Your dog loves going to the beach as much as you do, so why not take it along on your next beach vacation? Of course, we know this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Taking your dogs to the beach requires a fair amount of preparation if you want the trip to be enjoyable and memorable for both of you.
A great place to start would be to consider the fact that your dog is vulnerable to pretty much the same risks that you are. For instance, things like jellyfish, riptides, other aggressive dogs, sharp shells, broken glass and sunburn are all real threats to your pet as well as you.
The good news is that with the right preparation, you can avoid many of these calamities and enjoy a marvelous day at the beach with your furry best friend.
Read below for helpful tips on how to keep your dog safe and happy on beach trips.
1. Check If They Accept Dogs
The last thing you want is to get to the beach and realize that it doesn’t accept pets. Every beach has posters or boards with information on whether or not pets are allowed and which animals are accepted. The good news is most beaches are pet-friendly, especially those close to suburban neighborhoods.
Some of the most popular dog-friendly beaches can be found in places like San Diego, California, New York City and Norfolk to name but a few. If your goal is to relax and unwind for the day, look out for an off-leash beach specifically. Otherwise, you’ll have plenty of fun running along the beach with Fido.
2. Find Out If Your Dog Likes the Beach
Before you start planning your trip, you should ensure that your dog actually likes sand and water in the same place. Believe it or not, some dogs actually don’t like being at the beach.
To find out where your dog fits on the spectrum, take it to a small body of water first like a lake or the local pool. It’s worth noting that if you have many dogs, then some of them might like going to the beach, while others prefer to stay at home.
Otherwise, if your pet enjoys being on the water and feeling the sand between its paws then you should go ahead and start planning your beach holiday.
3. Be Careful of Loose Dogs
There are plenty of off-leash, dog-friendly beaches that’ll allow you to play with your dog freely but this isn’t always the case. If that is the case, keep in mind there may be other dogs there that are more aggressive than your pet.
You don’t want your pet to get bullied, so make sure your pet is dog-friendly or else keep it at home. Alternatively, look for a dog-friendly beach where pets are required to walk on-leash.
4. Teach Your Dog How to Swim
Some pets need a little more training and practice while others take to the water immediately. That’s why it’s important to practice patience when taking your dog out on the beach for the first time and don’t assume that it’ll enjoy being on the water right off the bat.
Your dog might feel a bit tentative about it at first, so consider giving it some swimming lessons ahead of the journey.
5. Use a Long Leash
When it comes to leashes, it’s always a good idea to opt for a long instead of a short leash. This’ll give your dog enough space and leeway to play and run around as much as it likes without feeling too restricted.
You should get a dog leash that allows you to swim comfortably with your pet. Check out https://www.the-hunting-dog.com/best-indestructible-dog-leash/ for reviews of the best indestructible dog leashes on the market.
Plus, your dog can chase as many seagulls it likes from the safety of its leash and without worrying that it’ll get hurt or lost.
6. Get Some Water and Provide Shade
Again, your dog feels just as hot as you so you should definitely place it under the shade of an umbrella or tree. Don’t forget to pack frozen food stuffed Kongs and a cooling pad inside your cooler bag, as well as a couple of gallons of drinking water.
Of course, you should pack your dog’s water bowl as well otherwise where would you serve it its water? Also, try to keep your dog out of the sun and make sure it maintains a cool temperature by fanning and sprinkling it with cold water if necessary.
However, if you notice your dog panting too much, then you should take it to the vet immediately.
7. Don’t Let Your Dog Touch the Hot Sand
Walking on hot sand is as painful to your dog’s paws as it is on your feet. If it’s a really hot day, then it’s a good idea to carry your dog from the car to a wet sandy area, because it doesn’t have the protection of flip-flops or sandals like you do.
Alternatively, purchase rubber bottom booties for your dog to wear when you go to the beach, but make sure to check its paw regularly for any irritations or burns as a result of sand and saltwater exposure.
8. Take Sunscreen with You
Sunscreen is a must for short-coated breeds. Make sure the sunscreen product you purchase is free of chemicals, parabens and sulfate, and it should have a sun protection factor of at least 30.
Obviously, you’ll need a waterproof sunscreen if you plan on swimming with your pet and apply extra amounts of it on the ear tips, paws, and nose.
9. Wipe the Sand from Your Dog’s Face
Digging through sand is one of the activities that dogs enjoy while at the beach. If this sounds like your pup, then you should pack a soft microfiber cloth in its bag that you can use to wipe away sand from its face every now and then to prevent it from getting into sensitive areas like the mouth, nose, and eyes.
10. Share the Sand
Be mindful of other beachgoers and consider the fact that some people might not like your dog as much as you do. Unless someone actively pets your dog or approaches you in a friendly manner to play with your pet, it’s best you keep it out of people’s umbrellas and private spaces.
Make sure your dog’s leash and harness are well secured at all times and stay alert of all the things going on around you.
11. Always Pick Up the Poop
Whatever you do, never let your dog poop to end up in the ocean or on the sand. It’s not a good or welcome addition among the wildlife and fish. Keep poop bags and plastic gloves in your beach bag so that you’re ready to clean up after your dog after it does its business.
12. Be Careful of What Your Dog Digs Out
As we mentioned, your dog will probably do a lot of digging while you’re at the beach and you never know what it could find.
Some dogs love digging for crabs and chase them around while others enjoy discovering seashells. In all that excitement, keep in mind that your dog may also come across potentially harmful items such as jellyfish, garbage, fishing hooks broken glass etc.
That’s why you should always stay close-by when your dog is on a digging spree to make sure it doesn’t end up in a dangerous situation.
13. Check What Your Dog Drinks
Saltwater is no good for anyone. But your dog doesn’t know that so it might just start slurping it up when it feels thirsty. That’s why you need to keep your dog hydrated at all times by keeping it water bowl full at all times.
Make sure the bowl is fully visible and in a cool area to keep the water nice and fresh. Get a collapsible water dish that’s compact and easy to pack.
14. Don’t Swim on Choppy Waters
If the water in front of you has lot of surfers, jet skis, boats and large waves, then you should keep it moving and look for calmer water elsewhere. Keep in mind that most dogs startle easily and things like rough water and rips tides can be dangerous, not to mention traumatizing to your pet.
Don’t hesitate to buy a dog beach vest to make sure your pet is safe while swimming. This is especially important for smaller dogs or novice swimmers.
15. Wash Your Dog with Fresh Water
When you get back from the beach, wash your dog immediately with a gentle shampoo and rinse it off thoroughly until there’s no sand left in its hair. Leaving sand in your dog’s hair can cause hot spots and an uncomfortable rash. Not only that, but it’ll cause damage to your dog’s skin as well.
With all that said, getting your dog ready for a beach day isn’t all that hard. Sure, it takes a bit of preparation but you’re better off safe than sorry, right?
After all, you want to create lasting memories with your pet while making sure that it actually has fun. The key to doing that is minimizing the risk of dangerous incidents happening.