Have you dug out last year’s coat, hat and boots only to discover that they look, well, a bit drab? And are you dreading all the mud and wet, (or heat), that is the nemesis of the dog walker? You’re in luck! We’ve been scouring the shops for all the best kit to help you, and your dog, walk smart.
We've also answered some FAQ's about dog walking in general, so you can be sure of getting the most fun out of your walk and avoid the pitfalls.
Can I walk my dog when it's hot?
Walking your dog in temperatures above 20 degrees does carry some risk of heat stroke, which can happen quickly and be very dangerous. And the risk increases the hotter it gets. On hot days walk early or late when it's cooler, provide a paddling pool in the shade and do not walk on hot pavements that you cannot bear to touch with your hand for a few seconds. Ensure your dog has access to water at all times of the day and brush their coat to ensure it's as thin as possible. Read more here.
Are there dog walking rules?
In the UK, dogs in public places have to be microchipped and wear a collar with an ID tag that has a name and address on it. If you are driving to a walk, your dog will need to be wearing a pet seatbelt or be in a cage too. You are legally responsible for your dog when you walk them, so if they damage property, hurt people or farm animals, it is you who could pay for damages. It is generally accepted that whilst not a legal requirement, it is good etiquette to pop a lead on your dog when approaching other people with dogs. Read more here.
How many walks a day is best?
We would say AT LEAST once a day, and for AT LEAST 30 minutes, but twice is better and longer is better, if your dog's age and breed allow it. Dogs love and need walks for exploring, playing and exercise - and of course it's good for us too. If you are short of time, take some toys to make the time you have as active as possible. Terriers and Collies will need more walking than Great Danes and Greyhounds, but the truth is that all dog breeds benefit from walking because it helps their joints, their weight control and digestion. So a walked dog is a happy and healthy dog! Read more here.
Our favourite dog walking equipment...
The Lightweight but Warm Waterproof
Here in the UK, we know a coat can be necessary any time of year. You don’t want a full-on goose down coat only to be boiling after 10 minutes, nor something so lightweight that you shiver for the whole walk. The Barbour Headland WaterProof Jacket is stylish, lightweight, waterproof and cosy. At £179 this classic is not cheap but it will last, and it has a hood and lots of pockets for treats and leads, so it’s practical too. For £129 you can buy the Joules Allweather 3-In-1 Waterproof Coat which has a removable fleece, and is completely waterproof. For men, the Helly Hansen Waterproof Dubliner Jacket, at £110 in John Lewis, is a lightweight, waterproof and windproof classic jacket for the more conservative males amongst you!
If you want a little pit stop on your walk, you’ll be needing a waterproof blanket, and we loved this one from The National Trust. On longer walks there’s nothing quite so lovely as a cuppa at a favourite viewing spot, and we thought this flask and two mugs set from Lakeland, in its handy carrying case, was particularly clever.
Dog Toys to take with you
It’s OK throwing a ball in the summer – it doesn’t get muddy. But when autumn comes you may want to invest in a new Chuck It Ultra Grip Ball Launcher. This one has a great grip and solid handle, so no more slobbery balls for you to pick up thank you very much!
Handling the Mess of Muddy Mutts
Muddy, wet walks make dogs happy, and if they are happy, so are we. But, and it’s a big but, managing the mess makes work and is a hassle. We think that the answer to reducing the work is investing in the right kit. Alison swears by her portable dog washer. You can fill them with warm water, and the cheaper ones with a pump, rather than a battery, start at around £30. The Karcher OC3 Portable Cleaner is not cheap at £129, but is compact enough for the car, and the pump makes it quick and effective to use. Muddy wet dogs and cars don’t really go, so invest in some Ruff and Tumble Dog Drying Coats and Mitts which will dry your dogs in half an hour, keep them warm and protect your car and home. A Ruff and Tumble Sofa Throw is handy in the back of the car too. Double layered towelling absorbs wet and protects anything you want, not just sofas.
Happy walking from us all at Ruff and Tumble!