Wearable fans help Japan's hot dogs stay cool
Japan like many countries has been hit by heatwaves this summer with humans and pets suffering alike. To help dogs that can't shed their fur coats to stay cool, a Tokyo clothing maker and veterinarians have teamed up to create a wearable fan just for dogs and even cats.
A battery-operated, 80-gramme (3 ounces) fan is attached to a special mesh outfit which blows cool air which helps circulate cool air around the animal's body. The outfits come in five different sizes and are priced at 9,900 yen (74 USD).
Rei Uzawa, president of maternity clothing maker Sweet Mommy, says she was motivated to create the device after seeing her own pet chihuahua exhausted every time it was taken out for a walk in the scorching summer heat. She got the idea of the cooling fan came from air-conditioned jackets for humans which are often worn by construction workers and other labourers who have to work outside.
"There was almost no rainy season this year, so the hot days came early, and in that sense, I think we developed a product that is right for the market," says Uzawa.
This year the rainy season in Tokyo abruptly ended at the end of June, the earliest since data began to be kept in 1951, leaving the capital to suffer the longest heatwave on record with temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) for nine days.
The devices debuted in early July and Sweet Mommy has received around 100 orders for the product, Uzawa said.
“It's impossible to walk my dog during the daytime in such a hot weather. I usually use dry ice packs (to keep the dog cool). But I think it's easier to walk my dog if we have this fan," said 48-year-old Mami Kumamoto, an owner of a miniature poodle named Pudding and a terrier named Maco.
A kimono version went on sale from Friday and is sold at the same price as the original. A try-on event on Thursday (July 28) drew several dog lovers, their canine companions, and even a cat.