Now that the moulting season is well underway, thoughts often turn towards the seaside. Not necessarily as a bucket and spade destination, but more for the joy of immersing the dog in water and letting the waves deal with those hoover busting dog hairs.
And even if you’re sitting smugly with a non-shedding breed, there’s nothing like water for improving skin and coat texture and shine.
The DwD beaches section lists nearly 200 dogfriendly beaches all around the UK but those of us living in landlocked counties can still take the dog for a dip at some fabulous inland doggie beaches.
Starting in the Midlands, many of the Peak District rivers are small enough for safe dog swimming.
The River Wye at Monsall Head has a series of little grassy beaches and the current isn’t too strong. Also in Derbyshire, the River Dove is one of Jem’s favourites as there is a series of quite deep pools and a plentiful supply of sticks to be thrown.
Further north, Malham Tarn in West Yorkshire is a winning paw cooler. This is one that separates the Labs from the rest, brrrr!
In the south-east, there’s dog swimming at Capstone Country Park in Kent just off the M2, and nearby Shorne Wood off the A2 in Gravesend boasts a designated dog swimming pool.
West London dogs have Ruislip Lido on their pawsteps, but have to share it with a lot of Canada geese.
If you know a good dog inland swimming place, please add it to the 'beaches' section - and earn yourself a grateful woof from hot dogs!
A little word of warning, if you let your dog swim in still water such as reservoirs and lakes be aware of blue-green algae as this is poisonous and can be fatal to dogs and children. It occurs mainly in late summer and can often but not always be seen. It often looks like a mat of foam and, confusingly, can be any colour.
Responsible councils put up warning signs, but if your dog is unwell after swimming always consult a vet as quickly as you can.
A useful website to know about is www.any-uk-vet.co.uk. It has a searchable database and lists the nearest vets to where you are.