As I write this, the weather outside has taken on a decidedly autumnal feel, but the vagaries of the British weather are just another reason why we love our little island so much!

However, experiencing four seasons within one day can be quite problematical for all of us, and especially for the dog owner.

So many times, before heading out for a hike with my pack, I have carefully consulted the Met Office website for its cutting-edge forecast, which predicted ‘fine, sunny and dry weather’ only to be caught out in a monsoon-like drenching! Not appreciated by me and most definitely not the dogs.

But, annoying though it is, getting a good soaking isn’t exactly life-threatening; excessive heat however can be a completely different story.

Fortunately, dog owners around the Bay seem to be, on the whole, very clued up to the dangers of leaving their pets in cars during hot weather, however some clearly haven’t realised the dangers of exercising dogs in the heat of the day.

Dogs can’t sweat like us so they rely on panting to keep cool. Imagine wearing a heavy winter coat on the hottest day of the year and you will realise just why dogs can succumb to heatstroke so very quickly.

Another thing a lot of owners don’t seem to consider is just how hot a pavement gets in the sun.

Dogs’ paws can burn on a hot pavement and, just like those of us who need our Factor 50 to avoid frying, pale-coloured dogs are also vulnerable to sunburn, especially on their ears and noses.

A number of times I have seen dogs being dragged along, panting, quite clearly distressed by the heat.

Now, as I mentioned at the beginning of the piece, it is so easy to get caught out by a change in weather; when you headed out it was cool and then suddenly the clouds break and the heat goes shooting up. We’ve all done it.

However, simply by limiting the exercising of our pets in the summer months to early morning and late evening periods we can easily avoid such incidences.