Beach Safety For Dogs
- Monday, 07 May 2012
This summer, a day at the beach can be an enjoyable experience for the entire family, including Fido! Ensure your trip is fun and safe with some extra planning and preparation for your pet. Before heading out, be sure to check the ordinances for the beach you plan to visit, as many do not allow dogs during high season or specify certain dog-friendly times of day. Take note of rules regarding on-leash and off-leash periods, as well.
Supplies for a Day at the Beach
When packing up the car for you and the family, be sure to include a checklist of items for your pet, including plenty of fresh water and a lightweight bowl, dog sunscreen, life vest, blankets or towels, poop bags, and paw pads to protect from the hot sand. Keep safety in mind during car travel, as well. There are many dog travel products on the market, such as carriers, booster seats, and safety harnesses, which will help ensure your pet is secured on your journey to the beach and upon arrival. Sand can heat up quickly, so make sure your dog can walk safely on it without risk of burn.
If you plan to let your pet frolic in the waves, be sure he can swim. Certain breeds, including corgis and pugs are not good swimmers, and some breeds like bulldogs can’t swim at all. Take the time to research your pet’s breed, consult your veterinarian, and observe your pet’s behavior around water.
Discourage drinking from the ocean. Your pet will likely ingest some saltwater from playing in waves and fetching wet tennis balls, but too much of it may cause dehydration or gastrointestinal upset. Frequently offer a large stainless steel bowl of fresh water for drinking throughout your beach visit.
If you are enjoying an oceanside beach, beware of potential dangers to your pet like rip currents and waves. Swimming in the ocean and walking in sand can be exhausting. Know your pet’s physical fitness level and provide a shady spot, a towel, and plenty of fresh water.
Jelly stings, jagged coral, or sea lice can also present painful experiences for your pet. Dogs do not often show pain, so it is important to keep in tune with subtle signs and symptoms of cuts and stings or favoring a leg.
Just like humans, dogs need protection from the sun. In addition to a shady resting spot, sunscreens formulated for dogs are especially helpful for protecting Fido's nose and ears.
Overheating is also a concern on hot summer days. Heavy panting with an elongated tongue indicates that your dog is hot and attempting to cool himself. Be aware of the signs of overheating and heat exhaustion, and practice preventative measures by providing plenty of fresh water, shade, and frequent rest periods.
Frolicking on the beach burns a lot of calories. Pack light and healthy snacks with limited ingredients such as pure meat, vegetables, and fruit, to keep your dog fueled without overfilling him.
Before Heading Home
Saltwater can be irritating to your pet’s skin. Thoroughly rinse your dog with fresh, clear water. This is a great opportunity to check your pet for signs of cuts, bites, or stings. If you notice injuries or unusual behavior, consult your dog's veterinarian. With a bit of preparation and constant awareness of safety, your visit to the beach this summer can be a great experience for you and your dog.
Eric is the President of New Jersey-based Loving Pets Products, a company dedicated to high-quality, all-natural and affordable pet treats and pet product accessories.