Taking your dog to the seaside

Things to remember when taking your dog to the beach or seasideSeaside trips are a British institution and when the sun is out there’s often nothing better than grabbing your bucket and spade and heading to the beach as a family – and that includes the dog!

However, if you do take your dog to the seaside then there are some tips that you should follow to keep your dog safe and happy and to make sure it’s a memorable day out for all the right reasons.

Heat and overexertion
There’s nothing better than running down a sandy beach with your dog, but please be aware that too much exertion, especially in the baking summer sun, can be harmful – even fatal – to your dog. You should, wherever possible, keep them in shade while the sun is at it’s hottest during the midday hours and early afternoon and make sure that your dog is well hydrated at all times.

Eating sand and drinking sea water
Dogs will eat almost anything, and it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to you that they can occasionally end up ingesting sand. While most won’t actually swallow it up like a meal, they can accidentally ingest it while running around and picking up toys and if they swallow too much it can cause dangerous blockages.  Keep an eye on your dog to make sure that they aren’t taking up too much. You should also be careful that your dog doesn’t drink from the sea. Sea water has a high salt content that can lead to sickness and vomiting in dogs.

Every dog is different and just like humans not every dog is a good swimmer, and some do not tend to enjoy being in the water. Sometimes their physical makeup doesn’t lend itself well to a dip in the sea as they struggle to keep their noses out of the water, their legs are too short to stay afloat, or their heads are too large and heavy.  Whatever the size of your dog though you need to observe them and make sure that they are happy being in the water. If they look uncomfortable or scared or show signs of struggling then you should take them out.

Other dangers
The beach can be a wonderful place to visit with your dog and give them plenty to sniff around at. However, litter is a blight on many beaches and discarded food, rubbish, bits of plastic, cigarettes and glass are often found. So, keep a close eye on your dog to make sure they aren’t trying to eat anything dangerous.

About the author

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists