The sun is shining, the temperature is soaring, where better to spend these lazy days of summer than on the beach with your doggo? Whether it is on the ocean, a river, a lake, it really doesn’t matter, danger can be lurking just under the serene waters. Beach safety isn’t something you should ignore, a fun day in the sun can quickly turn into terror on the high seas in an instant. Our 10 beach safety tips for your dog will help you make sure your beach trip is enjoyable for everyone!
Our dogs LOVE to swim! Either in the pond in our back yard or at the beach, they really don’t care. I love watching them try to catch fish and dive for sticks. Beach and water safety has become almost routine. We don’t live anywhere remotely close to an ocean, but we’re a hop, skip, and a jump away from both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, with plenty of creeks and ponds in between. Needless to say, my dogs are always into some kind of water.
Weather plays a big role in beach safety! Whether your on a lake or an ocean winds can whip up waves causing your dog to loose his footing and getting swept away. Currents and tides can pose a huge threat to your dog’s safety taking them out into open water. Mild days are much safer to swim on. Pay close attention to beach warnings!
#2 Check the Water
Blue green algae is a problem in stagnant waters like ponds or small lakes and isn’t just toxic to dogs, it can make you sick as well. This type of toxic algae can look green, blue-green, or greenish brown. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell by looking if the algae is toxic so best to err on the side of caution.
#3 Sun Can Burn!
The sun can be just as damaging to your dog’s skin as it is to yours. Severe sun burns or long-term exposure to harmful sunrays can lead to your dog developing various forms of skin cancers. So, lather him up along with everyone else! Doggie sun shirts are awesome for protecting large areas.
#4 Life Vest
Not all dogs are great swimmers. In fact, some are so muscular they sink like a stone! Every dog however can become fatigued after a while on the water. A life vest helps heavier breeds like basset hounds and bull dogs to stay afloat but it also is a great safety net for water loving breeds like golden retrievers and labs. No matter what breed of dog you have a life vest is a must.
#5 Clean Water
Do not count on any body of water as your dog’s main source of hydration. Especially if you’re on the ocean! Fresh water sources can have toxins and bacteria that can make you sick, but salt water can be deadly! Always make sure that your dog has access to fresh clean water to drink.
#6 A Place to Cool Off
Heatstroke is a huge concern while spending time at the beach. A wet coat can actually trap heat next to their skin instead of cooling them off. Have an umbrella or other shaded area available so that your pooch can get out of the sun and cool off before bounding back out to play.
#7 Take a Break
Plying in the water is like heaven to some dogs. They will bite at waves, dive down to get stones, chase sticks, or all the above, rinse and repeat. While they are playing though they can be ingesting water at the same time. This can lead to a serious condition know as water intoxication. Basically, this is hyperhydration causing the body’s cells to become dangerously low in sodium. The best way to avoid this is to make Fido take a break every so often. My rule of thumb is 30 minutes in 30 minutes out.
#8 Booties to Protect Hot Tootsies
Under a hot sun sand can reach blistering temperatures quite literally. I like to bring a set of booties along just incase the sand is too hot for my babies to walk on. Test the sand with your bare feet and if it feels too hot put the booties on!
#9 Rinse off
Letting your dog lick himself clean leaves them vulnerable to ingesting harmful bacteria or toxic substances. Rinse off excess salt, microorganisms, algae spores, and any other nasty from your dog’s coat right after they’re done in the water.
#10 Dry Out Ears
Moisture in the ears can create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast to over grow. Cleaning out your dog’s ears with an ear cleaning solution or hydrogen peroxide after swimming will help to prevent any infection from developing. Make sure to thoroughly dry the ears with a towel after cleaning.
Beach days can be fun for the whole family, even you. Instead of running behind Fido doing damage control take a proactive stance. Plan a head or have a doggie beach tote (or duffle bag) ready for impromptu beach trips. Just a few precautions and a little knowledge can eliminate a whole lot of stress from the beach experience.