Taking Your Dog To The Beach

by Juliet Peterson

Are you planning on taking your dog to the beach? The sand and surf can be a doggy’s paradise of running, rolling, swimming, and digging to their heart’s content. It’s a fantastic way to work off your pup’s energy while having a blast with the whole family. With the right preparations, you can have an amazing vacation at the beach with your dog.

Know Your Dog

Before planning any adventures with your canine buddy, it’s important to know how your dog behaves in public. Have they been properly socialized? Does your dog know basic obedience (sit, stay, come, leave it, and drop it)? Will they still obey despite the novel sights, smells, and distractions they’ll face at the beach?

Will you be taking your pup to a dog-friendly beach or a dog beach? Dog-friendly beaches usually require your canine remain on a leash for the duration of your stay and have more restrictions. A dog beach will have pups running around without leashes. It’s important to keep in mind that your dog may be the perfect canine citizen off-leash, but other dogs may not be.  

Research Prospective Beaches  

All beaches will have their own individual rules and requirements when it comes to dogs. Check out their website, ask friends, or call their office before making the trip. Some beaches only allow dogs during their off-season or specific times of the day. Summer will obviously be peak season for crowds so keep that in mind if you’re unsure how your dog will behave.

When taking your dog to the beach, make sure to be polite and courteous to other beach goers. Not everyone likes dogs and you could face serious legal issues if your happy-go-lucky pup messes with anyone’s kid who’s terrified of dogs. Follow all the beach policies and keep your pup under your constant supervision.

Make Sure To Pack These Essentials

The beach can be an amazing trip for your dog, but you’ll need to have a few supplies packed and ready before you go. Here are some essentials you should consider bringing.

  • Towels – Pretty self-explanatory. Your dog is going to get wet and you’re going to want some towels to help dry off and lay on the ground for your pup to nap on.
  • Shade – Please don’t make the mistake of assuming the beach will have shade. Most don’t and it’s awful. Especially when you get hot, tired, and sun burnt. This is especially true for your pup that’ll probably be running their little heart out all day.
  • Fresh Water – You’re going to want to keep an eye on your dog so they don’t drink ocean water. Bring at least a gallon of fresh water and have your pup take a good long drink before playing in the waves.
  • Collapsible Water Bowl – Try not to let your pup use a communal bowl which can be full of contagious bacteria.
  • Extra Collars & Leashes – Useful in case one snaps or gets super wet. A wet collar can cause itchiness and hot spots. Having a dry collar for the road home will help prevent this.
  • A Knife – Another great just in case kind of tool. You never know if a leash or cable gets entangled with your pup.
  • Long Leash – If the beach requires a leash, then a long line is perfect for letting your dog still explore while still under your control.
  • Poop Bags – Please don’t be that person that doesn’t pick up after their dog. Nobody wants to deal with that. Not only is it inconsiderate but can cause a ton of problems for the environment. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/pet-waste-and-bathing-beaches
  • Extra Bags – Perfect for carrying poop bags if there’s no trash receptacle nearby (a common problem). They’re also great for carrying wet towels, collars, leashes, etc.
  • First Aid Kit – Although the beach is a doggy paradise, it also comes with many hazards including broken glass, jellyfish, sting rays, and sharp seashells. Make sure to always have an up-to-date first aid kit for all of your pup’s needs.
  • Doggy Sun Screen – It actually is a thing! Dogs get sun burned too. Make sure to cover their ears, nose, and any bald areas. White furred dogs are especially susceptible to the sun’s rays.
  • Paw Protection – Sand gets hot. If it’s too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for your pooch. Also, paws can be softened from prolonged exposure to moisture and be susceptible to burns, cuts, and scrapes. Apply some paw wax or get some dog shoes. That or make sure to keep your pup by the water and out of the hot sand.
  • Treats / Snacks – Great for training and rewarding your pup for being on especially good behavior.
  • Floating Toys – If your dog loves to swim then make sure to bring some brightly colored toys that float. They’ll love chasing after them.
  • Updated Id Tags – A good precaution just in case.
  • Car Protection – Honestly, it’s going to be hard to keep your car clean after a beach outing, but adding some protection can help.
  • Life Vest – Not all dogs like to swim and not all dogs are even good swimmers. Even the strongest swimmer can be worn out from the tide. A well-fitted life vest with a handle could save your pup’s life.
  • Doggie Wipes – A great addition for the pack when your pup gets sand all over their little snout.
  • Doggles – Optional. Helps keep sand, sun, and water out of your pup’s eyes.

With these essentials packed, you’re ready to head out to the sand and surf.

Scan The Area For Doggy Hazards

As mentioned, the beach can be a doggy paradise with lots of hidden hazards. Pay attention to any notices about jellyfish or sting rays. Keep an eye out for trash, broken glass, or sharp sea shells. Also, grassy areas near the beach tend to be loaded with sand spurs, the bane of all human and dog feet. Check the ground for any of these spiky little devils.

Try to avoid having your pup investigate rocky areas or tide pools. These are rich with the local flora and fauna and your pup can crush them to bits. Also, the beach is loaded with unique marine life your dog doesn’t see in their day-to-day. It’s usually best to head the opposite direction if you see any wildlife so as not to entice your dog to chase.

Be Kind To Your Dog

Your dog will probably be so overjoyed to run and play they may not notice when they get tired and thirsty. Keep your eye on them and make sure they take frequent breaks in the shade to doze and drink. If your dog doesn’t like the water, don’t toss them in and expect them to enjoy the experience. Instead, entice your dog into the ocean by wading in the shallows and calling them. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t and that’s okay.

Also, be mindful of signs of heatstroke https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/heatstroke. Dogs with shorter snouts are more susceptible to this condition and you’ll need to be extra careful they’re able to stay cool under the sun’s rays. Taking your dog in the morning before ten or late afternoon after 4 will also keep them out of the hottest part of the day.

Once you’re done having fun in the sun, make sure to wash your pup off afterwards. If not, the sand and salt will be crazy itchy and smelly for the ride home. Also, it will help keep your car a little cleaner.

Have A Blast

The most important thing you can do at the beach is have a blast. As long as you follow the procedures and keep an eye on your pup, there’s no reason you can’t have an amazing experience. For a little extra fun, why not try teaching your pup how to surf https://www.surfdogricochet.com/surfing-dogs-teach-your-dog-to-surf.html? Also, if going to the beach requires a long drive, you can check out our post on traveling with your dog for some extra tips and tricks https://hardyhound.com/blog/?p=485.

How was your experience at the beach? Got any tips for anyone planning on going? We’d love to hear it in the comments!