Taking Your Dog to the Beach

Now that summer is here, many of us flock to the beaches for fun in the sand and surf. We often would like to treat our dogs to the same enjoyment. However, not all dogs swim naturally and breeds like corgis and pugs do not swim at all. In order to find out if your dog will swim, find a gentle lake or calm day on the ocean. See if your dog will come in the water after you. Never force the issue.

In order to insure that your dog has a safe and enjoyable day, there are several things to keep in mind:

1. Dogs may like to drink salt water. It should be discouraged as it can lead to stomach upset. So keep plenty of fresh drinking water with you to provide for your dog frequently during your romp at the beach.

2. Believe it or not, dogs need sunscreen just like you do. Ask you pet supply store for one made for dogs.  Apply to the nose and ears ahead of time. Repeat after swimming or strenuous exercise.

3. There are certain situations that can put your dog in danger such as high waves, currents and rip tides.  it would behoove you to invest in a life jacket made for dogs. The best ones are those with 3 latch points and a handle on the back in case you need to get your dog out of a dangerous situation.

4. Watch out for underwater hazards like coral, sharp rocks and even jellyfish. Keep an eye out for cuts or scrapes after a swim. Beach hazards such as seashells can also hurt your dogs paws.

5. Loud noises from motor boats or jet skis can be scary to your pet. Find a dog-friendly beach where these power craft are not allowed if your dog is sensitive to loud noise.

6. Really cold water is not good for a dog with arthritis or joint problems. Shallow water and bays or inlets tend to be warmer and more comfortable.

7. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion. Symptoms may include excess panting, drooling, enlarged hanging tongue, pale gums and general lethargy. You and your pet should have a cool place out of the sun to rest after running on the sand or swimming in the surf. These activities can really tire your dog out. Portable beach cabanas are a good investment.

8. When you shower off, let your dog shower too. This gets the sand out from between his paw pads and the salt off his fur. Dry his ears thoroughly so moisture does not lead to ear problems.

9. You can find out which beaches at your destination allow dogs. One website is [Pet Friendly Travel.com]. It also includes pet-friendly campgrounds, off-leash dog parks and dog-friendly shopping malls.

Enjoy a fun-filled day at the beach with your dog with these suggestions in mind. And don’t forget the poop bags!

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