16 Jun 16

10 essentials for a Doggie Beach Day ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

Living on a Island we are crazy fortunate to be able to enjoy many beautiful areas of beaches with our four-legged friends.  It used to be, just bringing your dog to the beach was just that bringing your pup with you.  Now-a-days we are much more conscious about dogs and their needs while enjoying a day at the beach.

You may want to take your dog with you earlier in the day or later in the afternoon, one it’s not as hot or at those times and some beaches have specific beach hours when dogs are allowed.

Here’s my list of what I think you need while your pup is with you at the beach:

1. Fresh cool water – This is pretty obvious, but you would be surprised how many people don’t think to bring fresh water for their dog while out at the beach.  I have water with me, and a couple extra bottles in a mini cooler in my car so when we get back there I can give my dog a drink.  Dogs get extremely thirsty while having fun in the sun, swimming and romping around, and get dehydrated if you don’t give them fresh water. Bring a Portable drinking bowl – there are many collapsible dog bowls in many different sizes, as well as bottles that sport their own drinking tray.  Bring something with you that your pet will be encouraged to drink from vs. salt water in the ocean.  Be sure to keep your dog hydrated, if they ingest too much salt water it can give your dog the runs or worse.

2. Long leash – Not a retractable leash, but a cotton long lead or leash where you can get at most pet supply stores.  They come in different lengths up to 50 feet.  Your dog may swim perfectly, but anything can happen at the beach – he could decide to swim out farther, perhaps not hear you call, get caught in a rip current, etc.  In my experience is is not worth it for your dog to be loose in the water.  A long lead is a life line literally to your dog.

3.Lifejacket – some dogs need a boost swimming, take for instance my dog Cody, great swimmer but is also not built for swimming in that he is very muscular – and muscle sinks.  So if he were going to be in deeper water – he would 100% have a life jacket on to help him be more buoyant and for him to be safe while enjoying his swimtime.  (He has even wore a lifejacket while swimming in a pool.)  Make sure you get your dog fitted properly when buying a life jacket.

5. Limit the swim time – For my dog Cody I limit his swimming time to no more than 20 minutes.  Due to his breed, his mouth is wider than say a lab or golden and if he is carrying a stick or floating toy while he is swimming more water will go down that wide mouth than with other breeds.  My old dog Max would ingest a lot of water while swimming – so no more than 20 minutes and he was fine.

>> Another good reason to limit the swim time, is that dogs can get tired quickly in the water – and may not show it.  That’s where we as pet parents need to step in and make them come out of the water to take a break and rest.

6. Pet Friendly Sunscreen – you can find this in many pet stores, health food stores and even online.  Apply to the top of your dogs nose, on their snout, not the actual nose, and ears – dogs can get sunburn as well.  If your dog is white or light haired in color and has short hair I would apply it on his back as well.

7. Pet Friendly bug spray – again, you can find many brands of natural pet friendly bug spray that do work and are free from harsh chemicals.  The only time I use stronger bug spray is during a heavy mosquito season or when there are a lot of green flies.

8. Blanket – this may seem like what? My dog is going to get sand all over it – the sand may be hot after a while and you will want to have somewhere to have your pet rest – a great option is the Territory travel blanket which is a bag and blanket in one.  You can carry some of your pets items in it, and then unroll it at the beach.

9. Umbrella – this is really only necessary if you are spending the entire day at the beach – it’s important for your dog to have shade to lay under and not be in direct sun all day.  Same goes for you!

10. Extra waterproof collar – with ID! – My dog likes to go in the water so he wears a waterproof collar while in the water so not to ruin his regular collar. And an Extra regular leash – sand can easily get into the clasp of your leash and jam it making it not effective, you can knock the sand out but if your leash is exposed to the elements often, rust, salt water and sand do NOT make for a secure leash.  Bring an extra leash with you for an added safety measure.

Also you should Monitor your dog always while in the water – I prefer to keep my dog on a long line so he can’t get too far into the water and I can pull him back to me if I see him trying to eat something in the water or on the sand.  Yes, he knows leave it and drop it, but you know how quickly a dog can eat something he is not supposed to.

And Watch for wildlife – in many areas there may be wildlife your dog is not used to seeing, like deer, turtles, sea birds, crabs and so forth and if your dog is not leashed, it will not be a good thing if he takes off after a deer or tries to pick up a live crab!   So keep your eyes out, and in the water too.  If there are lot of crabs or jelly fish – don’t let your dog in the water, getting pinched by a crab or stung by a jelly fish is no more fun for our pups than it is for us!

You will also want to watch your dog and not let him eat anything on the beach. Haha, I know good luck -but there are many scrumptious dead things on the beach often, shells, seaweed, broken glass and sadly on LI, garbage – so train your dog the ‘leave it’ and ‘drop it’ commands!  These commands will come in very handy as your puppy is running with a dead crab in his mouth.  Yuck!

Lastly, it is good to rinse your dog off from the salt water when you get back home and thoroughly check your dog for ticks, and check again! Also look for any scraps or minor cuts, especially on the paw pads, that need attention.

Paw prints in the sand and great days on the beach with our dogs are a big part of island living – get out there and enjoy it with your dog!

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