Taking Your Pet to the Beach

Taking Your Pet to the Beach

Many pets will enjoy a trip to the beach. Here's how to make your beach experience with pets easier and safer.

Before you leave
On the beach
After the beach

Before you leave

Contact the beach first to make sure your pet is welcome.
Try a brief trial run first - if possible, with one your pet's friends that knows how to swim.
Consider buying and using a pet life preserver.

On the beach

Watch out for hot sand. Bring your pet in the early morning or late afternoon before it gets hot. Also remember that the parking lot and boardwalk can be hot. Minimize the amount of time your pet spends in these areas.
Learn and adhere to regulations including those concerning leashes and hours pets are permitted.
On your arrival, check with the lifeguard for conditions including currents, jellyfish, and sea lice.
Learn what animals are in the water. Keep your pet out of any waters that have snapping turtles or water moccasins, alligators, or crocodiles.
Check the water temperature before you allow your pet to go in the water. Pets can get hypothermia.
Pick up after your pet. Do not bury their waste.
Never leave your pet unattended in or near the water.
Do not let your pet unattended or go to visit other persons or pets unless you've asked if it will be welcome.
Always have an umbrella or other source of shade nearby.
Always carry and encourage fresh drinking water. Ocean water upsets the stomach. Additionally, outdoor bodies of water commonly contain bacteria, parasites, and algae, some of which can be fatal to pets.
If you have any doubts about your dog not coming when called, use a leash to keep it safe. Keep in mind the sound of the surf may make it difficult for your pet to hear you when called.
Currents are dangerous for pets. Check for these before you allow your pet to swim. Don't let pets swim near piers as rip currents often exist there.
Swimming in the surf is tiring. Be alert for signs of exhaustion.
Keep away from boats and personal watercraft.
Don't allow your pet to chase the shore birds, dusks or geese – that can cause severe or fatal stress to the birds. Beavers, if chased, can drown a pet.
Avoid fishing areas. Lines can be difficult to see in the water. Your pet can also get tangled in buoy lines or fishnets. Baited fishhooks can also wash up on shore.
Watch out for dead crabs, fish, stinging nettles, Portugese-man-of-war, and jellyfish on shore.
Watch out for barnacle covered rocks and sharp shells.
Warm, shallow, grassy bottom lakes can have leaches.
Some lakes and ponds have broken glass along the shoreline. Watch those areas carefully.

After the beach

Once you get home, give your pet a good brushing to get rid of all the extra sand. Make sure to get any extra sand off from between paw pads.
Dried salt water can irritate your pet's skin so make sure to rinse any away as soon as possible. Cleaning behind the ears is also a good idea.


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