Now that Summer holidays are here the weather (should) be sunny and bright, and the evenings long and dry, why not take a trip to the beach with your beloved four-legged family members?
We are lucky in Cornwall to be surrounded by some spectacular beaches. The north Coast has rugged cliffs, vast sandy beaches with seas perfect for surfing, whilst the south coast has calm and safe bays for paddling and sailing. Cornwall is a great familiy holiday destination and many of the holiday makers also bring their dogs to enjoy our beautiful county.
We have complied a few important facts that could help your dog have a great day at one of our beaches....
Many beaches across the UK ban dogs across the summer months. Simply by checking before you make your way to a local beach. The local councils will often provide information on their websites. Click here for a list of beaches open to dogs in the UK..
Spending the day at a beach is a great day for all of the family, however when taking your dog you should be prepared for a long hot day. Make sure that you have packed plenty of fresh water and some snacks for your dog. Packing a few essentials for your hairy pooch will make their day so much more comfortable. Pack a few floating toys to keep them busy whilst swimming instead of using sticks which are dangerous and can cause injuries. A doggy towel is also a great idea to keep them dry after their dip in the sea.
Drinking sea water is hazardous for your dog and can result in some explosive tummy upsets. To keep them happy and hydrated pack a travel bowl and some fresh water that they can drink when they get thirsty.
Surprisingly not all dogs are good swimmers and quite a few dislike swimming altogether. If your dog has never visited the beach before, find a area where the water is calm and there are not too many people about. Let your dog explore the sea at their own pace and assess wether your dog can swim by gently encouraging them to follow you into the water. Never throw your dog into water and expect them to swim. If you are worried about your dogs ability to swim, be prepared and bring along a Doggy Life vest which will keep them safe whilst out in the water.
A day at the beach can be exciting but it is essential that your dog is comfortable for the whole day. Dogs don't sweat like we do and they cool their bodies down by panting. Taking a swim in the sea will cool them but it is essential they can cool down out of the water too. Providing shade and shelter form the sun is vitally important. Heatstroke in dogs is common and can end in death, it affects all types and breeds of dogs however some are more predisposed. For further information about heatstroke in dogs and how to treat it click here. Remember too that on a sunny day the sand can get very very hot and can burn your pets paws.
Remember dogs skin can burn too. So when they are exposed to bright sunshine, particularly lighter coloured dogs or dogs with very short (trimmed) coats its important to protect their skin just as you would yours. There are special doggy sunscreens available to buy, but its also perfectly Ok to use a human sunscreen on your pet. Pay particular attention to their noses, bellies and ears.
Remember, while you may be visiting a pet friendly beach not all the beach goers have brought their dogs to the beach. They may not enjoy sharing their t0wel with a wet, sandy over friendly hound who wants to share their ice-cream. Keep an eye on your pet and keep them close to you. If they have a tendency to wander keep them on a lead whilst you are relaxing under your brolly.
When your dog does get out and enjoy the surf make sure that your dog is comfortable being surrounded buy others enjoying the water. Surf Boards, Jet-ski's and big rough waves can be very frightening for your dog. It may be best to find a spot where the sea is quieter. Make sure you are with your pet. Many beaches may have hidden dangers. Hidden rocks, shells and jelly fish can hurt your dog, watch your dogs body language and check for cuts and scrapes should they seem distressed after a swim. If you are taking your elderly pet for a day out, keep in mind that cold water can sometimes aggravate arthritis or stiff joints. By keeping them in shallow warmer water they will have a much more enjoyable swim.
When your dog is not swimming but simply enjoying running along the beach like a loony, remember running in the sand is strenuous, don't expect your dog to play fetch quite as long as he is used to in a dog park. Allow him plenty of time to warm up to prevent him getting sore the day after.
When you are finished and had a lovely sunny fun filled day at the beach remember to give your pet a rinsing off. Many dogs skin find the salt and sand irritating and they can develop itchy and sore skin. After an exhilarating day at the beach some dogs may have a few cuts or scrapes and not giving them a rinse off may leave microscopic organisms on your dogs coat which may later cause infection. Take a few seconds and dry any visible moisture from your dogs ear canals as this can quickly cause an ear infection, some bugs like Malassezia love hot sweaty ears and can make your dog very uncomfortable.
Taking your dog to the beach makes for a great family day out. We hope you have a great Summer!