Beach Tips for Dogs
Summertime means fun in the sun, so why not bring your dog too? Beach vacations provide plenty of opportunities to relax in the sand, splash in the ocean, work on your suntan and spend precious time with your dog. To ensure your beach vacation is enjoyable for both you and your dog, check out these tips for bringing your dog to the beach.
1. Check If Your Dog Likes the Beach
Before planning an amazing beach getaway with your dog, make sure she likes walking in sand and water. While it may seem like all dogs love the beach, some dogs really don’t like sand and water at all.
If you’re not sure, take a half-day trip to a local dog beach or lake, and try it out first. Over the last two decades, only two of my dogs enjoyed swimming while the other six refused to step one foot in the water. If your dog loves to swim and frolic on a sandy beach, then start planning your dog-friendly beach getaway now!
2. Beware of Loose Dogs
Most dog-friendly beaches allow dogs to play off-leash, which can become an issue quickly. Dog park-type beaches are not the safest place for dogs, as many are allowed to bully dogs.
More than 90% of my dog aggressive clients have been bullied at dog parks, and now we need to address the issue. If your dog is not dog-friendly, or you would rather skip a dog beach, then find a secluded dog beach vacation spot where dogs walk on-leash.
3. Use a Long Leash
Speaking of leashes, it’s best to use a long leash (10-foot) and harness to keep your dog safe during beach walks. Your dog can still swim with the safety equipment on, but you’ll be able to pull her back to shore if she swims out too far or waves become rough. While it’s cute to imagine your dog chasing seagulls, many dogs run away and get hurt chasing animals and birds. Leashes are safety lines, so keep your dog safe.
4. Beware of Hot Sand
Hot sand is painful—very painful. If a surface is too hot for you to stand on, then it’s too hot for your dog too. Carry your dog to wet sandy areas to prevent paw burns. Or place rubber bottom booties on large dog paws until you reach your shaded beach lounging spot. Check your dog’s paw pads frequently for burns or irritations from sea creatures or salt water.
5. Provide Shade & Water
It’s hot sitting on a beach, so provide plenty of shade for your dog. Bring a large umbrella, a cooling pad (keep it in an ice-packed cooler), and frozen food stuffed Kongs. Bring a gallon or more of cold water and keep it in your cooler.
Offer your dog cold water often, and keep his water bowl in the shade. Limit your dog’s sun exposure. If your dog starts panting excessively, cool him down with cold water, leave the beach ASAP and find the closest veterinary clinic.
6. Don’t Forget Sunscreen
Short-coated breeds, or freshly shaven dogs, will need sunscreen. Purchase a chemical-free sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and apply often per directions. If your dog swims, choose a waterproof chemical-free sunscreen for maximum protection. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen liberally on your dog’s ear tips, nose and paws!
7. Rinse With Clean Fresh Water
Once back home or in your hotel, wash your dog with a gentle dog shampoo and rinse thoroughly. Sand embedded in hair scratches and irritates skin, which can cause rashes and hot spots. In addition, salt water can damage your dog’s coat. As a best practice, wash and rinse your dog twice, then rinse again.
Enjoy your dog-friendly beach vacay!