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

Dog sleeping under beach chair
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This time of year is always tough on pets — especially for the super-playful ones who prefer to persist in their dog day frolics despite the few extra degrees. Left to their own devices, they’d play the day away, risking heatstroke, sunburn and dehydration, among other hot weather hazards.

Good thing they have us humans to help keep their boundless enthusiasm from getting the better of them. Too often, however, that means putting the kibosh on the fun whenever the mercury rises. In Miami, where I live, that translates into 300 days of play restriction per year.

What’s a Playful Pet (or Her Owner) to Do?

Maybe the notion of climate change is gaining favor among pet manufacturers, but this year seems busier than most on the summertime product front. Since January, I’ve come across more than a few new cool products (new to me, if not to the marketplace) designed specifically with hot weather safety in mind.

Thinking you might enjoy knowing what’s new as much as I do, I’m sharing these products below, by category. Note: All of these, by the way, are to be used under supervision. Dogs will be dogs, after all, and mouthiness happens. While all these manufacturers appear to have taken significant steps to make all these products safe and sturdy, not all bedding is chew-proof and not all materials are nontoxic. Same goes for almost all products in all categories.

As always, feel free to chime in. Offer us your own personal hot weather favorites below the post.

Cooling Vests

I happen to have a thing for cooling vests, as a category. And why not? They work really well when it comes to wicking heat away from pets’ skin right where they get hottest: at their core. But, unfortunately, they’re not all created equal.

Enter the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler. This lightweight, sun-reflecting, wettable garment is not only highly functional (it cools through evaporation, just like sweating), it’s really good-looking, too. For $54.95, it’s a great deal.

For heavier-duty work, however, the military apparently prefers them with replaceable cooling inserts. How else to explain the preponderance of this style of vest on sites with working dogs as models?

Though I confess I’ve never tried one on my own dogs, the one I’ve seen on some local K9 officers is the RPCM Chilly Dog Cooling Vest. It has the removable, replaceable, “rechargeable” cooling inserts on the underside of the chest. Each pack is designed to stay cool for two and a half hours and “recharges” after only 20 minutes in ice and water.

For $129, they’re a tad on the pricey side, but if your dog works hard in the heat or is especially heat sensitive (think: French Bulldog), it’s more than worth it.

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