A Letter from Dewey the Dog

Dear Beloved Owner,

I love to ride shotgun in your golf cart and steal licks of your ice cream cone, but before you decide to take me along on your next beach outing, please consider these facts. This time of year, the sand can be as hot as a fresh order of Thrasher fries! If it’s too hot for you to walk on the sand, it is definitely too hot for me. Plus, I might not be allowed on some beaches anyway. Sidewalks and asphalt can also burn my paws. Did you know asphalt can sometimes reach 160 degrees? Please limit my outdoor time on hot days to early morning and evening hours and bring me to a grassy, shaded park instead.

Each beach has seasonal and time-of-day dog restrictions. Check bringfido.com for specifics.

Speaking of heat, cars are the worst place to leave me during the summer. Even with windows cracked open on an 85-degree day, the inside temperature can reach 102 degrees or more within minutes. This is simply more than I can bear. Humidity is also very hard on me. High humidity affects my ability to cool myself by panting and, as a result, my body temperature may soar, and I could get heatstroke. Some of the signs to look out for are glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, drooling, vomiting, lack of coordination, or seizure. Some of my older dog pals are especially prone to this, and so are dogs with short muzzles, like pugs and shih tzus. Worse yet, those dogs tend to get dressed in ridiculous sweaters which only compounds their heat stress.

Sand too hot for your feet? It’s way too hot for my paws! Keep me off the beach on hot days. 

I love walking down Rehoboth Avenue as much as you do, but I am ok skipping the crowds and your beach trip – crowds stress me out anyway. Instead, I will hang with your Aunt Martha in her air-conditioned house and steal kibble out of her cat’s bowl.

Love, Dewey


Emergency veterinarian services are extremely limited in our area. The nearest 24-hour, seven-day-per-week emergency vet clinics are in Dover, Christiana, and Salisbury, MD.

Rehoboth Beach Animal Hospital offers urgent care during regular business hours, Monday-Friday. Phone: (302) 227-2009

If your pet may be suffering from heatstroke, move them to shade or air conditioning and apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck, and chest. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Call your vet immediately. 

Danielle Swallow is a certified climate change professional with Delaware Sea Grant (www.deseagrant.org).  Delaware Sea Grant utilizes research, education, and extension work in support of resilient communities, economies, and coastal resources.  Danielle provides technical assistance and outreach to communities on emergency preparedness and building resilience to weather and climate hazards.  She is co-founder of the Resilient and Sustainable Communities League (RASCL – www.derascl.org) and loves hiking the Gordons Pond Trail in Cape Henlopen State Park. 

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