As far as some dogs are concerned, there are few better places for a day out than the beach. When you and your pooch head for the ocean, there’s simply so much for your dog to enjoy. We’re talking sun, sand, and surf, not to mention all those interesting sights and smells to explore, and a whole lot of new people and dogs to meet.
But if you’re walking your dog on the beach, you’ll need to be aware of the many potential risks and hazards that await. From burning-hot sand to dangerous surf conditions, there’s a lot to prepare for when you hit the sand.
Keep reading for our 9 dog beach walking tips to help keep your pup safe on their next beach adventure.
Before you can take your dog strolling on the sand, you need to take steps to ensure that you’re fully prepared for the adventure ahead. Not only does that mean packing things like sunscreen and a towel for you, but also packing some supplies for your pooch.
A towel to dry your pooch and wipe away any excess sand is a must, plus you’ll need to include ample water for both of you. Doggy sunblock can also be a useful addition to your beach bag, particularly for short-haired and light-haired breeds.
Your pup will need a collapsible drinking bowl, and if you’re thinking of spreading out a towel on the beach for a while, a shade shelter will help your dog stay cool in the hot sun.
The other thing you can do to prepare your dog for a walk on the beach is to make sure they’re properly trained. Not only does this mean socializing them with people and other pets, but also teaching them skills like loose-leash walking, coming when called, and staying calm around strangers. This will stand them in good stead for all your seaside escapades.
Another issue you’ll need to tackle is making sure dogs are allowed on the beach, as laws can vary widely depending on where you live. There can even be different restrictions in place on separate areas of the same stretch of beach, while some beaches only welcome off-leash dogs during specific hours. That’s why you’ll need to do a little research beforehand to decide where to go.
Some spots are designated as dog beaches, which means your pup will be able to enjoy some off-leash exploring. However, most beaches that are dog-friendly still require you to keep your pooch on a leash at all times.
That is the question on every pet parent’s lips. Even if you’re at an off-leash beach, it sometimes makes better sense to keep your dog on a lead. For example, if you’re worried that your dog is a poor swimmer, that they might disturb any birdlife in the nearby dunes, or that they simply won’t come back when you call them, the safest option is to keep them on a leash.
But if you’re in a safe place and your pooch is a perfectly behaved canine beach-goer, then you should be fine to let them off the lead.
When the sun is beaming down on a scorching summer’s day, the soft sand at the beach can get painfully hot for dogs and people. If you’re not careful, this hot sand can cause serious damage to unprotected paw pads.
The simplest option is to avoid walking on the sand when it’s at this sort of unbearably extreme temperature. Test it out with your own bare feet — if it’s too much for you to walk on comfortably, don’t expect your pup to put their paws on the line.
If you’re going to be out and about during the hottest part of the day, you might want to invest in a pair of special dog beach booties to protect their paws.
Being able to take your dog for a walk on the beach is a privilege, so do your bit as a responsible pet parent to make sure your pup is on their best behavior. That means leashing them when required, ensuring that they’re under full voice control when off the leash, and stopping them from running up to or annoying strangers. You’ll also need to make sure your pup doesn’t disturb any wildlife.
The aim is to go home at the end of the day having done nothing that will potentially damage the reputation of dogs (and their humans) as responsible beach users.
If you’ll be letting your pup off the leash on the beach to roam, be sure to keep an eye on the surf. While some dogs who aren’t keen on getting wet will stay well away from the shoreline, others who are water babies or just plain curious won’t hesitate to jump right in.
There’s nothing wrong with letting your dog frolic in the water, of course. Just make sure to watch for any signs of dangerous conditions, such as big waves and rips, and call your dog back to your side if they look even remotely like getting into trouble.
There are a few other hazards to keep an eye out for in the sand when walking your dog on the beach. Broken glass, for example, is something to be very wary of, while sharp rocks, coral, and even discarded fishing gear can also do plenty of damage.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any food scraps or garbage, too. If your pup decides to eat something they shouldn’t, you need to be ready to stop them before they can get themselves into any trouble.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re walking your dog on the beach, in the park, in the city, or out in the woods in the middle of nowhere. If your pooch does a poop, you need to pick it up. So make sure you remember to pack a few poop bags into your beach bag before you leave home, and leave no trace when you and your pup are on the sand.
Too much exercise, particularly on a hot day, can cause major problems for your dog. Heat stroke can be life-threatening, so it’s essential that you keep a close eye on your dog for any signs that they’re struggling to keep up. If they are, don’t ask them to go any further.
We’ve already mentioned how important it is to keep your dog hydrated, so stop for regular drink breaks. If you’re staying a while, make sure they’ve got access to shade so they can get out of the heat.
Finally, when it’s time to head home, give them a thorough rinse and towel-dry to get rid of all that salt and sand. This will keep your car clean and prevent skin irritations for your pooch at the same time.
And that’s it. Remember these 9 simple tips and you and your pup can look forward to a fun, stimulating, and safe walk on the beach together.