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Keeping your dog cool this summer: Chloe’s Zentek jacket

I’ve met Janice Kajanoff, owner of Zentek, and chatted with her about her company’s products and plans while she fitted Chloe with her new jacket (yes, each is tailored to fit, and since I bought Chloe’s jacket when she was a puppy, we had to have two fittings). I admire Janice’s moxie and I’ve enjoyed our chats — I don’t think that’s affected what I think of her products, but you should know about the connection.

Just over a year ago, I wrote a quick post about Chloe’s new crate pad, made by a Seattle company out of Comfortemp® fabric, a material impregnated with crystals that, according to Zentek, “interactively react to changing body or outside temperatures. Depending on the individual situation or activity level they absorb excess body heat and store it until it is needed again. This keeps your dog in the comfort zone longer.” Chloe seemed to seek it out during hot weather, which seemed to support Zentek’s claims.

Chloe, wearing Zentek, in a pensive mood (the extra petticoat on the end of the jacket was added when she grew)

Chloe also has a jacket from Zentek, and although it’s seen a lot of use in cold and rainy weather, I hadn’t really used it in hot weather before last week. I’m not sure why — perhaps because it’s such an unlikely-looking solution for hot weather. I own a couple of those neck wraps that you soak in water, and that technology makes sense to me. The stored water is released over time, and cools your neck — no mystery there. The Zentek jacket, though, is just fabric, and thick fabric at that, since the jacket is lined. No matter how much I read about how special this particular fabric is, it seemed wrong to wrap up my dog before taking her into the heat.

We spent last week in New York, and I knew ahead of time it was going to be hot and humid, so I packed the Zentek jacket. As you know from previous posts, we went on several long walks while we were there. As you also know, the weather in NYC was murderous, especially for a family that’s been enjoying a very cool Seattle spring. If there was ever a moment for a temperature-regulating jacket, this was it.

It was a hit. Chloe was thirsty from time to time, but a few sips contented her. She panted, but not so much that I was worried. As a test, we took her for a couple of shorter walks without the jacket, and the difference was noticeable. I don’t carry an ear thermometer with me, so I can’t give you precise comparisons, but we noticed that when she wasn’t wearing the jacket, Chloe stopped very frequently for water, drank a lot at each stop, and panted heavily.

My only complaint about the jacket is that because it has to cover her chest entirely, it fights a bit with her front-fastening harness. Zentek constructed it with a slot in front through which the harness clip pokes for attachment to Chloe’s leash, but the slot is small, and when the leash is tugged, the harness tends to shift the coat to one side or the other. It’s not a tragic flaw, and Chloe’s chest remains covered throughout, but it’s an imperfection. Otherwise, the coat is extremely well designed and constructed. It also looks nice — very clean and modern.

I haven’t tried any other dog cooling coats or vests on Chloe, so I can’t tell you what I think of the competition. I was very happy to have the coat we have during this cruel week.

4 comments

  • Lanae

    This jacket seems great! It can get very hot and very cold here (Minnesota) and this would be perfect for all seasons! I just wish it wasn’t so pricey and I would get one for each of my dogs, but it is high quality and uses state-of-the-art technology so that’s at least understandable. Lately I have to wait until around 7 or 8pm to go on walks with my dogs otherwise it’s just too hot for them. This jacket would be an awesome idea for a future giveaway! Thanks for the article!

  • Hi, Lanae — Thanks so much for your comment! I’m very pleased with Chloe’s Zentek jacket, and I think I’d be even more grateful for it in a place like Minnesota (Seattle’s seldom really hot or cold) — but you’re right, it’s pricey.

  • Wendy

    Hi, just wanted to add my own experience with the Zentek temperature-regulating mat. I had such high hopes due to the claim of NASA technology, but it was a complete wash…I returned it after it failed to keep my dogs cool at outdoor agility competitions. I even sat on it myself and my lower half did not feel even one degree cooler, even after 10 minutes, so no wonder it did nothing for my dogs. Sounds like you had better luck with your Zentek jacket, but as you point out, there are much better cool vests on the market now (thankfully).

  • Hi, Wendy — Thanks so much for your comment! We’ve been happy with Chloe’s Zentek jacket, but I’m always up for a new product — would you let me know what cool vests you’ve found that work for you?

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