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10 Beach Day Tips for You and Your Pup

You and your pup will love having fun together at the beach this summer! To make your beach day even better, we have ten tips to share with you! These will help make sure the experience is always a great one for you and your four-legged best friend.

Before You Hit the Beach…

Make sure you don’t arrive at your beach destination only to discover that you have overlooked some key item or haven’t prepared well enough for a day of fun. While at the beach, stay alert to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort.

1. Dogs Welcome

Not all beaches near Vancouver or in the Lower Mainland allow dogs. Check online or on the phone, but make sure the beach on which you have set your heart on is a dog-friendly beach. Also, you may be able to find out ahead of time if your dog will be allowed to run off-leash. If that information isn’t available to you, be sure and check the beach rules for dogs as soon as you arrive. Bring along an extra-long leash just in case he or she can’t run free.

2. Tide Information

If you are taking your pup to the ocean, make sure you know when to expect high and low tides. These times will determine whether or not you can walk along the beach, how far you can go, and how far you have to walk to reach the water when the tide is out. 

3. Health Protection

Make sure vaccinations for your pooch are up to date so that he or she will be protected from any diseases it’s exposed to in the new beach surroundings and from potential new friends. Check with your veterinarian before departing to see if booster shots are needed or to get your dog’s shots up to date. 

4. ID Protection

Some beaches are so huge your dog may get lost by accident when he or she runs off! Don’t forget to attach an ID collar to them and have the contact numbers for your veterinarian on your phone—just in case. An ID microchip inserted in their shoulder area can also help find a dog if they get really lost.

5. Pack Carefully

These are the important items you’ll need for beach day: 

  • Water – Puppy needs water to drink and you also need it to wash the sand off if it is bothering him or her or when it’s time to go home. You may not be able to stop him or her from drinking water that is sitting around in puddles or ocean salt water, but you can reduce the amount by offering fresh water to drink. Bringing a water bottle or a collapsible or regular water bowl can help. Some dog-friendly beaches even offer fountains specifically for dogs so they can stay cool! Check online first to make sure they’re available.
  • Beach towels – Puppy needs beach towels just as you do, so don’t forget to bring along one or two.
  • Leashes – Bring the usual leash as well as an extra-long one because your pup will want to run! Even if he or she is allowed to run free, you may prefer to keep him or her on a leash now and then—especially if you get tired of trying to keep up!
  • Beach Umbrella – Shade will be welcomed by both of you from time to time, so you should bring along a beach umbrella in case there is no natural shade available.
  • Sunscreen – You need sunscreen for yourself and, yes, puppy may need it too. Choose a sunscreen that is appropriate for babies or people with sensitive skin because these don’t usually include zinc oxide, and that is the ingredient you must avoid. Your veterinarian can advise you if you have any concerns about what to buy. Sunscreen is especially necessary for dogs with light-coloured coats or who have been shaved.
  • Paw Protection – The rule of thumb is if the sand is too hot for you to walk barefoot on, it is too hot for your dog’s paws. Be sure and check by slipping off your sandals or flip-flops and taking a few test steps.
  • Poo Bags – There will probably be poo bags available on the beach for your convenience, but don’t count on it. As you might need several and won’t want to make repeated trips to a garbage can, bring along a big bag to hold all the poo bags you accumulate. There is no excuse for not picking up after your dog on a beach. Children play in the sand and so do adults.
  • Toys! – Yes, toys deserve an exclamation mark! The beach is a great place for you and puppy to play. You should bring along toys for the water that float and toys for the beach like a Frisbee or a ball for playing catch. 

6. Read the Rules

Most beaches post a sign with rules for enjoying the beach. If you have taken your pet to a public beach, look for the sign and make sure you know the restrictions. 

7. Don’t Force Puppy to Swim

Most dogs love the water, but some are frightened by the sound of the ocean or they’ll panic when they get out of their depth. Make sure your pup enjoys the water and don’t force him or her into the ocean if he or she seems reluctant.

8. Life Vests are an Option

If your dog is really small, or if it gives you peace of mind, you can buy a life vest for your pooch so you don’t have to worry about him or her being in the water.

9. Check for Hazards

There can be danger in the ocean from sharp shells, jelly fish, sting rays, and crabs, and some dangers are hidden under a thin layer of sand on any beach, like broken glass. Don’t ever take your eyes off your dog or let him or her run out of your sight. If you become tired of non-stop supervision, put him or her on the leash. 

10. Post Beach Care

When you leave the beach, give your pup a good rubdown with a towel so he or she doesn’t get cold or drag sand home! Make sure to dry his or her ears well, especially to prevent ear infections. To deal with the sand and salt water, bath him or her when you get home or, at least, brush his or her coat well until you have time to bathe him or her. An old quilt spread over the back of the car for the trip home can reduce the sand cleanup needed—and it’s always needed!

You and puppy are sure to have lots of fun together at the beach this summer! You can use our tips as a checklist of what to take with you and reminders of how to ensure your four-legged best friend’s safety and comfort. Have fun!

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Hastings Veterinary Clinic and a clickable link back to this page.