Keep your Dog Safe at the Beach
The dog days of summer are upon us, and many pet parents are taking their four-legged friends to the beach for some fun in the sun. The beach can be a great place to kick back, relax, cool down, and toss a frisbee with a furry companion, but before heading out to sea, it’s important to be prepared to keep your pal safe on land and in the water. Check out our tips for keeping your dog safe at the beach.
- Before taking your dog to the beach, make sure that your dog is allowed to be there! While many beaches are dog-friendly, others are not, and taking your dog to a people-only beach could result in a citation or fine.
- If you take your dog to a dog-friendly beach, remember that posted beach rules are laws, so follow them carefully. Common beach rules include keeping your dog off of dunes, cleaning up after your dog, and keeping your dog on a leash which is extremely important in keeping your dog safe on the beach.
- Make sure that your dog is up to date on their vaccinations.
- Your dog should wear a collar with an ID tag at all times. Your dog should also know the “come” command if you plan to let them off leash.
- Be prepared with a pet first aid kit in the event that your dog steps on a piece of glass or has an unfortunate encounter with a jellyfish.
- Dogs that should not go to the beach include: puppies under 4 months (for their own safety), aggressive dogs (for their own safety and the safety of others), and female dogs in heat (because they could cause fighting amongst intact male dogs).
- Be a good citizen. Don’t let your dog bother other dogs, bark excessively, or otherwise disturb other beach-goers who are trying to relax. If your dog is causing a scene or making a mess, it is probably time to head home.
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Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Water
- Don’t assume that your dog can swim. While it’s true that some dogs are natural swimmers, others — especially those with flat faces (like pugs) — find it more difficult to take a dip. If you’re not sure about your pup’s water skills, outfit them with a life vest and supervise your dog whenever they get into the water.
- Even if your dog is an expert swimmer, lead them toward calmer waters and away from dangers like speedboats and riptides, and ask a lifeguard to point out any potential danger spots.
- Don’t let your dog drink salt water. While you won’t be able to keep your dog from taking a few gulps here and there, you should discourage them from drinking too much as salt water in excess can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even salt poisoning. Additionally, some waters may contain dangerous illness-carrying microorganisms. Bring plenty of fresh water along and offer that to your dog instead.
- Salt water can also irritate a dog’s skin, so rinse your dog with fresh water before leaving the beach or upon returning home.
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Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Sun
- It can get hot at the beach, so look out for signs of overheating and heatstroke, including rapid panting, drooling, loss of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, and loss of consciousness. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, get them out of the sun immediately and head to the vet’s office.
- Hot sand can burn sensitive paws. Bring a blanket or towel for your dog and consider dog booties if it’s a particularly steamy day.
- Offer a shady place for your dog to take a break, like under an umbrella or a pop-up tent.
- Dogs with pink noses and light, thin coats are at risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Apply dog sunscreen to your dog’s ears, nose, belly, and any other exposed areas. Some dogs — like those with hair loss or very thin hair — may also benefit from wearing a dog t-shirt.
Now that you’re prepared, go have some fun! Do you take your dog to the beach? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and to keep your pet safe and healthy all year round, consider signing up for PetPlus! PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.