The beach is a wonderful place to get outside, get some sun and relax in the sand. It can also be a great family excursion with endless activities for the whole crew — maybe even the four-legged members. Bringing your dog to the beach can be a great opportunity for playtime, but it takes a bit of planning to make sure it’s fun, and most importantly safe, for everyone.
PROS OF BRINGING YOUR DOG TO THE BEACH
Bringing your dog to the beach can be a great opportunity for playtime and exercise. Throwing a ball or frisbee or teaching your dog to swim can be great beach activities.
Dog-friendly beaches can be a great way to socialize your dog. There most likely will be other pets running around and playing.
It can be good for furry friends who get separation anxiety to be included. A beach trip tends to be a daylong excursion, and for a dog who isn’t used to that much time apart from their family, that might cause some anxiety. Including your dog can be a great bonding experience for the whole family!
CONS OF BRINGING YOUR DOG TO THE BEACH
It can be dangerous for your dog. With limited access to shade or fresh water, dogs can develop heatstroke. Hot sand, sharp rocks or shells can hurt your dog’s paw pads. Puppies under four months aren’t vaccinated and may be exposed to harmful bacterias.
Many beaches (unless specifically for dogs) have restrictions in place for pets on the beach. These can range from keeping your dog on a certain length leash or away from the shoreline. These restrictions may make it harder to have your own freedom while on the beach.
For dogs who have never been to the beach, it can be a stressful experience. Whether there are a lot of people or other pets, your pet may feel overwhelmed by all of the unfamiliarity.
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL BEACH TRIP WITH YOUR DOG
If you want to include your dog in the family beach day, there are a few things you can do to help the trip remain fun and safe for everyone.
- Be knowledgeable about the rules and regulations at the beach you’re going to. It’s probably best to find a beach with a section for dogs so that your pet can run around freely. If going to a dog-friendly beach, check to see if there are off-leash hours and know where your dog can and can’t go.
- Bring the proper supplies. Bring a leash that has a good range of length and is preferably adjustable. Bring a supply of drinking water and a water dish. It’s so important to keep your dog hydrated as it plays in the sun. Bring dog-safe sunscreen. Some dogs can get sunburned — especially those with short fur, no fur or light fur. Apply to sensitive areas like the stomach, groin and ears. If possible, bring an umbrella or tent to provide opportunities for shade. Finally, don’t forget some doggy snacks and treats!
- Know your dog’s limits. Make sure your dog likes the beach. Some dogs may not be fond of sand, water or other dogs. You can take your dog on a short trip to a beach or lake to test it out. Make sure your dog is friendly with other dogs. If you’re going to a dog-friendly beach, chances are there will be other dogs off-leash. Be sure your dog can handle close interaction with other pets.
- Clean up! Make sure to bring bags to pick up poop. Before you leave the beach, pick up any water dishes, bottles or treat wrappers. Finally, be sure to rinse your dog off with fresh water. Pay extra attention to their paws and exposed skin. It’s probably best to wash them with shampoo when you get home to get rid of any remaining sand or salt that can irritate their skin and make a mess in the home.