The beach is a great place to have fun and relax, and for many dog owners, bringing their dog to the beach or taking them to a beach just for dogs makes for a more relaxing and fun experience. But, the very things that make the beach so great can also be harmful to your dog. Let’s consider some things you need to do, to keep your dog comfortable and safe when you go.
Protect your Dog from Heat Stroke
Protecting dogs from heatstroke and heat exhaustion is very important during the summer months. These extreme health conditions can possibly be fatal to your dogs.
To keep dogs safe, avoid the beach during the hottest part of the day, and give your dog plenty of access to fresh, cool water and shade. Keep activity to a minimum. It’s OK to play fetch, just be sure your pets have plenty of rest time between playtime. Also, between games, get out of the direct sun in order to provide them extra drinking water.
If your dog seems too tired or is panting more than normal, it’s a good idea to finish the day early and get them to the air conditioning. But if your dog has symptoms like lethargy, red mucous membranes, excessive panting, diarrhea, or vomiting, take them to a vet immediately. Those can possibly be signs that your dog is suffering from extreme heat stress.
Avoid Doggy Dehydration
Drinking seawater can dehydrate your dog. Make sure you have a cool, freshwater source and a portable dog water dish so your dog will not be tempted to drink from the ocean. Taking in small amounts of seawater won’t do much harm if they also have access to freshwater, but if they swallow enough of the seawater, they can become seriously dehydrated. Signs of dehydration are vomiting, thick and ropy saliva, and tacky, dry gums.
Vets recommend finding out what your dog’s gums and saliva look like under normal conditions so you can recognize and prevent potential problems at the beach. If your dog vomits and has trouble walking, these could be signs of severe dehydration. Take them to the veterinarian immediately. Senior dogs and puppies, and those with health problems can be especially predisposed to dehydration.
Days at the beach can be fun for everyone, human and animal. If there is enough freshwater nearby so they do not drink the seawater, they should be safe from dehydration.
Let Your Doggie Swim
Another way to keep them safe is to add an item to your pre-beach to-do list. Let the dog practice their swimming skills in an environment that is controlled. You want them to feel confident in the water before getting them around the tides and currents at the beach. Also, look at tide charts because in some places the size of the waves varies dramatically based on the time of year. Always avoid times when the currents are strong.
Think about putting even good dog swimmers in flotation devices. Dog life jackets with chin supports and flaps in bright colors help keep them safe in the water. Always keep an eye on your dog when they are off-leash and do not turn your back to the ocean.
Protecting Dog Against the Sun
Dog wipes with sunscreen are specially made for dogs to protect them from the sun without exposing them to harmful ingredients like zinc. Apply the sunscreen to areas like the ears and nose, where the fur is thin. Anything hairless and pink is a tryst to be sunburned. Let it dry before taking your dog outside.
Afterward, check your dog for signs of sunburn including inflamed and red patches. While you’re doing this, also check to make sure their eyes are not irritated by the sand or sun. If their eyes look goopy or they are squinting more, take them to the veterinarian. Better to be safe than sorry.
Protection From Parasites/Fleas/Ticks
Days on the beach expose your pet to harmful parasites and bacteria. Pools that form along the shore can be breeding grounds for bacteria that cause diseases. Do not let your dog walk through or drink from pools of water that are stagnant.
If you stay up-to-date with dog flea and tick prevention, this also keeps them safe if they must go through any vegetation or woods on their way to the beach. Don’t forget their heartworm medicine – it takes only one mosquito to pass heartworm to your dog.
Avoid People Food During Picnic
If you’re having a picnic at the beach, be sure to bring dog food for your canine so you won’t be tempted to feed them lots of “people” food, which can harm their systems.
These are all great tips to take into account to have a fun and safe time with your dog at the beach!