Taking your dog to the beach: our top tips
There’s nothing quite like a trip to the seaside. The fresh salty air, cool sea and golden sands make it a wonderful place to spend a day, and it’s even better when you can share that with your dog.
Whether digging in the sand, splashing in the waves or walking along the clifftop, there’s plenty to keep your dog entertained at the beach. But it’s not always a walk in the park, and if you plan on taking your dog to the beach there are a few things you need to be aware of first.
Here are our top tips for taking your dog to the beach.
Check the beach is dog friendly
Before setting out, make sure that the beach you are heading to is dog friendly. Some beaches don’t allow dogs at all, others have restrictions that only allow dogs at certain times of year. You might also need to keep your dog on a lead at all times. There are plenty of dog friendly beaches out there, but if you’re looking for somewhere extra special, check out our guide to Britain’s best dog friendly beaches.
Prevent your dog pooing on the beach
It goes without saying that you should always clean up after your dog wherever you are, and it’s especially important on the beach. Children will play in the sand and water, and people walk barefoot along here, so dog poo can become a real hazard. To prevent your dog pooing, walk them around a nearby countryside first so they do their business before you reach the beach. If they look like they might defecate on the beach itself, move them off of it or at least as far away from the water as possible. Then bag it and bin it.
Be aware in hot weather
Whilst you might enjoy basking on the beach in a heatwave, the hot weather can spell misery for your dog. Hot weather affects all dogs, but it is particularly true for dogs with black coats, thick fur, short snouts (brachycephalic), or dogs that are particularly old and young. If it’s a particularly hot day, consider leaving your dog at home where they can stay cool (never ever leave them in the car).
If you do decide to take your dog to the beach on a hot day make sure you take plenty of water for them, shade for them to lie under, and make sure you know how to recognise the signs of heat exhaustion. You will also want to test the heat of the sand – if it’s too hot for you to hold your bare hand to for more than ten seconds, it’s too hot for your dog! Read our top tips for exercising your dog in the summer for more information.
Be careful when swimming
For dogs that love to swim, the beach is like a massive swimming pool – and they will happily chase toys that you throw into the waves and bring them back. However, unlike a swimming pool, the sea has tides and currents that could quickly overwhelm even confident swimmers and pull them out to sea. Stick to the shallows and avoid the water altogether if there are strong currents or bad weather. Read our guide to taking your dog swimming for more information.
Don’t let them drink seawater
Some dogs will head straight for the big water bowl we call the sea and start gulping down seawater. However, drinking large amounts of seawater could cause them to have diarrhoea, vomiting, seizures, muscle weakness and tremors. If your dog displays any of these symptoms after visiting the beach, head to your vets immediately.
To prevent your dog drinking too much saltwater, make sure you have a ready supply of fresh water available, and take frequent breaks from playing in the water.
Protect your dog from the sun
Just like for us humans, the sun can pose a real risk to your dog if you are visiting in summer. Too much sun can not only cause heat exhaustion but can also burn dogs with light skin and fur or short hair. Make sure you provide adequate shelter from the sun for them and bring along specialist pet sunscreen if they are at risk of burning.
Give them a good rinse
How annoying is the sand between your toes when you leave the beach? It’s the same for your dog. Sand gets caught in their fur and between their paw pads and can cause discomfort. When you leave the beach give them a rinse down with fresh water (not seawater) before they get back in the car to go home, or as soon as you get home. Pay close attention to their paws, face, and ears.
Be aware of sharp objects
The sand and water can hide all manner of sharp objects – shells, bits of glass, sharp stones and more. Whilst you can’t see all of these, you should be aware of potential risks and steer clear of beaches with lots of litter. Carry a canine first aid kit so you can patch up your dog in case they do cut themselves on something sharp.
Keep an eye on their exercise levels
Running along a sandy beach is harder work than running across a solid, flat surface. Add in the sunshine and you’ve got a risk of over exercising your pooch. Keep a close eye on how much exercise they’ve done using a PitPat dog activity monitor and take it easy the next day if they’ve done loads on the beach. Don’t forget – PitPat is waterproof and robust enough to survive all your dog’s beach adventures!