No summer is complete without a trip to the beach. With more and more dog-friendly options popping up, it isn’t far-fetched to think you can enjoy a day of sun and sand with your dog at your side. However, there are things to consider to ensure that your visit is both fun and safe. Keep the following in mind before you hit the shore.
Check the Rules
Before you head out, make sure the beach you’re going to allows dogs. Check to see what the rules and regulations are. Some beaches only allow dogs on certain dates, at certain times of day or in designated areas. There might also be breed and/or age restrictions, or leash requirements. When you find the official rules online, take a screenshot to show any doubtful officials or beachgoers.
Pack the Right Gear
Make sure you’re prepared for a fun-filled day. Items we recommend bringing include:
- Beach blanket (see here)
- Towel to dry off (see here)
- Waterproof leash and harness (see here)
- Umbrella for shade (see here or try this beach tent).
- Dog sunblock (see here).
- Dog sun shirt (see here).
- Pet first aid kit (see here).
- Portable water bowl or bottle (see here and here).
Beware of Overheating
Overheating is dangerous and can in some cases even be deadly. Symptoms include lots of panting, vomiting or diarrhea, trouble walking and excessive thirst. If you notice any of these symptoms, then you need to get your dog out of the sun immediately.
Be aware that some dogs are at greater risk of heatstroke than others, like brachycephalic breeds (pugs, frenchies, etc), seniors, puppies and dogs with chronic health conditions. Make sure there is shade available for your dog to escape direct sunlight, like a beach umbrella or beach tent.
Don’t Forget Sunscreen
Just like humans, dogs can get sun burns and overheat, especially those with shorter coats. Protect your dog with dog sunblock and/or a sun shirt. This sunblock is the only FDA compliant pet sunscreen on the market. It can be sprayed on. We also love this sun shield dog tee – it blocks UV rays and is made from recycled materials.
There’s plenty of trouble your pup can get into while at the beach, so be sure to keep your eyes on them and pay attention. Watch out for the following:
- DON’T let your dog eat sand: this can cause an upset stomach and make your dog sick.
- DON’T let your dog drink ocean water: hot dogs might be tempted to drink whatever water is around to quench their thirst, but ocean saltwater can make them really sick. Have a bowl of fresh water at the ready to discourage them from drinking from the sea.
- DON’T let your dog go off-leash if they’re not ready: the ocean is full of enticing new smells, and untrained dogs might be tempted to disrupt beachgoers or run away. Keep them on leash to stay safe, and get a long waterproof leash so they have space to roam.
- DON’T un-treat a wound: there’s plenty of bacteria in the water and in the sand, so if your pup gets even a small cut, it’s best to treat the wound with antibiotic ointment right away.
Rinse Off Saltwater
Saltwater isn’t great for your dog’s coat. It can dry out or irritate the skin. Dogs with a double coat typically have the most trouble with saltwater, since it gets trapped in their dense coats. If not washed out fully, it can lead to bacterial growth.
After a day at the beach, be sure to rinse your dog thoroughly with clean, fresh water. If your dog’s double-coated, make sure to rinse and massage throughout, flushing out all of the saltwater and sand.
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