Few things make dogs happier than hitting the beach! And what pet lover can resist watching their pup romp in the waves and dig in the sand? It’s one of those trips that you’ll remember for a lifetime. But what precautions should you take to ensure a day of fun doesn’t end in disaster? Below are ten things you need to know to keep your dog safe at the beach.
Keeping Your Dog Safe At The Beach
The last thing you want is to have your pet friendly beach getaway end with a trip to the vet! Here are a few things to keep in mind so that everyone has a great day:
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.
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.
3. Drinking salt water is a bad idea.
This is logical, and yet many dogs try to lap up the ocean. Be sure to bring plenty of fresh water and a bowl for your dog, so he’s not tempted to find his own water source.
4. Beware of submerged dangers.
When you arrive at the beach, take note of sharp rocks, shells, coral, or jellyfish that might injure your dog. And, remember dogs often don’t show when they’re in pain, so watch his body language and carefully check him for cuts and scrapes. On outings with your dogs, it important to always keep your first aid kit handy.
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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.
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.
7. Hot sand can burn.
Even on days that aren’t super-hot, 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.
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.
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 might at the dog park. And, start slow, giving him time to warm up to avoid a muscle pull.
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.
Some Top-notch Pet Friendly Beaches
Cannon Beach, Oregon
With plenty of space to find a stretch that’s all yours, the only restriction at dog friendly Cannon Beach is that dogs must either be leashed or under the voice control of their owners.
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.
Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana
Mackinac Island Lakeshore, Michigan
Wildwood Dog Beach, New Jersey
Tell us about your favorite dog friendly beach in the comments!