Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summertime Beach Safety

Outer Banks 2012
Summertime is full of so many wonderful things. A veritable oasis of life, activity, and joyful play.
Many of the same dangers that exist for our children also exist for our pets. So, if you would worry about a 2 year old's response to beach activity worry also about your pets.

Here are a few tips as you prepare your family for the warm sunshine of summertime.

Our baby Jekyl. Our first beach trip.
Vacation planning; There was a time when we would plan our whole four months of summer around our one week long trip to the ocean. We drove 8 hours just to plop our pasty white skin on the shores of the North Carolina beaches. Why drive so far when the nearest ocean is only an hour away? Well, because in NC you can bring your puppies on the beach. Even though I had my pups by my side I found that one week was full of worry.

Here are some of the beach hazards I worried about;

Number 1 Dog friendly spots
Nothing ruins a vacation faster than sneers and disgust from your neighbors. Find a place that loves pets and share your pet centered vacation with other pet focused vacationers. Who knows your Summer love might just be another dog?

Number 2 Overheating 

As the temperatures approach anything over 75 degrees F (24 Celsius) it is time to begin seeking shade and water. When your pet starts to pant they are telling you that they need to dissipate heat more efficiently and rapidly then they can normally. A panting dog is a dog on the way to overheating OR overheated. Offer water, shade, or water and if your pet prefers to stay there, stay there. A playful  happy pup, or two, can quickly and easily over heat. Limit playtime and activity to short sessions and then retreat to a cool place.

Number 3 Sunburn

Yes, we all burn, especially  those of us humans with months long previously covered throughout the winter legs. If your pet is fair, short coated, or lacks pigment on their nose, be extra careful to avoid sunburn. Best Tip; Avoid the beach between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm. Sunrise and sunset walks are both safer and magnificent. Or, stay under the shade of an umbrella.

Number 4 Humidity

Its not just the heat, it's also the humidity. Warm air temperatures and the mercury on the thermometer can be deceiving. If it is hot, sticky, and hard to breathe it is equally, or even more so for some breeds, for your pup. Pay attention to the weather and head for the air conditioning when the heat index rises to dangerous levels.

Number 5 Thermal burns

The sand in the full sun of most Summer days is hot enough to burn your feet. Equally dangerous is the pavement where you park your car. It is so hot that it can truly fry an egg or your pets foot. Bring shoes and keep noses, toes, and bare skin off of the hot areas of the beach. The skin in the lower abdominal region of most pets is thinly haired and very susceptible to burning. Walking or laying on any hot surface can cause very painful and even life threatening burns. Protect feet and accidental ingestion by monitoring your pet closely.

Number 6 Car rides

If you aren't able to stay with your pet in the car with them the entire time you are traveling then leave them safely at home. Stopping for even a few minutes can be deadly. There are no good options other than to stay with them in the car with the air conditioning on. Leaving your pet in a car even for a brief period of time can be deadly, will cost you a broken window, or a trip to the police department should some good Samaritan or busy body like myself stumble upon your car with your pet in it.

Number 8 Fireworks frenzy 
Loud midnight festivities may not be what your pet is used to. I recommend crating your dogs while you are out and keeping the crate handy just in case the neighbors kick up their heels and light off the pyrotechnics.

Number 9 Being prepared

Bring lots of drinking water, a leash, a poo bag, and tent or umbrella to shield the sun. Keeping cool refreshments is not only a way to cool off, but also calm the pets down for a mandatory beach time out.

Number 10 Comfortable around water

The ocean is a loud, overwhelming thing to a pet. Keep your dog on a short leash and encourage a slow gradual introduction to the water. Some dogs will jump right in, others will be life long toe-touchers. Regardless of which your pup is keep them on a leash and be mindful of the possibility of turbulent water and undercurrents. If your dog wants to swim keep them on a long leash attached to a safety harness on a flotation vest so that you can be their anchor at shore should they get overtaken by the waves or the current.

If you have a pet question, or are a pet parent with experiences and expertise that you would like to share, please join me at Pawbly is an open online community dedicated to helping pet people. We are free to use.

If you would like to visit me please find us via our Facebook page or our home page Jarrettsville Veterinary  Center in Jarrettsville Maryland.

Summer is the time of year to share the great outdoors with your family.
Here's to wishing you all a safe and wonderful Summer!

I am also on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.


  1. We visit the OBX a lot and it's one of Haley's favorite places in the world. I love Musher's Secret paw wax for the hot sand, it works great and lasts a long time. It's also nice if your cottage has an outdoor shower or hose with warm water so you can hose off the salt and sand after your dog swims in the ocean. Thanks for sharing these great tips for anyone heading to the beach this summer!

  2. Hi Y’all!

    Really great advise. My Humans vacation in the winter. We live in the deep south and summer in the mountains where it's cooler.

    I’ve relocated to There is a link on .
    Hope y’all come to my new home. I’m still workin’ on it. You need to click the title to find a spot to comment.

    Y’all hurry on by now!
    Hawk aka BrownDog