Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe at the Beach

Jana worked in animal welfare with abused and unwanted pets. She loves sharing her hands-on experience regarding domestic and wild critters.

When the Beach Goes to the Darkside

Alright, no beach is evil because it wants to be. Due to natural cycles and human pollution, there are certain dangers one needs to stay aware of. A basic level of beach savvy is necessary since such fun spoilers apply to both humans and pets. Your dog can still run like a movie character over coconut-scented sand. It needn't be left at home while the family enjoys a trip to the beach. This article will point out the dangers, both hidden and that which is common sense, to help prevent a holiday gutted by a pet tragedy.

No Dogs Allowed

Many seaside locations do not allow dogs on the beach. Reasons include hygiene—most owners don't bother to pick up after their dogs following a “bathroom” moment. Canines that run loose like maniacs can also be a public nuisance, and some areas have protected wildlife and plants that may be destroyed by domestic pets. Before heading out to the beach, check beforehand whether dogs are welcome. Never just assume they are allowed. At certain places, owners can face heavy fines for breaking the law.

A Doggy Bag

Consider taking along the following safety-related items:

  • Bottled water and bowl.
  • Leash or harness.
  • A basic first-aid kit that might include sharp scissors, a bandage, towel, a safe antiseptic, allergy medications obtained from a vet, and a muzzle (some dogs turn into fear-biters when injured.)

Always remember, when a dog is seriously injured, becomes sick, or swallowed something questionable, it should go straight to the vet. The mystery objects dogs gulp down at the beach are particularly lethal.

Look Out for Trash

Human-Related Threats

Anglers can accidentally—and not so accidentally—drop fishhooks, bait and the remains of a catch cleaned right there on the beach. The danger of fishhooks is a big one. Apart from the risk of stepping on one, they smell fishy and often retain scraps of organic bait. This might prove irresistible and cause a dog to swallow the sharp piece of metal. This painful threat borders on the fatal and the animal must be rushed to a vet to prevent pierced intestines. To keep your dog safe, also look for pieces of bait or cleaned fish. Dogs get sick when they eat anything that's been decaying in the sun for days, but sea-related “snacks” can be particularly dangerous.

Additional safety risks include:

  • Dangerous objects hidden in the sand: broken glass, rusted items, syringe needles, personal items lost by visitors, or a smoldering cigarette.
  • Visible and attractive options for your dog: food wrappers, plastic, discarded bones from someone's fast food meal, to name but a few.

Threats From Other Dogs

Here, the problem can be direct (dog-on-dog aggression) or indirect (disease left on the beach by other dogs). Unfortunately, some owners take aggressive pets along, and worse, allow them to run free. Most dogs that visit the beach are quite socialized but even so, keep an eye out for trouble.

It's a fact that dogs do their business on the beach. Responsible owners pick up after their pets, but few can really mop up after urine. Sick dogs can shed serious diseases such as parvovirus and distemper, two painful and deadly conditions that can survive in the sand for quite some time. Preventive vaccinations exist for both, but sometimes distemper manages to manifest in dogs that are up to date with their shots.

Dangerous Animals

Natural Dangers

Every beach is different, but here are the general things one can expect.

  • The remains of dead sea creatures. Similar to bait and cleaned fish tripe, naturally washed-up bodies can also decompose for days and make a dog very sick.
  • Watch out for places frequented by jellyfish. Bluebottles, in particular, are abundant and come with a terrible sting. They have a tendency to wash up in large numbers and can still zap a dog's paws and curious nose.
  • Strong waves and rip tides. Don't allow your dog to go into the water. Apart from stepping on sharp objects, dodging jellies, currents can grab a dog and waves might cause ear and eye infections.
  • Check the weather. Sunstroke is a problem for active dogs like Border Collies or smaller breeds that tend to overheat.

Good Precautions, Good Times

The thought of visiting the beach with your dog needn't be a scary one. All these threats on one page seem like a lot, but some people go to the beach with their pets and never encounter a problem. In a nutshell, prepare beforehand: vaccinations, knowing exactly where the local vet is and a leash. The latter allows better control over the dog's safety. Enjoy your time at the shore, just keep an eye out for anything that might pose a danger. Afterwards, free your pet's skin, hair, and paws of sand and salt. Also, clean the ears and eyes. You can have many happy visits to the beach and take your best friend along. All you need are a few simple measures and a keen eye.

© 2018 Jana Louise Smit

Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on September 20, 2018:

Hi Cecil. Yes, we tend to forget the first aid things for our pets and sometimes that leads to more suffering than necessary. Thanks you so much for your feedback. :)

Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on September 20, 2018:

Hi Ethel. Thanks for the feedback. Both my dogs hate the sand and the waves! So, I just take them along the sidewalk closest the beach. ;)

Cecil Kenmill from Osaka, Japan on September 19, 2018:

Good information here, especially the first aid stuff!

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 14, 2018:

Useful informative hub thank you Jana

On our re pcent vacation with the dog there were still a few dog friendly beaches but our little chap hates sand and the sea

Tips for keeping your dog safe at the beach during the dog days of summer

NEWQUAY, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 06: A dog shelters under a sun shade as people gather on Fistral Beach on the first day of the Boardmasters surf and music festival in Newquay on August 6, 2014 in Cornwall, England. Since 1981, Newquay has been playing host to the Boardmasters surfing competition - which is part of a larger five-day surf, skate and music festival and has become a integral part of the continually popular British surf scene growing from humble beginnings, to one of the biggest events on the British surfing calendar.(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

NEWQUAY, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 06: A dog shelters under a sun shade as people gather on Fistral Beach on the first day of the Boardmasters surf and music festival in Newquay on August 6, 2014 in Cornwall, England. Since 1981, Newquay has been playing host to the Boardmasters surfing competition - which is part of a larger five-day surf, skate and music festival and has become a integral part of the continually popular British surf scene growing from humble beginnings, to one of the biggest events on the British surfing calendar.(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)--Enthusiastic pet parents may want to bring their pups along to the beach this summer but there are some important tips to keep in mind to keep Buster happy and safe at the shore.

People of the Ethical Treatment of Animals offers the following advice for a successful beach trip for the whole family:

  • Never force a dog to go into water. It will be clear if your animal enjoys splash time and it won't take much coaxing
  • Older dogs or those with frail knees may find sand to be hard on them. The beach can be an exciting outing even for younger pups so make sure to exercise moderation when exposing your dog to the sand
  • Bring plenty of fresh drinking water and a bowl. Salt water can cause dogs to vomit and become dehydrated. Plus that fur coat needs some water to keep cool
  • Know thy pet. If dogs are allowed off-leash, only do so if you know she won't run away or act aggressively. Whatever you do, don't let them out of your sight. Use treats to coax them back to you.
  • Rough, choppy waters are no place for dogs! Typically, right before or after a storm there's a greater potential for dangerous water conditions for you and your pet. If you see lightening, leave the beach as soon as possible
  • Do not allow your dog to harass beach wildlife. Killing sand crabs may seem like fun to Fido but he will appreciate a ball chase or hole digging just as much
  • Watch out for discarded fishing hooks and tackle. If you see any, pick it up and remove the litter to keep your pup safe
  • Watch for signs of heatstroke! Restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy and lack of coordination can be symptoms of heatstroke -- if you see your dog exhibiting these signs, get them to shade immediately and lower their body temperature by giving them water, applying a cold towel to his neck and chest and putting him in tepid --not ice cold-- water. Then, call a veterinarian


We hope these tips will help you and Buddy enjoy your time in the sun and sand.

Sandy Coronilla is a KGTV digital producer. Follow her @10NewsSandy

How to Keep Your Dog Safe at the Beach

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#1 Not all dogs are excellent swimmers

You might think that all dogs are natural swimmers, but that’s not true. Some breeds are better than others, but exceptions always exist.

So, you have to be careful when you allow your dog to approach the ocean, especially if you are not confident in his ability to swim.

To ease your worries, you might introduce Fido to quiet waters, for example, a kiddie pool first to judge his reactions. You might tempt him in the water with treats or by throwing toys. If he seems reluctant or afraid, don’t force the matter.

Under no circumstances should you try to teach your dog to swim by throwing him in the water because you’ll traumatize him.

Another excellent idea would be to keep Fido on a long leash while walking on the beach so that you can pull him away if he enters deep water or a danger appears.

After all, you don’t want to chase your dog around in the ocean.

#2 Bring water

One of the things we never forget when we go to the beach is a bottle of water to keep dehydration away.

Well, your dog also needs to have fresh water available, especially on a hot day.

If there is none available, your pet might be tempted to drink sea water, and that would be a problem.

Seawater is too salty. It’s as bad for Fido as it would be for you to drink it, and it would cause stomach upset at the least.

Instead, pack a bowl and a couple of water bottles so that you can refill the bowl as much as needed.

#3 Provide a shade

Unlike people, dogs don’t sweat. Instead, they pant to cool off. That’s why breeds like Bulldogs are at high risk of heatstroke because of their short muzzle. Dogs with thick double-coats also won’t tolerate heat very well.

The rule of thumb is that if it’s too hot for you, the same goes for your pet.

Take this into account when you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to bring your dog with you. Keep in mind that your canine pal can get a sunburn, especially those with light-colored coats.

You can protect some parts of your dog, like his nose, with special doggy sunscreen.

When you’re at the beach, always provide a shady place where your pet can rest away from the scorching sun and plenty of water.

Also, lay a blanket to protect his sensitive paws from the hot sand and apply dog sunscreen (don’t use human ones, because zinc is poisonous for dogs) to sun-sensitive areas such as the nose, the ears, the lips, and the belly.

For your information, the signs of heat stroke are:

  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse

#4 Beware of hidden dangers


A post shared by Dynamera Creative (@dynamera_) on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:37am PDT

Children often are delighted at the opportunity to collect shiny seashells.

However, shells, sharp rocks, and broken glass are a danger for your pet because Fido might accidentally step on them and get hurt. If you see that Fido is limping or in pain, check for injuries.

Experts also advise that you examine and rinse the paws when you get home to make sure that there is no debris embedded. What’s more, you wouldn’t want your dog to track sand in your living room, right?

In addition to sharp objects, there are other possible dangers like jellyfish that might be hiding in the sand. Before you allow your dog to roam, take a look around to ensure that no nasty surprises are lurking nearby.

Last but not least – pay attention to the water.

Toxic blooms such as red tides or blue-green algae can be dangerous for your dog. Keep Fido away from the water at all cost, and don’t let him get too far away from your sight.

#5 Don’t forget obedience training

People throw all kinds of stuff on the beach, which your dog will certainly check out or sniff. He will also probably try to eat anything that looks edible. You don’t want that because Fido might accidentally ingest something very dangerous.

Here is where obedience training is your biggest ally. You have to be able to make your dog spit whatever he has found without a fuss. What’s more, if you can’t recall your dog on command, it’s not a good idea to go to the beach for obvious reasons.

There is nothing better than spending a day on the beach playing with your dog, and it’s an excellent option if your dog seems bored. Just remember that dogs are much like small children and require constant supervision.

Be prepared, vigilant, and remember to have fun above all.

Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe at the Beach - pets

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If your pet does not have a HomeAgain full service annual membership, the ASPCA may charge you $75 per call

Dogs at the Beach: Keeping Beaches -- and Dogs -- Safe

I live near the beach and it is a significant part of my every day life. The ocean is a draw for people not just for fun but for meditation and rejuvenation too. Increasingly, dog owners take their dogs to the beach for exercise and companionship. It combines two of life’s great experiences -- a walk on the beach or along the water while spending time with a friend or loved one. In fact, it is not uncommon to see dogs come to the beach alone so I guess they are drawn to the ocean as well.

I love strolling on the beaches of pristine sand and blue water. I see dogs frolicking along the waterline so I assume they are enjoying themselves as much as we are. Naturally we walk barefoot through the water as it breaks on the sand. That is where the problem sometimes begins. You see dogs can be pretty nonchalant when it comes to their toilet habits. Much of the time they simply answer the call wherever they are. Now they may be well house trained and their owners may walk with them on a sidewalk, diligently picking up their droppings and disposing of them, but for some reason at the beach or lake all bets are off.

Protect the shores
Responsible dog ownership is not just for the home. There are certain courtesies that need to be adhered to wherever dogs and people share the environment. Nobody likes to step in a pile of dropping, especially if they are barefoot. Nobody likes to lie down in the sand and smell feces from a dog either.

To maker matters worse, many dogs are parasitized and in some areas hookworms are common. So there is a very real potential for public areas to be contaminated with hookworm eggs and larvae. There is a definite potential for these larvae to enter humans, particularly in the case of children and sunbathers, directly through the skin (Cutaneous larval migrans). Cutaneous larva migrans (CLM) is the most common tropically acquired dermatosis in man. It is the result of intestinal parasites primarily of dogs and cats entering through the skin of a new host 1 .

This can be avoided in several ways:

  • First, de-worm all dogs regularly and use a monthly combination of heartworm and internal parasite control all year round.
  • Second, enforce ordinances that prohibit dogs on the beach.
  • Third, pick up your dogs stools and dispose of them just as you would at home. All of these steps are simple, responsible courtesies.

Protect your dog at the beach
It’s common for dog owners to encourage their dogs to play in the water -- chasing a ball into the surf, jumping into the lake or stream to chase a duck. It’s great fun until something goes wrong. Even a seemingly quiet stream can suddenly open into an area with a strong current that can sweep a dog downstream. Beaches, especially those that are unpatrolled, represent a very real risk of rip tides and breakers that can sweep a dog away into dangerous waters.

Frequently, owners who try and rescue their dog may become trapped in those same breakers and currents. Every year people trying to rescue dogs find themselves in danger and drowning is common.

Big waves can wash people into the water before they realize the threat. The solution is simple. Take precautions when around water and as I have been told repeatedly, “Never turn your back on the sea.”

So enjoy the shore. Have fun at the lake or on the river but always remember that you are responsible for the safety of your dogs and for being a good and responsible dog owner.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Watch the video: How to keep a dog safe at the beach - Dog behaviour and training tips. S4. Ep7. Pooches at Play

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