Safety Tips: Is Your Pet Beach Ready? | St Johns Veterinarian | Animal Medical Clinic

Spring is in full effect, and we’re already feeling those hot summer temperatures.  And, with such beautiful weather, the beaches are drawing crowds of  people and their pets all looking to soak up the sun.  But, before you hit the sand with your best four-legged companion, make sure you and your pet are beach ready.  Take these safety considerations to heart to ensure your beach days stay fun and safe for everyone:

  • Swimming – Does your pet know how to swim?  Dog owners, especially, don’t often take this into consideration before letting their pet loose to play in the waves.  Sure, most dogs are natural swimmers, but most doesn’t mean all.  If you’re introducing your pet to water for the first time, be sure to take it slow, and remain close by at all times.
  • Litter – When playing on the beach, you must watch out for harmful objects that may be hidden in the sand.  Things like broken glass, fish hooks, garbage, pieces of coral or rocks can all be dangerous to your pet.  So, before you even let your pet walk around, check the surrounding area and shore yourself for potential hazards.
  • Drinking Water –  If you’re planning to spend a day at the beach, you bring something to drink for yourself, right?  So, why wouldn’t you do the same for your pet?  Beach days are long and hot for everyone, and it’s vitally important to stay hydrated – even your pet!  Make sure you bring fresh drinking water for your pet, and plan for breaks out of the sun, in the shade throughout the day.
  • Salt Water – While you want to make sure your pet is drinking plenty of fresh water, you also want to make sure they’re not ingesting too much salt water as they frolic around.  Some dogs actually like drinking salt water, but don’t let them, as this can make them sick and dehydrate them quickly.
  • Sun – Just like humans, pets need protection from the sun to stay happy and healthy, because they can in fact get sunburned.  So, make sure your pet wears sunscreen (pet-friendly, that is) during extended periods out in the hot sun.  In particular, make sure you apply the sunscreen to their ears and nose before hitting the beach.
  • Tides – Just as you make a point to steer clear of rough waters, you should ensure the same for your pet.  Don’t let them go out in large waves or near rip tides.  It’s best to also keep them far away from any potential collision areas, like rocks, piers, boats, surfers, etc.  And, watch out for debris in the water they might get tangled in, including sea plants.  Only take your pet out in calm waters.
  • Exercise – There’s nothing like playing fetch under the sun and along the shores with your favorite K9 companion.  But, it’s important to remember not to over-exert your pet.  Running around in the hot sand is tough, physical work for anyone, so make sure you keep playtime in-check, and make time to rest and hydrate.
  • Shower – At the end of your beach adventure together, you’ll want to make sure to give your pet a thorough rinse in fresh water.  Rid their fur of all of that salt, sand, and most importantly, any beach germs they may have picked up.  The cool water will also be a welcome comfort after a long day in the hot sun.Be sure to review these summer beach safety tips before you and your pet hit the sand to ensure you both enjoy your outdoor adventures all season long!