Being able to take your dog the beach is a privilege. Good manners and attention to safety from both of you will ensure you’re always welcome!
A growing number of beaches allow dogs – great news for those of us who love the sand and surf, and want to share them with our canine companions. But it’s important to keep in mind that even the most dog-friendly beach has rules and regulations for keeping the space safe, fun and healthy for everyone, human and canine alike. It’s important to follow these regulations, and also to make sure your dog is on his best behavior when he’s cavorting on the sand or playing in the waves.
Along with ensuring your dog is well-trained and behaves himself at the beach, you also need to pay attention to his safety. Here are some tips to help keep your dog safe when you’re enjoying a day in the sand.
- Watch out for trash, broken bottles and anything buried in the sand.
- In the water, look for currents, waves, undertows and boat traffic. Don’t let him swim too far out.
- Make sure he has proper identification – a microchip and/or ID tag.
- There’s typically no shade at the beach, so use natural sunscreen for your dog’s nose and ears, especially if he’s light-colored and/or has a thin coat. Consider bringing a beach umbrella so he can take a break from sun.
- Bring water from home so he doesn’t drink lake or salt water.
- Be careful that your dog doesn’t get overheated or overly tired.
- In the car on the way home, open the vents but don’t turn on the air conditioner so you can both cool down gradually.
- After a beach visit, rinse your dog with clean water to remove any sea or lake water and sand from his coat.
Not all dogs like water
Just like some people, some dogs would rather enjoy the beach than the water. If your dog is one of them, don’t force him to go for a dip. Short-nosed breeds like French bulldogs and Boston terriers can aspirate water and quickly get into trouble. “With some water-loving exceptions, short-legged breeds like Scottish terriers tend to swim like concrete blocks,” says Lee Juslin, owner of ibdoggone.com in North Carolina. A life jacket is always a good idea, especially one with a handle that you can grab in an emergency.