First go to a plant nursery:
- Buy a package of polymer granules which are marketed by different
companies but are comprised of x-linked polyacrylamide. This material
is very absorptive. 1 lb. will hold 50 gallons of pure water. As the
mineral and salt content of the water increases, the absorptive
ability of the polymer decreases.
- This is marketed under the names Soil Moist or
HydroSource (others include Watergems, Water Diamonds, Aquasorb,
California Crystals, Water Crystals, Watersorb, Terrasorb, Hydro-Mulch,
Moist Soil, Agrosoke, Smart Soil, Aqua Crystal, Agrodiamonds, Gel Crystal,
Crystal Ice, Stamoist, Cracked Ice, Floragel, Floramoist). If you cannot
find it, call 1-800-962-4010 (JRM CHEMICAL INC.) 13600 Broadway Ave,
Cleveland, OH 44125. FYI, you can view the HydroSource
From a fabric store, you will need:
- Material for the mat–cut into a top and bottom and sew on three
sides. A large pillowcase works well for a 400 crate. You will need to
sew channels or tubes for the granules. Each should be about 1-1/2
inches wide. When you finish, fill each with about 1 tsp of granules
per foot of length. Then stitch the fourth side closed.
- Place it in cool water–30 minutes should give it about 50%
absorption. Another hour should use all the absorptive ability of the
granules. If its too full or not full enough, allow several days to
dry and then adjust the amount in the tubes appropriately.
- One inventive implentor of these directions uses a standard
pillowcase for a 400 crate, putting in 8 vertical channels and then
divides each into fourths. She puts a tsp. of crystals into each and
then sews each shut. The mat will stay damp for several
days, maybe as long as five days!
WARNING: When not in use hang in a well ventilated area.
- To prevent mildew, place in ziplock in refrigerator where it will
stay hydrated for months. If storing longer allow to dry completely
and remember it may take over a week.
- To wash–hand wash in mild soap or vinegar and water, rinse
thoroughly, and hang in a well-ventilated area to dry. DO NOT MACHINE
WASH OR DRY!
These “cool mats” are available commercially; some have a
laminated fabric covering closed with velcro. You might want to
experiment with sheeting or some other lighter-weight covering, as the
laminate may be too thick to really cool. Using thinner material does
allow the dog to get damp. Also, enclosing the mat in a second
pillowcase with a velcro close allows the outer to be washed, may
reduce the dampness, and does not interfere with the cooling effect.