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Paws in the Sand: Dog Beach Day Guide and Checklist

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Preparing for a Beach Day with Your Dog

Summer is here, and many of us are ready to hit the beach with our pups. But it's essential to be prepared, since taking your dog to the beach requires a bit of planning.

For instance, temperature, water safety, lost pet prevention, and knowing what to bring along are all things to consider when planning the perfect beach day with your pet. Ensuring they have a fun and safe time is well worth it, despite the effort!

Here are some fundamental questions to ask yourself before hitting the beach:

Dogs that are ill, not current on vaccines and parasite preventives, or not interested in socializing or swimming might not be the best candidates for a beach day.

Where Can I Find a Beach that Allows Dogs?

If you live in a coastal area, you're in luck. Usually, these areas have at least one beach designated for dogs or beaches that allow dogs at certain times. If you're in a landlocked region, try searching for dog-friendly beaches around lakes or rivers commonly used for water recreation.

When visiting any beach or lake with your dog, the area must be designated as a dog-friendly beach or dog-safe swimming area. While there may be plenty of lakes in your area, you should not allow your dog to swim if the area is not specifically designated for them.

Lakes often contain many hazards for dogs, which, depending on the region, can range from toxic algae, bacteria, and parasites to dangerous wildlife like snakes and alligators. Always follow posted warning signs, and don't let your dog swim where they are not permitted.

The availability of dog beaches varies based on location, but a quick internet search of "dog beaches near me" or "dog swimming areas" should provide some options. If not, perhaps your pup would enjoy a day at the pool. Try searching for local dog parks or Sniffspots with pools.

Beach Day Checklist for Dogs

Once you've determined your dog is ready for a beach day and you've found the perfect spot, it's time to pack. Here are some beach essentials for dogs:

Beach Safety for Dogs

A beach day is primarily about fun for you and your dog, but safety should also be a top priority. Dogs don't think about whether it's too hot to run or if the water is too rough for swimming, so it's up to us humans to protect them and know when it's time to leave. If you're visiting an off-leash dog beach, it's also critical to watch for any rough play or aggressive behavior, and keep a close eye on your dog so they don't wander off.

Heat Safety for Dogs

Even with the water to cool them, dogs can still get overheated at the beach. Keep an eye on the temperature. Anything over 80 degrees can put dogs at an increased risk of heatstroke, especially when the humidity is high. Try to schedule beach time during cooler parts of the day and monitor your dog for any signs of heatstroke. Dogs that are elderly, overweight, or brachycephalic (like Bulldogs or Pugs) are especially prone to overheating.

Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs

Any dog showing signs of heatstroke should be removed from the heat immediately and brought to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital.

Water Safety for Dogs

Some dogs are great swimmers... and some aren't. Regardless, when taking a dog into an unpredictable environment like the ocean, even the strongest swimmers should be put in a lifejacket. You never know when a big wave could catch your pup off guard.

Protect your pup with a dog lifejacket, as well as stay close by, watch, and pull your pup from the water if conditions become too rough. It's also important to stop your dog from drinking salt water (which can make them very ill) and to ensure they take breaks from swimming and stay hydrated with fresh water.

Post-Beach Pup Clean-Up

Once your pup has had their fill of the beach, it's time for a quick "health check" and clean-up. Rinse your dog thoroughly to remove all the sand and salt water (you'll probably want to do a full bath once you get home). Once your pup is rinsed and towel-dried, check for any bumps or scrapes that might have occurred while playing. Check their eyes, ears, toes, and skinfolds for any leftover sand or debris that might cause irritation. And lastly, do a quick flea and tick check to ensure they're not bringing home any hitchhikers. If you find any minor injuries, fleas, or ticks on your dog, having a pet first aid kit comes in handy to patch them up or remove pests.

Ready to Hit the Beach with Your Dog?

A beach day with your dog can be fun if they are up for it and you are prepared. Be sure to bring your dog's beach day essentials and watch them closely to ensure they stay safe in the sun, sand, and sea.

Protect your pup on beach days and beyond with a Lifetime Protection Membership from 24Petwatch. You'll have access to vet telehealth (in case any questions arise during your beach day), discounts on dog walking and pet sitting services, and lost pet recovery specialists standing by 24/7 in case the unthinkable happens. 24Petwatch has reunited over 730,000 lost pets and will be there for yours too!

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