Summer is the time for sun, surf and sand. Nothing screams freedom and fun more than the site of a dog living it's best life frolicking on the beach. While taking your dog to the beach can be rejuvenating, there are a few precautions you can take to ensure a safe experience. While this list may seem a bit of a buzzkill, being mindful of the potential hazards can ensure a really fun time!
1. Solid Recall
The beach can be full of distractions, from dogs to birds to beachgoers, not to mention food and trash left behind. To ensure your pup's safety and the safety of those around you, make sure your dog has been trained with a solid recall before heading to the beach.
2. Protect them from the elements. It's hot!
Bring plenty of fresh cool water and a travel pet bowl. Dissuade your pup from drinking salt water as it can be dehydrating in addition to holding the potential for bad bacteria and upset tummies. Also, provide plenty of a shade and a towel or blanket for resting. Sand can be a scorcher on vulnerable paws.
3. Dogs, like humans, can get sunburns and skin cancer.
Those with short hair or pink skin can be especially vulnerable to the UVA and UVB rays. Come prepared with sunscreen formulated without potential toxic ingredients like zinc oxide and salicylates. Sunscreen with titanium dioxide is a safer choice for pets in the case of accidental ingestion, so be sure to check the label. My Dog Nose it is specially formulated for dogs, and California Baby Stick for humans has also been deemed safe by veterinarians. Apply sunscreen to nose, tips of ears and belly and any other sensitive spots, and reapply as needed.
4. Believe it or not swimming doesn't come naturally to all dogs!
Rough waves and undertow can be just as hazardous for your pup as it can be for humans.
Fit your dog with a life jacket as a precaution ( especially if you are going boating).
5. Summer heat and humidity can takes it's toll.
Be mindful of the potential for heat stroke and fatigue. While all dogs have the potential to succumb to heat stroke, brachycephalic breeds like Boston Terriers and English Bulldogs are unable to cool themselves efficiently through panting, due to their already vulnerable respiratory systems and can be at higher risk.
Some signs of heat stroke include:
Dizziness, and lack of coordination
Deep red or purple tongue
Seizure and unconsciousness
Heat stroke in pets is a medical emergency. If you think your dog is exhibiting signs of heat stroke move them to a cool area immediately and follow these protocols.
Begin cooling your dog's body with cool, wet towels or by pouring cool (not cold) water over their body. Do not submerge your dog in cold water, as this can lead to shock.
Provide cool water to drink
Contact your veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinarian for the next steps.
Lastly, be mindful of your dog's poop! We all know dog poop spreads disease so pick it up and dispose of it properly using a compostable poop bag.
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