Endless piles of sand, perfect for digging up. Lapping waves, ideal for frolicking around. And don’t even get me started on the hours spent playing fetch in the water.
There’s no doubt that a beach is a dog’s paradise. Planning a day trip with your four legged friend requires a little bit of extra preparation, but the effort is worth it to see your canine companions having the time of their livese. Here’s what you need to consider when bringing your pup to the beach.
Make Sure It’s Allowed
Not all beaches are as fond of pets as you are, so do some research ahead of time to make sure that your dog is allowed on the beach. Some permit dogs with restrictions, like requiring them to be leashed at all times. Follow the rules, or risk getting fined or kicked out.
Slowly But Surely
Introduce your dog to the beach on a quiet day with calm waters, to get him comfortable with the unfamiliar environment. Bright skies can make it hard for a dog to see, just as the noise from the surf can be distracting. Get your dog acquainted with the beach before committing to a full day.
Ensure that your dog has access to all the clean, fresh water that he needs. Bring along a few extra bottles for him, plus a bowl that he can drink out of. Don’t let your pup lap up too much saltwater, which can make him sick.
Beware of Hidden Treasures
Dogs have a knack for finding hidden objects all over the beach. Be aware of anything intriguing that your dog might come across. Garbage, broken glass, old fishing gear, and even beach dwellers like jellyfish or rays can harm your pup, so never leave him unattended.
Respect Other Beachgoers
You’ll probably come across more than a few people eager to give your pup a pat or watch him figure out the waves, but not everyone will be as welcoming towards your pet. Err on the side of caution, and don’t let your dog disrupt other people on the beach. If all the new sights and people are too exciting for your dog, keep him on leash.
Offer Sun Protection
Dogs can get sunburned too, especially breeds with short coats or light colored fur. Their little noses are especially susceptible to burns. You can find dog-friendly sunscreens to apply to their nose and ears, but be sure to avoid creams containing zinc, which can be toxic for dogs.
Your best bet is to limit the time your dog spends in the direct sun, and to provide him with a cool, shady spot to curl up when it gets too hot.
ID Your Pooch
It’s a good idea to leave a collar on your dog, even if he’s going to be swimming in the water. You should also attach tags with your contact information. Even dogs that are well-trained can be distracted by the sounds and sights of the beach—clearly identifying your dog is a helpful precaution, should he take himself on a stroll.
Keep an Eye on Things
The beach can be exciting, but it can also be exhausting. New stimulants combined with a hot sun can get overwhelming for your pup. Keep a close eye on your dog: if he exhibits signs of exhaustion, dehydration, or just seems a little off, call it a day.
Don’t Forget Your Scooper
A beach is a public place, so it goes without saying: pick up after your dog! Nobody wants to find a “surprise” while walking barefoot on the sand.
Give Your Dog a Rinse
Just as you’d rinse off after a day in the sea and sun, rinse your dog with fresh water once you’ve wrapped up your beach day. This will help keep his coat in tiptop shape, plus will prevent any foul day-after-the-beach odors. Another bonus? You’ll be less likely to find grains of sand all over your house!