Dr. Khuly’s Top Nine Coolest Summertime Pet Products for 2013

Cooling Mats

This seems to be the category du jour for hot weather products, now that an explosion of cooling mats, beds and bedding inserts have newly entered the market. It’s a trend for which I’m personally gratified, seeing as these products offer lots to recommend them, portability and comfort foremost among them.

There are, however, many options to choose from — a troublesome detail if you’re unable to try them all out (and you can’t since many of the best of these are only available online, at least where I live). Which is why it’s good that I’m offering you a quick rundown of the kinds of cooling mats on offer:

Evaporation-style: The HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling Pad ($35-$51) is a perfect example. Like the Ruffwear vest above, it works to cool pets via the evaporation process. As such, it’s low-tech, lightweight and affordable — but very effective.

Cooling inserts: Some have simple inserts you cool and stuff inside. Consider the pretty K&H version ($55-$105), which has a “rechargeable” gel pack similar to the RPCM vest’s above.

The K9 Koolee Portable Pet Cooling Shelter ($103-$117) is another version. This one uses a proprietary, nontoxic polymer insert you soak in water to activate. It also comes with a cute canopy, making it a super-cool take-along for camping, the beach, etc.

Gel mat: Others are simple, gel-filled mats that always stay cooler than your pet’s skin. The Hugs Gel Mat is one of these. It’s highly portable and well priced at $30 or less.

Water-cooled: This method is how we keep our pets warm during surgery. It’s more than a perk; it’s a lifesaver. Some manufacturers have turned to this approach for warm weather management, and it really makes sense. I do worry, however, that claws and teeth may hamper its long-term efficacy. I’d definitely try it out on quiet, easygoing, heatstroke-prone pets like my Vincent.

The K&H Cool Bed III Cooling Dog Bed is one popular option. At $30-$60, it’s worth a try. It’s not so portable, but its low-tech approach and low toxicity factor appeal to me.

Cool Breezes

I’m a big fan of misting systems (no pun intended). While they’re nothing new for kennels, they seem to be increasingly marketed to regular dog owners with backyard needs. Any one of a number of these systems will likely suffice (it’s not rocket science), but at $30, the Ocean Breeze Cooling System is a popular option.

Crate fans are also making headway in the market. Unfortunately, most of these still look really Mickey Mouse-ish to me, and I’d never want to rely on these for car trips or anytime I couldn’t keep a close eye on my pets. With its freezable insert, the ProSelect Dog Crate Fan Cooling System is better than most. At $15, it’s cheap, but, again, just be aware it’s not a perfect solution to beating the heat.

Your turn: share some of your favorite summer products in the comments below.

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