Dogs love going to the beach. There are plenty of smells to sniff, friends to greet and things to explore. You need to ensure that their exploration does not affect their safety.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure your dog stays safe and healthy at the beach:
Identification – Your dogs should be appropriately licensed and wear up to date tags. Consider micro-chipping as an added form of identification. If they wander off, identification will enable others to help them find the way home. If you are on vacation, and not staying at home, include identification with your cell phone number or local number and address.
Vaccinations – Your dogs should be up to date on all vaccinations or your dog should have been cleared by a veterinarian with a titer test.
Heat – Dogs can get hot very quickly and it is best to visit the beaches at times when the sun is not at its peak. Visit the beach in the early morning, or evening, when the sun it at its weakest. Some dogs, especially those with short fur, may become sunburned after spending time in the sun. Apply a canine sunscreen before basking in the sunshine. Scope out an adequate shady spot where your dogs can go to escape the sun’s rays. NEVER leave your dog unattended in the car.
Water – Ingesting salt water is not good for your dogs. You should make fresh water readily available and discourage them from drinking from the ocean. Great folding dog water bowls are available which you can tuck in your beach bag.
Food – Keep an eye on your dog to be sure they don’t eat anything questionable that they find buried in the sand. Keep them away from families who may be there picnicking.
Friends/Foes – Watch your dog’s interactions with other dogs at the beach. Call them over to you if things seem to be getting out of hand. Keep them away from any “non-dog” people unless those folks directly ask to meet your dog.
Poop – Piles of dog poop not only cause many beaches to become “no dogs allowed”; they are also unhealthy for both humans and dogs. Feces carry disease and must be scooped and disposed of immediately. Pack enough bags to scoop your own dog’s poop and a stray pile here or there.
Exercise – The beach is a great place to exercise. Many dogs will swim, and run, to the point of exhaustion. Keep your eye on your dog and ask them to rest if they seem to be over exerting themselves. Know the tides are the beach and steer your dog clear of any rip tides which could pull even the strongest swimmer out to sea. If lifeguards have posted “no swimming” signs, obey the warning!
Pack your bag with sunscreen and water for everyone. Use your common sense. Leave when it seems too hot. Don’t over exert. Have fun!