Canine Beach Time
By Stacy Mantle
Heading to the beach with your best friend can be a great experience for both of you. Whether you have a Chihuahua or a Labrador, the love of water is a crossbreed activity. Not only is it relaxing for both you and your pet to get out in the water, its great exercise as well.
There are some considerations before you head out for a day on the water. There are certain breeds of dogs that are so low to the ground and off center, they can’t swim (or can’t swim well). If you have a bulldog, basset hound, Maltese, dachshund or pug, it may be better to stick to land-based activities.
However, there are many breeds that love the water. You, as a responsible pet owner, need to make sure your pets are prepared for a day at the lake or the ocean. Here are some tips to ensure a wonderful day at the beach.
Follow the Rules
Visit the beach or lake prior to taking your pet. Become very familiar with the location, the possible escape routes, the routines of other people and their pets, and the rules associated with the locale. Never leave your dog unattended, always keep them on a leash (or under your control), and always clean up after your pet.
In addition, be courteous of other beach-goers. No one likes to be on the beach only to have someone’s dog come up and shake water all over them. Keep in mind that some people have an irrational fear of all animals, no matter the size, so be sensitive and avoid potential problems.
You should plan on making sure you have the following items (depending on the activity and time spent outdoors).
PFD: A personal flotation device is a must-have any time you’re in (or on) the water.
Bowls: There are some great collapsible bowls on the market. Make sure you bring them along and keep them filled with water!
Sunblock: According to CanineCancer.com, “Exposure to the sun has been shown to cause a higher incidence of three types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and hemangioma.” Only use an approved sunscreen as human-grade sunscreen can be toxic to pets. I recommend epi-pet sunblock.
Shade: Offering your pet a shaded area will help them stay cool and out of the dangerous sun. Sturdi offers a great “pup-tent” that is easy to transport and perfect to give pets some relief.
GPS Tracker: If you’re planning to visit an off-leash beach, be sure you have a way of finding your pet in case the worst happens and he is sucked out to sea in a riptide or running after seagulls on the beach. A GPS tracker that is waterproof, lightweight and easily affixed to the collar will tell you where your pet is at all times.
Standard Pet Gear:
- Collar, harness and leash
- Proper identification (picture and dog tags)
- Water and food bowls
- Poop bags
- Food and treats
- Dog towel
- Plenty of toys
Before taking your pets to the beach, you should be well versed in CPR and basic first aid for you and your pet. There are many dangers on land and at sea, so be prepared for as many as possible to help make your visit to the beach a safe and non-stressful day for everyone in your group.
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com