How to Bring Your Dog to the Beach

Dog at the beach

Here’s the first, most important step to planning a beach day for your dog: find out if the beach is pet-friendly, since many prohibit dogs. If dogs are allowed, review the beach’s guidelines — dogs may be required to stay in restricted areas, or be on a leash for their visit — and follow some simple safety steps to ensure that your dog’s day of sand, waves, and sunshine is safe as well as fun.

Beware of Heatstroke

A long day in the sun poses some risks for your dog, with heatstroke and dehydration as the biggest potential problems. Watch for an inordinate amount of panting, trouble breathing, and disorientation. If the water is particularly chilly, or if your visit occurs during the wintertime, hypothermia can be a concern, particularly with smaller breeds. Keep an eye out for shivering, disorientation, slow breathing, and stiff muscles.

Related Story: How to Identify Signs of Heatstroke in Your Dog

Water Safety: Does Your Dog Need a Life Vest?

Is your dog a swimmer? Many dogs love to swim, taking to the waves confidently. If that’s not the case for your dog, be cautious about allowing your dog in the water. Some breeds are skittish by the ocean; other breeds are simply not capable of swimming. If you’re at all in doubt about how your dog will respond, put a dog life vest on your pet.

Related Story: 4 Safety Tips for Dressing Your Pet

Keep an Eye On Your Dog

While you’re at the beach, make sure you’re always watching your dog. Many beaches require pets to stay on a leash; even if the one you’re visiting does not, make sure to keep dogs on a leash if they don’t respond well to voice commands. Your dog should have a good time, but not impede the fun of other beachgoers — curtail rampages across the beach that might lead to sand being flung on sunbathers.

Shop: Leashes for Your Dog

Bring Dog-Friendly Beach Supplies

Load up your beach bag with supplies for your dog. Some of the most important things to bring to the beach for your dog’s fun and safety are:

  • A water bowl and water: Provide your dog plenty of fresh water to ensure hydration. You’ll also want to avoid having your dog slurp down salt water, which can lead to sickness.
  • An umbrella: Make sure there’s some source of shade for when your dog needs a break from the sunshine.
  • A blanket or towel: The heat of the sand can be painful on your dog’s paws. A blanket or towel will allow a break from the exposure, and a comfy place for a nap.
  • Sunscreen: Only use dog-friendly sunscreen on your pet; sunscreen intended for people may have chemicals, scents, or other problematic ingredients which dogs could easily ingest while licking their fur.
  • Toys!: Don’t forget, you’re here for fun. Safety is important, but also make sure to bring a Frisbee, floating toy, and fun toys for your dog to fetch.

In general, use your common sense; like you, your dog should avoid too much time in the sun, especially during the hottest part of the day, hydrate frequently, reapply sunscreen after being in the water, and take breaks in the shade.

Shop: Balls and Other Fetching Toys

 Be Respectful of the Beach

Don’t leave any of your dog’s waste behind — it could be an unpleasant surprise for other beach-goers. Prevent dogs from entering areas that are marked as off limits, which may often be environmentally protected areas.

When it’s time to take off for the day, use an outdoor shower, or a bucket or bottle of fresh water, to rinse off the sand, sunscreen, and saltwater from your dog. Use a towel (or the sunshine!) to dry off your dog. If you’re traveling by car, put down a blanket in the backseat to keep the car dry and tidy.

What are your tips for a trip to the beach with your dog? Try PetPlus, a new 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, for all your doggy beach supply needs.  


Pros and Cons of Getting a Second Dog


My husband and I talk about it all the time: should we get a second dog?! We love our dog Wade and we often wonder if getting a second dog would make his life better (and our life better, too!) Of course, there will always be pros and cons, whether you’re talking about getting a pet for the first time or thinking about adding another furball to the family. Our minds aren’t made up yet, which inspired me to put some pros and cons on paper. Let’s take a look!

Pros of Getting a Second Dog

You’ll Have Another Dog!

Call me Captain Obvious, but if you’re already a dog lover (like I am), the prospect of adding another fuzzy face to the picture is sure to fill your heart with joy. Do you love the pitter patter of little paws around the house? What about a fluffy head on your lap while you read? Think about all of those wonderful things — then multiply them by two!

Your Dog Will Have a Companion

Human companionship is great, but there’s nothing quite like another dog when it comes to Fido’s friendships. Your dog will have someone to play with, someone to explore with, and someone to sleep with (aww). Having another dog to pal around with may keep your dog from getting bored when you’re out of the house or distracted at home. And if the new dog that you bring home is confident, it may help to bolster your original dog’s confidence, thus improving their overall behavior.

RELATED STORY: Is My Dog Weird? 5 Strange Dog Behaviors Explained

A Second Dog May Make Losing a Dog Easier

It’s something that most pet parents don’t want to think about, but at some point every dog will pass on, and having another around may help to ease the emotional burden when the time comes. No dog will ever be able to replace another dog, of course, but a second dog may offer comfort and companionship while you go through the grieving process.

Cons of Getting a Second Dog

Double Your Expenses

This is perhaps the biggest reason why pet parents nix the idea of adding a second pet. Expect to double your expenses when it comes to veterinary care, medicine, food, supplies, boarding, dog walkers… you get the idea. While many boarders offer deals for multiple dogs and you can purchase foods and supplies in bulk, at the end of the day you’re still looking at more spending.

Travel Can Be Tricky

If you like to take your dog everywhere with you, you’ll have to get used to the idea that many public places allow one dog, but not two, and that getting two crates into the car can be a bigger hassle than assembling just one. In addition, as mentioned above, boarding two dogs will cost more than boarding one. If you’re a real jetsetter, this may be an important point to consider.

RELATED STORY: What Are the Best Dogs to Travel With?

It’s Possible That They Won’t Get Along

Yep, it’s true, and I’ve seen it happen. The best way to avoid this situation is to make sure that both dogs are well-trained and free of behavioral issues, such as anxiety, fear, or aggression. Behavioral issues can not only cause tension between the dogs, they can also spread from one dog to another (so if your first dog wasn’t aggressive, they might become aggressive if you add a second dog who is).

You’ll want to introduce the dogs slowly; don’t just toss them in the same room together. Let them get to know each first other on loose leashes (a tense leash can stress a dog out), and then through a barrier like a baby gate. Don’t force interactions, but do allow the dogs to sniff and introduce themselves. Look for signs of tension or aggression, such as growling and stiff postures. Once the dogs aren’t engaging in greeting behaviors (such as sniffing) anymore, and you don’t see any signs of fearful or threatening behavior, you should be good to go.*

*Note: this is just a brief explanation of how to introduce two dogs for the first time; it’s always a good idea to consult a trainer before actually trying it yourself.

So what do you think? Should we get another dog? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus, 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.


How To Find A Good Dog Kennel


Summer is just around the corner, and that means lots of weekend getaways and even longer vacations. While it can be fun to bring your dog along with you when you hit the road, it isn’t always convenient. That’s where dog kennels come in.

Dog kennels are traditional boarding facilities where dogs mix and mingle with other furballs during the day and in most cases, sleep in crates at night. Many pet parents like kennels because they cost less than fancy dog hotels, and give your pal more opportunities to socialize than in-home boarding or pet sitting.

It’s easy to jump on the internet and find a kennel in your area in a matter of minutes, but before you decide to drop your dog off, there are some important things to consider. Here we’ll provide tips for how to select a good dog kennel so that you can feel confident taking a few days off.

Tip #1: Take a Tour

When considering a kennel, ask if you can take a tour of the facility. You should be allowed to view the play areas as well as where your pup will be sleeping at night.

  • Check for signs of cleanliness, such as clean floors. While pet messes are normal occurrences in kennels, they should still be cleaned up immediately to prevent the spread of disease and parasites.
  • Make sure that fresh water is available at all times.
  • Make sure that there are sleeping crates available to accommodate your dog’s size.

If the kennel doesn’t want you to take a tour, this is a red flag, and you should move on.

RELATED STORY: What’s the Cost to Kennel a Dog?

Tip #2: Observe Staff and Dogs

A good kennel will have trained staff members keeping watch over the dogs at all times. Take some time to observe the play area. Are the staff members distracted or engaged? Are they stepping in to stop problems before they escalate? Are dogs allowed to behave aggressively?

  • Look for a kennel with staff members who seem to genuinely enjoy dogs and who are paying close attention to what’s going on around them.
  • While a little wrestling is normal dog behavior, dogs should never be allowed to fight or bite.
  • The safest kennels separate dogs by size, reducing the likelihood of small dogs becoming injured or frightened.

Tip #3: Ask About Requirements And Insurance

A good kennel will require that your dog be up to date on their vaccinations, protected from fleas, and pass a temperament test to ensure that the kennel will be a safe place for all dogs. In addition, your dog’s kennel should be bonded and insured. If the kennel you are considering doesn’t have requirements or they aren’t insured, it’s time to look elsewhere.

Tip #4: Check Out Reviews

Thanks to the internet, reviews of businesses such as kennels are right at your fingertips. Sites like Yelp make it easy to search either for a specific business, or for those within a certain geographic location, and then read customer reviews. Look out for horror stories and read the positive reviews, too! Ideally, you’ll get a complete picture of the kennel you’re considering.

RELATED STORY: Kennel Cough Symptoms and Treatment

Tip #5: Ask for a Free Trial

Before committing to several days or several weeks, ask for a one day free trial. This will allow you to get a feel for the arrangement, and most good kennels are happy to oblige.

Tip #6: Decide What Is Important to You

Dog kennels really vary when it comes to amenities and services. Some kennels provide “report cards” on your dog’s behavior and activities, some have webcams that allow you to look in on your dog while you’re away, and some offer additional services like grooming. Decide what matters to you in a kennel, and go from there.

Do you take your dog to a kennel? What do you like about it? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus, 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.


Planning a Trip? 3 Tips to Keep the Car Hair-Free

Oh, the joys of a warm weather road trip with your dog! That excited head hanging out the window, that wind-ruffled fur…oh, and hair coating the upholstery of the car’s back seat.

For your next trip with your pup, try these preventative tips to help keep the back seat hair-free.

1. Give a Thorough Brushing

First, thoroughly brush and groom your dog before she bounds into the car. Less loose hair on her means you’re less likely to have tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling through the car’s backseat. (Or, check out our list of essential products that’ll help cut down on shedding.)

RELATED STORY: A Guide to Buying a Dog Brush

2. Protect Your Upholstery

Next, cover the upholstery where the dog will be sitting; if your dog tends to check out the views from both windows, cover the entire back area of the car. You can use sheets, towels, or blankets to do this — just make sure to only use linens that you don’t care about. Backseat hammocks and covers are also available for purchase. Smaller dogs can be kept in a crate, which of course will reduce contact between fur and the upholstery.

RELATED STORY: Best Dogs to Travel With

3. Damage Control

Finally, after your trip, take a peek into the back seat to assess the conditions. If necessary, run the vacuum cleaner and lint brush around, removing any hair. As with more chores, doing this regularly is easier than waiting until for several months, when lots of hair is bound to have accumulated.

How do you keep your car (or furniture!) pet-hair free? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on your pet’s medications, supplies, boarding, and more.