How Do Dog Cooling Mats Work – Wiggles and Wags
How Do Dog Cooling Mats Work

How Do Dog Cooling Mats Work

Cooling mats, packs and devices, which are designed to cool objects and body temperatures have been around for decades and they come in various forms. There are various products available on the market for your dog - some contain gel, water and crystals and our feedback confirms that some are more effective than others.

Gel types

These types of cooling mats contain a gel, which can be mostly water but will also comprise of other materials to make it a more gel-like and evenly spread liquid inside the mat. Some require a fridge to cool them or even a freezer but we wouldn't recommend these products - imagine the shock to your dog when it lies on a near ice-cube temperature surface!

Other gels contain water and also substances like alginic acid, polyacrylamide and
carboxmethyl cellulose. Alginin acid is basically an emulsifier and thickener and is used in foodstuffs like ice cream and some yoghurts.

Polyacrylamide is an acrylic resin and is used in water treatment and as water jelly crystals, which goes some way to explain why it is a suitable product for cooling mats.

Carboxmethyl cellulose is often used as a viscosity modifier and water retention agent in the oil drilling industry and is a water-soluble cellulose derivative.

When combined, these products seem to be non-toxic and offer sufficient cooling properties.


There are very low cost items on the market that have been sealed adequately but only contain water. You freeze it like an ice pack and then allow your dog to lie on it. Imagine the shock of a freezing cold ice pack when your dog is very hot! We wouldn't advise these dog cooling mats as they only have one extreme - that is freezing cold to touch and you wouldn't want to shock your dog.

Phase change type of cooling mat

If you take a look at the main image in this post, it explains how this phase change principle works. If you are slightly confused by the complexity of this image, we'll explain this in very simple terms.

These types of materials are used in many industrial applications. Basically, when a phase change material is a liquid it no longer cools. It will only get to a liquid state after it has absorbed heat. This could be a result of your dog laying on a cool mat for a few hours. It will only cool when the crystals in the mat are in a more solid state - it does this as the mat releases the heat energy it has absorbed.

If you have a mat with a more solid, crystal-like feel to it then it has already released the heat from within it and it will release a cooling sensation. Eventually it will turn to a liquid/gel again and you then need to recharge it. To recharge a cooling mat you just need to place it in a cool, dark room or cupboard overnight and it will go from a liquid to solid state again - you can then use it to cool your dog. To speed up this recharge process, you can place it in a fridge (not a freezer!!) for a couple of hours. It is then advised to leave it out for 30 minutes at room temperature before using it.

This method is a preferred choice for many types of dog cooling mat and is a safe bet for efficiently cooling down your dog in hot weather or after periods of heavy exercise.

NOTE: When the mat is in a solid state, place it in a shaded area, out of direct sunlight. Move your dog onto the mat when it is warm, so it knows where the mat is and it will understand that it will give off a cooling sensation when it lays on it. You can take a look at the Wiggles and Wags dog cooling mats here.

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