Originally published June 7, 2016 and updated on July 16, 2020 and May 23, 2022. Originally sponsored by Purina Pro Plan with Collective Bias, Inc.
As my “babies” are growing up and leaving home for college one by one, I find that my dog, Lila, is becoming the recipient of my mom attention. Lila is a fun-loving dog, always the life of the party. I know she loves us and we love her, but she is not a cuddly dog. I have to find other ways to demonstrate my affection for her.
Find the simple, step-by-step tutorial for a DIY cooling mat for dogs about halfway down the article.
Frequently Asked Questions about Keeping Your Dog Cool
Depending on your dog’s fur, warm weather may cause discomfort, not just high temperatures. Also, the health of your pet and its age can impact the temperature when a cooling dog bed is beneficial.
How can I make my dog cooler?
Wipe your dog down with a wet towel. This provides a cooling effect as the water evaporates from your dog’s skin and fur. You can repeat this process often to help cool down your pet. Don’t forget to use damp towels on your dog’s chest and stomach where the hair is shorter and the the bottoms of paws.
Use a cooling cloth or colling blanket. These are designed to cool as water evaporates. You place the cooling cloth on your dog while she is laying down or standing still. Be sure to supervise your dog with the product.
Provide supervised access to a fan. You can place a fan where your pet lays or use a handheld fan.
Provide a cooling pad. You can follow the very easy DIY tutorial below or purchase one. There are even options with layers of foam to provide cooling relief and cushioning for old bones and to reduce joint pain.
How can I keep my dog cool in the summer without AC (air conditioning)?
Keep your dog in the shade, out of direct sunlight, and where there is a breeze blowing during the hottest hours of the day. This means you should also avoid walks or exercise during the hottest hours.
Continually provide plenty of fresh water. You can cool the water down by mixing in cold water or adding ice cubes.
Keep your dog’s fur as short as possible for the breed. Brush double coated dogs to removed excess hair.
Make safe, frozen dog treats.
Give your dog toys that can be frozen.
Allow your dog access to cooler surfaces like a shaded, cool tile floor, hardwood floor or cement floor in the basement.
Create a makeshift air conditioner by placing a bowl of cold water with ice cubes in front of the fan. Pet owners should always supervise your pet near a fan.
Set up the sprinkler or a kiddie wading pool for your dog. Be sure to supervise dogs and children when necessary.
Use a cooling dog collar or cooling vest.
Provide a raised dog cot so that there is cool air circulation. These cooling beds come in sizes for small dogs and big dogs. You can also place cold packs under the bed for more cooling, but be sure to supervise your dog so she doesn’t try to eat the packs.
Do dog cooling mats really work?
Yes, they are a great way to help your dog cool off in hot weather. Panting is not the most effective way to cool off on a hot day, so helping your dog reduce their body heat can prevent heat stroke and make your dog feel more comfortable.
The best cooling mat is one that is large enough for your dog to spread out on when she lays down and can easily be washed or cleaned.
What’s inside a dog cooling mat?
Most purchased cooling pads contain gel. They can also contain water, but most often have additives to keep the frozen or cold water soft and malleable. Common additives are alginic acid, carboxmethyl cellulose and polyacrylamide. Although many claim to contain non-toxic gel, it is always a good idea to supervise your pet when using gel filled cool surface products.
When you make your own cooling mat you can choose what to put inside the bed and opt for non-toxic choices.
I want Lila to enjoy every day and her senior years as much as she wants to enjoy them. I decided to make her a DIY dog cooling mat so that she can savor her summer walks. The dog cooling pad is easy to make and she really enjoys relaxing on it.
She’s now 16 years old, although she thinks she’s a much younger dog. Until about a year ago, she still loved her long, long walks as much as ever. After she turned 10, I began to noticed that it took her a bit longer to bounce back after a walk, especially a walk in warm weather.
I cannot believe that she is well over 16 years old! Even at the age of 14, she acted like a three year old dog. Even the vet has commented on it.
She’s the one that always wants the long walk (she’s dragging me along, not me dragging her) and she enjoys every second of our walks. I enjoy spending time with her and really get a kick out of how much she relives her puppy days through her walks.
Now that Lila is getting older, it takes her a longer time to recover from her walks. A walk on a hot day really wipes her out.
She searches for the coolest spot in the house, which is the hard tile floor. Now that she’s older, I feel badly that she has to lay on the hard tile floor to help her cool down after a walk. She certainly deserves her own cooling mat for dogs to pamper her a bit.
I decided to make a DIY dog cooling mat for Lila to lay on after a fun, but hot walk. The cooling dog mat helps her recover from the heat of a summer walk and is much softer than the hard tile floor.
When Lila’s not hot from a walk, her favorite place to lay is on her Brentwood Home delux Runyon dog bed. It’s unbelievably soft on her old bones and I love that the cover is washable and blends with my home decor. Lila and I are tough graders and we give her comfy dog bed an A+++.
DIY Dog Cooling Mat
Cooling Dog Mat Supplies
- Old towel – choose a heavier, washable fabric
- You can find towels at thrift stores.
- You can also use a yard of fleece or other thick fabric.
- You can repurpose an old sweatshirt for a smaller dog
- Sewing machine
- You can handstitch this simple project.
- You can also use washable fabric glue.
- Filling – choose the filling carefully, considering your dog’s comfort and proclivity for chewing or eating items.
- Small bags of ice cubes
- Small bags for frozen peas
- Frozen gel packs
- Frozen washcloths or towels
- A frozen or refrigerated sleeping bag for a large dog
DIY Pet Cooling Mat Tutorial
1 – You can use an old or thrifted towel.
2 – I chose to use two bath mats to give my senior dog a bit more padding under her old bones.
3 – Line up the edges of the towel or bath mats and stitch them together by hand using a whip stitch or with a sewing machine straight stitch.
4 – Leave an opening on one side so that you can insert the cold packs. The size of the opening will depend on the size of the cooling inserts you choose.
I have found it best to use zipper bags of frozen peas. The frozen peas do a great job of providing a cooling effect and are flexible enough to be comfortable for Lila to lay on.
Although, Lila has never once tried to eat the bags of peas, please always supervise your dog while using this DIY dog cooling mat to ensure their safety.
Lila is comfortable and much cooler on her DIY dog cooling mat. It cushions her old bones and she definitely deserves a bit of pampering in her old age.
After a nice long walk, a big bowl of dog food and a nap on her DIY dog cooling mat, Lila is definitely savoring the good life. Be sure to do all you can to help your dog savor every one of her days with a DIY dog cooling bed.
More Ideas to Care for Your Dog:
- Pamper Your Senior Dog with a DIY Hooded Towel – Pamper your senior dog with a DIY hooded towel that you can make in about 10 minutes.
- Growing Old(er) Together with Lila – What it’s like to grow older with my dog.
- DIY Dog Poop Bag Holder – Make this easy DIY dog poop bag holder as a gift bag for dog treats that can later be used as dog waste bag holder.
- Life Lessons with My Fun-Loving Dog – Ever since we adopted our dog, Lila, she’s been full of life. We’ve all learned to be more fun loving thanks to her.
- DIY Dog Treat Lei – An easy DIY tutorial to make a lei filled with dog treats for your favorite pet.
You can find all our best ideas for your dog in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.
I’m a mom of 3, a veteran and military spouse. I’ve moved into 20+ homes all around the world. My passion is helping busy people make the space and time for what’s really important to them.