Let’s go to the beach!

A trip to the beach can be an enjoyable experience for the whole family including the dog. The sun, sand and waves offer a perfect setting for some quality bonding time. However, it is important to ensure your dogs safety and wellbeing during a day out at the beach.

Here are some tips and guidelines to help you safely take your dog to the beach, ensuring a fun and worry free experience for everyone involved.

• Before heading to the beach be sure to check that they allow dogs. Some beaches allow dogs during certain parts of the year, some don’t allow dogs at all any time of the year and others allow dogs all year round.

• Look for designated off leash areas, not all dog beaches are fully off lead as they cater for dogs who aren’t able to be off lead or are nervous so before letting your dog off the lead make sure to check that you are in a designated off lead area.

• Pack essentials! Just like humans, dogs require specific supplies when visiting the beach. Prepare a bag with the essential for your dog. This should include, fresh water and travel water bowl to keep your do hydrated, a lead, dog friendly sun cream, poo bags, towels, toys and if you plan on allowing your dog in the water make sure to take a life jacket for your dog.

• The heat at the beach can be intense especially during the summer months so be sure to check the temperatures for the day before heading out. Try and plan your day around the cooler hours such as early morning or late afternoon. Test the temperature of the sand with your hand before allowing your dog to walk on it as it can burn your dogs paws.

• Make sure to keep your dog hydrated and offer a constant supply of fresh water throughout the day. Dogs can become dehydrated very quickly during physical activity. The sun can dehydrate your dog very quickly too, don’t your dog to drink salt water as this can be harmful. Always encourage your dog to have breaks in shaded areas to rest and cool down.

• Keep a close eye on your dog at all times and be aware of who and what is going on around you. Keep an eye on their behaviour, don’t allow them to approach unfamiliar dogs, consume harmful substances or venture too far into the water. Always maintain control through a lead or reliable recall commands if you are confidant your dog has amazing recall.

• Whilst some dogs are natural swimmers not all are comfortable in the water. If your dog hasn’t been to the beach before make sure to introduce your dog gradually to the waves providing a positive and supportive experience for them. If your dog is anxious or scared don’t force them into the water. Make sure your dog is wearing a life jacket in the sea even if they are a confident swimmer.

• Dogs can get overwhelmed or exhausted by everything going on at the beach. There can be a lot of different things happening which can cause your dog stress. Be sure to keep an eye out for excessive panting, drooling, restlessness or refusal to move. Provide them with a shaded area, offer plenty of fresh water and take lots of breaks from vigorous activity to allow your dog to rest and cool down. If you are there as a family try and get everybody to take regular breaks together.

• Be a responsible dog owner, encourage dogs to relieve themselves away from the beach. Always clean up after your dog and dispose of it in a designated dog poo bin. This helps to maintain the cleanliness of the beach and prevents the spread of bacteria and parasites.

• Always rinse and dry your dog as soon as you come of the beach, saltwater can irritate your dogs skin and sand can get in between their paws and cause irritation. Rinse your dog with fresh water to remove the saltwater and sand paying particular attention to their paws and underbelly. Thoroughly dry them with a towel to prevent skin irritation and discomfort.

• Every dog is different and has their own tolerance for new environments. If your dog shows any signs of nervousness, anxiety or aggression it is important to prioritise their well being above all else. You need to be prepared to leave if/when they become uncomfortable.

Taking your dog to the beach can be a great experience for the whole family and create many lasting memories on a budget. By following these guidelines, you are on your way to ensuring the safety and enjoyment of your dog at the beach. With proper preparation and attentiveness your beach outing with your dog should be a rewarding and cherished experience for you all.

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