BaxterBoo Blog
June 23, 2014

Keep your Canine Cool With DIY Ice Pack Bandanas

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Dogs aren't as efficient at cooling themselves as humans. People can sweat, but dogs have only two areas to lower their body temp - through their paws and by panting. Other than keeping our pups in the shade and providing plenty of water, how can we help our best buddies to beat the heat?

As much as we'd like to direct you to our cooling products here at, some of the most popular summer products can sell out when temperatures climb.  

Thanks to a customer inquiring about cooling collars, I came up with an idea to help hot dogs keep their cool during the Dog Days of Summer. This simple trick will help you make your own gel-pack bandanas with simple items found around the house!

1. Choose a pet-perfect bandana

We have plenty of cute styles of bandanas to choose from here at You can select patriotic patterns that are perfect for the 4th of July (or any day.) Your dog can support your favorite team with our selection of sports bandanas. Keep in mind that many of our pet bandanas are better suited for large breeds than the smaller sizes available at craft stores.

2. Make pet-safe ice packs

There are several recipes online for making your own ice packs. The problem is, most of them have toxic ingredients such as rubbing alcohol or vodka. Even small amounts of alcohol can be deadly for pets and children! Play it safe with pet-safe alternatives. Even with nontoxic ingredients, it's wise to supervise pets wearing ice-pack bandanas. 

What you'll need:

  • Good-quality snack zipper bags. Cheaper baggies may leak.
  • A 1/3 c. measuring cup or a friend for bag-filling assistance
  • Corn syrup OR dish soap.
  • Transparent tape

Open the snack zip bag and drape the opening over a the measuring cup. Because the measuring cup is shallow, your baggie won't fall during filling like it might when using a deeper cup. Or skip the cup and enlist help from a friend.

Fill the zipper bag a little less than half full of either corn syrup or dish soap. Seal the bag securely and fold the zipper down over the liquid to make a tube. Double bag the pack (with the openings opposite of each other) to prevent leaks. Fold the zipper end in the opposite direction of the inside zip bag and tape the bag into a tube shape.

Freeze the pack(s) for several hours. The pack will be frozen but still pliable. Make several packs to have on hand.

Which liquid is best?

Dish Soap

Keep in mind that dish soap isn't toxic in small amounts, but it does have a laxative effect. The taste of soap will usually discourage dogs from using the ice pack as a snack.

Some dish soap brands contain triclosan to kill germs. Triclosan would disturb the balance of your pet's natural intestinal flora if consumed.

The good thing about using dish soap is that the color makes the ice packs easy to spot in the freezer.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is definitely nontoxic, but should your pup decide to snack on the ice pack, the sweet taste may encourage a continued feast. Be sure not to use sugar-free corn syrup. 

You could add a couple of drops of food coloring to the corn syrup to visually distinguish your creation as being an ice pack. This could be done after the zip back is sealed and kneaded to distribute the color.

3. Sewing the bandana

  1. Fold the bandana square into a triangle. 
  2. Place one or two of the frozen ice packs inside the fold to determine how much space you'll need when sewing the seam that will contain the ice pack.
  3. Mark the fabric depth required for where you want to sew.
  4. Take the ice pack out of the folded bandana, refold the triangle.
  5. Sew a reinforced seam as illustrated below. Having a seam that doesn't extend to the edges will make it easier to insert an ice pack (or two for large breeds.) The non-sewn corners will also be easier to tie around your dog's neck. 


More tips

Snack bag ice packs will measure 8" long. A 22" square bandana (as many of our are) will have a diagonal seam of about 31".

Therefore, if you're making an ice-pack bandana for a large dog, sew your seam to be long enough to accommodate two ice pack tubes (approximately 17"-18".)

For smaller dogs, one ice pack will be adequate. Sew a 9" - 10" pocket length. Smaller bandanas might be more appropriate for little pups.

Keep several packs in a cooler when you're out and about to help your dog keep his cool throughout the day.

These ice packs are helpful for human injuries and for keeping food cold as well. Make several baggie sizes to have on hand for all your cooling needs. 

Check out this article for detecting signs of heat exhuastion in pets and more cooling tips. 

What do you think?

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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