By Sally Perkins
The Sunshine State. Home to beautiful beaches, amazing weather, and lively nightlife. Florida is also a great place for pet guardians due to the high amount of pet-friendly parks and beaches. Taking your pets to the beach comes with great responsibility - both to the people around you and to the beach itself. However, the safety of your own dog is also your responsibility, and by incorporating the following tips during your next beach trip you can ensure that both you and your pup have a safe and fun time.
Monitor the amount of time your dog spends in the water
The tragic story of a beloved lab who died from saltwater poisoning at the Honeymoon Island beach in Florida is one that shocked every pet-parent. However, veterinarians know that salt water can be very toxic for animals so any trip to the beach must be made with this important information in mind. Dogs who love the water will do anything to get in, but it is their guardian’s responsibility to pay attention to how long they are in and to monitor how much salt water they are intentionally or unintentionally consuming. If despite your best efforts your dog begins showing symptoms of saltwater toxicity, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy, take them to a vet immediately.
Pack adequate food and snacks
Sometimes our plans can change in an instant. A decision to drop by a beach for an hour can easily turn into a full-day outing if the weather and atmosphere are just right. Make sure to plan ahead by packing an adequate amount of food and snacks for your dog, and making sure they have access to clean water. Luckily, there are many food and snack options that are appropriate for both human and dog consumption, making packing for an outing much easier. For dogs that are overweight, beach play can, of course, be an ideal way to spend the day since they will be physically active. But due to the heat and your dog’s extra weight, you need to constantly encourage them to drink fresh water throughout the day to avoid any health issues.
Dogs need protection from the sun, too
While many people may not realize it, fur does not protect your dog fully from the sun’s powerful rays. If you plan on spending hours in the sun, make sure you and your dog are protected. Umbrellas are a good option, as well as child-safe sunscreen that you can apply to your dog’s sun-sensitive areas, like ears, stomach, and nose. This will make sure your dog’s fun day at the beach is not ruined by a preventable sunburn.
We all love our dogs and want the absolute best for them. A day at the beach is one of the most fun things we can do for our furry companions, but we need to put their safety first. By making sure they do not ingest too much salt water, packing enough food and snacks and keeping them protected from the sun, your dog and you will be nothing but smiles at the day’s end.
Photo by David Klein on Unsplash