8 Things to Consider When Taking Your Pet to the Beach

by Wanda Love - August 2015


  1. 1. Sunburn

Ever wonder if your dog can get sunburned?  The answer is yes.  Dogs and cats may not burn as easily as humans but they do nonetheless get sunburn.  This increases their chances of skin cancer.  Especially for the dogs who’s skin is exposed.  If your dog has short hair and you can see the skin through the hair, for dogs who carry their ears up, dogs with no hair on the inside of their ears, and dogs who like to sunbathe by lying on their back with their bellies exposed to the sun..  The cure for this, believe it or not, is to use the same sunscreen we humans use.  Use the highest SPF sunscreen and apply it to their skin, to the bridge of their nose and to the tip of the ears.  A good rule of thumb is to limit their exposure to hot sun.

  1. 2. Boogie Board

Are you a “Boogie Boarder” and you wonder if it’s safe to make your dog a boogie boarder too?  Only put your dog on a boogie board if they have good balance and is a very active dog that you truly know would like this type of activity.  If your pet is skittish, it probably would not be wise to put him on a boogie board.  You as a pet owner should know if this is a good activity for your pet.


  1. 3. Sand

Ever wonder if the sand on the beach gets too hot for your pet.  The answer is yes.  Your pets paw pads can get burned if the sand is too hot just as they can on hot pavement.  Watch for clues from your pet such as mincing on their feet, stopping to lie down and licking their paws. 


If your dog is a sand eater, this is usually caused by excitement.  Most of the time they will vomit it up but if they do not, or do not vomit most of up, they can become impacted.  So if you are not sure or you are concerned, get him to a vet.


  1. 4. Salt Water

Salt Water is typically not a problem for your pet’s eyes and ears and may even serve as an astringent for drying out the ears. Since sand and salt water can dry their skin, it is generally a good rule of thumb to rinse your dogs hair and skin with water.  A more through bath with shampoo is not necessary.


If your pet is one that drinks salt water, and he drinks too much, it is going to make him nauseated and more than likely he won’t do it again.


  1. 5. Swimming/Paddling

How far a dog can swim, i.e. paddle in the ocean, depends on the shape he is in.  Since dogs do not have the ability to judge how far out they can swim before tiring, never let them swim further than you can rescue them and get you both back safely.  One very good thing to know is that since a dogs paddling is more floundering than the graceful strokes of swimming, they are more inclined to attract sharks than humans do, in water where sharks are known to frequent, so be watchful.


  1. 6. Rip Tide

If you pet gets caught in a rip tide, he will instinctively know not to fight it and just relax and let the tide carry him which is usually downstream close to the beach. You can watch and follow down the beach where you will be able to eventually get to your pet.  If the tide is really strong, your dog can be pulled under so to be safe, for ocean or deep water swimming, it is always best to put a life jacket on your pet.


  1. 7. Jelly Fish

The sting of a jelly fish is just as painful to your dog as it would be to you.  He will cry, turn in circles, and try to lick the area.  Until you can get your pet to a vet, pour vinegar on the infected area which will help to neutralize the venom.  It is very important that you DO get him to a vet sooner rather than later.


  1. 8. Sea Shells

Do not let your pet eat sea shells off the beach.  It could cause constipation as well as mouth lacerations and problems in the Esophagus.  If you find that your pet has eaten sea shells, a vet visit may be in order.