iStock_000003792665_SmallSome dogs are just like us when it comes to the beach – they are excited to not just romp through the sand, but also elated for that first splash into the cool water. However, there is nothing more dreadful to beach patrons than stepping in some fresh dog poop with their bare feet.

While your dog might love the beach, there are etiquette and safety precautions to keep in mind – both for him or her and for the other people who would like to enjoy the beach too.

Beach Safety for Your Dog

The very first thing to do before taking your dog(s) to the beach is to check ahead that it is a dog friendly beach. There’s no sense in loading him or her up for a ride only to find out that your dog isn’t allowed out of the car. The fact is, many parks and beaches don’t allow dogs because owners don’t always clean up after their pets, leaving a mess.

  • Keep him or her on a leash, if it’s required by the beach. If your dog doesn’t come when called, you may want to keep him or her leashed for the whole visit.
  • Make sure that your dog has proper identification on at all times, and that he or she is always under your supervision.
  • Remember that dogs can get sunburn too. Make sure your pet is protected with a minimum of SPF 15 pet-safe sunscreen on any sensitive spots. Don’t use sunscreens with fragrances, and avoid zinc – which can be toxic to dogs. Sensitive spots can include your dog’s ears, nose, the inside of his back legs and anywhere else that receives direct sunlight. It will also need to be reapplied after he or she has been in the water.
  • It’s better to go in the morning or in the evening, when the sun isn’t high and the temps are moderate. For more heatstroke prevention, make sure you bring water for your dog and let them get ample time in the shade.
  • Both sand and saltwater can irritate the pads of your dog’s feet, so after the fun make sure to rinse his or her feet of with some clean water and pat them dry. Also dry the ears to avoid infections.
  • It is also important to make sure that your dog is up-to-date on all of their shots. It’s not recommended to take a young puppy to the beach because of illness risks, since they won’t be up on all of their vaccinations.

    Not all dogs like the water. If it’s your dog’s first time, don’t force him or her to go in. Let them take their time and get used to the water. Even if you have an experienced swimmer, if you plan to take your dog boating or canoeing, fit them with a dog safety floating device.

    Beach Fun for Everyone

  • Make sure you bring some baggies for cleaning up after your dog.
  • Keep your dog from bothering other beach goers.
  • Don’t let your dog harass birds or other marine life.
  • If your dog has any aggressive tendencies, it is better to skip the beach.
  • For the happiness of everyone, leave female dogs in heat at home. She just might cause a fight to break out between other beach-going dogs.
  • The beach can be fun for everyone, but make it a safe trip for your dog. Bring a first aid kit in case your dog gets stung (by a bee or a jellyfish) and in case he or she gets any cuts on their pads/paws.

    And of course, make sure you have towels to dry him or her off with, and to protect your seats in your vehicle.