Many people encounter service animals in public daily. A common misconception about their cooling coats is people thinking they are actually sweaters. Now, I am not entirely sure why people think service dog handlers would willingly let their dog suffer in 90+ degree weather, but that is beyond me.
Saxon in his cooling coat at Universal Studios, Orlando
Nalla in her patterned cooling coat at Disney World, Orlando
In the Florida heat, cooling coats may dry fast, which means the handler must check often. The coat is easy to wet, usually with a water bottle, and can even stop the pup from panting! (Incredible, right? Makes you wish it wouldn't be weird to wear one for yourself.) Humans cool their body off by sweating and the evaporating effect these coats have actually mimic the human cooling process. Remember when buying a cooling coat that the material inside must be able to absorb the water that is going to sit on your pup's back. If it doesn't absorb water, it will just dribble off and dry. The best type of material to have inside a cooling coat, that will absorb water, is similar to the towel us humans use to dry our cars.
Next, for people who love to sit out by the pool with their dogs: the cooling mat which will absorb the heat from your pup's body.
Aqua Coolkeeper demonstrates how the cooling pad works on their website: http://www.aquacoolkeeper.com/
There are many types of portable water bottles or bowls for your pup, but this is the most commonly used among service dog handlers due to its convenience:
Photo from DHgate.com
These bowls fold flat (pink) and open a medium amount (orange) or a large amount (green). These bowls can not only be found online, but in your local stores such as Target. When finished with the bowls, there is a way to attach it to the dog's vest.
Simba riding "Under The Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid" at Disney World, Orlando, with his bowl attached to his vest
Another great way to keep your pup cool is with a cooling collar. Similar to the cooling coat, the handler must wet the collar and there are some with ice packs inside that can be frozen.
This specific collar can be found on Amazon, although there are plenty more, some even made by people on etsy
Lastly, one of the most important ways to keep your dog from burning: boots! Most people see a dog in boots and ask us why they need shoes. Have you ever taken your shoes/socks off and walked around Disney barefoot all day? Probably not because your feet would burn, right? Well the same applies to our precious pups! Bill Nye did an experiment and found that when the pavement is 130 degrees, it would only take about 20 minutes for an egg to fry. It takes longer than 20 minutes just to walk from Magic Kingdom's parking lot into the park! By the time we got inside, my pup's pads would be frying. When it is only 87 degrees outside, the pavement is about 140 degrees. With that being said, it gets hotter than 87 degrees in July for Florida's summer. In July 2015, Orlando's highest temperature was 97 degrees!!
Saxon wearing his boots at Universal, Orlando
There are clearly many ways to protect your dogs this summer! It is heartbreaking to see service dogs walking around the parks without ANY protection, not even boots -- Do not be that person, protect your pup!