Can I Bring My Dog to the Beach?

Do Dogs Need Sunscreen? – Is Sunscreen Safe for Dogs?

Overview of Topics Covered

  • Examine the weather to be better prepared. (Read More)
  • Keep your dog cool & hydrated. (Read More)
  • Apply pet safe sunscreen to exposed areas. (Read More)
  • Use a dog safety vest if your not sure if your dog can swim. (Read More)
  • Don’t let your dog consume salt water. (Read More)
  • Watch current water activities for increase in wave activity. (Read More)
  • Put dog booties on your dog to protect their paws from hot sand and sharp objects. (Read More)
  • Make sure your dog can be trusted off his/her leash. (Read More)
dog on beach

Image Taken By Darren Teagles

Many dog owners wonder whether they can take their dog to the beach or not. It is an important decision that should not be overlooked. When you think of the beach you think hot sun, sand, water, shells, and a wide open area, not so bad right? Wrong! Those things aren’t quite ideal for a dog. Many environmental and safety issues should be considered prior to bringing your dog to the beach. The following article will cover the various issues and consideration to take. The next time someone asks you – “Can I bring my dog to the beach?” you will have all the answers.

Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Sun

The first thing you need to consider is the weather. Will the sky be clear with a strong sun? Will it be partly cloudy? What will the weather be like? Have a look at the weather forecast to get an idea of the weather. If clear skies and a hot sun is eminent, you will want to make sure your dog has water, regular breaks in a shady area, and potentially sun tan lotion depending on your dog’s coat. Certain breeds like the Bulldog and French Bulldog are more likely to overheat than other breeds.

Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?

Does your dog really need sunscreen? Well, it depends on their coat style as well as skin complexion. If your dog has light colored skin or a pink nose, they are more likely to develop a sunburn as well as cancer and should have sunscreen applied regularly. Rarely is it recommended to not apply sunscreen on your dog. Hair free areas like the stomach, ears, and face should also be applied with sunscreen.

But is Sunscreen Safe for Dogs?

Is sunscreen safe for dogs? The answer is yes and no. When shopping for sunscreen you want to make sure it is a fragrance free and pet friendly sunscreen. Fragrances can cause rashes and irritation. Human sunscreen contains chemicals and ingredients that are not meant to be ingested by dogs. A very popular sunscreen that has consistently received positive reviews can be found: Here.

Is the Ocean Safe for My Dog?

With the proper caution, the ocean is a fun place for a dog. The first thing you will want to look into is if your dog is able to swim. Many flat nosed and barrel chested breeds like the French Bulldog or Pug, are known to struggle. If you don’t know if your dog can swim, you may want to experiment in a pool or another body of water that is a controlled environment. If your dog can swim you are ready to hit up the waves with your dog right? Not just yet. There are still a few other things to consider.

Guidelines When Swimming With Your Dog in the Ocean

  1. Excessive consumption of salt water can cause vomitting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Don’t let your dog consume too much ocean water.
  2. If you are unsure if your dog can swim make sure he/she is wearing a life vest and is always supervised.
  3. Bring fresh water for your dog to drink to keep hydrated. Have a look at the dog dehydration article.
  4. Scout the water activity. Check if there are any boats or jet skis in the water. If there are, always keep your dog in calm waters.

Hot Sand

Playing fetch and digging may be fun beach activities for your dog, but they could be burning their paws on the sand. Rough rocks and shells can also cut their paws. When bringing your dog to the beach, it is always a good idea to bring strap on boots or even better, water proof dog boots to protect your dogs paws.

Open Beach Area

The beach is completely open. This would be ideal for a dog if there weren’t tons of people, birds, and wildlife. If you are not 100% sure your dog can behave off his/her leash, keep your dog leashed. If your positive they will behave off leash, be sure to supervise them. Historically, some unleashed dogs have chased down and harmed birds, baby seals, and other wildlife. This is more common with dogs bred to hunt. Specifically gun-dog breeds. Retrievers, Setters, & Pointers are examples of hunting bird dogs.

Can I Bring My Dog to the Beach?

So, can I bring my dog to the beach? As long as you take precautions and ensure you have everything you need for your dog to be comfortable, he/she will be just fine. Keep them cool, hydrated, out of the sun for extended periods of time, protected by suntan lotion, supervised, and protect their paws. You will also want to make sure the beach you are bringing your dog to is dog-friendly. Many beaches have a no-dog policy. This is to prevent any unfriendly children/dog encounters, as well as to prevent dogs from relieving themselves on the beach where people lay. The next time a new dog owner asks you, “Can I bring my dog to the beach?” You tell them YES!

Written by John Mattar
March 16th, 2015