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How to Keep Your Dog Safe At the Beach

5 tips to help your pup have fun in the sun — safely.

by Susan Tasaki
June 17, 2021
Shepherd dog playing with yellow ball at the beach
chendongshan / Adobe Stock

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Beach days are even better when you can bring your dog. But as much fun as it is to enjoy the sand and sun with your pup, it's also important to keep safety in mind. The beach can pose hazards for dogs like getting sick from drinking salt water and even sunburns. Here's how to help your dog have fun in the sun — safely.

1. Use Sun Protection

Yep, dogs can get sun burns — their noses, bellies, and areas with particularly thin fur are susceptible to the sun’s hot rays so it’s important to keep them protected. Provide shade with a beach umbrella, and consider dog-friendly sunscreen. Sunscreens made for humans can be toxic to dogs so be sure to avoid them, especially those made with zinc oxide. You may also want to look into dog sun goggles to protect your pup's eyes from harmful rays.

2. Watch What They Drink

Your dog may want to lap up the salty ocean water if they're thirsty, but the salt, bacteria, and parasites in the water can make them sick. Prevent your dog from drinking salt water by providing them with plenty of fresh water. It's also important to give your pup a good rinse off with fresh water when they're done swimming since salt water can irritate their skin. Remember, it is also possible for your pup to have too much water, be careful of water intoxication.

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3. Beware of Seaweed and Sea Creatures

While exploring the beach, you and your dog may come across washed up sea life and other items. Prevent your pup from rolling in or eating anything that could make them sick. Be especially mindful of areas that have a high volume of jellyfish.

4. Protect Your Pup's Paws

If the sand is too hot for you to walk barefoot, then it’s too hot for your pup’s paw pads. Save your beach trip for a cooler day, or go in the early morning or late evening to avoid the heat.

5. Practice Water Safety

Your dog may be a strong swimmer, but large rolling waves can still be very dangerous. You might want to keep your dog on a leash so that they can’t go out too far, or buy a dog life jacket for even more peace of mind.

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Susan Tasaki

Freelance writer Susan Tasaki lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Husky, who wishes they both got out more.