Friday, November 21, 2014

Product Review: Hurtta Cooling Coat

The Hurtta Cooling Coat is a blanket-style coat that uses evaporative cooling to keep dogs from overheating. It is available in several colors and many sizes to fit tiny through enormous dogs. There is also a cooling vest that offers a closer fit for use during activities.
Photo by Erin Koski

Dogs don't sweat. Well, actually they do, a little, through their paw pads. They mostly lose heat through respiration, meaning they pant out hot, horrible dog breath. Humans, on the other hand, sweat all over our naked pink bodies to make use of evaporative cooling. As water evaporates, it cools the surrounding air. This cooling coat allows dogs to make use of the same technology as swamp coolers and sweaty guys at the gym.

We don't normally get horrible temperatures at home on the beach, but we often go inland to events in the desert. Winter is our opportune time for outdoor events because the temperatures are livable. Nobody likes doing a trial or match in 90+ degree weather. I got this cooler specifically for Lancaster's Bark at the Park festival because the forecast was for triple-digit temperatures and we were supposed to be lure coursing for two days straight. Brisbane spends most of our coursing events screaming his head off and bouncing, so it's important to do everything I can to keep him cool. Normally I just soak him down periodically, but when it's hot enough he dries almost immediately.

Brisbane's cooling coat is a few inches too big. I had a choice between a few inches too big and a few too small, and I went with this one because the tail end of the coat is shaped with a dart to make is cup around his butt. I figured the too-short option would fit awkwardly. The coat is very thick and holds a lot of water, I was dumping a gallon on it and only squeezing out a bit. The instructions say to wring it out until it stops dripping before putting it on, but I just put it on sopping wet. The top dried out pretty quick, but the underside stayed wet and cool for a couple of hours. That underside bit is long enough that he could pee on it, but it's also removable.

Pros: Lots of coverage for lots of cooling. Drawstring at neck in belly strap that adjusts down to nothing allow for a custom fit even for a dog much smaller than intended for the coat. Stays cool and comfortable for an hour or more, and Brisbane was cool to the touch every time I checked him.

Cons: Looks like my dog is wearing a nice warm coat in 103-degree weather. Also acts a bit like a warm coat if allowed to dry and not removed.

Bottom Line: Not gonna lie, I was walking around with this thing on my head whenever I didn't have it on my dog. It is amazing and wonderful and really eases my concerns about doing stuff with my dog in the summer.

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