A maternity clothes maker in Tokyo is marketing portable fans to help dogs and cats cope with oppressive summer weather.
Dog owners in Japan can now buy wearable fans to keep their pets cool during the country’s sweltering summer.
Comprising a battery-operated, 80-gram fan attached to a breathable mesh outfit, the device circulates cool air around the animal’s body.
Rei Uzawa, president of maternity clothing company Sweet Mommy, said she came up with the idea after seeing how tired her pet chihuahua became when she took it out for a walk.
While experts have advised owners to skip walks or take their pets out very early in the morning or late at night during the recent record-breaking heatwave in Britain, Japan’s high humidity levels are keeping temperatures over 25C through the night, according to public broadcaster NHK.
Tokyo experienced its longest heatwave on record from late June, with temperatures up to 35C for nine straight days after the rainy season ended early.
“There was almost no rainy season this year, so the hot days came early,” said Uzawa, who teamed up with a veterinarian to make the jackets.
Mami Kumamoto, who owns a miniature poodle named Purin and a terrier called Moco, said she tried to keep her pets cool with packs of dry ice during walks. “But it’s easier to walk my dogs with this fan,” she told Reuters.
The Cool Dog range, which is also suitable for cats, appears to be modeled on fan-fitted jackets that have become increasingly popular among Japanese construction workers and others who have to spend long periods outside.
Demand is not expected to drop off any time soon. Temperatures rose again at the weekend after the arrival of a high-pressure system over much of the country.
Of 914 observation points, 725 recorded a maximum temperature of 30C or higher, the Mainichi Shimbun reported, adding that the mercury in Kushiro city in Japan’s far north had reached 33.5C – the highest temperature there since records began in 1910.
Although slightly less brutal weather is forecast for Thursday and Friday, temperatures are expected to rise again at the weekend, remaining in the mid-30s for much of next week.
Weather officials have warned against venturing outside unless absolutely necessary and exercising during the day. They have also urged people to set their air conditioners as “appropriate” levels, drink water at night and remove their masks outdoors provided they are observing social distancing.