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Tips to keep your dog safe at the beach Featured

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Tips to keep your dog safe at the beach

If you are lucky enough to live near the sea or are planning a trip to the beach with your dog, here are some tips to make sure you all stay safe.

  • Don’t assume your dog can swim.  All dogs have to learn to swim just like us.  Some breeds are naturally strong swimmers, but other breeds (such as corgis and pugs) are not.  If your dog is not used to swimming then the sea is not the place to start, so make sure he doesn’t get out of his depth.
  • For some reason dogs do drink salt water, but it doesn’t do them any good and can make them vomit, or worse lead to potentially fatal salt poisoning.  Signs of salt poisoning in dogs are vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite , lethargy, walking drunk, abnormal fluid accumulation within the body, excessive thirst or urination, potential injury to the kidneys, tremors, seizures, coma, and even death when untreated. Discourage your dog from drinking sea water by providing plenty of fresh water and not over exercising on the beach in the heat.
  • Ingesting sand can lead to sand impaction, a medical condition where parts of the intestines are blocked by the sand. Vomiting is the most common side effect; dogs may also lose their appetites, have abdominal pain or become lethargic. Seek urgent veterinary advise if you think your dog may have eaten a lot of sand.
  • Consider a life vest if you are planning to swim, sail or surf with your dog.  You can buy life vests for dogs of all sizes.  Waves and currents can quickly exhaust your dog, especially in cold water.  Some life vests also have a handle on the back, making it easy for you to lift your dog out of the water.
  • Apply sunscreen to your dog– especially for dogs with thin or pale fur and apply to areas such as the nose and ears. You can also use high factor children's sunscreen.
  • Don’t forget poo bags so you can clean up after your dog.
  • Make sure your dog has a collar, ID tag and preferably is micro chipped, just in case he gets lost.
  • Don’t overdo it. Running on sand is more tiring than on grass, so don’t expect your dog to be able to run and play for as long as he might on his normal walk and start slowly, giving him time to warm up.
  • Make sure your dog has a shady area to rest in and remember that sand can be scorching on paws on a hot day so make sure you have a blanket for them to lie down on.
  • Be careful to avoid heat stroke – watch for signs of overheating such as excessive panting, drooling, coordination problems, vomiting and/or diarrhoea and collapse.
  • If your dog suffers from arthritis or other joint conditions limit the amount of time he spends swimming in cold water.  He may think it is great fun at the time, but he will probably be very stiff and sore the following day.  They can also get tail strain from using their tail as a rudder when swimming, which can be very painful.
  • At the end of the day check your dog over thoroughly for cuts and scrapes, rinse him thoroughly to remove salt and sand from his coat and paws and dry him to ensure he does not get chilled.
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