Summer is full swing, and to celebrate, what’s better than National Beach Day?
Founded by Colleen Paige, lifestyle expert and self-proclaimed “beach lover,” Beach Day celebrates everything from enjoying the sandy shores with family and friends to hosting a beach clean-up day on August 30th, but I say why not all month long! Whether you are planning a seaside vacation, or live near on or by the shore, a beach is a great place to enjoy romping and splashing with your dog!
Before heading off to the shimmery waters with your canine companion, beach blanket, umbrella, and cooler, here are some important things to do ahead of time:
- Confirm that the beach is dog-friendly.
- Always bring fresh water and a portable water dish.
- Check that you have your travel pet First Aid Kit stocked and packed, including any medications and supplements, and don’t forget those doggy-do bags!
- Make sure all tags and microchip info is current and up-to-date with vet office and the microchip company.
- Pack a copy of your dog’s vaccine records.
- Have a photo handy (just in case your dog takes a stroll away from you and you need to create a lost poster).
- Test harnesses, collars, and leads to be sure they are not frayed or breaking and are safe to be used in water.
- Verify the area is designated safe from contaminants, bacteria, and unfriendly critters.
- Be careful of “saltwater poisoning,” even from your dog simply playing with a soaked toy. According to PetMD,“Avoid salt poisoning by taking a break every 15 minutes away from the water to offer fresh water to the dog. If your dog won’t drink willingly, use a bottle with a sports cap and squirt fresh water into the mouth.”
- Have trash bags handy to do some beach clean up!
I loved my summer weekends spent at the boardwalk along the Atlantic Ocean with my mother, grandmother, and cousins. I do recall how hot the sand could be underfoot, and it is something to be cautious of when bringing your dog to the beach.
“People don't always think about the danger of their dogs walking on scorching hot sand with bare paws,” forewarns Cathy Armato, an expert canine beach-goer, shelter volunteer, and author of the Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them, a “Dog Health, Safety, and Happiness” blog. “Sand gets much hotter much faster than the water. The water temperature at the beach may be in the 70’s (F) but the sand can reach 100 degrees or more!”
Armato has visited the shores of many beaches across the country with her Siberian Husky “Icy” and Maltese/Havanese “Phoebe.” In her blog article “Beach Safety Tips for Dogs,”she shares important information, including tips to “prevent scorched paws” listed below:
- Take your dog to the beach before 10am or after 5pm when the sand is cooler. Sand gets hot really fast but it also cools down quickly as the sun sets.
- Sit a little closer to the water where the sand is damp and doesn't get so hot. Both you and your dog can cool off your feet as the surf comes in!
- Just as we wear sandals or shoes to walk down on the sand to the perfect spot we choose on the beach, you may want to put some shoes on your dog's paws just until you get close to the shoreline. If you don't want to put shoes on your dog's feet, you can carry her or put her in a stroller or cart until you get closer to the shoreline.
- Watch out for the concrete or asphalt parking lots and walkways at the beach as well, they can get hot enough to fry an egg!”
Armato also advises to keep a watchful out to be sure your dog is not showing signs of heat exhaustion. If you cannot find any shady spots, Armato offers this great tip, “In a pinch, you could make a ‘tent’ with towels and beach chairs to provide some shade for your dog.” She also notes, “Know whether or not your dog knows how to swim—in beach surf! Not all dogs are born swimmers.” Her recommendation? The use of a dog life vest, especially when first going into the water.
Once you’ve completed your research and packing, be sure to charge up your camera and have a spare memory card ready so you can take some beautiful photographs of your amazing trip to the beach with your furry best friend!
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the FiveSibes.com, an online encyclopedia for the Siberian Husky breed and Canine Epilepsy information, as well as her international award-winning FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of "The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show. Dorothy is a 9-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2017 and 2016 for her writing, photography, and design. Her book EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy received the 2018 Independent Press Award for “Excellence” in the Reference Book category and 2017 NYC Big Book Award for “Excellence” in the Animal/Pet book category. Dorothy was also named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign and partnered with The Anita Kaufmann Foundation for #Paws4Purple Project, both inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram(@FiveSibesMom).