Dogs don’t sweat very much, and they wear a fur coat everywhere they go, so it can be difficult for them to stay comfortable when the thermometer climbs sky-high.
Fortunately, there is a solution: You can give your dog a cooling bed or mat, which will provide your pup with the laying-on-the-cool-kitchen-floor effect that most dogs love.
Below, we’ve retrieved the best cooling dog beds for pups big and small, plus have a few more tips for keeping your canine cool.
In a hurry? Jump down to our product recommendations!
How Do Cooling Beds Work?
Most cooling beds actually work via the same principle that the aforementioned kitchen floor does: Heat always tries to reach equilibrium in a given area.
When you put a cold glass of water in your hand, the heat moves from your hand into the cup until they both reach the same temperature.
Similarly, because the kitchen floor is cooler than your dog is, heat will flow from your dog’s body into the floor until they both reach the same temperature.
This is when your dog gets up and moves somewhere else.
The exact same thing happens when your dog lays on a cooling mat.
The mat is cooler than your dog’s body, so it pulls heat from his body and cools him off.
Your dog’s breathing also pumps heat into the air anytime the temperature is below about 103 or so, but conductive heat loss (such as occurs with direct contact) works more quickly.
Most cooling mats accomplish the same thing in one of two ways: They are either filled with water or a special heat-absorbing gel.
When your dog lays on the mat, his body warms up the gel, which drops his internal temperature a bit. Eventually, the mat will heat up, and your dog will go lay somewhere else.
When this happens, the heat flows out of the bed and into the floor and air, thereby “recharging” it.
Both water and these gels are very efficient materials for absorbing heat, but because it usually takes a good bit of water to match the cooling power of the gel, gel-based cooling mats tend to be much smaller.
Typically, when people talk about a cooling dog bed, they mean one of the water- or gel-filled beds we discuss above.
However, there is another type of bed that can help cool your dog off: an elevated pet bed.
These cot-style pet beds don’t contain any gel or water. Instead, they’re essentially comprised of a metal or PVC frame with a piece of mesh fabric connected to the top (some also feature bolsters or pillows, like the one pictured above).
These beds allow air to flow underneath your dog, which helps to cool him off.
Which one is best? Well, that depends on your dog.
On one hand, elevated dog beds are often more comfortable than the gel-filled variety. They can actually be great for dogs with hip or joint issues, and they’re also easy to clean. For that matter, you can use them indoors or outdoors (you can even place them in your dog’s kennel).
But on the other hand, some dogs find elevated dog beds frightening and refuse to use them (one of my own dogs feels this way about elevated beds).
We’ll share examples of both styles below, and you can just select the one you think will suit your pupper best.
Best Cooling Beds for Dogs
There are a number of cooling beds on the market, but they vary greatly in terms of quality, cooling efficiency, and price. Our picks for the best cooling dog beds are detailed below.
1. The Green Pet Shop Cooling Pad
An easy-to-use, convenient cooling mat for pets available in a range of sizes for dogs big and small.
About: The Green Pet Shop Cooling Pad is a pressure-activated cooling pad that relies on a patented, self-cooling technology to help your fur baby chill out on hot summer days. This pad provides about 3 to 4 hours of cooling time, beginning when your pet lays down on it, making it perfect for after nap time.
- Non-toxic gel-filled pad requires no electricity or water
- Recharges after 15 to 20 minutes of non-use
- Machine washable (tumble dry on low heat)
- Available in five different sizes
- X-Small (15.7″ x 11.8″)
- Small (19.7″ x 15.7″)
- Medium (30″ x 20″)
- Large (35″ x 23.6″)
- X-Large (43.3″ x 27.5″)
- Most pup parents report dogs seem to love the bed
- Easy to use and transport (perfect for on-the-go adventures!)
- Recharges fast for keeping canines cool continuously
- Not a good pick for bed chewers
- Some pet parents noted creasing over time, affecting canine comfort
K9 of Mine founder Meg here! My dog Remy and I got to test out this cooling mat ourselves, and we’d love to tell you how our trial went.
Remy overheats really easily. Even on a comfortable day, most of our walks end up with him spread across the floor.
I knew I wanted something to help keep him cool, especially when we are in Austin, TX and the temperatures get pretty toasty.
At first, it took a bit of convincing to get Remy to sit on this new, strange mat. But once he discovered how cool and comfortable it felt to lie on, he became a big fan!
We’re definitly fans of this mat, so give it a try if you have an overheating pooch like I do!
2. Arf Pets Self-Cooling Mat
This cooling mat reduces doggo body heat with cooling gel and comes in larger sizes for big barkers, too.
About: The Arf Pets Self-Cooling Mat is a premium cooling pad that works via a pressure-activated gel contained inside the mat to reduce excess body heat. Designed to be a super-durable option for dogs, this pad features a puncture-resistant nylon cover that is easy to clean and will last for years.
- Provides up to 3 hours of cooling comfort
- Cools back down after about 15 minutes of non-use
- Made with non-toxic and environmentally friendly materials
- Cleans easily with a little soap and warm water
- 19″ x 35″
- 31″ x 37″
- Large surface allows pups to sprawl out
- Most doggos seem to love laying on the mat
- Several owners report the bed worked great for a year or longer
- Some owners found the bed wasn’t super durable
- Material can get hot if placed in direct sunlight
3. K&H Pet Products Cool Bed III
With the largest option measuring 32 inches by 44 inches, this is a solid choice for king-sized canines.
About: Help your large doggo beat the summer heat with K&H Pet Products Cool Bed III, a gel-free mat made with strong nylon and vinyl for longevity. Just add water to the easy-fill valve, adjust the air, and let your doggo enjoy nap time with added cool factor.
- Can be used indoors or outdoors
- Water bed-like feel offers cushioning to reduce joint pain
- Automatically “recharges” when not in use
- Comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Small (17″ x 24″)
- Medium (22″ x 32″)
- Large (32″ x 44″)
- Largest size option offers enough space for most big doggos to lie comfortably
- Gel-free, non-toxic cooling mat
- Boasts a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects
- Shouldn’t be left in direct sunlight
- Not portable
4. Sealy Lux Cooling Gel Orthopedic Bed
Cushy orthopedic foam with a cooling layer makes this perfect for older pups and aching joints.
About: The Sealy Lux Cooling Gel Orthopedic Bed is a high-quality orthopedic dog bed with layers of comfortable memory foam to cushion achy joints, as well as a cooling energy gel that can help regulate your dog’s body temperature.
It also boasts a hidden zipper, a waterproof liner, and a removable, machine-washable cover for easier upkeep.
- Made with a combination of orthopedic foam, memory foam, and cooling gel
- Pro-Charcoal base absorbs odors for a better smell
- Machine washable and waterproof
- Non-slip bottom keeps the bed from sliding across hardwood floors
- Small (20″ x 25″ x 5.5″)
- Medium (28″ x 36″ x 7″)
- Large (32″ x 42″ x 8″)
- Quality earned a round of a-paws from pet parents
- Comfort is a win, as this bed offers the support of memory foam with cooling gel for beating the heat
- Machine-washable cover and inner liner are great for easy cleaning
- Some pups might like taller side bolsters
- On the pricier side
5. Veehoo Cooling Elevated Dog Bed
An elevated cot-style bed that allows continuous airflow underneath pups, preventing body heat from building up.
About: Take nap time to new heights with Veehoo Cooling Elevated Dog Bed, a raised platform-style sleeper featuring a chew-resistant, powder-coated steel frame and a breathable textilene mesh deck area.
By keeping the space beneath your pup open, it promotes airflow and prevents heat from building up on the bed.
- Great for keeping dogs cool in the summer and warm in the winter by lifting them from the floor
- Easy assembly with no screws or wrenches
- Can be used indoors or outdoors
- Offered in eight colors that vary in availability by size
- Small (22″ x 17″ x 7″)
- Medium (32″ x 25″ x 7″)
- Large (42″ x 30″ x 7″)
- X-Large (49″ x 33″ x 9″)
- XX-Large (59″ x 37.5″ x 9″)
- Elevated design keeps pups cool and comfy
- A relatively affordable option for all sizes
- Durable materials hold up to everyday use
- Some dogs need coaxing to try elevated beds
- Doesn’t offer much cushioning
6. K9 Ballistics Chew Proof Elevated Dog Bed
A durable dog bed made with durable materials to withstand heavy-duty use and curious chompers.
About: The Chew Proof Elevated Dog Bed by K9 Ballistics is a fabulous choice for fur kiddos needing a spot to cool down that can withstand a nibble or two, as this cot-style dog bed comes with a 120-day chew-proof warranty from K9 Ballistics.
Safe for use indoors or outdoors, it’s a versatile pick for keeping your chew-happy canine cool in the summer and warmer in the winter by elevating him from the ground.
- Made with an aluminum frame and ripstop ballistic fabric that resists chewing, scratching, and digging
- Fits inside most standard crate sizes
- Elevated nature promotes airflow under your dog, allowing him to beat the heat during nap time
- Arrives fully assembled
- Small (29″ x 18″ x 3.5″)
- Medium (35″ x 22″ x 3.5″)
- Large (41″ x 27″ x 5″)
- X-Large (47″ x 29″ x 5″)
- Giant (50″ x 33″ x 7″)
- Excellent pick for puppies and bed shredders
- Arrives pre-assembled for an easy home setup
- Comes with a 120-day chew-proof warranty from the manufacturer
- Not the comfiest hangout spot
- One of the more expensive cooling bed options
7. MICROCOSMOS Summer Cooling Mat
An affordable option for summertime cooling with a lightweight, breathable fabric that's also easy to clean.
About: Provide a cost-friendly canine cool-down zone with the MICROCOSMOS Summer Cooling Mat, featuring a gel-free design of breathable fabric that’s cool to the touch. The slip-resistant backing keeps the pad in place, while the breathable mesh interior helps disperse your pup’s body heat.
- Doesn’t need to be refrigerated, frozen, or wettened
- Can be used indoors, outdoors, and in the car
- Machine washable for fuss-free upkeep
- Available in six colors, depending on size
- Small (19″ x 15″)
- Large (28″ x 22″)
- X-Large (40″ x 28″)
- XX-Large (59″ x 40″)
- Round (35.4″)
- Price point is more than affordable compared to other cooling mats for dogs
- Lightweight and portable for use on the move with your mutt
- Most owners are pleased with the quality (and their dogs are too!)
- Doesn’t offer a ton of cushion for doggo joints
- Some pet parents report the fabric doesn’t stay cool for long
8. Amazon Basics Cooling Elevated Pet Bed
A budget-friendly, cot-style bed made of breathable mesh and a strong iron frame.
About: Cooling Elevated Pet Bed by Amazon Basics gives pups a boost while lounging, offering steady airflow underneath to banish trapped body heat. It can be used indoors or outdoors, letting your dog soak up fresh air on the patio or enjoy air conditioning in your living room.
- Made with a sturdy, chew-resistant iron frame and breathable mesh fabric
- Available in Green and Grey mesh colors
- Spot-clean with water as needed
- Assembly required (screws and hex tool included)
- X-Small (27.6″ x 21″ x 7.3″)
- Small (36″ x 22″ x 7.5″)
- Medium (43.4″ x 25.8″ x 7.7″ )
- Large (51″ x 31″ x 8″)
- X-Large (60″ x 37″ x 9″)
- Pricing is great, especially since elevated dog beds can be expensive
- Durability praised by several happy owners
- Excellent range of sizes to choose from
- Assembly is required
- Doesn’t offer dogs much padding
9. Arf Pets Dog Self Cooling Pet Bed
Side bolsters make this the perfect cooling bed for pups who love to curl up and catch Zzs.
About: Arf Pets’ Dog Self Cooling Pet Bed is a snuggle-loving doggos dream with its slight side bolsters for feeling secure while escaping the heat. Offering up to three hours of use, it’s a good choice for relaxing after your dog’s daily exercise or for making your pup’s bed more tolerable overnight.
- Puncture-resistant nylon exterior withstands everyday use
- Recharges after 15 to 20 minutes of non-use
- Cooling gel layer absorbs heat away from your dog, while the mattress foam core offers cushioning
- Spot clean with dog-friendly soap and water as needed
- 20″ x 30″
- 22″ x 35″
- 26″ x 40″
- Side bolsters form a “nest” for dogs to snuggle up in
- Owners like that it was cool to the touch
- Recharges quickly
- Some dogs prefer taller bolsters
- Not a good option for bed shredders
- Doesn’t have a non-slip bottom
What Should You Look For in a Cooling Bed?
There are a lot of cooling mats and beds available on the market, so you’ll have to look carefully at the features of each individual model before making your choice. This will help you get the best cooling bed for your money and ensure your dog gets the kind of cooling mat he deserves.
The Bed Should Be Large Enough for Your Dog
To maximize the rate at which your dog’s temperature drops, you want him to be in as much contact with the mat as possible. If the mat is too small, he won’t fit on it completely, and parts of his body will hang off the cooling surface. In fact, it is always best to provide him with the largest mat feasible, as it will allow him to move around a bit as various portions become warm. The best cooling dog beds offer enough space for your dog to stretch out and find his comfiest laying position.
The Bed Should Be Easy to Transport
If you plan to take the mat with you to the park or during family vacations, you’ll want to make sure it is easy to haul around with you. Most gel-filled cooling mats fold up into a very compact size, which makes them ideally suited for owners and dogs on the go. Water-filled cooling mats can be emptied for transport, but you’ll need to refill them before each use, which makes them a bit inconvenient.
The Bed Should Be Durable
Most manufacturers claim that the gels used in the manufacture of cooling mats are completely non-toxic, but a few dogs have become ill after ingesting it. Accordingly, you’ll want to make sure the mat is durable enough to stand up to your dog’s claws. Because no cooling mat will stand up to the jaws of a determined pup, it’s also important to avoid leaving your dog unattended with the mat – particularly if your dog is a chewer. The best cooling dog beds are strong enough to withstand everyday wear and tear.
The Bed Should Provide Plenty of Cooling Power
Some mats provide a cooler laying surface than others, and it is wise to consider this factor when making your choice. Not all manufacturers disclose the typical temperature of the mat’s surface, but some of the best cooling mats remain about 15 to 20 degrees lower than the ambient temperatures.
Why Use a Cooling Dog Bed?
I know what you’re thinking: Why do I need a cooling bed if my dog is content to lay on the tile floor?
I’m so glad you asked; there are actually several reasons cooling beds or mats are a better option and deserve serious consideration. A few of the most notable include:
A cooling mat will usually lower your dog’s body temperature more effectively than the kitchen floor will.
You can use a cooling mat anywhere, including the park, beach, or for keeping your dog cool in the car during travel.
You can use a cooling mat to manage your dog – just place it in an out-of-the-way location and then have him hop on.
While cooling mats don’t provide the same amount of cushion that proper mattresses do, they are still softer than the kitchen tile.
Other Ways to Cool Your Canine: Dog Cooling Tips & Tricks
Looking for other ways to keep your pup cool in the summer besides the best cooling dog beds? How about:
- Trying a cooling dog vest. These are better than beds for dogs who are on the move a lot and can’t plop down on a chill bed. These are super nifty if you’re hiking with your pup on a warmer day.
- Consider a canine pool. While most kiddie pools will do the trick, check out our list of the best dog-friendly pools that will allow your canine to take a refreshingly cool dip when the temperatures soar.
- Play with the hose. A spritz of the hose is sure to offer a quick cool down, with a shower hose attachment also great for bathing your barker outdoors once the fun is over. Water-wowed pups also tend to love doggy splash pads, but as with any water activity, don’t let him gobble too much of the wet stuff.
- Take your dog to the beach, but bring along a life jacket. Bringing your pup to the beach or the lake for a dip is a great way to cool off. Just make sure to have a canine life jacket on hand. That’s right, even dogs need life jackets!
- Offer frozen dog treats. Beat the heat with great eats by offering a DIY pupper popsicle or up the enrichment with an ice block treat that’ll keep his brain, body, and chompers busy for longer.
Best Cooling Dog Beds: Frequently Asked Questions
Cooling beds and mats come in a variety of styles, making selecting the right one for your dog tricky. Let’s dive into the most commonly asked questions about dog cooling beds to clear the air.
What temperature is too hot for a dog?
This varies by breed, as double-coated and long-haired breeds like huskies, malamutes, and Newfs, as well as brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds like pugs and bulldogs, have far less heat tolerance than short-coated ones with longer muzzles. It also depends on the activity.
As a general rule, 75 degrees Fahrenheit and up is when you want to start watching for your dog outside if he has a thick coat or short muzzle. For most dogs, 80 degrees and up is when you need to keep an eye on your dog outdoors. This is also when you want to limit exercise and ensure your pup takes plenty of breaks for drinking and cooling down. As the temperature rises above 85 and 90, limit outdoor time. The pavement gets hot, too, so skip walks on days above 85 degrees.
Numbers differ greatly when leaving your dog in a car, however, as a seemingly harmless 70-degree day can become deadly as the temperature rises in a vehicle. Just don’t risk it, even with the windows open. Bring your fur kiddo along when you hop out of the vehicle or leave him at home.
What are some signs of heat exhaustion in dogs?
Heat exhaustion in dogs has a myriad of symptoms, including excessive panting, drooling, dry nose, and a body that’s warm to the touch. Your dog may also become lethargic or vomit. As it progresses into heat stroke, your dog may seize, stagger, or suffer from muscle tremors.
Heat exhaustion can occur in any dog but is most common in long-haired and brachycephalic breeds. Dogs that are obese or exercising in warm weather are also at an elevated risk. Always provide fresh, cool water to your dog, never leave him in the car unattended, and limit outdoor time in hot weather to keep your pup safe from heat-related illness or injury.
What is the best cooling bed for dogs?
The best cooling dog beds will vary from dog to dog. Senior pups or those with joint issues tend to favor elevated dog beds, while doggos who love to spread out on the floor for cool-down time prefer a large cooling mat.
Are cooling beds good for dogs?
Cooling beds are great for lowering your pup’s body temperature on a hot day and for keeping thick-coated breeds like huskies comfortable year-round, as these pups often find warmer weather uncomfortable. They’re also a good choice for active dogs who need a safe space to cool down and unwind after exercise.
What is the coolest material for a dog bed?
The coolest material for a dog bed is something lightweight, like cotton or breathable mesh fabric. You can increase the cool factor tenfold by selecting a barker bed with an inner chamber of heat-absorbing gel or one you can fill with cool water or freeze. These help extract your barker’s body heat and cool him down.
Do dog cooling beds actually work?
Yes, cooling beds pull the heat from your dog’s body into the bed, cooling him off. You just want to make sure the cooling bed you’re purchasing is large enough for your dog to stretch out on fully and that it uses an interior of heat-absorbing gel or water to cool your pup properly. Otherwise, the bed won’t be of much help.
Do elevated beds keep dogs cool?
Yes, elevated beds help keep canines cool by allowing airflow under your pup. This prevents heat from building up under his body and helps dissipate any that transfers into the bed’s material as he lounges. In fact, they’re some of the best cooling dog beds, as you can also use them during colder weather, getting the most bang for your buck.
What is the best dog bed in cool weather?
The best dog bed in cool weather is one that holds onto heat and offers plenty of insulation between your dog’s body and the ground. It’s also a good idea to pick a bed that lets your pup curl up into a ball, such as a round or bolstered bed. Fleece is a solid material choice, and for especially cold weather, self-heating beds and electric beds are great.
Have you ever used a cooling mat for your pooch? Any from our list of the best cooling dog beds? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Tell us which model you used and how your dog liked it!
Did it really help keep him cooler in hot weather? Was it durable enough to last for a long time? Let us know in the comments below.
August 12, 2019
I just wanted to thank you for the great info you provided. I’m looking for a cooling mat for a friend’s dog who is kept out doors and I’ve been staying with him the last month. We live in SoCal and this poor guy get so hot out here! Chances are, I’m going to adopt him from him, but that’s another story. Until then, he needs some kind of relief…he’s a 90lb pitbull and heat is really hard on them. I want to find something that is effective and economical because I have to get us a home first lol. Anyhow, thank you for the time and good info you put into this. Even if you help one dog find relief from a less than humane situation, you have done something worthwhile. One down, millions to go. 🙂
August 12, 2019
So happy you found the article helpful, Shannon. And on behalf of the pooch, we appreciate your efforts!
July 3, 2019
My 70lb black golden doodle has enjoyed three K&H Coolbeds over eleven years. He loves the 24 hours of cool and the waterbed cushioning. The gels don’t work for us because they provide only 3 hours of cool at a time and not much padding. We live in southern CA, and my dog is very heat intolerant, so he uses it year round and all night long.
Yes, the large size is heavy and not portable when filled with water, but this is my dog’s primary bed and I only move it to clean around and under it every week. We have a smaller version that we take along on car rides. At home he tends to use it as a pillow. HIGHLY RECOMMEND
July 3, 2019
Awesome stuff, MK. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Glad to hear they’ve worked for your pooch.
June 11, 2019
What is your return policy if it does not work?
June 11, 2019
Hi, Barbara. We don’t actually manufacture or sell the products — if you click on the link beside each product, it’ll take you to the Amazon page where you can make your purchase. Most of the sellers detail their return policies on the relevant Amazon page.
Best of luck!
October 9, 2018
Choosing a right stuff is difficult especially for dogs because dogs need care according to changing weather.Cooling beds are lightweight, portable, and fits in cars, beds, and crates and having one for your dog will be a gift of great value. I use Unleashed Pets Cooling bed for my pet more comfortable and easy to carry. Really pets enjoy on this and thanks for these kind of information.
September 26, 2018
I have 2 of The Green Pet Shop cooling pads for my Chows. They love them. I bought mat covers for them so they can’t come into contact with the actual mat. I am very happy with how they work!
July 5, 2018
can the ARF Pets Self Cleaning Mat be placed directly on the floor? or do you need to put it on a bed?
July 1, 2018
Any information on how these hold up to cat claws? My cat will surely take his turn on it.