When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
We’ve tested the best outdoor dog beds, and many of those can help dogs keep cool while lounging outdoors. But for this guide, I set out to find the best dog cooling mats and pads to help pups beat the heat in their crates, out in the backyard, or while traveling.
Dr. Krista Miller, a veterinarian also known as Dope Black Vet on YouTube, talked to me about the usefulness of these mats. “I think cooling mats could help a lot with overheating in pets, especially after playing and sitting out in the backyard, or even at the beach,” she says. “They could also be very beneficial to brachycephalic breeds like your French and English bulldogs who can overheat quickly.”
I tested five of the most popular cooling mats with my dogs at our home in the Pacific Northwest during a heat wave, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees. I have two senior hounds who sometimes struggle with the heat — my almost 15-year-old beagle mix, Sherman, and Walter, my 9-year-old dachshund.
Just like with any mat or bed, you should supervise your dog the first few times they use one of these. Cooling mats are either filled with water or a nontoxic heat-absorbing gel. Miller says it’s important to make sure your dog doesn’t consume the gel contents, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and potential allergic reactions. Although you might think a cooling pad can be used in direct sunlight, you can’t leave these mats in the sun because it will reduce their performance.
Read more about how Insider Reviews tests and evaluates pet products.
Our top picks for the best dog cooling mats and pads
Best overall: K&H Pet Products Cool Bed III – See at Chewy
The K&H Pet Products Cool Bed III not only cools your dog off, but its foam core also provides extra comfort.
Best for travel: Green Pet Cool Pet Pad – See at Chewy
The Green Pet Cool Pet Pad is the best mat for keeping dogs cool when you’re on the go.
Best for large dogs: Arf Pets Self-Cooling Solid Gel Pad – See at Chewy
The Arf Pets Self-Cooling Solid Gel Pad is available in a generous 33-by-55-inch size to keep large breeds cool.