As a dog walker, you come across many challenges including how to walk in certain weather conditions. Its important dogs get their daily exercise and as many dog owners/walkers know, you should in most types of weather. So, this includes trudging through snow to the point you wished you could get a sledge and harness them all up and shout ‘MUSH!’. But of course, the snow is not really an issue right now in England, it’s the heat that we get on the odd occasion in London. For humans, this means slightly over-weight men taking their shirts off with a can of cold stella in their hands, ice creams, beaches, parks, picnics, sun burn to the point 90% of the population look like lobsters and so much more. But for dogs this can often be a pretty uncomfortable time walking in high heats when wrapped in fur.
Here is a step by step guide on insuring your dog does not get ill when on a walk:
- Choose an area where there is as much shade as possible, i.e. woodland. I’m assuming everyone who is reading this is aware that shaded places are less hot than in the open under the sun. If the nearest place to you is an open park, try and find parts with shade so they can keep cool, or perhaps don’t walk there on days where its blistering heat. Hampstead Heath is always a winner due to the shade.
- Keep your dog hydrated. You can buy these little portable drinking bowls for your dog if there is not a place for them to drink in the area.. Or you can take them to a place where they have lakes, rivers, streams, basically a large amount of water where they can drink and cool off. If your dog is not keen on jumping in river’s etc, I’m not going to advise you lob them in anyway, however, try and get some water on them whether they like it or not as this will help them keep cool and I promise they won’t hate you forever for it. Alternatively, there may be taps or a designated drinking place where you walk. For example, Regents Park have a few places where the dogs can have a drink.
- If possible try and avoid the hottest time of day to walk your dog. This can obviously be tricky if that does not fit our work schedule/busy lives, but if possible try and walk early in the morning before the sun has started to really heat up or late evenings when the sun has had enough of making sure everything in its wake melts like baked Camembert. If these options are not possible and you have to walk in the afternoon, then again try and stick to cooler areas. Also, again this can be pretty unavoidable if you live in a town or city sometimes, but when it’s really hot the pavements and roads can become very hot so grassy places are best, I don’t advise to try and stick some flip flops or sandals on them.
- Let them have a break when they want or need. Many dogs will take their own initiative and find a cool place to have a break and rest, however, others sometimes can be a little less ‘switched on’ shall we say and try and carry on when you do. So, it’s a good idea to have a sit down with them if you see they are starting to get a little weary, it also gives you an excuse to kick back, relax and have a cuddle with the beloved pooch until you both feel you are up for the next part of the walk. Watch out for the frequency of panting. If you notice the panting becomes more rapid, this is your que to make sure they sit for a while until the panting calms down.
- When the walk has finished and you’re on your way home, try and avoid decide to pop into the shop while the dog stays in a very hot car, that to us, will feel like a sauna, to them, it’s EVEN hotter than that unless you can ensure you can keep the AC on and is just a 2 minute in and out job for a carton of milk. Even that is not really advisable. Best to get the dog home so it can siesta the rest of the afternoon away until the sun starts to set.
I think it goes without saying that we, as humans, should also take many of the precautions typed above. We are no use to our dogs if we are lying on the floor, delirious, hallucinating about never ending bottles of water, or seeing mirages of water utopia. So, drink water, and enjoy the sun for as long as the unpredictable English weather allows us too. I have also found something that some of you may be interested in, dog cooling jackets! These can be stored in the fridge before the walk and all you need to do to ensure the jacket stays cool is to keep it wet throughout the walk. At least then the dogs can have a fun run around without overheating! Hope these tips help out a bit guys!