There are countless ways for a dog and their owner to have fun together. Going for a walk or run together, visiting a pond or lake, or even hiking a mountain are all common extracurriculars.
Equally attractive, many dog owners take them to the beach. Beaches are open areas with a huge body of water- both of which are perfect for having fun and tiring each other out.
However, beaches have more health risks you might not be aware of, especially when going there the first time. There are many factors to consider when deciding to take your dog to the beach. Here are some must-haves to consider before embarking on this journey.
What To Expect When Taking Your Dog To The Beach
Prolonged Exposure To The Sun
When taking your dog to the beach for the first time, it’s important to consider how hot it is outside. It’s equally important to get an idea of how long you plan on being there. Like humans, dogs can suffer similar side effects of prolonged exposure to the sun. If your dog starts panting excessively, seems lethargic, or becomes unresponsive, they may be suffering from heat exhaustion or a heat stroke. By limiting your dog’s exposure to the sun on your first visit, you also decrease the chances a fun trip turns into a medical concern. Keep in mind puppies cannot handle as much sun as adult dogs.
One way to ensure your dog has a fun time at the beach is to bring plenty of water. The more energy a dog exerts, the more water they’ll need. If it’s your first time taking your dog to the beach, you’ve probably considered how much fun your dog will have running around. Keep in mind that dogs will also exert more energy as their bodies try to keep themselves cool. Not only are they exerting energy with their physical endeavors (e.g., playing fetch, swimming), but they’ll also exert energy on the cellular level as they try to maintain proper body temperature. It’s never a bad idea to over pack water.
Your first time on the beach with your dog can be somewhat mysterious. You might be wondering how your dog will react to this new environment, or how other people and dogs could impact your experience. It’s important to ensure you’ve mastered a proper recall method with your dog prior to going to the beach- just in case they wander a little too far. Also, bring a couple of extra leashes for an extended line. Along the same lines, some beaches are known for their heavy traffic of dogs and dog owners. Thus, you should spend adequate time socializing your dog or puppy in order to avoid any adverse reactions to others.
Beaches are home to unique species of birds and plants. Dog owners can help prevent ecological damage to this special environment by educating themselves on rules and laws in effect for their beach area. Many beaches, for example, don’t allow foot traffic on the dune grass. This can apply to dogs as well. Because the beach is such an open area, some dog owners are very lackadaisical when it comes to cleaning up their dog’s mess. However, this not only can have harmful effects on the environment, but it can also result in a fine. Similarly, some beaches are home to endangered species of birds (e.g., piping plovers). If your dog is not properly trained and attacks one of these creatures, you can find yourself in some serious trouble.
A Sandy Pooch
If you’ve never gone to the beach with your dog before, you should prepare for a sandy pooch. The good news is that many beaches have water spigots and showers that you can use to help remove most of the sand that potentially lodges itself on your dog’s coat of fur. It may be a good idea to bring extra water to remove any excess sand on their paws, legs, and head. Prior to your first visit, you may consider packing extra towels, or a spare bed sheet, so there’s as little a mess as possible in your car. This can also prevent sand from getting on you.
Sensitive Areas On Dogs
Like humans, dogs can get sunburned. Even though their fur does help protect against harmful UV rays, it’s important to consider their skin as a sensitive area. Purchasing the proper sunscreen for dogs and applying to correctly to their skin can go a long way in protecting your dog’s health. On extremely hot days, their paws are also at risk and are considered a sensitive area. If you can hardly walk on the sand yourself, chances are your dog will suffer that same pain- even if they don’t show it. Walking on the cooler parts of the sand, closer to the water, can help prevent permanent damage. Equally important, when taking your dog to the beach for the first time, you should be aware of how much sand, if any, is having contact with your dog’s ears, nose, and eyes. While they’ll likely shake any unwanted sand off those areas, look for any cues that indicate discomfort. With puppies, you may have to be extra cautious as to avoid permanent damage.
Knowing If Your Dog’s A Swimmer
It’s easy to assume that your dog likes to swim. However, some dogs may require time to adjust to swimming in open water. Dog owners might benefit from experimenting in more closed off areas of water, such as a pool or lake, before allowing their dog to take the plunge in an ocean. This type of experimentation will also give you an idea with how far out your dog is willing to swim, as well as what their endurance in the water is like. Even if you know your dog’s a swimmer, beaches have an additional factor in waves. Be patient. It may take some time for your dog to feel comfortable with waves crashing on them. With that said, just like humans, dogs can use safety vests to help ensure they won’t drown or drift too far out.
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