Have fun in the sun! How to make sure your dog is having a good time at the beach
Have fun in the sun! How to make sure your dog is having a good time at the beach
Summer weather is the perfect time to take your dog and the family at the nearest lake or beach. But to make your day with your pet a relaxing experience, there are a few things you should keep in mind..
Are dogs allowed on your beach?
Most lakes and ponds actually have some type of regulation, displayed or not, indicating whether dogs are allowed.
In order to avoid headaches on arrival, take the time to check if dogs are indeed allowed at your destination.
Remember, just because you see other people posting photos of their dogs in tagged locations on Instagram doesn’t mean they’re actually allowed to be there.
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For areas within national parks, the National Parks Service maintains web pages with updated alerts indicating if any wildlife has been spotted in the area or if you should be wary of environmental issues such as algae blooms. , which can be fatal to dogs.
Websites like BringFido.com can also help you find the perfect beach for your next day.
However, even if a beach or lake says dogs are allowed, that might not mean your dog can just roam around freely once you arrive.
Some places have leash laws requiring your dog to be with you at all times. It has to do with the safety of visitors, as well as helping to prevent damage to the environment. In areas where sea turtles nest, for example, dogs absolutely cannot be allowed to dig and disturb endangered species.
You should also be aware of the distance between you and where you entered the beach. In many cases, you risk entering a private beach area that is owned by resorts or individuals, and you could enter it. Even though these private beaches are open to the public, they may have their own rules regarding dogs.
Always be on the lookout for signs that can give you more information about a particular beach, especially if there are hazards in the water that could harm a swimming-loving dog.
Which beaches are suitable for dogs?
Aside from the fact that dogs should preferably only be on beaches where they are permitted, not all beaches are necessarily suitable for vacations with a puppy.
For dogs, as for humans, sandy beaches are the most enjoyable choice. They can run comfortably on smooth sand without hurting themselves. However, dog owners should make sure their four-legged friend avoids running on hot sand, as their paws could potentially burn and blister, just like on hot asphalt.
Pebble beaches are only suitable to a limited extent for dogs. There is a risk of sharp stones burrowing into the paws and causing injury, which would be a painful break from a fun day. Depending on the size of the stones, dogs sometimes have difficulty maintaining traction when walking and may be at risk of slipping or spraining themselves.
You should also look for beaches that allow dogs to easily enter and exit the water. Rocky beaches with higher cliffs are therefore generally not suitable for dogs.
What to consider before going to the beach with a dog
Ideally, any dog that you plan to take to the beach should be in good shape and in good health.
However, if you want to go on a trip with a senior dog or one with pre-existing conditions, you need to plan more carefully. After all, you don’t want to overload your loyal companion.
Choose a day that is not scorching, as higher temperatures can pose an unnecessary risk to a dog’s circulatory system if it cannot easily stay cool.
To get you and your dog ready for the beach, avoid giving your dog large amounts of food right before. A fuller stomach can increase the risk of twisting while the dog is having fun in the sand or water.
However, be sure to give them plenty of water to drink beforehand, as they can quickly become dehydrated in the sun.
When packing your beach bag, keep your dog in mind, too. In addition to your own swimsuit, towel, and sunscreen, remember to have enough drinking water and a first aid kit so you can quickly treat minor injuries on the spot. If you plan to spend the whole day by the lake or the sea, it’s a good idea to take a full dog meal with you.
Make sure to add them to your checklist of the most important items for your dog at the beach: fresh drinking water and a water bowl, collar and leash, dog waste bags, suitable toys such as a frisbee or balls, an umbrella or other shade, treats or extra food, and special sunscreen for dogs sensitive to the sun.
Protect dogs from sunburn on the beach
Many dog owners are unaware that their pets can get sunburned as well.
Dogs with thin, short fur and fair skin are particularly at risk, as are dogs with thinner patches of hair. On most dogs, areas like the tips and insides of the ears, the bridge of the nose and the stomach are particularly vulnerable to sunburn.
There is also a risk of heat stroke when playing in the scorching sun, which can lead to serious organ damage and even death in dogs and humans.
For this reason, dogs and their owners should have shade at all times. A large umbrella, tent, or nearby tree will do.
You will need damp towels to promote cooling even in the shade, as dogs can only cool themselves by panting and cannot sweat.
If you want to be active with your four-legged friend, take a walk preferably in the morning or early evening, when the temperatures have already cooled down a bit.
What to remember when swimming with a dog
Not all dogs are meant to love water. While there are some who jump into the water the first time they get the chance, others may not even want to dip their toes in it!
It also depends a lot on the breed of the dog, as some swim well and collect water, while others do not have this tendency.
The most important thing is to accept when your dog does not want to go in the water. If you are determined to put your dog in the water to cool off, you will need to proceed patiently.
The best place to start is in shallow water that is as warm as possible, choosing a small shore or stream for your dog to learn what the water looks like and how to get out of it easily.
Also, be careful that your dog does not swallow too much salt water. If they seem to be doing this, are playing, or are actually thirsty, be sure to provide cool water and take breaks more often.
When the dogs start to show signs of fatigue, it’s time to get them out of the water.
In addition, you must be careful when swimming to avoid moorings for boats and fishing grounds. Also, don’t encourage your dog to swim in strong currents or high waves – and make sure he always stays close to the shore.
What to pay attention to after a day at the beach
After a busy day at the beach, rinse your dog well to remove sand, debris, and anything that might be trapped under the fur next to the skin.
There are often dead fish or birds on the beach that dogs love to roll around in, so a bath is definitely a good idea.
Make sure to dry their fur thoroughly, especially if there is a cold wind or on an overcast day. Double-coated dogs have more difficulty drying and are also at greater risk for hypothermia under these conditions.
Treat your furry friend to cool drinking water to quench his thirst.
And after all that cool beach exercise, your dog deserves a great meal to top off a fun day.
Correct behavior at the beach
Finally, there are some tips on proper beach etiquette for dogs, as it’s rarely a good idea to let your dog run around without restraint.
AAlways pick up your dog’s droppings immediately. Take enough disposable bags with you for this purpose.
Don’t let your dog run towards other dogs. First of all, ask their owners and only let furry friends play with each other after giving permission.
If your dog has a strong hunting instinct or has a tendency to eat garbage or roll around in anything that stinks, be sure to keep him on a leash, as a beach offers plenty of opportunities for messing around.
Keep your distance from other beach visitors as well as boats, jet skis and similar watercraft. Not only can dogs get scared and run away, not everyone at the beach feels safe around unfamiliar animals, especially when bringing small children with them.
As you prepare for your relaxing day at the beach with your dog, don’t forget to answer the most important questions ahead of time: Does my beach accept dogs? What should i pack for my dog to have a good time? How many hours will we spend outside in the sun?
If you prepare well, you are sure to have a wonderful day making memories with your best friend.
Cover photo: Unsplash / Luis Lara