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How Our Cooling Gear Works

How to keep your dog cool this summer

Heat waves and sweltering summer days are upon us. And with our Swamp Cooler™ Collection, you and your dog can say yes to getting out more this summer rather than staying in.

Ruffwear cooling gear is designed to help manage hot temps with the help of evaporative cooling. All you have to do is get the cooling gear wet, and evaporative cooling takes care of the rest. And if it dries while you're out, just re-wet it with a water bottle or a quick dip in a stream to recharge.

how to use cooling dog gear: wet, wear, go!

What exactly is evaporative cooling? How effective is it for cooling your dog? And which cooling gear is right for you?

Great questions. Let's dig in.

Woman walks two dogs in cooling harnesses for dogs on Arizona hiking trail.

How Does Evaporative Cooling Work In Our Cooling Dog Gear?

When you step out of a lake, you may notice a cool feeling when your skin first hits the air. That's evaporative cooling.

Since dogs don't sweat the same as humans, our cooling gear uses our three-layer Swamp Cooler™ Tech construction to absorb water and facilitate evaporation. It's that evaporation that helps cool the surface temp of your dog.

We put our gear to the test in our studio-turned-lab with the help of some office dogs, a FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) camera, some data gathering tools, and a bounty of treats. And the data we gathered revealed that, on average, the dog's surface cooling rate is 6X greater than their baseline natural cooling rate when wearing cooling gear.

Infrared Pictures of Dog with and without a cooling vest on

In these FLIR images, on the left, Bailey's surface temperature before wearing the Swamp Cooler™ Vest is 81.5°F (27.5°C). On the right, Bailey is wearing the Swamp Cooler™ Vest, and her surface temperature under the vest after 14 minutes is 71.8°F (22.1°C).

If you're interested in learning more about the testing we did, check out this video. We learned a lot of surprising things about how different breeds and coat types interact with our cooling gear.

You can learn more about the science behind evaporative cooling in different climates (dry vs humid) here.

Cooling Gear for Your Dog: The Swamp Cooler™ Collection

What's the difference between all the gear in our Swamp Cooler™ Collection? While all five products use evaporative cooling, they’re designed with different features and different activities in mind.

Swamp Cooler™ Cooling Dog Harness

for the all-in-one harness and cooling solution

Running, hiking, biking – whatever it is, if your dog is a harness wearer, this is a convenient way to keep your dog cool without having to layer other cooling gear over or under a harness.

The Swamp Cooler™ Harness integrates our Swamp Cooler™ evaporative cooling tech into the multi-use body harness platform you know and love. Strong leash connection points, high adjustability, quick-grab handle, and easy on/off – it's all elevated by cooling capability throughout the back panel and supportive chest/belly panel. It'll keep the adventure going when the temps are high and your dog's stoke for exploration is even higher.

Runner woman bends down to pet dog in cooling dog harness and grip trex dog boots on rocky Arizona trail.

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Swamp Cooler™ Cooling Dog Vest

for the maximum shading & cooling coverage on hikes & walks

The Swamp Cooler™ Vest works great for hiking, running, walking, and camping. In addition to helping keep cool through evaporative cooling, it boosts that cooling by offering the maximum amount of shade and thermal protection of all our cooling gear products.

The material is rated at 50+ UPF protection (blocks 98% of the sun's UV rays). Plus, there's a leash portal so it can be worn over all our harnesses and most other harnesses.

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Swamp Cooler Zip™ Cooling Dog Vest

for the fast, light & sleek cooling solution while running & biking

The Swamp Cooler Zip is designed for fast and light endeavors like trail running or mountain biking. It's formfitting with a side-zip closure, so it keeps that cooling effect close to the body and fits well underneath a harness or pack. Oversized armholes allow your dog to zoom to their heart's content.

The Swamp Cooler™ Tech in this style is in the chest panel, and the spandex back panel (rated 50+ UPF) also helps to keep cool through shading.

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Swamp Cooler™ Cooling Neck Gaiter

for taking the edge off any hot day or boosting other cooling gear

The Swamp Cooler™ Neck Gaiter is an easy way to bring a bit of refreshment on the go. Just give it a soak to tap into our Swamp Cooler™ Tech that uses evaporative cooling to help cool your pup.

It's a versatile accessory that you can use standalone for an everyday cooling piece, or kit with other Swamp Cooler™ gear for an ultra-cool combo.

Shop Swamp Cooler™ Neck Gaiter

Swamp Cooler Core™

The Swamp Cooler Core™ is an add-on that cools dogs, adds additional support when lifting and assisting, and further stabilizes packs and harnesses. This three-layer chest panel uses evaporative cooling to efficiently pull heat from the dog’s core during warm temperatures and high intensity activities. The Core Cooler is compatible with these harnesses and packs:

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Does Swamp Cooler™ Gear Have Sun Protection For Dogs That Can Get Sunburned?

All Swamp Cooler™ gear has a UPF rating of 50+, meaning that they’ll protect light colored, short-haired dogs from getting sunburned. For maximum sun protection, the Swamp Cooler™ Vest and the Swamp Cooler Zip™ have the most and second-most coverage, respectively.

What Are More Ways I Can Keep My Dog Cool In The Summer?

Cooling gear is just one part of a dog's summer adventure kit. Always carry a bowl and plenty of water so they can stay hydrated on your excursions. Your dog can wear boots to help keep paws off of hot pavement, rocks, and sand. And regularly check in with your dog throughout your activity: make sure they're getting enough breaks, and seek shade whenever possible.

Summer Boots For Protecting Paws

Hot weather means hot pavement and trails, which can be hard on your dogs paws. The Grip Trex™ boots to protect paws while walking on hot surfaces thanks to a Vibram rubber outsole that provides great traction on any terrain. The mesh upper is breathable for ventilation while keeping dirt and debris out.

Shop Grip Trex Dog Boots

An Extra Fun Way To Stay Cool: Make A Splash

As temperatures peak, sometimes the best option is to head for water. The Float Coat is a fully-featured canine life jacket with strategically-placed closed cell foam panels to support a dog’s natural swimming position. The strong handle is optimally positioned for assisting dogs in and out of the water, whether onto a boat, kayak, SUP, or dock.

To top off the fun, check out our floating toys — the Lunker™ and the Hydro Plane™.

Dog splashes through Sparks Lake water in float coat to play with hydro plane.

Shop All Summer Gear

What’s on your summer gear list? Let us know if you have any questions or feedback about any Ruffwear gear, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Want to share your tales of summer exploration? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.