Why you need to stop walking your dog in the afternoon heat

Hot weather brings out the worst in people in my humble opinion.

We are all feeling hot, sweaty, had enough of the bugs and tired because it’s too hot to sleep which makes some of us a bit grumpy. Me included.

However what the heat also does to some people is that it fries their brains and renders them unable to make a sensible, informed decision.

This is now my fourth summer as a professional dog walker and I’m still seeing the same stupid and irresponsible actions taken by some dog owners.

On my page earlier this week I talked about a woman walking her long haired German Shepherd dog in the afternoon. And it was hot, bloody hot let me tell you.

However, playing devils advocate I suggested that the woman was under the belief that the hottest part of the day was between 12 and 2. Doctors and sun cream makers have been ramming it down our throats for years to stay out of the sun during those times. So it stands to reason that we may believe that to be the hottest time.

In fact it’s the time the sun is at is strongest. The hottest part of the day is actually between 3-4pm. If you think of the sun as an portable heater, go on just for me! Now that heater is on full whack. It’s at the top of the stairs.

You are at the bottom of the stairs. It’s warm but it’s bearable even though it’s on full whack because it’s way above you.

Now imagine that heater on full whack on the fourth step from the bottom. Chances are that you are going to be feeling pretty hot now as it’s in your face.

As the sun moves from its midday position it warms the ground up more. By 3-4pm the temperature is at its hottest. The sun’s heat has been building up since midday and more heat is present at the surface than what is leaving it.

So potentially you could be causing your dog more damage on an afternoon walk than a lunchtime walk, depending on the overall temperature of course.

What should you do then?

How about not walking them? I know it’s a crazy concept isn’t it, especially from someone who earns her living from walking dogs.

And yes I have lost money this week. It’s a fine balance between the welfare of the dogs and earning enough money to pay the bills.

Keep your knickers on. Of course, dog welfare comes first. I take into account things like owners going on holiday, being ill and extreme weather, and I charge my prices accordingly.

Some dog walkers don’t and maybe that’s why they still walk the dogs in the crazy hot heat. Devils advocate again. I need to stop making excuses for them, they have obviously lost their minds. 

I’ve heard some dog walkers say that the owners haven’t asked them not to walk their dog. Well big fat face slap to them idiots. 

Yes they are idiots. And not very business savvy. I have it in my contract with my owners about extreme weather. Unless an owner cancels their dogs walk then it will be my decision on whether that walk goes ahead.

I don’t lose one bit of sleep over it either (mainly because it’s too hot to sleep, but you know what I mean!)

For me it’s simple, I treat my owners dogs like I treat my own. You must realise how attached we become to the dogs we regularly walk. I talk all the time about relationship building and it’s not just the dog being comfortable with us. 

For that half hour, 45 minutes or 60 minutes that dog is mine. My mate, my companion, my responsibility, my everything. 

So it stands to reason that I’m going to do right by them. I’m lucky that I have a great relationship with my owners as well. Not one of them has ever had to ask me not to walk their dog.

Because I’ve already made that decision and they respect that I’m doing it out of care and welfare for their dogs.

There are plenty of blogs and articles out there about how to keep your dog cool. 

I have to be different. The message isn’t getting through. 

For me it’s about realising that you don’t need to walk your dog in this heat even if you or the dog wants it.

I grew up on that saying “I wants, don’t gets.”

It’s all about the dogs needs, and they can happily survive without a walk.

If I’m prepared to lose money, and I’m not talking the odd fiver here, for the welfare of a dog then you should take my advice and keep your dog at home.

They won’t die. They literally won’t die from not walking. If you do decide to walk them please set your alarm and take them out real early. 6am is a beautiful time to walk your dog on those toasty days. And don’t forget to take plenty of water with you. For your dog. They might let you have a slurp if you give them your best human eyes!

Love, Sally xx