Few things make dogs happier than romping in the surf and sand! But there are some precautions to take so your day comes off without a hitch. Before heading out, check these tips for keeping your dog safe at the beach!

Golden Retriever puppy jumping on the beach

What dog lover doesn’t enjoy watching their pup romp in the waves and dig in the sand? It’s a trip you’ll remember for a lifetime! But your pet friendly beach getaway could be ruined if the day ends with a trip to the vet. Below are a few things to remember to keep your dog safe at the beach.

Keep Your Dog Safe At The Beach

1. Not all dogs can swim.

That’s right, the doggy paddle does not come naturally to every dog. In fact, certain breeds like Corgis and Pugs don’t swim at all!

To find out if your pup can swim walk him into quiet water, encouraging him to follow you as you go. If he seems eager but doesn’t have the skills, learn how you can teach him to swim safely.

READ MORE ⇒  Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Swim

Dog shaking off water on a dog friendly beach in the Outer Banks, NC

2. Invest in a dog life vest.

Encountering waves, current, or rip tides can quickly exhaust your dog, and that could be deadly. If your dog likes to swim in the ocean, consider getting a dog life vest. When choosing which life vest will work best, look for one that fastens at three points and has a handle on the back, making it easier for you to lift your dog out of the water.

Also, plan your trip around the tides. The best time of day to take your dog to the beach is after low tide when the water is coming back in. The local tide charts can easily be found online.

White dog in red life vest laying on the a pet friendly beach in Florida

3. Don’t let your dog drink or eat things he shouldn’t.

Drinking salt water is a very bad idea. And yet, many dogs act like they’re trying to lap up the entire ocean! Be sure to bring plenty of fresh water and a bowl so your dog isn’t tempted to find his own water source.

Dead fish, seaweed, sharp shells, and jelly fish are sometimes found on the shore. As tempting as they might smell to your dog, these are all dangerous for pets to ingest. If your dog can’t leave the stinky thing alone, find a new place on the beach to settle in.

Dog drinking from water bowl

4. Beware of submerged dangers.

When choosing a spot on the beach, take a quick walk in the water to check for any sharp rocks, coral, shells, or jellyfish that could cut your dog’s paws. Of course, you can’t protect your pup from everything, so always have your first aid kit handy!

Remember that it’s not always obvious when dogs are in pain. So watch your pup’s body language and carefully check him for cuts and scrapes if you notice he’s acting differently.

READ MORE ⇒  Make a DIY Pet First Aid Kit

First aid kit for bandaging

5. Calm water is best.

Even at a distance, surf boards, jet skis, boats, and big waves can frighten your dog. Your best bet is to find a quiet place to play with your pooch. Or locate a local dog beach were surfing and boating are not allowed.

French Bulldog Running on Beach

6. Cold water can hurt.

If your dog has arthritis or other joint issues, swimming in cold water can irritate his condition. Encourage him to stick to shallow water and bays where the water is warmer.

Dog in the water at a pet-friendly beach in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona

7. Hot sand can burn.

Even on days that you might not expect it, the sand can become hot enough to burn your dog’s paws. Always test the sand with your bare feet to determine if your dog needs booties or other protection for his paws.

READ MORE ⇒ Which Dog Boots Are Best For Your Dog?

Cool Whip the dog on a pet-friendly hike in her blue booties and colorful bandana

8. Dogs need protection from the sun, too.

You’re not the only one who needs to be concerned with sunburn! Bring an umbrella, tent, or other shade structure that will accommodate you and your dog.

And don’t forget to apply a sunscreen specially formulated for dogs to your pup’s nose and ears 30 minutes before hitting the beach and several times during the day.

Florida's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Fort De Soto Park and Dog Beach | GoPetFriendly.com

9. Don’t overdo it.

Running on sand is strenuous, so don’t expect your dog to be able to fetch as long as he can at the dog park. And start slow. Giving him time to warm up could help avoid a muscle pull.

German Shepherd with a ball in his mouth in the water at a pet friendly beach

10. Rinse thoroughly.

When you’re done playing, take time to rinse salt, sand, and microscopic organisms from your dog’s coat. And be sure to dry your dog’s ears as moisture in the ear canal can cause ear infections.

Woman drying her small mixed breed dog at the river beach with a towel.

To make these tips for keeping your dog safe at the beach easy to remember, our friends at PetHub created a handy info graphic:

Infographic - Keeping Dogs Safe at the Beach

Pet Friendly Beach Getaways

Now that you know how to keep your dog safe at the beach, it’s time to start planning your trip! Not all beaches are pet friendly, and some only allow dogs a during certain hours or at specific times of the year. Here are some of our favorite beaches where dogs are welcome all day, every day:

Cannon Beach, Oregon

With plenty of space to find a stretch that’s all yours, the only restriction at pet friendly Cannon Beach is that dogs must either be leashed or under the voice control of their owners.

Black German Shepherd dog running on the dog friendly beach at Cannon Beach, OR

Carmel, California

Carmel’s gorgeous beach, a mile-long stretch of golden sand that runs from downtown to the 9th hole at Pebble Beach Golf links, is all pet friendly!

Dogs are welcome to romp off-leash, or visit nearby Carmel River State Beach, where leashed pets will find plenty to explore.

California's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Carmel Beach | GoPetFriendly.com

Galveston, Texas

For a dog friendly beach vacation, Galveston is perfect! You’ll find history, food, and 32 miles of Gulf Coast sand to enjoy with your best friend.

Galveston Beach - Galveston, TX
Photo credit: Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau

Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana

Caribbean blue waters and miles of pet friendly beaches await you at pet friendly Indiana Dunes National Park! There are multiple beaches to choose from, and leashes are required.

Indiana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Indiana Dunes Lakeshore | GoPetFriendly.com

Mackinac Island Lakeshore, Michigan

Visiting pet friendly Mackinac Island is a one-of-kind experience. Automobiles aren’t allowed, but you and your pet won’t have any trouble getting around! And dogs are welcome to play all along the lakeshore.

Black German Shepherd Dog swimming at the beach on Mackinac Island, MI

Wildwood Dog Beach, New Jersey

On the lovely, wide stretch of sand known as Wildwood Dog Beach leashed dogs are always welcome. Just look for the gigantic fire hydrant and enjoy a day of sand and surf together.

New Jersey's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Wildwood Dog Beach | GoPetFriendly.com

FIND MORE ⇒ Pet Friendly Beach Destinations

We hope these tips help make your next beach vacation even more fun. Tell us about your favorite dog friendly beaches in the comments!

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Category: Travel Tips / Tagged with: Beaches, Health and Safety