The Essential Guide to Taking Your Dog to the Beach
We’re pretty sure that splashing around in the surf while their human throws them a frisbee is most dogs’ idea of the best day ever.
Here is our helpful guide for how you can make your pup’s summer dreams come true with a fun and safe trip to the beach.
Before you set off…
Do your research
Unfortunately, not all beaches are dog friendly so be sure to check your destination’s policy before you head out. Even if you’ve been before, it’s worth double checking as some beaches change their policies at different times of year.
Don’t forget to pack…
Plenty of water
All that fun in the sun can easily cause your dog to become dehydrated so it’s essential that you bring plenty of fresh, clean water. It’s also a good idea to serve it up in a bowl that he’s familiar with and can easily access rather than having him drink from a bottle. That way he’ll know exactly where to go when he’s feeling parched and won’t feel the need to lap up any harmful salt water. Here are some more useful tips on helping your dog stay hydrated in the heat.
Yep, dogs get sunburn too and need protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays just like we do. Pack a sunscreen that’s specifically made for pets or for babies/sensitive skin and apply it your pup’s nose, ears and tummies before going out into the sun. Pasty pooches with pink noses and light or short hair are especially at risk. You may also wish to check with your vet if you have any concerns about using sunscreen on your dog.
A leash may be required in some areas of the beach but it’s good sense to bring one anyway just in case your excitable pup looks like he might be about to make a bid for freedom.
Whilst a trip to the beach is a great opportunity for your pup to get some seriously fun exercise, all that frolicking in the sun can quickly cause your dog to overheat. Keeping cool is essential. If you’re headed to the beach for the day we recommend bringing a large shade umbrella or, better yet, a shade tent, which will big enough to give your pup and the kids the perfect spot to cool off.
This is a great idea if you know your pup is not a strong swimmer or if it’s his first time being around water.
Frisbees and toys that float are a must for playtime in the surf but leave anything that’s too absorbent such as furry tennis balls and cuddly toys at home.
While you’re there…
Protect those paws
We all know just how hot sand or pebbles can get when the sun has been beating down on them all day, not to mention how painful it can be to walk on them barefoot. Our pooch’s paw pads are just as sensitive to the heat and can easily blister when they are exposed to hot surfaces. To be on the safe side, we recommend avoiding the beach during the middle of the day and going in the morning or late afternoon instead when the sand will be cooler and less likely to burn. You could also try applying a natural, non-toxic paw wax that will provide a protective barrier between your pup’s skin and the hot sand.
When you’re packing up for the day, be sure to do a thorough paw check to make sure your pup hasn’t picked up any injuries.
Make sure your dog can swim
Just like humans, not all dogs are strong swimmers, and some would much rather be posing on a sun lounger than in the water.
While some breeds such as poodles, labs and retrievers are well known for being confident in the water, if your pup has never swum before it’s always safest to assume he might need a few lessons before becoming a doggy paddle pro. Take a look at our essential guide to staying safe in the water for tips on how to be a great teacher.
- Swimming is a tough workout so watch out for signs of exhaustion
- Even strong swimmers can easily get overwhelmed by unexpectedly strong waves, so always keep a close eye on your pup and only let him swim in calm waters
- If you’re not a confident swimmer yourself, we don’t recommend letting your pup out of the shallows
After your dip in the sea rinse your pup with fresh water to prevent the salt water and sand from irritating his sensitive skin and be sure to dry his ears thoroughly to avoid painful ear infections.
Salt water is a no-no
If you see your dog drinking from the ocean stop him immediately. Salt water is just as toxic to dogs as it is to humans and drinking it can trigger some nasty side effects. A few small sips could be enough to give your pup an upset tummy while lapping up large amounts could lead to severe symptoms such as vomiting, dehydration and even seizures. If you notice any of these take him straight to the vet.
The best way to prevent your pup from drinking sea water is to keep his bowl topped up with fresh, clean water and make sure he takes a break from the surf every 15 minutes or so to quench his thirst.
The beach is a wonderful day out for dogs but sadly not everyone is as fond of excitable canines as we are. All it takes is a few complaints about mess and unruly behavior to ruin the fun for everyone. Don’t let your pooch be that guy! Pick up that poop and always keep an eye on him, especially around children and other dogs.
It may seem like a lot to remember but we’re certain that by keeping these tips in mind and simply being mindful of your pup’s safety, the happy memories you make on your seaside adventure will be well worth it.
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