Taking your puppy to the beach for the first time can be an awesome adventure! Make sure you know the rules of the beach and take the proper precautions to make it a fun, safe and memorable trip for you and your pooch.
Choose A Dog-Friendly Beach
Many beaches allow dogs, although they typically have rules like requiring that all dogs stay on the leash, or keep away from specific areas of the beach. Do a bit of research beforehand – speak to your vet and other local dog-lovers about the best dog-friendly beaches in your area.
Plan Your Trip
If you live near the beach, you’ll have a quick and easy trip, but if you live further inland you’ll need to do a little extra planning. For a longer drive, plan for regular short breaks so your puppy can stretch their legs and relieve themselves. And if you’re travelling away from your home neighbourhood, look up contact details for emergency vet services near the beach you’re visiting – just in case your puppy needs medical attention for any reason.
What to Pack
When you go to the beach, you always make sure you’ve got what you need to stay safe and have fun. Taking your dog to the beach is no different.
Here are some supplies you'll want to bring to keep your puppy safe and ensure a relaxing day:
- A bottle of fresh water and a clean water dish
- A beach umbrella or shade screen
- An all-weather dog blanket or bed
- Pet-friendly sunscreen
- Plenty of towels
- A basic doggy first aid kit
- Food and treats
- Floating and/ or waterproof puppy toys
- A poop scoop and poop bags
- A canine life vest with a handle
- A playpen (if necessary, to keep small dogs safely corralled)
- Extra safety equipment like dog booties to protect paws from the hot sand or “Doggles” (dog goggles) to shield eyes from sun and salt
Beach Safety Tips for Dog-Lovers
Here are some smart safety tips and a few things to consider before you and your pup hit the beach:
- Keep your puppy close to you at all times, especially if they’re very young and still undergoing training. Make sure they are wearing a collar with an ID tag including your contact information, in case you become separated. If your pup is especially curious, consider attaching a waterproof GPS tracker to their collar as an extra precaution.
- Look out for any sharp objects, like seashells and stones or broken glass, and avoid them.
- Don’t let your pup drink seawater, as this will cause an upset stomach. Always keep fresh water handy in case your puppy gets thirsty.
- Don’t let them chew on seaweed or other beach debris – if you see them pick something up in their mouth, get them to drop it quickly.
- If your puppy gets overheated, they run the risk of heatstroke or heat exhaustion – just as humans do. Have a source of fresh water and shade available at all times. Avoid being out on the beach during the hottest times of the day. If your puppy starts to pant a lot or looks lethargic, have them lie on their blanket in the shade and drink water. This is especially important for flat-faced or very fluffy breeds, which might need extra supervision. Speak to your vet about your puppy’s specific needs, to avoid the risk of overheating.
- Dogs are as susceptible to sunburns and skin cancer, just like we humans are. Avoid being out in the sun during high-risk times. Use a non-toxic sunscreen made specifically for pets. Apply it to the nose, ears, and any other areas with thinner fur. Light-coloured dogs will have less natural protection from their fur, so be extra-cautious about sun exposure.
- Avoid water with large and choppy waves, or areas of the beach where people have boats, boards or jet skis. Stick to calm and quiet areas where your pup won’t be easily startled.
- If you plan to take your pup into the waves, have them wear a canine life vest with a handle on the back. Some dogs naturally enjoy the water, but some might find it scary. Introduce your puppy to the water slowly and gently; if they are especially anxious, you might even want to try a few puppy swimming lessons before braving the beach.
- If your pet is sensitive and needs extra protection, dog booties will protect their paws from the hot sand, and dark goggles made especially for dogs will protect eyes from sun damage. Ask your vet for advice – this may be necessary for breeds with light colouring or light eyes.
When you’re ready to head home, take a moment to rinse the saltwater and sand off your puppy’s coat. This will prevent itching, scratching and licking.
Once your puppy is more confident on the beach and you’ve gotten used to the safety precautions, you'll find it easier to enjoy more spontaneous beach days with your canine companion.