The beach is a great place to unwind and have fun. Bringing your dog to the beach or taking them to a dog beach makes for an even more relaxing and fun beach day experience for many pet owners. However, the very things that make the beach so enjoyable—the water, sun, and sand—could be harmful to your pet.
Here are five beach safety tips to keep your dog safe.
Keep them cool in order to avoid heatstroke
Protect your dog from heat exhaustion and heatstroke is especially critical during the summer. This health conditions can be fatal.
To keep your dog safe, avoid the dog beach during the hottest parts of the day and provide plenty of shade and fresh, cool water. We advise keeping activity to a minimum. You can play fetch with your dog if you give them enough time to rest, get out of the sun, and drink water in between games.
If your dog appears overly tired or is panting more than usual, it's a good idea to end the day early and get them somewhere cool.
If your dog exhibits symptoms such as extreme lethargy, excessive panting, red (rather than pink) mucous membranes, diarrhoea, or vomiting, take them to the vet right away. These could be symptoms of extreme heat stress in the dog.
Drinking salty seawater could dehydrate your dog, says Dr. Fort. Make sure to bring plenty of fresh, cool water and a portable dog water dish so your dog isn’t tempted to drink from the ocean.
Do not allow them to drink saltwater
A small amount of sea water will not harm dogs as long as they have access to fresh water, but if they consume enough seawater, they can become severely dehydrated. Vomiting, thick, ropy saliva, and dry, tacky gums are all symptoms. We recommend learning what your dog's saliva and gums look like under normal conditions so you can recognise — and hopefully avoid — a potential problem at the beach.
If your dog is vomiting and having difficulty walking, they may be suffering from severe dehydration. Take them to the vet right away. Senior dogs, puppies, and those with medical issues may be more prone to dehydration.
Keep them safe in the water
Allowing your dog to practice swimming skills in a controlled environment is another pet safety item to add to your pre-beach to-do list. Before exposing her to the tides and currents at the beach, you want her to feel comfortable in the water.
Examine the tide charts—the size of the waves in some areas can vary dramatically depending on the time of year—and avoid days when the currents are strong.
We suggest putting even good swimmers in a flotation device. Puppies can be kept safe in the water by wearing a dog life jacket with a chin support flap and bright colours. Keep a close eye on your dog when they're off-lead. Never turn your back on the ocean!
Get your dog the proper sun protection
Dog sunscreen and wipes are specially formulated to protect your pup from the sun without exposing her to potentially harmful ingredients such as zinc, which is commonly found in human sunscreen. Apply dog sunscreen to areas where the fur is thinner, such as the nose and ears.
Sunburn can be caused by anything pink and hairless. We recommend thoroughly rubbing the dog sunscreen in and allowing it to dry before bringing your dog outside. You don't want to apply it and then walk away.
Check your dog for signs of sunburn, such as red and inflamed patches, after your beach day. While you're inspecting your dog's skin, make sure their eyes aren't irritated by the sun or sand. Bring them to the vet if their eyes are goopy or they are squinting more than usual. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Keep Parasites Away From Your Dogs
A day at the beach can expose your pet to potentially dangerous bacteria and parasites. The pools that form along the beach could serve as a breeding ground for bacteria that cause diseases such as leptospirosis, which can lead to kidney failure. Allow your dog to wade through or drink from stagnant bodies of water.
Ensure you have your dog vaccinated to help protect against leptospirosis. Consult your veterinarian to book an appointment if you haven't already.
Keeping up with dog flea and tick prevention keeps your dogs safe if they must walk through woods or vegetation on their way to the beach. If you are travelling abroad with your dog check on the frequency of heartworm incidence and look into heartworm medication. It only takes one mosquito to infect your dog with heartworm disease.