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The only thing better than a trip to the beach is a trip to the beach with your pup! If you’re planning an excursion with your four-legged family member, check out our 7 dog beach tips to increase their safety (without taking away the fun). While it might seem silly to expect any dangers at the beach of all places, there are a few things that could put your dog’s health at risk.
We’ll discuss those risks below, and provide some helpful dog beach tips to minimize those risks. Read on to make your dog’s day at the beach the best one ever!
Common Hazards for Dogs at the Beach
Before discussing the best dog beach tips to help keep them safe, it’s important that you’re made aware of some of the dangers that can be present at the beach. The following beach hazards can be easily taken for granted. Keep them in mind when you’re planning a beach trip with your canine!
A hot, sunny day is the best kind of day for the beach, but it also puts your pet at risk for heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and sunburn. Dogs that are overweight and dogs with flat noses (like English Bulldogs, Pugs, and Frenchies) are especially prone to heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Hot sand can severely burn your pet’s paw pads. Walking on hot sand can also raise your pet’s body temperature and put them at risk for heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Sharp Objects in the Sand
Depending on the beach you go to, the sand might be concealing some sharp objects, such as stones, shells, glass, and/or twigs.
Some dogs just like to eat everything. If your pup often acts like a furry vacuum cleaner, they might try to eat the sand, which can become impacted in their intestines.
Unless your pet has fresh water available to them while they’re at the beach, they could be at risk for dehydration. Hot sun, hot sand, and no water to drink can quickly lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Your dog might be a champion swimmer, but even they could be at risk for drowning if they encounter a strong current. Rip currents are especially dangerous, for animals and humans alike.
7 Dog Beach Tips to Protect Your Pup
You know the risks. Now, here’s what you can do to make your pet’s day at the beach as safe and enjoyable as possible! Review these dog beach tips and plan your excursion accordingly!
7 dog beach tips to keep in mind include:
1. Bring Along Plenty of Fresh Water
Think about how long you and your pet will be hanging out at the beach, and bring enough fresh water to sustain you both for the duration (and then some, if you decide to stay longer). Your dog needs to stay hydrated—and ocean or lake water is unsafe for their consumption.
2. Invest in Pet-Friendly Sunscreen
That’s right—dogs benefit from sunscreen, too, especially if they have light, fine fur and pinkish skin. Sunburn can affect your pup’s nose, ears, and other areas where hair is sparse.
3. Have a Source of Shade Available for Your Pup
Another dog beach tip to consider is to make sure that there are areas of shade for your dog to go into in order to help escape the sun.
Dogs can overheat quickly on a warm day, and at the beach, the sun’s heat is amplified. Help your pup stay cool by bringing along a large umbrella, or make sure to find a place under an awning or tree where your pet can get a break from the sun.
4. Keep Your Dog Leashed (If Required)
Does your beach have leash rules? Make sure to follow them. Unleashed pets can cause trouble, especially if there are lots of people and other dogs around. Plus, being leashed can prevent your dog from potentially being attacked by another dog or stealing sweets from someone’s picnic.
Also, keeping your pet leashed can prevent them from running into the water and possibly swimming out into strong currents.
5. Bring a Life Jacket for Your Pet
If the beach you’re visiting allows dogs in the water, one of the most important dog beach tips is to make sure your pet has a lifejacket (in their size). Even natural swimmers like Labradors can be at risk of drowning, so be sure to suit up your pup before they dive in, and stick with them to keep them safe.
6. Know the Signs of Heatstroke
Heatstroke can affect dogs even under conditions milder than a typical summer’s day. Overexertion and insufficient water intake can quickly overwhelm your pet.
If you see any of these signs, your pup might be in danger of dog heatstroke and they should see a vet or emergency vet as soon as possible:
- Drooling (and saliva is thick and heavy)
- Panting heavily (a sign your pet is trying hard to cool off)
- Acting disoriented and confused
- Lethargic, weak
- Collapsing, unable to stand
- Rapid heart rate
7. Protect Your Pet’s Feet with Booties
And now for our last (but no less important) dog beach tip! If your pup is likely to encounter hot sand or sharp objects at the beach, get dog booties in their size to protect their paws from cuts and burns. Consider trying them out before your beach excursion to make sure they fit, and to help your dog get comfortable with them.
Need More Dog Beach Tips?
Veterinary Emergency Group is always happy to answer questions and help pet parents be amazing caregivers to their canines. We hope our dog beach tips come in handy when you start making your summer plans, but if you need more information, feel free to contact the VEG location nearest you! Our locations are open 24/7 for your convenience, and an emergency vet will always be there to answer your call and your questions.