It’s that time of the year when people start taking their dogs to the beach, but getting your four-legged friend ready for the beach can take some doing. Luckily, we’ve got a few pointers for you to help ensure that your trip is safe and fun for everyone involved.
No Dogs Allowed
The first thing you need to do is make sure that your beach of choice not only allows dogs but is dog-friendly. Visit the beach’s website, if they have one, or call ahead to find the answers to your questions. Depending on where you live, there are a few websites with information about the best dog-friendly beaches in America. From Cape San Blas in Florida to Cannon Beach in Oregon, there are many options for dog-friendly locations.
You should also ask about any leash regulations, but make sure you bring a leash along even if they do have off-leash areas. You never know how your dog will respond to voice commands in a larger, more open area like a beach so be sure that you’re prepared.
Watch the Weather
There are a number of extremes that can come out of an average trip to the beach, including significant heat from the sun and sand and a chill or even considerable cold from the water. Check the weather report before you leave and mind the temperature. Keeping your dog cool in the summer takes on special meaning when you’re at the beach.
Along with watching the weather, you need to watch your dog for signs of things like heatstroke. Symptoms include a bright red tongue, panting, thick and/or sticky saliva, lethargy and weakness, and even vomiting. If you believe your dog might have heatstroke, put your pet in the shade and apply cool but not cold water over the body. Ice packs and cool towels can also be applied to the head, neck and chest only.
Be Careful and Considerate
The unfortunate truth is that inconsiderate and careless dog owners often ruin the beach experience for the rest of us. It’s up to you to make sure that you follow the rules of the beach and be considerate of others at the beach.
Make sure that you don’t allow your dogs where they aren’t allowed; keep an eye out for special “no dogs” zones at the beach. Don’t let your dog wander off out of your sight and make sure you come with the right gear, including a leash, water, doggie sunscreen, towels, and plenty of fresh water to drink. And make sure you clean up after yourself and your dog. Don’t leave a mess and bring your own waste bags; keep an eye out for any “surprises” your dog may have buried under the sand.