Keep Your Dog Safe at the Beach
If the summer months have you looking to hit the beach with your dog, there are certain precautions you should take.
Check out our top tips for maximum fun and safety.
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Time your visit. Dogs don’t sweat like we do, so they have a limited capacity to handle the heat. They are more susceptible to dehydration and even heat stroke, so consider visiting in the early morning or later evening hours when temperatures are cooler. If you exercise your dog at the beach, take frequent breaks and find a shady spot to relax out of the sun, no matter what time you visit.
Take plenty of fresh water. Dogs need a constant supply of fresh water to maintain essential body functions, so take a portable water bowl and lots of water. Don’t allow your dog to drink seawater or the water from lakes or rivers, as ocean salt and microscopic parasites can make your dog sick.
Prevent sunburn. Yes, dogs can get sunburned, especially if they have short or light-colored hair or pink skin. Limit your dog’s exposure when the sun is particularly strong, ask your veterinarian to recommend a pet sunscreen, and apply it as directed. Only use sunscreen designed specifically for use on animals since the ingestion of certain sunscreens can cause illness in pets.
Check for hot sand and other beach hazards. Very hot sand can damage your dog’s paw pads, so test the sand temperature – if it’s too hot for your bare feet or hands, it’s too hot for your dog. Before letting your pet venture off, scan the area for sharp objects and hidden dangers like coral or jellyfish, which can also injure your dog. Storm-ravaged beaches might also be littered with debris that could be harmful to your dog.
Monitor water conditions. Speak to a lifeguard about rough waves or strong currents that might make the water too dangerous for your dog. Dogs are also easy targets for jellyfish that can sting causing swelling and pain and sea lice that can cause severe itching. If you are swimming in a lake, pond, or stream, it is important to be alert for signs of algae bloom since some forms of algae can be toxic to dogs.
Practice water safety. Swimming can be a fun way for your dog to exercise and cool off, but not all dogs know how to swim and even those that do may have difficulty getting on or off a boat. Make sure that you have a dog-safe ramp to help your dog get out of the water. Your dog should also have a life vest for water activities like swimming, boating, or sailing. As you would with children, always keep a close eye on your dog near the water.
Rinse and dry. A post-beach bath is essential to remove sand, salt, parasites, and algae that can damage your dog’s coat. Dry your dog’s ears well, especially if your dog has floppy ears that are prone to infection.
With some preparation and a healthy dose of caution, you and your dog can both enjoy the beach. If your furry friend does run into trouble at the beach, our discounted pet insurance can help you manage the costs of care. Learn more and get a free quote.