Trips to the beach with your pup can be a great way to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather this weekend! Whether you are lucky enough to have a dedicated dog beach nearby, or a public beach that is pet-friendly, there is usually somewhere you can cool off without having to travel too far!
We LOVE beach time with Daviana and Indiana! Our two ‘water dogs’ can’t get enough of the local lakes and sandy beaches. Not only do they enjoy the beach locations around here, but we also make a point of spending a lot of our time at the dog beach at our favourite Muskoka campground when we are up on vacation!
Here are 12 tips that help to ensure that our trips are safe and fun for everyone involved!
- Start Off Easy
If it is your pup’s first trip to the beach it can be overwhelming. Think about all the stimuli around them – other dogs, people, the waves/water, other animals such as seagulls and more! Try taking your dog to a quieter beach, with calmer water, or stick to a quiet side to the local beach. Allow them to test the water to ensure they are comfortable. Our boy Indiana is genuinely afraid of waves, so if the waves are too big he’s NOT having it, whereas Daviana is game on regardless, good luck dragging her in!
- Bring a Cooler
Your poor pup is running around with a fur coat in this sun, AND they don’t sweat like we do to cool off… This all adds up to dehydration at a much faster weight than you may be prepared for. When you are packing your cooler up with your own snacks and drinks include multiple bottles of water for your pup and a lightweight, collapsible bowl to make it easier. You want your dog to have safe, clean drinking water, and not just drinking whatever lake or salt water you happen to be swimming in.
- Pack Up Their Food and Treats
Anytime we plan to go to the beach for long periods of time food is a consideration, wanting to have snacks on hand. This is no different for your pup! To avoid hungry puppies trying to eat things they shouldn’t make sure that you pack up your pup’s regular food as well as some delicious pup friendly treats. This is especially important if your dog has dietary concerns as you can’t guarantee the nearest pet store will have something that fits your needs if you’re trying to pick something up on the move.
- Don’t Be ‘THAT’ Owner, Pack Baggies!
We have all had to deal with the stigma from ‘that’ owner, walking their dog out in public and refusing to clean up after themselves. If you are going to take your dog out to a beach you want to respect other beach goers by cleaning up behind yourself! Pack plenty of bags, more than you think you will even require! It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared!
- Ensure that Your Pup is Wearing All Necessary ID and Tags
Remember that in most areas there are laws regarding what documentation needs to be available (such as rabies tags and dog licenses). You also want to be sure that your dogs are wearing some form of identification with your contact number on it in the event that they get loose.
- Pack Extra Leashes and Collars
A responsible dog owner is always prepared for the unexpected, and a trip to the beach is no exception! You never know when your favourite leash or collar is going to break, and most beaches have some form of leash rules that you want to ensure you are following. Different lengths of leashes will also allow you to put your pup on a longer leash so long as the area is going to be safe, allowing them to have more free reign when playing in the water.
- Pack Their Favourite Beach Toys
When you pack up to bring a child to the beach you always ensure that you have their favourite beach toys, and the only difference with your pup is the type of toys you are bringing! Select toys that will float, and those that are bright, stand out colours so that they will be easy to find, either floating in the water or laying around on the sand. Frisbees and rubber balls are great choices, however, tennis balls often pick up a significant amount of sand which will make them less attractive to your pup who does still have to pick up the toy in their mouth!
- Check to Make Sure the Sand Isn’t Too Hot!
If you’re running around in flip flops you may not think about it, but the sand on those beaches can be HOT! If you won’t walk across it in your bare feet, neither should they! We own lightweight shoes that we can put on them on hot days, but I make sure to lose the sandals as soon as we get there so that I can be aware of where we’re going.
- Find Shade
Unless you are literally stopping for a quick dip and gone, make sure that you scout out the beach to locate shade or bring some form of shade yourself in the form of a large beach umbrella or a pop-up shade structure. You want to ensure that your pups have the opportunity to cool off just as you seek when at the beach for longer periods of time!
- Remember to Clean Up When You Get Home
Sand and/or salt can be hard on your dog’s skin and ears. When you get home, take the time to either give your pup a thorough rinse to remove all irritants, or a full bath (especially if they happen to stink like lake water and you’re planning on allowing them into bed later tonight). When you are done, double check to make sure that your pups ears are thoroughly dried out to avoid potential infections.
- First Aid Kits
A good first aid kit is going to be packed and available for both you and your pup! We keep a great travel kit in the jeep for all road trips and destinations. Ideas to include, keeping your pup in mind, include: antibiotic ointment, stretch gauze bandages, gauze sponges, adhesive tape, self-adherent bandages, saline eye wash, tweezers, and Benadryl. You should also ensure that you have a full set of your pup’s travel medical records with your first aid kit in the event they are ever needed. For more information about what documentation you should take when traveling, check out my post about traveling with your pup!
- HAVE FUN!
Most dogs LOVE time at the beach – from swimming and running around, to digging in the sand, there are so many fun activities that they can enjoy! We love spending time at the beach with our two goofballs, plus with a waterproof phone case, I can capture some of the fun to reflect back on afterward!!!
Do you take your pup to a local beach or dog beach? What are your go to tips? Do you have favourite dog toys for beach time? I’d love to hear in the comments below!