Summer is here and there is nothing more fun than taking your dog to the beach….IF they are a swimmer and IF they are social. Those are big IFs and really should be the very first consideration you take into account.
But let’s say you have a dog that loves other dogs, plays well with others and enjoys romping in the water. These suggestions are for you!
- Make sure the beach you want to go to allows dogs. Many beaches in our area do not. The state park beaches do not and they can levy up a hefty fine if the catch you. The dog beach in Harbor Springs at Zoll Park is where I usually go and it’s so dog friendly, that if you don’t have a dog or like dogs… you might want to try a different beach.
- Make sure your dog can swim. Not all dogs can. Bulldogs for example have a very hard time actually swimming. So my dog plays at the edge and chases other dogs for fun, but I’m very careful to keep an eye on her so she doesn’t get out too deep. And if the water is deep, she’s always in a life vest.
- Just like kids, they need to take a break. Make sure you have shade and fresh water available for a time out. Most dogs don’t stop playing when they are tired, so you need to monitor them. The warmer it is, the shorter the play time should be before a cooling break.
- Avoid rough water. Big waves and currents can cause even the most athletic swimmer trouble. If you’re getting in the water where it’s deep, has a sharp drop off or lots of waves, think about keeping your dog in a life vest. They can still play non stop, but they’ll have extra protection from an unexpected current or wave. And if you’re boating with your dog, always keep them in a life vest. Accidents can happen fast. Don’t leave your dog unprotected.
- Watch what the drink and chew. I just read a story a few days ago about a dog that played at the beach all day and died a few hours later at home of a dry drowning. If you’re not familiar with dry drowning and how it can happen, click here to read more.
- Dogs can get sunburned too. There are sunscreens just for dogs that work on ears and faces. If you have a short haired dog, think about keeping them in a shirt. And limit their sun time just like you would yourself or kids.
- Keep your eyes open for dangerous items. Before you let your dog run, check the beach for glass or other sharp objects. Check the sand on your bare feet. If it’s too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for their paws.
- When you’re done at the beach, rinse them off. It’s not so much an issue where we live since our water is of high quality. But if they found algae or muck, rinse. It’s a lot better for car and it will help their coat.
- We shouldn’t have to say this one… but we must. Pick up your dog’s poo. Always keep bags in your car and use them. There is nothing worse than finding a big pile at the beach. Just don’t do it.
Enjoy the summer…. and we’ll see you at the beach!