Autumn is a particularly enjoyable time to get out and about with your dog in Gloucestershire — with owners and their four-legged friends being able to make the most of woodland walks in the Forest of Dean while the trees are blazing with vibrant colour, and brighten up a dreary day at one of the best dog walking destinations in the Cotswolds.
The cold, wet weather and dark evenings bear thinking about, though, which is why SoGlos caught up with Sharon Glazzard, the owner of Cheltenham's expert pet store and number one destination for doggy products, Be More Bob, to find out how owners can keep their dogs safe and comfortable while out walking this autumn.
About the expert — Sharon Glazzard, owner of Be More Bob
Owned by Sharon and her husband, Gareth — and named after their borderdoodle pub, Bob — Be More Bob is a specialist pet store on Cheltenham's Winchcombe Street, which stocks everything from natural treats to doggy apparel. It's also a premier stockist of Ruffwear products, with one of the largest try-on zones in the country.
Sharon and Gareth personally choose every item in the store and have been trained to measure and fit dogs for harnesses, jumpers, coats and accessories. Accommodating dogs of all shapes and sizes, and used to dealing with all sorts of canine personalities, Be More Bob strives to provide a calm environment for owners and their pups to browse and try-on.
The temperature really starts to drop at this time of year. Do dogs need to wear coats when they're out walking?
Whether your dog dons a coat is entirely up to you, however there are a number of good reasons to purchase a good quality coat for your dog.
The first one is warmth. If your dog has a short and single coat of fur, you will find that they often get shivery and cold. A good quality, insulated coat such as the Ruffwear Vert will greatly improve their comfort on colder walks.
A single-coated dog may also appreciate a mid-layer on crisp days as it doesn’t have to be that cold for them to get shivery. The Ruffwear Hemp-Hound sweater is the perfect mid-layer, providing the natural durability, breathability and odour-resistance of hemp for warmth — perfect for clear, cold days.
Don't forget that dogs can also feel the cold at home and may like a cosy jumper or fleece for relaxing about the house or for accompanying you to the café or pub! Indeed, some dogs with a nervous temperament enjoy wearing a jumper or robe as it helps them to feel secure. At Be More Bob, we have 100 per cent cotton jumpers, warm fleeces and towelling robes in store for all your cosy needs.
How do you know what kind of natural coat your dog has?
Some dogs have a single coat of fur whilst others have a double coat. A single coat might range from short or long, wavy or curly and it may feel rough or smooth, but it’s basically the same all over the dog; while double-coated dogs have an undercoat of thin lightweight hair and an outer layer of thicker guard hair.
You then get short- and long-coated breeds. Long-coated dogs such as Old English sheepdogs, bearded collies, Bernese mountain dogs and Havanese have long coats that require regular grooming and are, on occasion, cut shorter for ease of care. Short-coated dogs are, in general, smooth coated and their coat lays close to the body. For example, boxers, whippets and Dalmatians.
Then you get medium-coated dogs that fall between the two, such as golden retrievers, German shepherds and border collies. These types of dogs require regular brushing to avoid matting and to remove old fur. Let’s not forget curly coated pooches like poodles, Portuguese water dogs and Airedales, either. These breeds are often professionally groomed to keep the curls cropped and free from matting, and to make the dog more comfortable.
What are the best options for dogs when its raining?
If the weather is cold, wet and windy, then your dog will feel pretty miserable outside, whatever kind of natural coat they have.
You could opt for a windproof and waterproof coat such as the Ruffwear Sun Shower with its long back and sides. This lightweight waterproof will keep the worst of the rain at bay. Or you could choose a Rukka waterproof with lightweight fleece lining and storm collar.
Another reason why you might choose to get your dog a coat is because it's so much more practical for you in wet weather! Having a soaking wet dog arrive home isn’t the easiest thing to deal with and, let’s face it, during the colder months it can become tiresome having to deal with a wet dog every day.
Dogs can get very mucky when walking at this time of year. Should owners be grooming them more regularly?
If your dog tends to get really filthy over the autumn and winter months, you could consider something like the Rukka Protect Overall or Thermal Overall. These coveralls are perfect for keeping your pooch pristine under the coat, making for a much more practical walk! They also offer protection and warmth from the elements, which can help prolong your adventures.
Generally in the wetter, muddier months, you may find yourself washing your dog quite often. We have a range of natural soaps and shampoos that are gentle enough to use on multiple occasions without stripping your dog’s coat of its natural oils.
It's thought that the doggy disease Alabama rot can be picked up on muddy walks, so owners are also advised to rinse all the mud off their dogs when they've been walking in wet woodland areas. Remember to check them for signs of ticks, too.
What else can owners do to keep their dog's coat healthy?
A combination of good quality food, treats and the right amount of grooming will help to keep your dog’s coat looking tip top. For a double-coated dog, regular brushing to remove debris, knots and dead fur will make your dog not only look better, but feel better too.
As with humans, a dog’s skin and coat will benefit greatly from having fish in their diet. We have a wide range of fish-based treats and food at Be More Bob, plus many other 100 per cent natural choices.
The clocks going back mean it's much darker, much earlier. How can owners keep their dogs safe when walking at dawn, dusk or night?
Some kind of light or reflective apparel is a good idea if you're walking your dog early in the morning or in the evening. At Be More Bob, we stock rechargeable safety lights that clip directly on to your dog's collar, harness or coat, and safety collars which flash in the dark. We also have high-visibility reflective jackets like the Ruffwear Lumenglow, which offers light weather protection, too.