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Lafayette Veterinary Care Center

Summer Safety For Dogs at the Beach

Women and dog running on the beach with waves

The south is outlined with beautiful beaches, many of which welcome dogs given owners abide by their rules and regulations. This can be a great bonding experience and seriously fun for dogs…who enjoy it….if done in a safe way.

Benefits of the Beach

Exercise on sand and in the water can be great physical therapy for increasing strength, mobility, and endurance while helping overweight pets shed extra pounds. The beach also provides excellent socialization opportunities to interact with other dogs, people, kids, and nature. Best of all, a plan to walk on the beach with your pet can be a great motivator for owners to get outside and moving for their own well-being.

Safety Considerations

  • Summer in the south can be scorching. Beach play is best limited to mornings/evenings outside the most intense heat of the day.

  • Always bring fresh water for your dog to drink and monitor their consumption of sea water. Ingestion of salty ocean water can lead to a condition called hypernatremia causing vomiting, diarrhea, ataxia (staggering/stumbling), altered mentation (confusion), seizures, coma, or death. In a 40 pound dog, less than 2 cups of salt water is toxic.

  • Play fetch in the waves with caution. Inhalation of sea water can lead to aspiration pneumonia indicated by lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, and labored breathing.

  • Watch out for oysters and fish hooks! These sharp objects harbor bacteria and can do a number on paw pads and cheek flaps. Cuts should be flushed promptly and may require a visit to the vet for sutures and antibiotics.

  • Bring and keep your dog on a secure (slip proof) leash and collar until you know how they’ll react.

Click here for a directory of dog friendly beaches in the U.S.