At the start of last summer I was offered a 2nd hand XL Ruffwear Swamp Cooler for sale. It was a bit big for Guinness but by chance a friend had a large one which was too small for her Labrador, thus forth we swapped.
Ruffwear claims that their Swamp Cooler works by using “natural evaporative cooling”. You soak the coat in water, wring it out and put it on your dog, then the evaporative cooling exchanges the dogs heat as water which evaporates from the coat’s reservoir. It’s also suppose to be reflective too.
I used it a handful of times last summer and so far once this year. I keep it for extreme circumstances only, when the heat and sun is unavoidable.
The coat fits lovely, is easy to adjust and seems very rugged. It’s not been worn for off lead running and tearing around, mostly just for days at country fairs or agility shows, while queuing or sitting around.
From my experience it works wonderfully! Guinness always tries to shake a few times when its first put on (it must be a weird sensation being wet and not being able to do anything about it) but then he’s quite happy wearing it all day.
At the Cheshire Show recently in the mid-day sun I placed my hand under the cool coat onto Guinness’ back and he was lovely and cool. It almost felt like there was a cold air pocket under the coat.
It’s a weird concept putting a coat on a dog to keep them cool, plus the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler is pretty thick and heavy, but it really does work. I think it’s much more logical having a light coloured coat to be reflective as well as using the evaporative cooling technique than the dark coloured versions you can buy. You just need to make sure that you have access to enough water to soak it in. I found a bowl of water is enough.
Even if you only use it a handful of times, that one time could prevent heat stroke, or at least make your dog much more comfortable. It certainly shouldn’t be used as a solution to keeping your dog in hot conditions constantly, but if you are going out for the day or the weather has rocketed then it can be a great relief for your dog.