Dogs cool down when overheated by panting and seeking out shade. When there is little shade or when a dog is walking with its owner on a hot day, panting may not provide enough relief from the heat. The resulting increase in the dog's body temperature may cause excessive discomfort and even heatstroke. Evaporative cooling coats for dogs use water to provide relief from the harmful effects of heat and sun.
Heatstroke in dogs can occur in any hot environment and happens when a dog cannot release enough heat by panting. If a dog's temperature stays above the normal range of 100.5 degrees to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended amount of time, the animal may go into shock. Heatstroke can also result in brain and kidney damage.
Evaporative cooling coats, vests and jackets for dogs operate on the principle that evaporating water will absorb heat from the surrounding area, mimicking how humans release heat by sweating. These coats use special fabrics or crystal beads to absorb water. After soaking the coat in water, the owner places the coat on the dog's back and secures it around the dog's chest. As the dog's temperature rises while wearing the coat, the water in the coat siphons off the animal's heat. The vest remains effective from 45 minutes to two hours.
Brands of canine evaporative cooling coats include Cool K-9, Cool Vest, CoolZone Dog and Swamp Cooler. All of these brands offer different sizes to fit a variety of large and small dogs. Some offer reflective fabric for nighttime visibility.
In 2009, the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society International purchased 25 cooling vests to give relief to military dogs working in Afghanistan, where ambient temperatures reach 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike standard cooling coats, these special coats sport a camouflage design.
- American Kennel Club: Emergencies and First Aid
- Colorado State University: Don't Let Family Pet Become a Hot Dog, Warns Colorado State University Veterinarian, Brad Bohlander
- Fido in Prospect Park: Hot Weather Tips
- PetMD: Heat Stroke in Dogs
- The Humane Society: K-9 Keel Cool Vest
- The Humane Society: Keeping Dogs Cool
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