Summer days are perfect for a fun-filled trip to the seaside, however, there are a few things to watch out for to help keep your pup happy and healthy on your day out. We’ve teamed up with one of our veterinary partners, Vets4Pets Penzance, to bring you some top tips to help keep your dog safe at the beach.
We all love a day out at the beach and our dogs enjoy it as much as we do; long costal walks, playing on the sand and splashing about in the water. But before you set off, make sure to check that the beach you plan to visit is designated dog-friendly. There are many dog-friendly beaches across the UK, however some have restrictions, especially during peak seasons. Keep an eye on the tide times to make the most of your day out, and be aware of the potential hazards so that everyone has a fun and safe day out.
With the help of Vets4Pets Penzance, here are our top 10 hazards to watch out for on your doggy day at the beach:
Whilst playing at the beach in the sunshine, make sure to keep your dog as cool as you can and keep an eye out for signs of heatstroke including excessive panting, excess salivation, vomiting and even collapsing.
Just like us, dogs can suffer from sunburn too. Some breeds are more prone than others, however all breeds will have sensitive areas on their bodies. For this reason, pet-safe sun cream is the way to go! You can ask your vet about your dog specifically, but it's important to apply dog sun cream to the tips of the ears, nose, belly, and groin areas.
3. Sand Impaction
A little bit is ok, but if your dog ingests too much sand it can cause obstruction in the intestine which can result in your dog needing surgery to remove it. Try to keep ball play on the sand and sea swimming to a minimum and watch out for symptoms such as abdominal pain, lethargy and vomiting.
4. Glass and Sharp Objects
After enjoying a nice day out, sadly not everyone takes their rubbish home. Broken glass or sharp objects can sometimes be hidden in the sand or amongst pebbles, and can cut the pad of your dog's paw if stepped on. Sharp shingle can also cause damage.
Knowing basic first aid techniques to clean and dress a wound is useful to protect a cut before you see the vet.
5. Saltwater Poisoning
In most cases, a few mouthfuls of salt water may only cause mild symptoms however it can be extremely dangerous for your dog to consume large amounts of salt water. Try to limit the time your dog spends swimming in the sea and keep an eye out for symptoms of saltwater poisoning which include vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle tremors or seizures.
6. Rudder Tail
Did you know that when swimming, dogs use the muscles in their tail to propel themselves and steer? If they are not used to regularly using their tail in this way, they can develop a painful condition called limber tail, also known as rudder tail, swimmer's tail, or broken wag. Symptoms include a limp tail, a lack of tail wagging and signs of pain
7. Swimming Difficulties
Some dogs love to swim, but some are more hesitant. Let them decide if they want to take the plunge or whether they'd rather stay with four paws on dry land.
Remember, even dogs that are strong swimmers and frequently take a dip can get caught up in dangerous waves, currents and riptides in the sea. Make sure to check the conditions before allowing your dog to swim and keep a close eye on them at all times.
Should your dog get into difficulty, ring 999 and ask for the coastguard. Do not try to attempt to go in to save them. If there are lifeguards on duty ask for assistance.
8. Coastal Wildlife
Costal wildlife including seals, birds, jellyfish, crabs, dead fish and seaweed can all pose a threat to your dog. Keep dogs on leads if wildlife is present and make sure they’re not eating anything they shouldn’t be!
9. Adder Bites
In certain areas of the UK, a venomous snake called an adder lives on and around dune areas on the beach. They usually only attack as a form of self-defence, however owners must be aware of these snakes as dogs may receive a bite due to their curiosity, which may accidentally disturb the snake. If you suspect your dog has been bitten, seek veterinary care immediately.
Signs of an adder bite include a bite wound (usually to the face or legs), intense pain around the site, panting, vomiting, swelling of the affected area and collapsing.
10. Cliff Falls
We have some incredible beautiful coastal walks around Great Britain, including gorgeous sea view strolls along the cliff tops. Keep your dog under control and on a lead at all times when walking around these areas as cliff falls are sadly quite common, and can often be deadly.
Should your dog fall or get into difficulty, ring 999 and ask for the coastguard. Do not put yourself in danger attempting to save them.
Being aware of these hazards can help ensure that you and your dog have a fun and safe day out at the beach.
Looking for somewhere to get away with your dog? Take a look at our guide on pet-friendly destinations which reveals the best destinations in Great Britain and around the world to take your pet on holiday.