Among the myriad health topics regarding dogs is one that’s at the top of the list for SF Bay area residents – keeping your dog safe at the beach.

Most dogs love going to the beach; they can take in new scents, experience the feel of sand beneath their paws, discover new things, and have a romp or swim in the water. This is a great way to exercise your dog and to stimulate both his mind and his senses – as long as you prepare properly for your outing so your dog’s adventure is as safe as it is fun.

First, it’s most important to find out whether the beach you’re going to is actually dog-friendly (never just assume it is!) and if so, whether it requires dogs to be leashed or not.

geordi_out

Can your dog swim? Most people assume that all dogs can swim, but there are actually some breeds whose builds make it difficult or impossible for them to swim. Even if you know for a fact that your dog is a good swimmer, it’s best stay beside him and to outfit him with a flotation jacket because unexpected strong currents can challenge even the best swimmers.

cyndi_jasmine

Much like humans, dogs can get sunburned and dehydrated, and both can be dangerous. Bring water in a cooler along with a collapsible travel bowl to the beach, and offer your dog water frequently – some vets recommend giving water every fifteen minutes on hot, sunny days. To help prevent sunburn, use sunblock especially designed for dogs, which you can find at most pet stores. Be sure to look for any hairless areas on the ears, nose, stomach, or even bare patches that have been shaved or are scarred and can’t grow fur. Take special care with white dogs, whose pink skin is especially susceptible to sunburn right through their fur. If you’re going to spend the day or even a few hours at the beach, consider bringing a beach umbrella and encourage your dog to rest in the shade periodically.

At the end of your visit, rinse the sand and salt off your dog as soon as possible – both can irritate and dry a dog’s skin. Some beaches have outdoor showers for this purpose, and you can then sit with your dog for a few minutes while he dries off before driving home. You can also wash him off as soon as you get home either with a hose in your yard or in the bathtub.

Beaches make beautiful settings for portraits or action shots of our canine companions – contact us to discuss the endless possibilities.