10 Tips For Keeping Your Dog Safe At The Beach

Read this before heading out to the beach 🏖️

dogs at the beach

Is your dog obsessed with the beach? If hanging out under an umbrella and splashing in the ocean is you and your pup’s idea of a good time, there’s no doubt you’ll be heading over to the beach all summer long.

In order to focus on the fun and less on worrying, we reached out to Dr. Keith Mihansky, a medical director at Veterinary Emergency Group in New Jersey, and Kimberly Marie Freeman, a dog trainer and behavior expert at City Sit Stay, for tips on keeping your dog safe at the beach.

1. Don’t let your dog drink the salt water

Make sure your dog doesn’t use the ocean like his own personal water bowl. While a small amount of salt water is OK, drinking too much salt water can lead to serious issues.

“Salt water can make our dogs very sick, so it is important to make sure that there is fresh drinking water available,” Freeman told The Dodo.

Try a portable dog water bottle like this one from Amazon for $22

2. Protect your dog with dog sunscreen or a sun shirt

According to Freeman, if you have a short-coated dog, a hairless dog or one with patchy fur, use dog sunscreen (or a sun shirt!) to make sure he’s well-protected.

Try this Warren London Dog Sunscreen Spray from Amazon for $14

Or this PlayaPup Dog Sun Shirt from Amazon for $35

3. Make sure you have a shady area

”Make sure you have a shady area for your dog to get out of the direct sunshine,” Freeman recommended.

Like with humans, dogs shouldn't be out in the sunshine all day, so making sure you have some shade (like a beach umbrella or tent) will give your pup a place to go when he needs a break.

Try this WolfWise UPF 50+ Easy Pop Up Beach Tent from Amazon for $34

4. Make sure your dog knows how to swim in the ocean

Before heading into the ocean, you should feel confident that your pet knows how to swim.

“Swimming is fairly instinctive for most animals, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice with your pet before you go into any large, deep or intimidating bodies of water,” Dr. Mihansky told The Dodo.

5. Pay attention to currents and tides

According to Dr. Mihansky, currents and tides are just as dangerous to pets as they are to humans, and even pets who know how to swim very well can be swept away by rip tides or strong currents if you aren’t careful.

So, just like you’d pay attention to the current if you were at the beach with a young child, you should use the same caution with your pup.

6. Only let your dog in the water under supervision

Never leave your pet in the water unattended for any period of time. “Only let him swim when you can keep a close eye on him,” Dr. Mihansky said.

7. Use a dog life jacket

“Any pet who is going to be spending time in a body of water that they cannot stand up in easily should wear a life vest,” Dr. Mihansky said. “This way, the pet will be able to stay afloat even if something goes wrong.”

Try one like this Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket from Amazon for $20

8. Rinse your dog off after being in the water

To keep your pet’s fur and skin healthy, his skin needs to stay dry and free from exposure to harsh chemicals, minerals and contaminants. “However, when your pet swims, he is exposed to all of these and much more, so he will need to be rinsed off well after playtime is done,” Dr. Mihansky said.

Nobody likes to feel sand in their shoes for days after a beach adventure — and it's the same with your dog, so make sure you wash the sand off his body thoroughly. “Leaving sand in dog fur or the pads of their feet will make them itchy and [can] cause problems,” Freeman added.

9. Keep your dog away from beach trash

There are all kinds of trash and debris that can be found on the beach, including broken glass, cans, dead fish, algae and even fishing gear.

“All of these pose potential hazards to your pet and should be avoided,” Dr. Mihansky said.

To keep your pup from picking up something he shouldn’t, you can train your pup to “leave it,” which will teach him to ignore something he’s interested in once you give the verbal cue.

10. Encourage good behavior

If your dog’s hanging out at the beach, make sure he’s always on his best behavior.

“If your dog is allowed off lead, make sure they have a solid recall,” Freeman said, which means he’s been trained to come towards you when you call him.

“Don't let them steal snacks from other beach-lovers,” Freeman said. “Not only is it rude, but the food may potentially not be dog-safe.”

Having a beach day with your pup can be one of the best parts of summer. Just keep these tips in mind to make sure you and your dog are having the time of your lives.

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