer self-cooling fabric | Colors: 3 | Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
This is a great purchase for smaller dogs that you want to keep cool in the summer months.
If your dog is larger or has thicker fur, this vest may not keep them cold enough.
This vest is a great option for smaller pets because it has a snug fit. If you find that most garments you buy for your dog fit too loosely, you’ll appreciate that this has a snug fit that will keep the cold and moisture in and push the heat out. Little dogs don’t need much to cool off, so this lightweight and breathable material will provide just the right amount of cold to get them through summertime walks, hikes, or days.
Another bonus is that each pack comes with two, so while you’re using one, the other can be cooling off in the fridge for maximized benefit. Or, if it gets dirty after a day of play, you’ll have a clean one on hand. On this note, we really appreciate that the nylon/spandex blended fabric is machine-washable. Little dogs that sit closer to the ground tend to come into contact with lots of dirt when they’re outside, so this two-for-one purchase will definitely come in handy.
Price at time of publish: $17.39 to 20.69
Material: Nylon/Spandex Blend | Colors: 3 | Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large, XXX-Large
Owners of large dogs will love this vest for how easy it is to get on and off, and for how much coverage it has.
This vest doesn’t come in any small sizes, and if you’re looking for something with more styles and colors, opt for another pick on this list.
If your dog is on the larger side and you struggle to find coats and vests alike that properly fit them, this cooling vest by Smartelf is a great option. We love it for bigger dogs because of its excellent coverage and the easily accessed snap enclosures; they make taking the vest off and putting it on no-fuss.
This cooling vest is activated by submerging it in water, but if you’re worried about it drying up while you’re out, keeping a water bottle with you for touch-ups should keep it damp and cool. Although it only comes in one color and style, the orange shade boosts visibility, along with the reflective bands on the sides attached to the side enclosures.
Price at time of publish: $28.99
Material: Not listed | Colors: 1 | Sizes: Large, X-Large, XX-Large
This is a great option if you’re worried about your dog feeling uncomfortable in a bulky cooling vest, or if you want a more sleek and simple option that has subtle but effective features to maximize benefit and ease of use.
This cooling vest is on the pricier side, so it's not the best choice if you want something cheap.
So many features are packed into this sleek, minimalistic dog vest, which is why it won our vote for best design. If you want a high-quality, low-frills option, you’ll love the icy blue machine-washable fabric, which is designed to concentrate its cooling properties evenly across your dog’s core. What we loved most about this vest is how effective but lightweight it is, thanks to the breathable mesh innermost layer which keeps your dog from feeling weighed down by fabric — it keeps the evaporation of water steady so that it continuously wicks heat away. We also really liked the 2-way zipper on the back of the vest, which allows for easy access with a leash if they’re wearing a collar or harness underneath.
While it is on the pricier side, the amazing reviews from pet owners, coupled with the sleek and high-quality features, made it a no-brainer for us to have on this list.
Price at time of publish: $33.27-58.95
Material: Mesh, Polyester, Synthetic Fabric | Colors: 1 | Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
This is great for dogs who like to play extra hard or spend lots of time outside.
If your pet mostly spends time lounging by the pool or just briefly walking outside, this may not be a practical purchase.
The Popetpop dog cooling vest is perfect for adventurous dogs who like to play rough. We know it can be frustrating when you buy a sweater or toy for your pet, and they tear it to shreds within days. Pet owners celebrate this vest because of its high-quality feel and because of how long it lasts — you may be concerned about how long a cooling vest will stay damp in the heat, but its cooling effects last for hours, so your dog can enjoy playtime outside without overheating.
We also appreciate that it has a multi-layer cooling fabric: Cotton in the middle provides constant cooling, while mesh on the outside sends heat out and off of your dog. Something to note: Many pet owners reported that this vest does run a bit small, so while you should follow their measuring guidelines to be safe, sizing up may be a good idea.
Price at time of publish: $17.59-$21.39
Material: Polyester, Mesh, Cotton | Colors: 1 | Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
If you want increased visibility for your pet or take them on many night walks, you’ll appreciate the reflective features and bright-colored fabric.
Pet owners did note that this doesn’t stay wet and cold for very long, so if you want something for prolonged outdoor playtime, this may not be the best choice.
Do you take lots of nighttime summer walks with your dog, or have a wanderer that you need extra help keeping an eye on? This vest by Uiliko is a great option if you need something reflective with good visibility. It has triple-layer cooling technology that is activated when it gets wet and has UPF 50+ coverage so your dog can stay safe from the hot sun.
The neon rainbow fabric, coupled with the reflective detailing, will make it easy to spot your dog when you’re out and about adventuring. One thing pet owners did note is that while this does a good job cooling your pet down for short periods, it does dry up fairly quickly, so don’t plan on using it for long days or extended trips.
Price at time of publish: $22.99 to $36.99
Material: Polyester | Colors: 2 | Sizes: Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large
The ice packs provide excellent cooling support when you and your dog walk in the hot sun.
If you’re looking for something that will last for longer periods, this may not be the right fit as the ice packs will melt and weigh your dog down.
While most of the cooling vests on this list work by being submerged in water, this one actually comes with ice packs that you put into velcro inserts on the vest. This is the biggest reason why we think it’s best for going on walks — your dog will most likely be up close and personal with cement that reflects lots of heat. The ice packs provide intense and high-powered cooling effects that will keep your dog from overheating. The inside of the vest has sewn-in pockets for the ice pack inserts, and the vest itself has subtle design features that are ideal for being on the move, from accordion stitching that maximizes mobility to an opening on the back for easy access to a leash and collar.
This is on the pricier side so it may not be realistic for all budgets, but if you and your dog go on lots of walks (and your priority is keeping them cool in those times), you’ll certainly get your money’s worth.
Price at time of publish: $54.99-$89.99
Material: Mesh | Colors: 1 | Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
This is perfect for camping trips where durability, visibility, and prolonged cooling strength are an absolute must.
If you want something with more color or style options, this may not be the best choice as it only comes in two colors.
Do you have a big camping trip planned, but you’re worried about how your dog will fare in the heat? This Gorsbark cooling vest is a winner amongst pet owners for its durability — from the mesh lining to the buckle clasps and the seams; you can tell it’s high quality the minute you hold it in your hands.
One thing in particular that we appreciated about this vest, and one of the reasons it won our vote for campers, is because of the built-in leash hook. It feels sturdy and sewn into the vest well, so you don’t have to worry about it snapping and breaking. This is especially handy if you plan on having your dog tethered at your campground and are worried about them getting loose. Like most others on this list, this is activated by submerging it in water, but you can easily touch it up with water from a water bottle or a spigot on your campground.
Price at time of publish: $21.99-$27.99
Material: Mesh | Colors: 2 | Sizes: Small, Medium, X-Large
If you’re purchasing a cooling vest, you probably plan on spending time outside adventuring with your dog. They’ll probably come into contact with mud and dirt or be adventuring and playing extra rough, so durability is especially important when picking the right one for your dog. One way you can know that a vest is high quality is the type of enclosure it has — we love buckle enclosures because those tend to be stronger than velcro. Additionally, dirt and debris are more likely to get caught in velcro, so it looks and feels weaker faster. Our best investment pick, the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Dog Vest, takes it one step further and has a zipper enclosure so your dog will stay securely in their vest and dirt won't weaken the material.
If the vest's material doesn’t allow for proper evaporation and breathability, then its cooling properties are a complete waste. When looking at a vest’s product page, see what type of fabric it’s made with and if it explicitly has design features that keep this in mind. A mesh outer layer is often a good sign that the material is breathable and will allow excess moisture and heat to repel off your dog, like our top pick for small dogs, the Unipup Quick Dry Dog Shirt.
Much like how you’d shop for a coat, life jacket, or harness for your pet, it’s important that the cooling vest fits properly so your dog can stay cool and safe. Most retailers provide measurement guidelines on their website, so you should follow those instructions to make sure the specific vest you pick fits appropriately. But there are a few general rules of thumb you can follow when shopping online: “A good fit is indicated if you can comfortably slide two fingers between the life jacket and your dog's body,” says Askeland, adding that you should monitor their movements to make sure the vest doesn't limit their mobility.
While dogs regulate their temperature differently than humans, keeping their exterior cool can help keep them comfortable. “Cooling vests are beneficial in hot weather or during outdoor activities in high temperatures, helping to prevent heatstroke and dehydration in dogs,” Askeland says.
Dogs participating in intense physical activities, like hiking or running, can benefit from wearing cooling vests during the summer months. Aside from that, dogs that are more prone to overheating — like brachycephalic breeds, breeds with thick coats, and overweight or senior dogs can also benefit.
This largely comes down to what you’re looking for, so you should consider what kind of activities you’ll be doing with your pet. Generally, we’ve found that pet owners like the vests that you submerge in water — these ones do a good job of keeping your pet cool, and they stay fairly lightweight as they dry so you don’t have to worry about your dog inadvertently being overheated because of a heavy vest. They’re also great for on-the-go use — you can easily touch them up with water from a water bottle if necessary.
This roundup was written by Olivia Avitt, a freelance writer for PEOPLE who specializes in thorough, honest product reviews. For this roundup, she took to major retail websites for products based on consumer reviews, scouting dog cooling vests based on your needs as a pet owner — whether taking your dog camping, on short walks, or just hanging by the pool. She also consulted Erin Askeland, MSc, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, an Animal Health and Behavior Expert for Camp Bow Wow, for her tips on getting the most out of your cooling vest and using it responsibly.Price at time of publish: $14.49 to $23.99Material:Colors: Sizes: Price at time of publish: $11.99-$13.99Material:Colors: Sizes: Price at time of publish: $59.95Material:Colors: Sizes: Price at time of publish: $13.99-$31.99Material:Colors: Sizes: Price at time of publish: $19.99 to $29.99Material:Colors: Sizes: Price at time of publish: $17.39 to 20.69Material:Colors: Sizes: Price at time of publish: $28.99Material:Colors: Sizes: Price at time of publish: $33.27-58.95Material:Colors: Sizes: Price at time of publish: $17.59-$21.39Material:Colors: Sizes: Price at time of publish: $22.99 to $36.99Material:Colors: Sizes: Price at time of publish: $54.99-$89.99Material:Colors: Sizes: Price at time of publish: $21.99-$27.99Material:Colors:Sizes: