A day at the beach with your pup sounds like a dream come true to most pet parents. But between paws that are sensitive to hot sand and making sure your dog stays sufficiently hydrated, there's also a lot to worry about. Follow our advice to keep your pup safe and happy on your next trip to the shore:
What to know before you go
Before you head out for a day of sun and sand, there are a few things you want to think about to ensure both you and your pup have a great day.
1. Plan to keep your visit short
Your dog may not want to hang on the sand in the heat as long as you do. Plan for your beach day to really just be a few hours, 2-3 max.Going to the beach can be tiring for pups of any age. Even if your dog loves the beach a couple hours can be exhausting. Capping your time helps protect against over-exposing them to the sun.
2. Plan to pack plenty of fresh water
Plenty of fresh water is needed to keep your pup nice and hydrated on the beach. You should offer him water at least every 20 minutes—more often if he’s being active.
But there’s another good reason to pack the extra bottles of H20: Saltwater can be irritating to a dog’s paws, so try rinsing them off after your pup hits the ocean. Once you’re at home, give your pup a real bath to make sure he’s sand and salt-free.
3. Don’t forget sun protection
Having a shady spot like this tented dog bed for your pup to curl up and take a nap is a great way to limit his sun exposure while giving him a place to rest.
However, if your dog has trouble relaxing at the beach, and just wants to explore you can avoid doggie sunburn by using a pup-friendly sunscreen. This is especially important for the sensitive areas of his skin like the nose, armpits, and groin, and crucial for dogs with light-colored fur or very little fur.
4. Learn to stay safe in the waves
Purchase a life jacket for your pup before hitting the beach. This is especially important if you aren't sure that your dog will be able to handle swimming in the ocean. Even dogs who are strong swimmers can struggle with a rough wave.
If you pup is new to the water, don't assume they can swim. Some breeds can't swim well and some pups simply don't enjoy it. If your pup is in the latter camp, don't force the issue.
After your pup's adventures in the sea don't forget to check their ears. Water can get trapped in there, setting the stage for an infection, so make sure to clean your pup's ears thoroughly after a day at the beach.
Finding dog friendly beaches
Once you feel ready to hit the sand, you want to make sure you choose the perfect beach location. Not all beaches are created equal when it comes to pup-friendliness.
Some beaches ban pups completely while others are open for dogs to roam off leash. Even the latter may be seasonal or have set hours for canine beachgoers so read all the rules carefully before heading out for the day. If you need recommendations for a great dog beach, ask friends or local pet owner groups. Someone may have a great tip for the perfect spot.
Popular travel website, Bring Fido, maintains a list of dog friendly beaches and that is a great place to start your research.
What to pack for a trip to the beach with your dog
In order to have the best day at the beach, you will want to make sure your beach bag is packed appropriately for both you and your pup. You'll need:
- Drinking water for you and your dog
- Sun protection for both of you
- Human and canine snacks
- Something to provide shade like a tent or cabanna
- Beach tags (if required)
- Poop bags
- Waterproof collar and leash with ID tags (to avoid odor and mildew)
Safety considerations for beach trips
Keeping your pup safe at the beach may require a little extra effort on your part.
You will want to keep your dog on leash if that is required, but beware of rule breakers. An off leash stranger dog running up to your leashed dog can cause issues. Especially if the dog isn't practicing their most polite greetings.
Do not allow your dog to be unsupervised on the beach or in the water, even for a second. That's all it takes for a pup to be swept up in a wave or drink too much ocean water.
Speaking of eating and drinking, make sure your dog isn't drinking the ocean or eating things like seaweed or jellyfish. While the former might give your pup an upset stomach, the latter could be quite painful if your dog is stung in the mouth.
Remember to clean up any poop ASAP to avoid spreading germs and if your dog is vomiting or has loose stool, it might be a sign to pack up and head home.
Don't dispair, with some research, planning and good communication you and your dog can have a wonderful day together at the beach.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.