Important Dog Safety Tips At The Beach
Dog safety at the beach is vital. There are things that all dog owners need to be vigilant about when taking their dogs for a run, play or swim at the beach. This article, Important Dog Safety Tips At The Beach, provides you with the information you need to ensure your dog can enjoy his beach visits safely.
Saltwater Poisoning In Dogs
If your dog drinks, or swallows too much salty seawater it can make him incredibly sick and can even be fatal.
Dehydrated dogs running and fetching on the beach may, out of extreme thirst, turn to drinking seawater.
Always keep a close eye on what your dog is up to at all times and stop him immediately if he starts to drink the sea water and give him a drink of fresh water instead.
Even if your dog is swimming out to fetch seawater soaked tennis balls and absorbent types of toys, this can result in him swallowing significant amounts of sea water.
To prevent this incidental seawater swallowing, always choose non-absorbent floating fetch toys instead.
Symptoms of dogs drinking too much seawater are;
Excessive drinking of seawater is serious and causes Hypernatremia, causing vomiting, dehydration and even lose of coordination and seizures. Emergency vet treatment must be immediate. Dogs have lost their lives to Hypernatremia.
The effects of dogs drinking seawater, even in small amounts can lead to what’s known as Beach Diarrhoea which cause watery, loose and sometimes bloody and mucous containing stools.
*Dogs that swallow/drink seawater can also be swallowing other pathogens and bacteria that can make them sick.
Never let your dog go swimming at your local beach, if there is a health alert for humans to avoid swimming at the time. After heavy storms local beaches are often polluted with sewerage overflow.
Swimmer’s Itch in Dogs
Just like humans, dogs can become infected with swimmer itch, if the beach they are swimming is harbouring the parasite.
*Swimmer’s itch is more commonly contracted from swimming in freshwater rather than seawater, however cases of seawater swimmer itch have been reported.
For dogs swimmer’s itch can be a lot more serious, as the parasites involved can not only live on a dogs skin, but also internally, causing vomiting, diarrhoea and extreme cases can cause liver failure and death.
If you see any rash or lesions on your dog’s skin see a vet and let them know where your dog has been swimming.
Dogs Can Drown Too
Dogs are strong swimmers, but even the strongest swimmer can fatigue, especially when swimming in a beach with a strong current. Waves and rip currents are very dangerous. Many dogs have drowned in the sea.
If you are taking your dog down for a swim on the beach, make sure of the following
- your dog is used to water and is a strong swimmer
- the beach is safe to swim in
- check the tide times
- don’t allow your dog to swim in big surf, or beaches with strong undertows and rip currents.
- don’t allow your dog to over do it. Some dogs do not have a stop button and will keep fetching balls tossed out to sea and can drown from exhaustion.
- It is a good idea to invest in a dog life vest when they are swimming in the beach or lake.
- Always have good recall in place. This is to ensure you dog will leave the water when you call him.
- Never take your eyes off your dog while he is in the water.
- Regularly rest your dog and ensure he drinks fresh water during the rest period
Here is an article on what to do if your dog is near drowning
Yes Jellyfish Can Sting Dogs
Try your best to avoid jellyfish infested beaches. Just like humans, dogs can get stung by jellyfish, both in the water and on the sand.
Dogs getting stung around the mouth and nose are most common areas according to vets. This occurs when the dog is playing or walking along the beach where jellyfish have washed up. Dogs are naturally very curious and investigating these strange wobbly blogs on sand is something many dogs just have to do, but the consequences are anything but pleasant.
Dogs can also get stung on the paws when then accidentally or intentionally stepping on a jellyfish.
If your dog is stung by a jellyfish seek immediate vet attention. Read more here.
Dog Safe Sunscreen. Avoid Zinc Oxide !
Dogs can get sunburnt and skin cancer just like us. This is especially true for white dogs with pink noses and pink around their eyes and mouths.
Any exposure patches of dog skin can get burnt and needs protection with a safe, zinc-free , dog approved sunscreen.
- Do not use zinc oxide, as this can be poisonous to dogs if ingested, damaging red blood cells and causing them explode.
- Use only dog safe sunscreens, not human ones!
- If your dog accidentally ingests zinc oxide, get immediate vet treatment. See Dogs and Zinc Oxide Topical Poisoning
Avoiding Heat Stroke In Dogs
To avoid life threatening heat stroke when your dog is at the beach follow these steps
- Stay off the beach during the extreme heat of the day.
- Early morning and dusk is the perfect time to take your dog to the beach.
- Ensure you have an area of shade for your dog to take regular rests in while at the beach.
- Make sure you have a sufficient supply of fresh water for your dog and offer it to him often.
- Do not over exercise your dog.
- On really hot days keep your dog inside in a cool area.
It is important to know the signs of heatstroke in dogs, they are;
- excessive panting
- excessive saliva
- rapid heart rate
- bright red or greyish, bluish/purple gums due to lash of oxygen to the tissue
- increase in body temp
If you notice any of these signs you must get straight to an emergency vet !
On the way to the vet, offer your dog water to drink and work to cool your dog down by using the car air con, or spraying with water while on the way to the vet. Do not use ice water! Read more here
BASIC Dog Safety Tips At The Beach
- Always keep an eye on your dog to ensure he doesn’t get into strife.
- Always have fresh clean water at hand to rehydrate your dog when at the beach.
- Be sure to have 15 minute breaks from play, in the shade and ensure your dog drinks fresh water during these breaks.
- Check between his paws after a trip to the beach if you see him licking at them, as he may have stepped on something sharp; rocks, broken glass.
- Make sure your dog doesn’t eat any rubbish or old food he may find when playing around the sand.
- Rinse the sand and salty water off your dog thoroughly after the beach.
- Check skin, including inside of your dog’s ears for irritation caused by sand and salt water.
If you have enjoyed and found this article helpful then have a read of some of my other dog health and wellbeing articles here in my pet catergory and below.