Enjoy Summer in the Sun by Following Some Simple, Safe Steps

Dogs like having fun at the beach. So do their humans. And what’s more enjoyable than a day of sand and surf? One that’s free of hidden dangers that could ruin your fun in the sun fast.

There are precautions you should be taking on the shore, in the sand, and in the water when you bring your furry friend along to the beach. That doesn’t mean just checking the area for bottle caps and cleaning up poop, either. And even after the blankets are packed up, you’ll want to make sure your pup is cleaned off or you could be bringing some uninvited guests along with you.

If you want to make the most of your trip to the beach, keep this list in mind and you’ll breeze through the dog days of summer without breaking a sweat!


Dog Friendly

You may not be able to predict what will happen when you get there, but a little research goes a long way when choosing a beach you and your dog can enjoy. Dogs are prohibited at some beaches, so consult the county or state website to narrow down your choices.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for and decide to head out anyway, expect to see signs along the beach with animal rules and guidelines.


Clean Scene

Of course, you’ll want to check for bottle caps and broken glass when you arrive. Shells, fishhooks, and bones are commonly found on some beaches. Sand has a habit of hiding things, however, and dogs are great diggers. So, be vigilant. Don’t let your pup wander too far out of sight, or nose around any place you’re unsure of.


Rough Water

They may have invented the doggy paddle, but for all of your pup’s perseverance, staying afloat may be harder for some dogs. Never let your dog near open water out of your sight, and if you are on a boat, outfit them with a life jacket. Statistics show that pets are more likely to drown than humans, so make safety a priority whenever bringing your dog to the beach.

Even if youf dog prefers the shore to swimming, water can still prove problematic. Dogs that drink too much salt water can get dehydrated and sick. Unclean water, or water from algae-bloomed ponds can pose a serious health risk, too. Just like you’d bring a bottle of water for yourself on a hot day, your dog needs the same, so bring extra next time, and a bowl will come in handy, too.

Depending on how much your dog has had to drink that day, make sure you plan adequate bathroom breaks on the ride home if your trip is long. Your dog will thank you.


Sun Protection

Dogs can overheat, and in some cases even get sunburnt. You’ll want to make sure your pet has a shady place to cool down and rest. Some beaches offer covered pavilions, but lacking any shelter or trees, you may want to bring along a large umbrella.

If your dog has a shorter coat or lighter exposed skin, you should consider a pet-friendly sunscreen, especially around the snout, ears, and belly. Dogs are susceptible to skin cancer just like humans, and while most mainstream sunscreens contain fragrances and chemicals that could irritate dogs, there are other options that can protect your fuzzy friend from tip to tail.


Heading Home

Once you’ve had your fill of fun in the sun, make sure you give your pup a good once over for fleas and ticks. Especially on beaches where other dogs are playing, small insects can find their way to Fido without your permission. You’ll want to rinse your dog off with clean water to remove any germs or sea slime he may have washed in, too.

After a good rinse, use that beach towel for what it was made for or you’ll wind up with a ride home scented by wet dog. A little preparation goes a long way, so put safety first when you soak up the sun and you’ll have no problem enjoying the rest of your summer.


A hot dog isn’t always a happy dog, especially when that dog is locked in a car with no way out. Every year when the mercury rises, canine companions are at risk for heatstroke or death when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die in as little as fifteen minutes. Follow this link to learn more and make a pledge to keep canines cool!

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and world traveler with a background in journalism, graphic design, and French pastry. He likes to learn new things whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, folk music and coffee.