During summer, there's no hotter destination for people and dogs alike than the beach. Playing fetch along the sand, chasing seagulls, soaking paws in the sand; it's an incredible way to spend the day! Nevertheless, the beach poses some risks that must be considered to make sure your pup stays safe and happy on your trip.
Below, we'll discuss five tips we think cover everything you need to keep your dog safe at the beach.
Go at Low Tide
If you're planning to go to the beach, especially if you live far away, it's understandable that you'll want to get there as early as possible. If you can, however, it's best to arrive during or after low tide.
Why? Because it's the easiest way to avoid your pup getting caught up in any dangerous waves or currents. Whether they're a confident swimmer or a water-wary dog caught off guard, they can easily be swept up by a rogue wave or sudden riptide. Plus, it means more sand is exposed, which means there's more space to play!
Keep Your Dog in the Shallows
Sure, they may call it doggy paddling, but that doesn't mean all dogs can paddle! Even if you know your dog is comfortable in still water, ocean conditions are a whole different story.
Dogs don't always know their limits. If you've ever been in the backyard or the park, and your pup suddenly decided they'd had enough even though they were running around like crazy two seconds ago, you know what we mean. You definitely don't want that happening if they decide to go for a swim and can't make it back to shore!
Keep track of how long your dog spends in the water, keep them to the shallows as much as possible, and don't hesitate to call a break, even if your fur baby doesn't seem tired. It's better to recharge and get back out there than having to call for a lifeguard!
Dress Your Pup Appropriately
Whether you're taking your dog to a lead-on or lead-off beach, it's important that they are dressed for the occasion.
What do we mean by that? Well, for starters, we recommend you put them in a harness over a collar and lead combo. We've talked about the benefits of harnesses before, and safety is always number one. Even the best behaved dogs can find themselves curious about a washed up jellyfish, or eager to chase a ball that was just hit into the surf for a six! In such situations, the ability to distribute pressure across your dog's body rather than around the neck will reduce chances of pain and injury.
Another accessory you may want to consider is a life jacket. Yep, they make life jackets for dogs! Considering what we discussed above, it doesn't seem too silly to strap on a life vest with added buoyancy at the neck, and a handle to help them out of the water if the need arises.
Be mindful of where your dog is walking. If you can't walk on the sand easily without thongs, it's too hot for your pup's paw pads! The same goes for areas where broken shells may cut them, or those prickly weeds that love to grow near where the sand begins may stick into their skin.
Sip, Slop, Scrap!
No, that's not a typo. To end, let's go through a few basic tips:
Sip - Bring plenty of fresh water for your dog, and make sure they sip it through the day. Some dogs may try to drink seawater instead. Don't let them! It will dehydrate them further, and could cause them to get sick.
Slop - Invest in a dog-friendly sunscreen! Any place a pup has no or thin hair - their nose, ears, even belly - is a place they can be sunburnt. Pick a pet sunscreen that don't contain zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid.
Scrap - We Aussies are pretty good at cleaning up after ourselves when we leave the beach. The thing is, while we're building sandcastles with the kids, or out bodyboarding, our belongings are often left unguarded. Make sure your dog isn't wandering around finding other beach-goers' scraps to eat, and that no cheeky pups can get into yours!
That's it. We hope you and your dog have a wonderful time at the beach!