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As soon as the hot weather hits us in earnest, many of us pack up our cars, dogs and families and head off to the beach to enjoy the heat and a change of scenery. Whether your dog is a keen sea swimmer or prefers to give the water a very wide berth, most dogs really enjoy spending a day at the beach, and exploring all of the new sights and sounds that come with it as well as having the chance to potentially meet and play with some other dogs too.
Beach trips can provide a lot of enrichment and entertainment for both dogs and owners, and as long as you plan ahead and undertake your visit with care, spending the day at the beach with your dog should be both rewarding and of course, safe.
However, it is important to plan ahead with a mind to safety and your dog’s wellbeing when you’re arranging a trip to the beach, and with this in mind, this article will cover some potential beach hazards to avoid and outline some tips to keep your dog safe whilst at the seaside. Read on to learn more.
Not all beaches permit dogs to use them, so check on this before you head out. At beaches where dogs are allowed, your dog is unlikely to be the only one there and this means that your dog will probably have plenty of chances to socialise and make new friends during their day out.
However, when you’re at the beach or otherwise relaxing in a novel environment, it is easy to get a little slack and neglect the safety checks and supervision that you probably undertake without thinking about at home, when you take your dog to the dog park or out on their normal walks.
Always keep an eye on your dog, make sure they haven’t wandered off, watch other dogs and ensure that they’re all playing nicely, and remain vigilant to loose, unsupervised or poorly controlled dogs that might potentially cause problems.
Take fresh water and a bowl with you for your dog and make it readily available to them throughout the day rather than relying on your ability to get water at the beach itself when you need it. Don’t let your dog drink from communal bowls or permit other dogs to share their bowl, and replenish the water regularly as needed when the bowl is running low or the water is getting too warm.
If your dog swims well and you’re happy to let them into the water, make sure that you handle this carefully. Don’t permit your dog to swim at beaches you don’t know unless they’re marked as safe for bathing, and learn to read and interpret bathing flags and warnings, as well as following the direction of any lifeguards or supervisors that may be present at popular beaches.
Never let your dog swim out too far or out of your sight, and if necessary, keep them on an extending lead in the water so that you could pull them back to you via their harness (not collar) if needed, so that you are never put in a position where you might have to risk your own safety to rescue your dog.
Heatstroke and sunburn alike commonly catch people unawares on the beach, and they can affect your dog too. Provide shade and water and keep your dog calm when the weather is very hot, and use sunscreen and coverups as needed to protect your dog from the sun itself.
You will need to take steps to protect your dog’s paws from hot sand and pavements, and also, take care over what they’re walking over on the beach too as there may be glass or other sharp objects hidden within the sand.
Rinse and check your dog’s paws with fresh water regularly throughout the day, and ensure that their unprotected paws don’t burn on hot surfaces.
Flying, biting bugs and sand insects might target your dog as a tasty snack, so consider using dog-safe insect repellents and of course, provide a towel or other surface for your dog to sit on. Keep an eye out for flying bugs that your dog might snap at, and carry some antihistamines and a way to clean and cool the area of any localised bites or stings your dog might pick up.
Don’t encourage your dog to pick up detritus from the beach, as many of the things they could come across may be toxic or sharp, like cuttlefish, sticks, or spiky sea creatures.
Take some toys along for your dog to play with and don’t let them pick things up off the beach itself.
Finally, relaxing and chilling out at the beach is great, but don’t allow this to mean neglecting to supervise your dog appropriately. If you are dozing off or otherwise find your attention is waning, designate someone else to supervise your dog for a while, and to ensure that they have shade and water and are not wandering off.
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