Results Are In: Field Test of Cooling Mats

by Susi on September 8, 2011

in bedding, Cool Mats, dogs shows, Product Reviews, Pulik, water beds

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There are a few things for which I hold the bragging rights, but I wish I didn’t:  All my friends and acquaintances concede that I’m the only person they know to have driven into 75 yards of cow manure in a Volvo wagon, the same wagon with which I got a speeding ticket while I was parked in a parking lot.

I was the only student of the Singer Sewing School to have sewed three sleeves on a dress – and the pattern called for it to be sleeveless. I remain the only art critic in the history of an unnamed Denver newspaper who was required to have her copy reviewed by an attorney. I could go on, but why.

I claim no credit for one more bragging right, and while some may contest it, I maintain that my breed of dog (the hairiest breed in the world, according to some sources)  gets hotter, faster than any other breed.  Not only does a fully corded Puli have an immense coat, but many are black and quick to absorb heat.

The truth is that dog owners of any dark or heavily coated dog have long sought ways to keep their dogs cool during warm months, especially dogs active in the show and performance arena. Most of us have muddled through with products that work after a fashion, or devised systems of our own invention that ultimately are messy, inconvenient, time-consuming or require a power source.  With the Puli National Specialty coming up this month in muggy St. Louis, Missouri, I was motivated to see if anything new had come along since the last time I looked for a cooling mat. Two products were most often recommended and I decided to “field test” both of them during a recent dog show weekend. If either could keep a Puli comfortable, they would likely keep any dog comfortable.

The “testers” were my own dogs, “Maci,” a fully corded five year old black Puli, and “Katie,” a 7 month old youngster going to her first dog shows.

“Maci,” cool bed tester #1

“Katie,” cool bed tester #2

The Cool Pet Pad

The products were K & H’s “Cool Bed III,” a “cooling, cushioning bed for your dog” that was purchased for $45 from a local Wag n’ Wash grooming store that’s part of a chain.

The Cool Bed III

The Cool Bed III’s water fill

The difference in thickness between a filled “Cool Bed III and a Cool Pet Pad

TheGreenPetShop’s “Cool Pet Pad” (size medium) was bought via telephone for $34.00 from Tybrushe Pet Supply of Canada, the only source in North America that currently carries the pads.

The box containing the blue colored “Cool Pet Pad” read:

  • Needs no refrigeration
  • No water needed
  • No electricity needed
  • Always ready to use
  • Cools for hours, lasts for years
  • Automatically recharges itself
  • Patented Activated Gel cools on contact
  • Cools & soothes
  • Good for Pain, Swelling, aches
  • Fits in standard beds, crates
  • Perfect for Cars
  • Wipes clean
  • Portable, folds easy
  • Non-toxic

How it works according to the manufacturer: “A patented gel and chambers along the design are activated by weight or pressure offering a bed that’s cooler than the surrounding ambient temperature for 3-4 hours of constant use. It will automatically start to recharge by a shift in weight or position. After a period of non-use, the pad is supposed to start to recharge immediately. You can speed up the process by soaking it in ice water or placing it in a refrigerator or freezer. Leaving the pad in direct sun, heat or hot air effects the performance.  The pad is cleaned by hand with a clean, damp cloth and should not be machine washed.”

The box containing the gray colored “Cool Bed III” read:

  • Indoor/outdoor
  • No electricity
  • Just add water
  • Non-toxic
  • Aids in medical recovery,skin conditions,calloused elbows,arthritis, excessive panting, hip dysplasia
  • Tough nylon & vinyl exterior
  • Adjustable comfort valve

How it works according to the manufacturer: “The bed contains a soft, cool gel designed to radiate heat back into the air or floor surface to keep a dog cool. The water saturated Cool Core absorbs the dog’s natural body temperature and converts it to room temperature which is normally well below the dogs’ body temperature. The difference created between the room temperature and the dog’s temperature is how the bed provides a cooler surface. Even if it’s 80 degrees in the house, the bed is 22 degrees cooler than the dog’s normal body temperature. The bed provides a permanent, natural, “cool” spot for the dog inside or outside in temperatures under 95 degrees without chemicals or electricity. Never use in direct sunshine, an area with good airflow keeps the bed cooler.”

The “field test:”  The differences were evident as soon as each mat was pulled out of its box. The blue “Cool Pet Pad,” was a thick pad that was indeed ready to go.

The gray “Cool Bed III,” on the other hand, required that I fill it with water, about 1.85 gallons for the “small” bed. a size that fit nicely inside a #300 Vari-kennel crate;  Conversely, I needed two blue medium sized Cool Pet Pads to cover the bottom of the same sized crate. Filling the bed with water was easy, and once it was filled and the filler cap replaced, I was able to make the bed as firm or cushiony as I wanted by releasing air from the valve. For all intents and purposes, it was a water bed.

Each dog took turns with the different products for the two hour drive to the dog shows and home again, and also while in their crates during the shows.

How did I determine if the pads worked?  I watched for panting, restlessness and each dog’s overall comfort level. But ultimately, I felt each dog’s stomach and chest, as well as the mats themselves to see how cool they felt to my hand.

The results? While both products kept my dogs dry, the gray colored “Cool Bed III” did a better job of keeping my dogs cool. My “touch” test revealed that the gray bed was noticeably cooler on my hand than the blue “Cool Pet Pads” were, as were the “underneaths” of my dogs. Both dogs rested more contentedly, and I think they liked the extra cushioning that a “water bed” provided. The “Cool Bed III” would also be my choice for an arthritic or old dog and the extra chore of filling the beds with water was worth the effort.

The “Cool Pet Pads” came highly touted, and perhaps they are effective with a shorter-haired dog, but a Puli carries a few extra pounds of hair that the coolness of the blue pads didn’t seem to penetrate. I’ll be using the Cool Beds III for our trip to Missouri.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Luz December 6, 2012 at 5:39 am

Thank you so much for the information. I´ve share my life with a samoyed and he is hot in summer therefore i was looking for the best option and here it is.
Do you mind if i share the information in my web?.

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Susi December 6, 2012 at 10:18 am

I don’t mind at all, Luz, but products are being perfected all the time and it might be worth consulting the company’s web site to see if they’ve updated the cool mat. Mine are still going strong after a lot of use and my only complaint so far is that they’re difficult to clean in away that makes them LOOK clean. I’ve since been advised to try a product used on boats and will doing that soon.

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claire June 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Your dogs seemed to have liked the coolpad and were in a confined area. My dog, a Pekingese, hates hot weather but would never willing just flop down on some strange bed that’s simply on the floor. I hesitate to get one of these “good ideas” just because, as a Pekingese, he would regard it as the enemy.

Do you have any experience with dogs electing to sleep on it rather than under a fan?

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Susi June 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Honestly, Claire, I didn’t test the mats in the manner you suggested; at home, my house is air conditioned during the summer to help me battle wicked hay fever, and my dogs are free to go where they are most comfortable; there didn’t seem to be a reason to test a cool mat under those conditions. Now that you’ve mentioned it, however, I’ll toss a cool mat on the floor of our bedroom and see if anyone prefers it to their bed. I’ll let you know what happens.

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D. Gomez July 8, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I just purchased the cool pet pad, mine being called the Chill Mat. I have a soon to be 11 yr old maltese with a fairly short summer cut. He’s 10 lbs. Marbles doesn’t like to try new things either but surprisingly, with these hot, humid days, he sat right on the mat and then promptly laid fully outstretched on it for 30 min. No heavy panting. He was extremely comfortable. So for me and my dog, this one was a winner. I thought it felt cool to the touch but after a few hours you do have to move it around to activate it again.

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Susi July 8, 2013 at 10:03 pm

That’s a good point, D. Moving the mat around to recirculate the water is quite helpful. I’m happy to have your review and I’m sure it’ll help others reading about these mats. Thanks for writing!

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Kathy July 6, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Hi Susi! Just stumbled across your blog, and am so glad I did. The pictures, pricing, and descriptions are incredibly helpful. Wondering what’s happened when the cooling mats were left out of the crates. Mine, too, will lay down just about anywhere, so I’m curious to hear if they sought them out for comfort…. Thanks again!

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Susi July 8, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Thanks for writing, Kathy. Be sure to read the other comments on this article because I think others have shared their experiences (see D. Gomez’s remark); My house is air-conditioned for me to survive summer allergies, so I’m thinking my house isn’t the best test-environment to see if my dogs would lie (lay?) on the mats on their own. I’ll put on one of the mats, however, to see what will happen. Stay tuned!

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LilDee July 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Susi,

Recently purchased Cool Bed 3 for my GSD. I emptied out the initial water to recool the mat and the interior padding flipped inside the coverage. How do you flatten the interior padding?

Thanks!

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Susi July 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm

LilDee, I’ve not had this happen to me, but I would think the manufacturer would have something to say about it – and I’d be interested to hear. Their contact info:
K&H Manufacturing, LLC
2520 Aviation Way, Ste. G
Colorado Springs, CO 80916
Phone: 719–591–6950
Fax: 719–591–6979
Toll Free Phone: 1–877–738–5188

If you don’t get anywhere, let me know and I’ll give them a call, myself. At this point, you have a better understanding of how to describe to them what the interior padding has done. Let me know what they say?

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Aaron Cooper July 23, 2013 at 8:36 am

I appreciate the reviews of the cooling beds. I live in Oklahoma and it gets HOT. I have to work an hour away and can’t leave my dog inside for 10-11 hours at a time so he has to stay outside. I need something to keep him cool!

But after reading this, I really became more interested in hearing how in the heck you got a speeding ticket while parked!

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Susi July 23, 2013 at 10:43 am

I’m glad you found it helpful, Aaron, and hopefully the mat works out for you. Another thing to consider (since this is for your home and not at, say, a dog show) is to get a block of ice (a big block will melt slower) and put it on a tray in front of a floor fan set on low or medium. It’s surprising how cool the air flowing over the ice is and I can all but guarantee that your dog will situated himself in front of that fan. As for the speeding ticket – ouch. I’ve gotten a few more since that article (and I was sort of innocent, swear to God).

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Kay May 25, 2014 at 2:16 am

I’m up in canada where the summer’s can get up to 85 degrees, but with the humidity it can feel like its 102 degrees. My 2-storey condo has no air conditioning and and the floor is all carpet. So I bought the Canine Cooler Dog Bed last year for my westie to help him cool down. He didn’t take to it right away, but with a few training sessions of getting him to lie down on the mat, he eventually figured out for his own comfort, the cooler dog bed was the place to go when he was overheating. For the car (my AC is broken) i bought the cool pet pad, but not as satisfied how long it stays cool. I plan on trying the Cool Bed III so that my westie has another dog bed option on the 2nd flr – i find the larger beds are a bit cumbersome to move around from floor to floor.

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Susi May 25, 2014 at 10:27 am

I’m always delighted to get feedback, Kay – let me know what you think of the Cool Bed III?

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Linda Schofer June 3, 2014 at 5:03 pm

My miniature schnauzer goes kayaking with me. I am looking for a padded cooling mat to place on the back of my kayak for Chance to sit or lay. Could the Cool Bed III be used in a situation like this? From your information it sounds ideal however, I notice your comment, “Never use in direct sunlight.” I mostly paddle on lakes or flat water rivers and am sometimes in the sun. It would have to stay in place (not slide) on the back of the kayak. There is a storage area in the back of the kayak with a round rubbery cover making it a little lumpy for him. I was hoping the mat would make it a little more comfortable for him. Right now I’m using a very thin quilted “cooling mat” that I soak in the water. Chance doesn’t object to it but I don’t think it’s very comfortable for him. I would appreciate any advice you could give. Thanks.

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Susi June 10, 2014 at 8:33 pm

My apologies, Linda, for a late reply, and as frustrating as it might be, I’m going to refer your question to experts I happen to know who canoe and kayak with their dogs. I fear the Cool Bed III will not be sunlight resistant enough for your purposes, and my feeling is that it WOULD slide in the back of your kayak. Until I hear back from my “experts, an “off the top of my head” thought is if a child’s inner tube placed under your current mat wouldn’t give your Mini a bit more cushioning. I’m also going to ask the folks at Gundog.com and some other sporting goods places for ideas – stay tuned.

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Christina Kuhling June 25, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Can I buy this mat in Holland ? Am driving to France with two big dogs and am very worried that they will suffer from the heat !

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Susi June 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Honestly, Christina, I don’t know, but I checked with Amazon.com where the pad is available and they typically ship all over the world. I noticed that under their shipping section, they wrote, “Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.,” so it is worth checking with Amazon. The page where the pad is available is here: http://www.amazon.com/Cool-Cooling-Large-32-Inches-44-Inches/dp/B0009EUZWA. I hope this helps!

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Christina Kuhling June 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Can I buy this mat in Holland ? My husband and I are taking our 2 dogs ( both large ) on holiday with us to France.10 hour journey in the back of our car.Stops on the way of course,but am worried that they will suffer from the heat on the journey !

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Susi June 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Honestly, Christina, I don’t know, but I checked with Amazon.com where the pad is available and they typically ship all over the world. I noticed that under their shipping section, they wrote, “Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.,” so it is worth checking with Amazon. The page where the pad is available is here: http://www.amazon.com/Cool-Cooling-Large-32-Inches-44-Inches/dp/B0009EUZWA. I hope this helps!

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jayne July 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Wondering how you feel the bed with water will hold up to punctures from paws.

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Susi July 27, 2014 at 8:58 pm

My beds are now a year old, Jayne, and thus far my only complaint has been that they’ve been hard to keep clean – but even that I now take back. I simply needed to be more vigorous in my elbow grease. I confess my dogs’ nails have not always been as trim as I would like, and the beds have withstood nail punctures. Would they withstand sharp teeth? That, I don’t know. I remain pleased with my purchases!

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noel conlon January 7, 2015 at 6:25 am

Hi Susi

I have just been researching “CoolPads” and came across your very interesting blog.

As you can see from my website I currently manufacture a frozen yogurt primarily fo dogs and quite honestly they absolutely love it…period.

Do you think think that my product would capture the imagination of the dog world in the USA?

Your immediate thioughts would be truly appreciated.

Kind regards

Noel from Belfast Ireland.

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Susi July 1, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Hello Ireland! Noel, there are any number of frozen doggie treat products on the market in the US, and I can’t definitively say that there’s a huge demand for them, or none at all. I, myself, don’t buy such products for my dogs, and most folks I know will simply give their dogs a bit of their own ice cream. Perhaps others will weigh in on this as to whether they buy dog-specific frozen treats for their dogs?

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Julia July 1, 2015 at 1:56 pm

I have a Cool Bed II or III for my Shih Tzu and she loves it. I’ve had it for about 4-5 years and it used to be blue, but the sun has bleached the surface of it. I used an old sheet and made a cover for it. It still works and she loves it when we go camping and travel. Well worth the cost.

Kindly,

Shih Tzu Mom, Julia

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Susi July 1, 2015 at 2:02 pm

That’s great to know, Julia. Our Cool Bed is also still working well and it’s helpful to know that a home-made cover is do-able and doesn’t diminish its effectiveness.

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Petra Zacek October 5, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Hi All, I was wondering if anyone has experience with these two kinds of beds and giant breeds like mastiffs? We have 150lb male Cane Corso and recently moved to super hot Arizona desert (summer temps up-to 130 degrees). Although we have AC-ed house, we definitely need some sort of cooling bed for our gentle giant. Thank you for your feedback.

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Susi October 5, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Petra, I would suggest you call K & H, the manufacturers of the Cool Bed III to inquire about the water filled pads meeting the demands of a heavier dog – here’s their number: 888-738-5188. They were very nice with me, and your question is reasonable to ask. Let me know what they tell you? Oh, one other thing. Wherever your Corso sleeps, consider filling a shallow tray with an ice block and putting a fan right behind it. The air cools remarkably well as it flows over the ice block and toward your dog.

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PatS July 8, 2016 at 5:24 pm

Hi! I realize from the dates that I’m coming in resale late, but I’m hoping you’ll get to see my questions, and respond. From your positive comments, I’m going to give the cooling mat III a try. However, it’s not something we would use in the winter(i.e. no need to cool), so… seems like I should try to empty the water????? with the trouble of the inside batting flipping – I wonder about that. Also I wonder if I’d be growing a mat full of mold/or bacteria? Do you have any experience or thoughts about that? I’m probably over analyzing as usual but I’m just curious! Thanks! God bless! Pat

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Susi July 11, 2016 at 9:03 am

Hi Pat! I’ve had the same water in my cooling mat for a good two years and haven’t seen anything eating its way from the inside out (grin) in the way of mold. It occurs to me that a tablespoon of Clorox added to the water going into the mat would combat any kind of growth, but I can’t say what it would to do the material, or if it would compromise the Cooling Mat’s material at all. I haven’t emptied the water from the mats because the dogs like to lie on them inside their crates during the winter, as well, but I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be abel to empty the mats seasonally. I hope this helps!

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Candace Parker August 22, 2016 at 7:28 pm

Hi Pat and Susi, just read your comment on Clorox for bacteria…I got a cooling mat and it suggested grapeseed extract, or I thought about using colloidal silver only cause I can’t find grapeseed extract. Not sure I would use clorox.
But having said that…I have been reading the reviews and no one has complained about them leaking. Mine did after 2 months and I am returning it. It doesn’t have a hole it just leaks if you step on it or if I think get over filled. My dog loves it and goes right to it, but also during the night she goes and sleeps on the floor or her other bed…I guess it all depends on if she gets warm on the cooling pad and looks for a cooler spot and if she wants to be warmer she goes to he other bed.
I was wondering if anyone else has had that problem with them leaking…mine was a water and I am thinking of getting a Gel. There is also another one made of a different material.
Polyurethane foam filler/CMC/polymer absorber…any thoughts?

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Susi August 22, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Pat and Candace, I think I’d like to take your comments to the company and see what they have to say about this. Any chance you could take pictures of the issue? No biggie if you can’t, but the more evidence I can provide, the better.

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Candace Parker August 23, 2016 at 10:45 am

Susi,

you can take the comments to K H, but not sure how to do the picture and send it to you, but I am also about ready to return it. The person the sells to the store said to bring it back and the store is going to give me a full refund. I plan to call the company as well because I want the gray lll because I have a big furry dog well she will be big when she gets older (6mos).
The only thing is the water beds are very heavy and that was my first experience buying a cooling bed and I know nothing about a gel bed. I read another article that said the water stays cooler and works better than the gel…just want to confirm that b4 I purchase another one. again does anyone know about the gel’s vs the water beds…thank you

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Candace Parker August 22, 2016 at 7:34 pm

Me again…when I said it was leaking, it leaks thru the fabric, this happened after I emptied the water out and refilled it.. I was wondering if I needed to empty it, it just seem to be the thing to do for some reason.There was no direction on that subject when I got the pad.
any help or thoughts are welcomed…thank you

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ALEXIS D January 29, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Hello Susi! Love your blog and everyones comments and feedback. I have a cooling bed for my dogs Standard Poodle & Mini I have had my mat for about 6 years and it has never faulted my dogs love it, I therefore highly recommend it. At the moment in Australia we are having really hot weather and I am looking to buy another mat as my mini takes over the mat leaving my big boy on the not as cool wooden floor. One concern I would like to highlight with the blue mats which supposedly draw the heat from the dogs, is that my little dog is elderly and he struggles getting up on them as they are a very slippery material, the water pad is not as bad but I have made a cover incorporating grip mat that works really well. Highly recommend

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Susi January 31, 2017 at 10:14 am

I appreciate the kind words, Alexis, and especially the feedback on the cooling bed, and your wonderful suggestion about using a grip mat for our more senior dogs. By the way, an Australian bred Puli won the AKC National Championship recently – very cool!!

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ALEXIS D January 29, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Hello Susi! Love your blog and everyone’s comments and feedback. I have a cooling bed for my dogs Standard Poodle & Mini I have had my mat for about 6 years and it has never faulted my dogs love it, I therefore highly recommend it. At the moment in Australia we are having really hot weather and I am looking to buy another mat as my mini takes over the mat leaving my big boy on the not as cool wooden floor. One concern I would like to highlight with the blue mats which supposedly draw the heat from the dogs, is that my little dog is elderly and he struggles getting up on them as they are a very slippery material, the water pad is not as bad but I have made a cover incorporating grip mat that works really well. Highly recommend

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