Beach Safety for Dogs

Taking your pet to the beach this weekend? Make sure your trip is fun for everyone, including your dog, with these tips from a Treasure Coast veterinarian.

Watch for Overheating

Bring along a beach umbrella to provide a shady spot for your dog. You don’t want him to get overheated when playing in the hot sun. Provide plenty of cool, fresh water for your dog, either out of a bottle or in a dog dish you’ve brought along. Make sure the water doesn’t get hot in the sun, and refill it often.

Signs of overheating include excessive panting, diarrhea, stumbling, collapse, or even loss of consciousness. Watch for beginning signs of the condition and rush your pet to your vet’s office immediately if overheating becomes a problem.

Prevent Sunburn

Even dogs with thick fur coats can get sunburnt on their noses or other areas where fur doesn’t cover. Short-coated dogs with thin or light-colored hair are especially susceptible to sunburn, as are hairless breeds. Bring along a sunscreen formulated specially for dogs—this is available at pet shops and your vet’s office. Apply it to your dog’s ears, nose, legs, and anywhere that sunlight directly hits. Reapply if your dog goes in the water.

Beware of Beach Hazards

Make sure your dog doesn’t drink ocean water—the salt will irritate his stomach. Also bring along a first-aid kit in the event of lacerations or bruises from rocks. Don’t let your dog swim far out—this will greatly reduce the risk of dangerous rip tides and hazardous ocean creatures like jellyfish.

Either before you leave the beach or as soon as you get home, rinse your dog off with fresh water. Salt water remaining on the skin and in the fur can be irritating, so it’s a good idea to rinse it out as soon as you can.

Follow the Rules

Remember to follow the beach rules. First and foremost, make sure pets are allowed—not all beaches even permit animals. Make sure you clean up after your dog with waste bags, keep him on a leash when required, and fill any holes in the beach he may have dug. Ask your Treasure Coast, FL veterinarian for more proper beach etiquette tips for pets.

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