If you're a dog owner, when the sun comes out it's only natural that you'll want to head down to the beach with your furry friend. But what should you know before going? Read these tips to have a great day out.
Taking a dog to the beach can be so much fun! Whether your pet enjoys a splash in the sea or a run through the sand, there’s so much for canines to gain from getting out in the fresh air during the summer. Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside!
But there are a few things that pet owners should consider before packing up the car with buckets and spades and heading out to the coast. Whether it’s considering your dog’s safety out on the beach, or choosing the right location for your sea-soaked games of fetch, make sure that you’re fully prepared for a day of fun with these useful tips for going to the beach with your dog.
Find dog friendly beaches
Before you take your dog to the coast, it’s important to check that dogs are allowed on the beach. Some beaches maintain a dog-free policy so make sure that you do your research before turning up at your destination.
Luckily, there are plenty of dog friendly beaches around the country to choose from! These locations are always well advertised, and will specify exactly where your pet is welcome to swim, sunbathe, and run about.
Some beaches have dog-free zones but allow pets to roam free in other sections. Pay close attention to signs in order to make sure that you aren’t trespassing into the wrong zone. Be aware that, while some beaches may welcome dogs through the winter months, policies can change when areas get busier during the summer.
Dog owners can face significant fines if found to be in the wrong zone accompanied by their pet. Don’t sour a sunny day at the seaside; do your research first and always pay attention to signage!
The best dog beach games
Taking a dog to the beach gives both owners and pets the perfect opportunity for exercise and fresh air. There are huge benefits both mentally and physically from spending time outdoors. From the additional vitamin D, to the extra calories burnt, there’s really no end to the benefits… and that’s just for owners!
When your dog is at the beach, make use of the extra space to exercise your pet. Frisbees make for a fantastic dog beach game that’s fun for all the family: try out ‘piggy in the middle’ with your pet in the centre, and see them jump for joy over and over again! Many larger dogs really enjoy the challenge of a good game of fetch out into the sea, but do ensure that your pet is a confident swimmer before encouraging them out into the waves.
Tips for dogs swimming in the sea
Although many dogs are natural swimmers and will take to the water like a duck (or like a dog!), don’t assume that your pet will be confident in the waves at first. While some breeds such as Labradors won’t hesitate to jump in at the deep end, others are naturally a little more hesitant.
Smaller dogs may be intimidated by the large expanse of water, while others simply aren’t such fans of getting wet. Shar Pei dogs for example are often afraid of water. Look up information on your pet with a dog breed library and find out how they typically react to the ocean and swimming before you take a trip to the beach, so that you can be more prepared for their initial response.
If you know that your dog is nervous about swimming in the sea, give them plenty of praise and encouragement as they investigate the water. Don’t force them any deeper than they are comfortable with, and allow them to paddle in the shallows to let their confidence build. For poor swimmers who want to explore further out, consider investing in a dog life vest for peace of mind.
Find calmer patches of seawater for your pet to swim in. Don’t encourage them to enter the sea when waves are particularly choppy, and avoid areas that are popular with motorised boats and surfers.
Top tips for taking care of your dog at the beach
Dogs can often forget what’s best for them in the heat of the moment, so while they’re enjoying themselves at the seaside, you need to pay attention to their needs. Make sure that your pet is always wearing their collar and identification tag; overexcited dogs at the beach can get carried away!
Ensure that there is access to fresh, clean water while your dog is at the beach. It’s incredibly tempting for dogs to lap up that lovely, salty seawater, and whilst a little isn’t going to hurt them, too much may make them unwell.
If it’s a sunny or hot day, then it’s also important to provide your pet with a shaded spot to take a break: all that fun can be exhausting!
Did you know that dogs can get sunburnt too? Keep an eye on breeds with light or thin hair to ensure their skin doesn’t get damaged during extended exposure to the sun. You can even purchase special suncream for dogs at the beach.
Do I need to wash my dog after the beach?
You should always give your pet a thorough rinse after a trip to the beach in order to remove any sand or salt that has built up in their fur, which could cause skin irritation. Some dogs with longer hair or more sensitive skin may require a full bath after the beach.
For more tips, read our guide to going on holiday with your dog.