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Opinion: Sometimes it's just too hot out to walk your dog

Can’t stand bare foot on the floor and count to five? Then you shouldn’t be walking your dog on that surface without protection for their feet
dog walking stock

It’s that time of year when we hear a lot about people leaving dogs in hot cars. So, I’ll add my voice and ask you to just leave your dog home.

Taking a few extra minutes to take your dog home, where it’s safe and secure, before running your errand, even if it’s on the way home from walking your dog, is worth it. Nobody wants a dead dog or broken car window.

I’m pleased to observe that over the past few years education does seem to be working and I think that people are tending to be sensible and either leave their dog home or if they absolutely must leave a dog in a vehicle are leaving the air conditioning running so that the dog is comfortable. Though if you do that please be aware of how long your AC will run before turning itself off and leave a visible note in your car that states that your AC is running and where you are so that you can be contacted in an emergency.

However, all this attention to not leaving dogs in hot cars leaves me wondering how many people think about where they are walking their dogs and act to protect their feet? 

Walking on a hot pavement can burn a dog's pads in seconds. The basic rule is that if you can’t stand bare foot on the floor and count to five then you shouldn’t be walking your dog on that surface without protection for their feet.

As Kai is a service dog and goes with me everywhere he has both summer, breathable and winter, waterproof boots. It takes a few minutes for him to adjust to wearing them each season and he looks like a newborn foal initially but they protect his paws.

They do tend to attract attention when we are out and about. Though not as much as my the doggles, dog sunglasses, that my friend’s shelties wear to protect their eyes. You can get doggy boots at the major pet stores; both cheap disposable ones (watch out for latex if you’re allergic) or tougher ones that will last several years. The alternative to doggy boots is to simply not walk your dog when the sidewalks are hot or to keep them on grass and other cooler surfaces. 

Given the heat, it seems that more people are taking to the boardwalk to walk their dogs. This makes sense as the wooden surface is cooler for dogs and humans alike. However, it seems that simple doggy etiquette is being forgotten based on my walk there recently. I’m sad to say that there were at least two dogs that had not been picked up after. That’s just gross. Dog poop in the middle of the boardwalk is just nasty and isn’t giving all the visitors that arrived on the Victory I cruise ship that day a good impression of our city. So please pick up after your dog!

Also, if you’re walking your dog on an extendable leash please retract it and bring your dog under control when approaching other people with or without dogs. 

If your dog is a little too friendly or reactive to other dogs, you know this.

Take control.

When you see people coming towards you, step to one side; let them pass and ensure that your dog is under your full control. It’s rare that you can’t step onto the grass or the bicycle lane for a minute or two so that everybody can pass by comfortably. 

If your dog is fully under your control and won’t pull towards other people or dogs then just fall in behind each other and walk on by. Believe me, a stroller, two people and two dogs take up the full width of the boardwalk and it’s nice to walk next to each other when chatting. However, it just takes a moment to fall in behind each other to let others by. 

The boardwalk is beautiful and a great place to walk your dog. However, please do so with consideration for all the other users of it too!

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About the Author: Nikki Shaw

Nikki Shaw is an adult immigrant to Canada, from England; having published academically since the 1990s she is now enjoying the luxury of freelance journalism.
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