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Product Reviews

Keeping Dogs Cool with the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler

ruffwear dog cooling vest

In Arizona, there are basically two temperatures: Hot and Slightly Less Hot.

Last year, on this day, we hit 118 degrees (you can see how I really feel about this topic here: Life in Arizona: An Environment Trying to Kill You)

This year, we’re at a (comparatively) balmy 103.

Sure, it’s a “dry heat” but so is a convection oven. I don’t care where you live – 103 is pretty hot. Which means everyone in the family is hot, including the dogs. So when Ruffwear agreed to let me try their Swamp Cooling Vest for dogs, I jumped at the chance. 

[note style=”5″ icon=”yes” class=”template-style”]We received a product sample from one or more of the companies mentioned above, however our opinions are our own and we are under no obligation to create a positive or negative review. We do our best to use affiliate links when possible.[/note]

How the Swamp Harness Cooler Works

The Ruffwear Swamp Cooler provides protection from the sun and cooling through evaporation. Since there is a lot of evaporation in our Arizona, it’s a win. In warm climates, dogs typically stay cool by seeking shade during the heat of the day and moving around in cooler temperatures. But, in Arizona, nothing moves when it’s hot out.

Our coolest temperature (even in the night) is in the 90s. While we don’t take the dogs outside much during the day, the Swamp Cooler allows dogs to perform at night without much fear of overheating.

The light-colored fabric reflects the sun, while the evaporative cooling pulls heat from the dog.

[box title=”Key Features” box_color=”#996633″]
    • Three-layer construction for maximum cooling:
    • Wicking outer layer reflects heat and facilitates evaporation
    • Absorbent middle layer stores water for evaporation
    • Comfortable inner layer transfers cooling effect to the dog
    • Leash portal on back for attaching to Front Range™ Harness or Web Master™ Harness
    • Vest style provides good coverage for maximum shade with side release buckles for easy on/off
    • Low-light visibility with reflective trim and light loop for attaching The Beacon™
    • Made in Vietnam
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Below, you can see how comfortably the cooling vest fits. We think Bree looks pretty stylish in her new swamp cooler. Brock is modeling the new Front Range harness that is ideal for any type of walk. We’ll be ordering him a new Swamp Cooler as well!

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How to Activate the Swamp Cooler

Activating the Swamp Cooler is simple. Just soak in water, wring it out and place on your dog. The vest is super streamlined, lightweight and perfect for keeping pets cool during those unbearable dog days of summer.

It will dry out after a couple of hours – if this happens while you’re out walking or hiking, just douse the vest with some bottled water and you’re right back to cooling off.

Another thing we like about this vest is that it allows us to use it over our existing harness – and it works perfectly with the Front Range™ or Web Master™ Harnesses from Ruffwear.

Other Cooling Options

  • Jet Stream: This is a simpler harness that helps cool dogs while hiking without encumbering them. The Jet Stream is a great option for hiking rocky desert regions with dogs.
  • Core Cooler: Help protect the back of your dog with reflective covering. I would select this for extreme temps when you’re out on the trail with your dogs and still need them to have ease of movement.
  • Swamp Cooler: This is more of an “every day” se and the one we love. The material covers their body without being constrictive. Brock and Bree both love this vest as it helps them stay cool while soaking up the remnants of the sun each morning and evening.

I haven’t been super impressed with previous versions of cooling vests for dogs. They have traditionally been bulky, heavy and didn’t do much to help dogs stay cool. The dogs didn’t want to wear them and I didn’t really want to mess with them. The Swamp Cooler from Ruffwear, however, is a solid win on all levels.

If you live in a hot desert climate, I recommend you pick this vest up for your late night walks or when you give your pets time in the yard during the day. It’s a great way to help pets stay cool!

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