Dog days have just begun! If you live near the beach like I do, there’s a beach day planned every month and I have some pro-tips to share with you.
All the things I love all in one place – warm sun on face, sand between my toes, a cooler of munchies, the ocean for Brody to stay cool, laid back friends and a dog by my side! Brody loves going to the dog beach but there are some things we had to learn from trial and error. Onward ho!
Tips for Taking Your Dog to the Beach
1. Bring plenty of water!
Saltwater is dehydrating, and your dog will probably drink a little at some point. The most essential tip is having plenty of cool, fresh water and to make them take water breaks. I usually bring 2 double insulated hydroflasks and then a gallon jug for an emergency. I recommend having a collapsible bowl made from recycled inner bike tubes or a handy giant pail (like Brody’s trendy corona bucket) so you can run over to the showers and fill up. I keep his bucket in the shade and it stays cool, plus it seems to be a hit with other dogs!
2. Throw Shade!
If my dog is anything like my dad, its that they both love to stay cool. Just like my Dad, Brody tends to get tired out quickly from playing ball and like to chill the rest of the day under a umbrella and runs back and forth taking dips in the ocean. Sometimes I use a blanket or umbrella but buying one of those shade tents that are easy to put up is also a sound investment for groups or families.
3. Dogs can sunburn too
If your dog spends a lot of time in the sun its possible it can happen. As long as the sunscreen doesn’t contain zinc oxide and is made for dogs (babies or sensitive skin are normally fine to use). Check with your vet if you have any concerns about using sunscreen on your dog. Apply to dog’s nose, ears, belly and groin areas if they like to lay on their backs. Dogs with pink noses and skin, shaved dogs and dogs with light-colored coats are more at risk for sunburn damage.
4. Pick up your poop
Please know that a lot of dog beaches use volunteers to keep it clean – so do your part and pick up poop or do a good deed if you see a load no one picked up. If you or your child poop’s at a friends house and you didn’t flush? It would be embarrassing right???Think of picking up dog poop as the same concept – the trash can is their toilet – don’t embarrass yourself. Biodegradable bags are pretty cheap, if your in a pinch just grab a few grocery bag’s, otherwise just ask another dog owner – I’d be more than happy to give you a bag! If your at a beach where there are no trash cans a heavy duty ziplock bag can seal the smell so that you can dispose of it later.
5. A extendable leash or long rope
Check your beach ordinance for off-leash and leash length rules, but long leashes are great if your dog is still learning recall. When I first went to the beach I gave Brody room to explore on a 15ft extendable, now he can roam off leash but I still tie him to a shorter length if I’m taking a nap. At off-leash beaches always make sure he/she is wearing a collar with ID – it is usually a mandatory law – and in case they zip off after a seagull someone can contact you. Check out Jazmo Extendable leash snazzy light, 26ft and comes with a dog poop bag holder.
Toys that float are key for the beach – unless you never want to see your toys again just double check that they float. Tennis balls are great but they can get pretty sandy when wet and your dog may be picky. I recommend Chuck it thrower and balls they are great for the dog park and float in water!
California beaches can get extremely hot during the high season and if you’re wearing sandals you might not realize how uncomfortable your dog’s feet are. He will be prancing like a horse across the sand – so either apply a product like Musher’s Secret or get him booties. At rocky beaches its not uncommon for dogs to cut their paws on sharp objects like shells under the water. Avoid areas around fishing piers where there’s likely to be hooks or cut fishing line in the water. Watch your dog for limping or signs of injury.
8. Does your dog swim?
Its the doggo’s first time at the beach, start off in a area with calm water to see how your dog reacts. Not all dogs can or like to swim, even dogs that are good swimmers can become overwhelmed by waves and undercurrents. Keep an eye on your dog at all times, and make sure you’re familiar with rip currents .
9. Sensitive ears and ear infections
If your dog is prone to ear infections ask your vet about an ear rinse solution that can be used after swimming. If that isn’t possible dry the ears thoroughly after being wet.
Whether your boating or playing on the beach, a life vest can be a safe and fun investment. A life vest with a handle on the back is convenient for lifting a dog out of the water and a life vest can allow older dogs to have less strain on a day out.
11. Cleaning their face
Brody loves to rub his face and entire body in the sand when we get to the beach…he does the same thing in the dirt on land…so annoying. If you bring that bottle of water from point #1 you can use it to rinse off their face. If they get sand in their eye you don’t want their sandy paws clawing to remove the sand. For hard to remove sand moisten a microfiber towel with clean water and carefully wipe sand away from around eyes.
12. Rinse them down
Salt and sand can be really irritating to your dog’s skin so rinse them off with clean water each time you come back from the beach. You can also use soothing, natural shampoo if your dog has sensitive skin. If you can’t give your dog a bath, a soft brush can help remove some of the excess sand from their coat after it has dried.
13. Keeping the car clean
Good luck… sand is gonna get in the car so the best you can do is to throw down a large cover in your vehicle to catch most of it. Shake it out once its dry and the sand will come off easily.
Most dogs will play until they are exhausted so have fun and make sure to take lots of water breaks . After you read my tips for the California Beaches, check out my post CA Dog Friendly Beaches and Summer Fun for tips on staying cool and knowing the signs of heatstroke and how to prevent it.
Let me know if I forgot any tricks or tips in the comments below!