Sandy Paws: Caring for Your Dog at the Beach

For a typical day at the Jersey shore, you may be more concerned about keeping sand and its tell tale crunch out of your turkey sandwich or fitting into that itsy bitsy teeny weenie yellow polka dot bikini, but your canine has a few more issues to contend with before heading down the shore. We’ve outlined some hidden dangers you may encounter at the shore and share helpful tips to ensure the whole family has a safe and fun time at the beach, including the furriest!

Nature is Not Always Edible
Dogs do not have quite the same discerning, limited palate we humans do. It is pretty clear to us what is considered food and what isn’t. Not so for Fido. The world is a veritable smorgasbord that includes substances as varied as plastic and Styrofoam. Protect your dog’s digestive system by keeping close watch over him or her. Do not let your curious canine crunch on dune grass or sand or allow them to lap up salty sea water. All of these things, though natural, can upset your dog’s stomach. Too much salt water can also cause diarrhea. Click here for more information on salt water’s effects on your dog.

Creatures to Avoid
Though the expression is curiosity killed the cat, it can be easily applied to a dog. There are many nautical creatures both you and your dog should steer clear of at the beach. Though you can look at a safe distance, don’t touch! This includes crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters whose sharp claws can nick your dog and jellyfish that sting.

Yes, your dog can get sunburn! Dogs that are particularly susceptible are those with thin hair or white hair and dogs that have pink skin. It is a safe practice to use sun tan lotion on sensitive parts of your dog’s skin like their nose, ears, and stomach. However, you can’t use human sun tan lotion on your dog because it contains zinc oxide which, if licked off the skin, can be harmful to your dog. Try waterproof sunscreen for babies or speciality sunscreen for dogs. Ask your veterinarian about protecting your dog from the sun this summer.

Your precious pooch can easily become overheated or dehydrated at the beach in the hot summer months. Monitor the amount of your dog’s activity and do not let him or her overexert themselves running on the beach or in and out of the water. Bring a beach umbrella and a collapsible water bowl and encourage your pooch to lie down in the shade and drink fresh water.

Just like small children, when you bring your dog to the beach, you must be prepared to supervise your dog at all times for their safety. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, you should never let your dog jump in the surf without your supervision. It is also important to note the rules of your dog-friendly beach and adhere to them. If that includes keeping Fido on a leash, do it! You don’t want to be kicked off the beach, and most importantly, you don’t want your darling dog or someone else’s dog to get hurt. With these tips in mind, you and your dog are on your way to becoming the coolest and safest beach bums around!

What is your dog’s favorite thing about the beach?