Even if you have super-charged central air conditioning indoors, you'll still need to find a way to keep your pooch cool and comfy when he's outside in the summer. An effective way to do that is to get him a bed designed to keep his body temperature down. Just place it in a shady spot with an ample supply of water and he's good to go.
Gel Foam Beds
Gel foam dog beds are useful choices for cooling beds if you share your life with an older dog. While his aching joints might not be as painful during warm summer months, they'll still be tender and will benefit from bedding that is firm enough to provide support but gentle enough to relieve pressure. The washable cotton cover on the gel foam cushion is breathable, keeping heat from becoming trapped between your dog and his bed. The cushion itself is made from material that is designed to keep your dog cool in the summer and warm when the weather grows cold.
Water Activated Pads
Plan some prep time when you get your dog a water-activated pad for his bed. The evaporative cooling method that the water activated pads utilize lasts for three to five days, so less than an hour's worth of prep time is required to keep your dog comfortable in the heat. These pads are made from a doggy-safe polymer that holds water, but they're covered in an outer fabric layer that feels dry. Activate your dog's cooling pad by soaking it in cold water for 20 minutes. Remove it from the water without wringing it out -- all you do is shake it a bit then let it sit for 30 minutes. Just put the pad in your dog's outdoor bed and he'll stay cool all day long.
If you haven't had time to shop around for a dog bed that will keep your pup cool in the summer, you probably have something in your freezer that will be useful in a pinch. Just wrap a towel around two or three gel ice packs, depending on your pooch's size, and put the chilly bundle in your dog's bed. The cooling effects will only last until the gel melts and takes on the temperature of the surrounding air, but it's a convenient solution if you don't have an alternative.
Placing a Cooling Bed
Put your dog's cooling bed in a place outdoors that is in continual shade throughout the day. This will enhance the cooling effects and keep your dog more comfortable overall. Don't put the bed in a doghouse, though. Even though they typically have open doors, the air doesn't circulate effectively. Doghouses act like little ovens during the summer because the walls, floor and roof hold the heat inside. Instead, set your dog up in an open area to take advantage of the free-moving air.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.