Service dogs are individually trained dogs that are required to perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples include guiding persons who are blind, alerting the deaf, pulling a wheelchair, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and performing other important duties. Service dogs are working animals, not pets. The health and safety of both the owner and the dog depend on the dog's ability to focus, resist distraction, and perform its assigned functions at all times. Service dogs may become overexposed to heat when working in hot outdoors environments. This can negatively impact their health and their ability to perform critical service functions safely. To protect service dogs from such a hazard, a novel protective vest was developed that can reduce solar heat radiation exposure by 65% while imposing not measurable insulation heat gain. This new design was evaluated in the laboratory and a prototype worn by a service dog. The presentation will describe the design of the vest, the methods and procedures used in the laboratory to evaluate the performance of the vest under controlled conditions, and will summarize the outcome. Recommendations for use of such a heat protective vest for service dogs will be offered.
Seward, Rebecka, "Kamiah’s Kool Vests: Preventing Heat Stress in Service Dogs" (2015). College of Health Sciences Presentations. 17.