Taking Your Dog to the Beach

Taking your dog to the beach

Wet Dog at the Beach

Beaches can be fantastic places for us to enjoy with our dogs and luckily there are many beaches that accept our four-legged friends around the UK. Whether you visit the seaside for just a day or stay for a longer holiday, here are our top tips for a great and safe trip.

Coastal walks

When heading out for a beach walk with your dog, find out about the tidal times to avoid becoming stranded when the tide turns. Ask local lifeguards or coastguards for the most current information. Always carry your phone with you and in an emergency, call 999 and ask for the coastguard should you find yourself cut off by the incoming tide without a safe way off the beach.

Swimming

Lots of dogs are natural swimmers and a dip in the ocean can be a great way for them to cool down on a hot day. However, before you or your hound decide to swim, check the sea conditions, and take note of any weather warnings. If the sea looks rough, it’s best to not allow your dog to enter the water. If lifeguards are in attendance on the beach, pay attention to the marker flags to see where the best and safest place to swim is. Even a calm sea can hide riptides and underwater currents.

If your dog is not a good swimmer or has not been swimming before then the beach perhaps isn’t the best place for them to learn. Some breeds such as corgis and pugs are not known to be good swimmers so only allow them to go in very shallow water.  Love water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding? Your water loving canine pal might enjoy them too! You can buy life jackets especially designed for dogs which will keep them afloat should they get into the water and out of their depth.

Dog swimming with life jacket

Beach hazards

When walking along the beach, keep your dog under close control and be ready to call them away from potential hazards such as stray fishing gear, fishhooks, rubbish and glass that could cause injury. Look out for enticing leftover food from other beach users or dead fish that may have washed up ashore as eating these could make them very ill. Also Keep your dog on a lead near coastal wildlife such as seals. They do have an impressive bite! Rock pools are great fun for our dogs to explore and splash in, but be careful of slippery, sharp surfaces.

Heat

In warm weather take extra care to keep your canine buddy cool. A short clip is a great way to help your dog keep cool in the summer and makes regular grooming and taking care of their coat so much easier. For all dogs, but especially those with pink skin, apply specialist doggy sun cream to the nose and tips of the ears and don’t forget the underbelly where the hair is sparse. As sand reflects the sun’s rays, even long-haired breeds may get sun burnt on their belly.  On hot days, provide plenty of fresh drinking water for your dog and seek shade in the hottest part the day, from 11am until 4pm. A simple beach tent is a great way to provide temporary shade. It’s best to avoid exercising your dog at these peak times too to avoid heat exhaustion. Also don’t forget how hot the sand is! Just like tarmac, the sand can get extremely hot underfoot and can quickly burn your dog’s paws.

Dog laying in the sand

Sand

There’s nothing like a good run around on a sandy beach. If your dog loves to chase and play with a toy, choose a toy that won’t attract a lot of sand or sea water so that your dog doesn’t ingest lots of sand and salt as they play. Swallowing too much sand could compact in their intestines and cause a blockage.

List of Items for a great beach trip:

  • Bug sprayTry this one!
  • Lead or long line lead.
  • Poo bags
  • Collar & tag or harness
  • Towel
  • Brush or comb
  • Fresh water and water bowl
  • Floating/waterproof dog toys (ones that are less likely to attract lots of sand)
  • Dog friendly sun cream
  • Beach shade
  • Dog swim jacket with a handle

Getting home

After a great day out, take time to wash your dog down after a dip in the sea and roll in the sand. A gentle shampoo will help to cleanse their coat and rinse well to remove salt residue and sand that could irritate the skin. Take care to check their paws. Trimming the feet can help to spot grass seeds and check the pads. Follow with a good brush all over to remove all knots and tangles from the coat to avoid the chance of matts forming. Take time to clean your dog’s ears to avoid infections.

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