With the sun shining bright and the crashing waves calling your name, you may be ready to head straight to the shore. But, beach bums beware: If you’re planning on bringing your dog along to enjoy a little sand and surf you have to be sure the two of you are well-equipped - and that doesn’t just mean packing slick shades and cute swimsuits. The sun, heat and salt water are all makings for a perfect day, but can be ingredients for dehydration and heat exhaustion too. Packing smart will ensure your pet stays cool and refreshed. So in addition to your boogie board and summer reads check out what you should tote specifically for your pup.
The ocean air, salty water and hot sun can cause dehydration at a faster rate than normal. Keep your eye on your dog’s water dish and refill it as much as necessary. Not only will bringing along water act as a thirst quencher for you and your dog, but it’s also a good idea to give him a rinse after swimming in the ocean, as salt water can dry out his skin and cause damage to his coat.
Bring at least one towel with you so that you can create a home base for your pet. There’s not much need to dry him off with it - unless there’s a chilly breeze in the air. The towel will serve as a comfortable spot for him to give his sensitive paws a break from the hot sand. Also, placing his water dish on the towel will lessen the chance of sand mixing with the water.
An Umbrella or Tent
Providing shade for your dog will keep him cool and content - and snapping a shot of him lounging underneath a beach umbrella can also make for a share-worthy photo.
Believe it or not, dogs can get sunburn too, especially those with pink skin, white fur or those that are hairless. Using a pet sunscreen on your dog’s nose (lifeguard style!) and ears will help prevent burns on his sensitive skin. A light t-shirt serves as good protection for hairless dogs - just be sure he doesn’t get too hot while running around in the sun.
It’s important to bring a ball or waterproof toy along with you to keep him - and yourself - entertained throughout the day. Your dog came along to keep you company, so be sure to pay close attention to him the whole time. You wouldn’t want him to become interested in licking up sand or chewing on sharp shells while you’re building sand castles without him.
First Aid Kit and Life Jacket
To be sure that sand in his paws is the worst of your worries, pack a first aid kit so that you can treat any accidental paw cuts or scraps from shells or jellyfish stings. Your kit should include: Cotton balls, ammonia (for stings, dilute with water before applying), peroxide and bandages. It’s also important to bring a life jacket for your pet to keep him safe in open water.
Long Leash and Collar with Tags
Some beaches require your pet stays on a leash, so pack one that’s on the longer side, so that he has a little room to run ahead on his own. If you don’t have to keep your dog on a leash (and even if you do, in case of possible unclipping) be sure your dog is wearing a collar with tags. It’s important that his identification information and your address and phone number are available in case the two of you become separated.
Last, but not least, remember to pack something that you can pick up after your pet. Barefoot beach goers will be none too pleased to step in a forgotten pile. Plus, doing your part in keeping the beach clean will better ensure your summer haven is safe, clean and dog-friendly for seasons to come.
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