Taking your dog to the beach.
Sun bathing, games, swimming, surfing, and don’t forget the inevitable ‘sand sandwiches’; a day at the beach is a great way to enjoy the sun. It’s an outing that many dogs will always enjoy too. Taking your dog to the beach is loads of fun, but Holidays4Dogs explores a few things to remember when enjoying the beach with your four legged friend.
First things first, check whether the beach you intend to visit allows dogs. During the height of the season, (usually from May to September/October) a few UK beaches operate a dog ban. You can check in advance with the local council or online with sites such as this one: https://www.thebeachguide.co.uk/dog-friendly
On a recent holiday to the Gower we found the majority of the beaches towards the north allowed dogs on the sands all year round; including Oxwich Bay and Whiteford sands. Whiteford sands is especially good for walkers and their canine companions. It is over a mile, through forest and sand dunes, from the car park in the village, so is usually deserted. It is a beautiful stretch of sand where owners and dogs alike will be awestruck by its remote beauty.
With the unprecedented hot weather we have been experiencing of late, it is important to pack a few essentials for your family, including the dog.
If you intend to spend several hours on the beach, take plenty of water to drink and some sort of shade, such as an umbrella. Some light coated dogs such as west highland white terriers, dalmatians etc can suffer from sunburn on the their noses. Therefore, a little sun cream wouldn’t come amiss if it is very hot and sunny. A towel that can be soaked in sea water is useful to help keep your dog cool while he is resting too. Poop bags are also an essential item.
Once you reach the beach, keep your dog under control. There are many reasons why dog bans operate on so many beaches in the UK. This is often due to issues of irresponsible ownership in the past including allowing dogs to foul the beach. Always keep your dog on the lead around crowds of people and pick up any deposits your dog makes.
While in Gower, we watched a man chasing up the beach after his off lead dog who was making a bee line for someone’s picnic. The dog literally pushed himself onto the families blanket and pushed his head in their cool box; all to the sounds of shrieks from the children.
While this seemed comical to watch from afar, we doubt the family found it very funny at the time. Later on, someone allowed their dog to relieve himself against a sandcastle made by nearby children. This again is unpleasant for everyone.
Water safety and tide times.
Always check tide times if you fancy a long stroll along the beach. There are many coastal areas in the UK where you could be stranded if you don’t check the high tide times.
If your dog likes swimming he can enjoy a dip too, but remember never to force your dog to swim. Some dogs need time to get used to the sound and movement of the waves. Let your dog take his time and never physically push, or pull, your dog into the water.
There are quite often hidden dangers at the beach. Sharp rocks, shell beds, fishing hooks and jelly fish can all cause injury to your dog. Be aware if your dog is off-lead and check for any cuts, or grazes, once you leave.
Sand can take more energy to walk and run on, so make sure your dog doesn’t get too tired, or over-heat. Watch out for excessive panting, malaise, or diarrhoea as these could be signs your dog is overheating. If this is the case, get him immediately into the shade and use a wet towel to cover and cool him. If in doubt take your dog to the nearest local vet.
Once you’ve left the beach, rinse your dog’s paws in fresh water, as salt water and sand can cause irritation and soreness. Check ears and eyes for any deposits of sand.
There’s no doubt, there is nothing nicer than spending an afternoon on the beach with the family pet. With the beach breeze in their ears and sand between their toes, dogs really seem to enjoy beach time adventures just as much as we do!