The month of August is known for many things: back to school shopping, National Dog Day and just one last trip to the beach before summer ends. Bringing your dog along can be tempting, as there are numerous New Jersey beaches that allow pets to enjoy the sand and surf with their humans. Just like you need to prepare for a beach trip by packing your swimsuit, sunscreen and cooler, there are steps you should take to get ready for a day of paws in the sand.

 
 
Most important in preparing for a doggie beach trip is packing all the essentials. For your dog to stay safe and cool, bring a beach umbrella, towels or blankets and lots of water! Basking in the sun might be good for your tan, but it can take its toll on your pup. There is always a risk of overheating, but being proactive and knowing the signs can help keep everyone safe.
 
Make sure you station yourself near a shady spot (or set up your umbrella) so your pet can escape the sun. As discussed on Animal Planet’s Dog Guide Blog, sand can be scorching on your pet’s paws. Lay out a towel or blanket for them to relax on, and encourage them to at least get their feet wet in the surf. Just as the hot sand hurts less on your feet after a dip in the water, your pet’s paws will be much less sensitive after a romp in the waves.
 
Discourage your dog from drinking the salty ocean water, as it will do nothing to help with hydration. Have plenty of clean water ready for your pet to drink throughout the day, even after a swim when they seem cooled off. Be extra careful with short-muzzled breeds like English bulldogs, Boston terriers, boxers and pugs; they tend to overheat faster than many other dogs with longer snouts.
 
In addition to keeping your dog hydrated, you also need to protect their skin! That’s right, your pup can get sunburn, too. Sunscreen made specifically for dogs is an easy find during the summer months, and should be applied to your dog’s ears, nose, inside of their back legs and anywhere other sensitive areas that will receive direct sunlight, especially on shorter-haired breeds.
 
 
Unsure if you want to bring your dog along to the beach? The number one thing to consider is your pet’s recall skills. Dog-friendly beaches are large, open areas that will more than likely be filled with distractions. For safe off-leash fun, your dog should be well-trained in coming back to you when you call. If your dog is prone to run after another dog, person or even a seagull, consider doing some more training practice before taking your dog to such a stimulating environment. Always have plenty of treats on hand to reward your dog for a recall well done!
 

If your beach plans don’t involve your dog, Morris Animal Inn is happy to provide your pet with their own summer getaway or “staycation” while you take your trip to the shore. Call us at 973-539-0377 to book your pup for daycare filled with pool and group play fun so you both can have your own “vacation” day!