Summer and the Service Animal

I think it is technically Spring, though I keep waking up to 90 degree heat outside. This has had me worried about how to protect Sprite during the summer, and this concern is likely universal.

Depending on where you live the heat can top 120 degrees in summer. Humans and animals all suffer exposure, heatstroke, and often die. This is not a fate I want for my service animal, she is my partner after all. So, I started looking into those neat cooling beds that you can have them rest on. I looked at covers for her feet, cage coolers that could possibly sit inside the van, and realized just how expensive this is.

She does have a cooling collar, but she hates it. It is uncomfortable. She takes it off. She still likes to wear dresses, so they have to be thinner, and covers for her feet don’t work. She’s a cat. The ultimate solution to this worry came today via Freecycle. I love freecycling, and I hadn’t really considered the Cool beds but one was offered and after a bit of googling, it turns out this is the perfect solution for her. The bed will be used daily, and it didn’t cost me anything.

What can you do for a service dog to protect them?

Unlike Sprite you cannot pick up your dog, unless they are small, and this means they will be walking on blistering hot asphalt or concrete. I would have them sized for shoes, they make them after all. Invest in a few pairs of dog socks, and protect their feet. You wouldn’t go barefoot, so neither should they. I would save some cash by getting multiseasonal shoes. This way you can protect them in Winter too.

You can also get a mesh service dog vest, if you use one. This will give them greater airflow. Some dog breeds also have sweat issues, where they do not self regulate their temperatures well. I would carry a mysting spray bottle with me, to cool them down periodically.

Don’t forget that no matter the breed your service animal needs constant access to water. You can carry or have them carry a collapsing bowl, water bottles and call it good. Sprite uses the Pet Top nozzle on her bottles, and in summer she can down over a gallon. This means of course that your large dog breeds will need more.

You will likely be using sunblock, and there are some sunblocks that are safe for your pets/service animals. I haven’t found one that works for me and Sprite yet but, we are hunting. All animals need sun protection, but especially those with pale skin.

What about their eyes? Doggles, a dog/cat/most animal sunglasses set work great. Sprite wears them. She didn’t like them at first but, being able to see when I was cringing away from the light and it’s horrible brightness? She began to like them.

I still recommend cooling collars as well. Sprite may not like hers, but, on the hottest days she will give in, just to save herself. On those days we usually wait until the evening before going out. Don’t forget that some regions are prone to sudden cold snaps once the sun is down, and after a day of high heat this can feel more extreme to your partner. I carry a back up rain coat and a back up heavier weight coat for Sprite.

There is no such thing as traveling lightly with a service animal. Don’t forget too, that you need just as much forethought before going out this summer. You need to drink extra water, you need to protect yourself from overheating, especially if temperature makes your disability worse.

So, happy Spring!

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2 Comments

  1. […] Textual Fury placed an interesting blog post on Summer and the Service Animal « Textual FuryHere’s a brief overviewYou can also get a mesh service dog vest, if you use one. This will give them greater airflow. Some dog breeds also have sweat issues, where they do not self regulate their temperatures well. I would carry a mysting spray bottle with me … […]

  2. […] Textual Fury placed an observative post today on Summer and the Service Animal « Textual FuryHere’s a quick excerptThere is no such thing as traveling lightly with a service animal. Don’t forget too, that you need just as much forethought before going out this summer. You need to drink extra water, you need to protect yourself from overheating, especially if temperature makes your disability worse. So, happy Spring! Published in: A Day in the Life… Service Animal Awareness. on March 22, 2009 at 2:41 PM … Pageants and Related Information. Ms. Wheelchair USA … […]


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