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Beach Safety For Dogs

beach safety for dogs

A trip to the beach is a perfect way to enjoy a summer day, and you might want to bring your dog along. However, the beach isn’t suitable for every dog. For the right dog, though, the beach offers tons of new sights, sounds, and smells, along with opportunities for fun games. Yet, it’s important to be aware of potential dangers for dogs. Ensure beach safety, and an enjoyable summer experience, by engaging in these activities, training specific behaviors, and being vigilant about these hazards.

What to Do at the Beach With Your Dog

You can enjoy many of your dog’s favorite activities at the beach. For instance, play tug-of-war or bring along their favorite puzzle toy. However, don’t overlook the unique opportunities for beach-related fun. Here are some activities to try on your next beach outing:

  1. Go for a walk. Explore the shore and let your dog soak in the new experiences, such as sniffing seaweed, watching scuttling crabs, or chasing seagulls. Just make sure your dog doesn’t eat the seaweed or sand, as both can be harmful.
  2. Play fetch. Use a ball or flying disc to play fetch on the beach. Choose a quiet spot to ensure your dog’s enthusiasm doesn’t disturb other beachgoers.
  3. Play fetch in the water. Use a brightly colored, floating toy so your dog can easily spot it on the waves. Stick to shallow water to prevent your dog from venturing too far out if you make a long throw.
  4. Frolic together in the water. Splashing through the waves can be a blast, but keep an eye on your dog to prevent them from getting too tired. Stay close to the shore and never leave your dog’s side.
  5. Go swimming. If your dog is new to the water, teach them to swim gradually, fitting them with a life jacket for added confidence. Even experienced swimmers need constant supervision to avoid overtiring or swimming too far from shore.
  6. Teach your dog to surf or boogie board. Confident swimmers might enjoy learning to balance on a board and riding the waves. This skill also benefits activities like agility training or riding in a canoe or kayak.
  7. Play in the sand. Digging in the sand can be great fun for dogs. You can also build sandcastles and let your dog joyfully knock them down.
  8. Go boating together. If the water is calm, fit your dog with a life jacket and enjoy a canoe or kayak ride.


    Whatever activities you choose, always supervise your dog. This ensures their safety and demonstrates responsible dog parenting. Prevent your dog from disturbing wildlife, damaging vegetation, or being a nuisance to other beachgoers.

    Training Your Dog Should Know for a Beach Outing

    To have a safe and enjoyable beach day, your dog should be well-trained in certain behaviors. A reliable recall is essential, as many beach activities involve off-leash play. Ensure your dog will come back when called and that all basic obedience behaviors can be controlled with a hand signal or verbal cue. If your dog isn’t ready for off-leash freedom, stick to on-leash activities like walks along the shore.

    The “leave it” command is also crucial. This cue prevents your dog from eating potentially harmful items, like garbage, dead fish, or food from someone’s picnic. With enough practice, “leave it” can also help your dog ignore wildlife or other beachgoers.

    Your dog should also be well-socialized and comfortable sharing toys with others. Beaches can be crowded, with many people and other dogs around. For a social butterfly, this is all part of the fun. However, if your dog feels uneasy around strangers or other dogs, consider visiting the beach during quieter times, such as early weekday mornings, to avoid the crowds.

    What to Watch for When at the Beach With Your Dog

    While rough waves are an obvious danger, there are other hazards you might not be aware of, such as your dog drinking salt water. Additionally, you need to follow rules like leash laws and cleaning up after your pet. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

    1. Check the rules. Not all beaches and swimming areas allow dogs, and some may have specific days or times when dogs are permitted. Be sure to follow leash regulations, as your dog may be allowed off-leash in some areas but not in others.
    2. Watch for heatstroke. Provide your dog with shade and ample opportunities to rest. Consider limiting your beach visits to early morning or late evening when the sun isn’t as intense.
    3. Apply sunscreen. Dogs can get sunburned, so use pet-safe sunscreen on their nose, ears, and any other areas with sparse fur.
    4. Provide plenty of fresh water. To prevent dehydration in the summer heat, frequently offer your dog cool water. Try to limit their intake of salt water, as it can make them sick. Don’t forget proper canine nutrition as well.
    5. Prevent sand ingestion. Eating sand can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines, leading to impaction.
    6. Check water conditions with a lifeguard. Rough waves or strong currents can be hazardous for your dog. Always ensure the water is safe before allowing your dog to swim.
    7. Watch for dangerous sea animals. Be alert for stingrays, jellyfish, and other potentially harmful sea creatures near the shore.
    8. Avoid hot sand. Midday sand can become extremely hot and burn your dog’s paw pads. Consider using booties to protect their feet or stick to walking along the water’s edge.

    Before You Leave

    1. Rinse your dog thoroughly. After leaving the beach, give your pup a good rinse to remove any sand, salt, or beach germs from their fur and paws. Take extra care to clean and dry their ears, as dogs are more prone to ear infections than humans.
    2. Clean up after your dog. Ensure you pick up all of your dog’s waste. Dog poop can carry diseases, and you don’t want to leave any unpleasant surprises for the next beachgoers.

    By following these tips, your trip to the beach can be a fun and refreshing way to enjoy the dog days of summer.

    Petworks Pet Care Services
    Petworks Co-Founder Kevin Kinyon is a life-long animal lover who works tirelessly to improve the lives of pets and their parents. Human and animal qualities he values most are integrity, humor, and empathy.

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