When it comes to walkies, Gloucestershire dog owners are spoilt for choice, with great places to walk with their four-legged friends all over the county – and plenty of destinations for dog walkers to visit in the Cotswolds, too.
But there are many more ways that adventurous owners can get active and bond with their fun-loving pups – from paddleboarding to playing games – as SoGlos finds out from the owner of Cheltenham’s premier pet store, Be More Bob.
About the expert – Sharon Glazzard, owner of Be More Bob
Along with her husband, Gareth, and beloved borderdoodle pup, Bob, Sharon opened the doors to Be More Bob – their specialist pet store on Cheltenham’s Winchcombe Street – in June 2020.
As well as stocking everything from natural treats to apparel and chewing toys, Be More Bob is a premier stockist of Ruffwear products, with one of the largest try-on zones in the whole country.
As a small business owner, Sharon does everything from shop keep and store design to purchasing, web design and marketing. She also gets to hug a lot of dogs!
As well as regular walkies, what other ways can dogs and their owners exercise together?
Dogs all vary in the amount of exercise they need, depending on breed, size and age. As well as your regular walks, there are lots of ways you can have fun and interact with your dog.
If your dog is still a young pup and can’t yet walk too far, try devising games you can play in your garden or indoors. You can use these games for fun as well as training and bonding.
You can work out what your puppy responds to most by using these games. It may be treats and food, toys or affection. All dogs are different and if you find out what sparks your dog’s interest, it will make your training journey easier and help you to bond.
These games aren’t just for pups: dogs of all ages will love the ‘find it’ game, where you hide treats around the house and garden.
Other fun ways of taking some exercise with your dog include agility lessons and play dates with doggy friends. Or taking up a hobby together such as paddleboarding, kayaking or swimming.
Some pups really love the water. How can owners keep their dogs safe while swimming, paddleboarding or boating?
If you are planning to go swimming, kayaking, boating, surfing or paddleboarding with your pup this summer, we have the perfect safety gear and toys at Be More Bob.
The Ruffwear Float Coat is designed for dogs of all shapes and sizes. It’s a premium, fully-featured life jacket with a strong handle to lift or assist dogs out of the water, and reflective trim for enhanced visibility in or out of the water.
It’s a common misunderstanding that all dogs can swim. Some breeds are more capable than others – and even dogs that are used to the water and are strong swimmers should be protected with a float coat, as they can become tired whilst swimming, just like humans, or be faced with strong currents or adverse situations. Wearing a float coat is a must if you are having fun out on the water.
Knowing which bodies of water are safe for your dog is imperative, too. Stagnant ponds and canals should be avoided as they may contain toxins and pollutants; reservoirs often have strong undercurrents and fast-flowing water can cause dogs to be swept away, not matter how strong a swimmer.
If your dog loves to play fetch in rivers or lakes, the safest thing to do is get in the water with them. That way they can swim back to you instead of jumping in and out of the water.
Would you recommend floating toys for playing in the water?
Floating toys are great fun for you and your dog! For fun on the beach, river, lake or stream, we have a brilliant range of floating toys at Be More Bob. Ruffwear floating toys are super lightweight, durable and designed for interactive fun!
Just remember that dogs get tired in the water, just like we do, so keep an eye on their energy levels.
Keen walkers and runners might like to take their dogs out with them. What harnesses and leads would you recommend for longer adventures?
We are a premier stockist of Ruffwear. The Ruffwear company was started by a keen hiker who liked to take his dogs on long trips. His first product was a collapsible, lightweight bowl and from there, the brand has developed into a market leader of harnesses, collars, leads and accessories.
All Ruffwear is built for comfort, safety and practicality – and it’s super stylish too! We have harnesses and leads to suit everyday walks, through to running, hiking and more adventurous trips.
Our Ruffwear try-on zone is one of the biggest in the UK and you can bring your dog in to try on the gear. We are all fully trained on how to properly fit your harness and we can talk you through all the features.
What would you recommend for owners who are looking to take their dogs hiking or camping this summer?
We have a camping and hiking section in store where you will find great gear for your next trip. If you are hiking, you’ll appreciate lightweight, durable kit and we have specialised hiking long leads, bowls and toys in stock.
If you are camping this summer, we have practical ways to help you tether your dog to keep them safe at camp, plus lots of fun toys to play with.
As we all know, the British weather isn’t that reliable! So, we have lots of suggestions for making your trip fun whatever the weather.
We also have fully waterproof coats that are super lightweight and easily packable. Perfect for those unexpected downpours when you really don’t want a soaking wet doggo! And our Ruffwear cooling coats are a must for when we get those hot days.
These outdoor activities might be less enjoyable for dogs with hay fever. What should owners look out for if they think their dog might have a pollen allergy, and how can they manage it?
Dogs do suffer with pollen-based allergies, just as humans do. You may notice your dog chewing their feet, scratching excessively, or suffering from runny eyes and nose. The best thing to do is consult your vet who can assess your dog and provide medication if necessary.
All of these symptoms may also be due to their diet, so it’s always best to get a vet’s opinion.
If you already know your dog has a pollen allergy, then you may prefer trips to the coast where the air is cleaner and there’s less pollen. We have tons of fun toys to play with on the beach, drying robes for when you need to dry off and get cosy and that all important natural shampoo for the inevitable bath afterwards!
If you have been in a situation with pollen, you could try the dog wet wipes and natural shampoos we have in store to remove the pollen from your dog’s fur.