When you head to the beach, bringing your dog along with you can be a lot of fun. As long as you keep an eye on them, know the hazards that can harm your dog or ruin a beach trip, and the safety precautions you should take, there’s no reason not to bring your dog with you if they enjoy the beach too. Here are some beach safety tips for dogs to keep in mind:
1. Beware of the Heat
Because dogs cannot release heat from their bodies as efficiently as humans can, they are more sensitive to the heat and are at a greater risk of heatstroke in hot weather. This risk is even more serious for brachycephalic or snub-nosed breeds as these dogs have an even more difficult time cooling down.
As you’re planning your beach trip, keep an eye on the weather and the expected temperatures for that day. If they’re too high for your dog, then it’s best to cancel and reschedule the beach trip for another day with cooler high temperatures or leave your dog at home and bring them along another time.
2. Know the Signs of Heatstroke
Since heatstroke is a serious concern for dogs in hot weather, it’s important to know the signs of heatstroke in dogs. Panting, drooling, rapid pulse, and fever are some of the common signs that your dog is headed towards heatstroke or already has it. If you suspect that your pup has heatstroke, immerse them in cool water right away, and get medical attention.
3. Bring Fresh Water
Dehydration is also a serious risk and you definitely don’t want your dog to resort to trying to drink salt water. So, make sure you bring plenty of fresh water with you for both you and your dog and make sure it is available for them to rehydrate safely. A collapsible water bowl is a useful item to have on hand and can even help keep the water a little cooler.
4. Provide Shade
Also, take measures to provide shade for both you and your dog. Different dog breeds with different body types, different coat types, etc. have different levels of heat tolerance. Your dog can get overheated before you know it, especially if they are very active.
So, you want to make sure you have a shaded place for them to relax and cool down. Bringing along a beach umbrella or settling down in a spot with some kind of shade available can make your pup much more comfortable.
5. Protect Their Paws
The sand at the beach can be rough on paw pads and it can get really hot. Also, sand gets everywhere including between your pup’s paw pads. By using some paw wax before you hit the beach, you can help protect sensitive paw pads.
There are plenty of paw wax options to buy or you can try to make some DIY paw balm or wax at home. If you know the sand will be pretty hot or you’ll be exploring some rough terrain, it may be better to outfit your dog with some protective boots to protect their paws and keep them more comfortable.
6. Put on Sunscreen
Just as you can get a bad sunburn, so can your dog. Although their coat will provide some protection, your dog’s belly, nose, exposed ears, and more will all need some dog-friendly sunscreen protection.
Dogs with short fur, pink skin, and white fur are especially prone to getting burned. Make sure you have vet-approved doggie sunscreen on hand and use it throughout the day to keep your pup from getting a painful sunburn.
7. Clean Sand Off of Their Face
Your dog might love digging in the sand and may not care or even be aware that they’re getting sand all over their face. To minimize the potential for eye irritation and to prevent your pup from trying to scratch the irritating sand away, try to keep their face clear of sand. Moistening a towel and gently brushing the sand away from their face and using fresh, clean water to rinse their eyes if needed is a big help.
8. Make Sure They Have a Life Vest
Some dogs are strong swimmers and some are not. Even if your dog is an experienced and strong swimmer, it’s still important for them to have a life vest for dogs that fits them well and will help them stay afloat if they swim out too far, get caught in an undertow, or become tired.
9. Look Out For Water Dangers
If you’re at the beach, it’s important to ask the lifeguard or look up what the water conditions are like. Riptides, undertows, choppy waters, murky water, and more can all pose a threat to you and your dog. If these are current conditions, you can still enjoy the beach, but you and your dog will want to stay out of the water until conditions improve.
Also, jellyfish don’t only target humans. They’ll inflict a painful sting on whatever runs into them; canine, human, or otherwise. Sea lice can also present a hazard to dogs. You always want to be aware of current conditions and always keep an eye on your water-loving pup, even in mild seas.
10. Follow Leash Laws and Regulations
Even if the beach you are going to is an off-leash dog beach, make sure your dog is securely leashed before you exit the car and head to the beach. In addition to general safety and preventing another motorist from hitting your loose dog, there may be leash laws that apply to the parking lot and areas until you get to the off-leash area.
Provided the beach is off-leash, keeping your dog leashed allows you to survey the situation on the beach before letting your dog run free. You don’t know until you get there and look how many other dogs are on the beach or what their temperaments and socialization levels are.
Plus, you can take stock of how many young children are running around too. Not all parents teach their children how to properly interact with dogs. And, screaming children running up suddenly can surprise even the most well-socialized dogs.
Not all beaches are dog-friendly and even those that are may have their own leash laws and regulations in place. Make sure you know what these are before you go and follow them while you and your dog are enjoying the beach. And, if the situation with other dogs and children seems overwhelming or you can clearly see potential issues, don’t be afraid to leave and try another beach or even return home and plan to try again another day.
These are just a few beach safety tips for dogs to keep in mind to make sure your dog has an enjoyable day at the beach. Making sure you have these basics covered can help make sure you and your dog have a lot of fun while you beat the heat.