Few things make dogs happier than hitting the beach! But there are some precautions you should consider so a day of fun doesn’t end in disaster for your dog.

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! And the last thing you want is to have your pet friendly beach getaway end 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!

Find out if your pup can swim in quiet water by encouraging him to follow you. If he seems interested 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 life vest.

Waves, current, and rip tides can quickly exhaust your dog, and that can be deadly. If your dog likes to swim in the ocean, the best time of day is after low tide when the water is coming back in. Tide charts can easily be found online.

Also consider getting your dog a 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 easy for you to lift your dog out of the water.

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 bad idea. And yet, many dogs try to lap up the ocean. Be sure to bring plenty of fresh water and a bowl so your dog isn’t tempted to find his own water source.

Dog drinking from water bowl

Also, 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.

4. Beware of submerged dangers.

When you arrive at the beach, take a walk in the water and note any sharp rocks, coral, shells, or jellyfish to help your dog avoid. Of course, you can’t protect your pup from everything, so always have your first aid kit handy.

Remember that dogs often don’t show it when they’re in pain. So watch his body language and carefully check him for cuts and scrapes if you notice him 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 pup, 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 the condition. 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.

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

8. Dogs need protection from the sun.

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 to 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. Also, 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.

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

Tell us about your favorite dog friendly beach in the comments!

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  • Jupiter, Florida Off-Leash Dog Beach is the best. Roughly 2 miles of gorgeous wide sandy beach and crystal clear turquoise waters for pups to run and play.

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