We usually take our dogs with us to the beach and they love it. Not only do they get a car ride, but they get to run around and play in the water. Belle – the black and tan dog – starts whining with excitement a few miles from the shore as she starts to smell the sea air.
Taking the dogs to the beach is a great treat for them and for us. We enjoy watching them play in the surf and just enjoying being outside. Here are a few tips we’ve learned from our travels.
Are dogs allowed on the beach? This is the first thing to check before you even leave the house. Texas tends to be very dog-friendly and all the beaches we’ve gone to allow dogs on leashes. Just check the website for the beach before you leave so you know their dog rules.
Keep them leashed. All beaches require that the dogs remain leashed, and I think some specify a maximum leash length of 6 feet. Use common sense and you’ll be fine as long as the dogs aren’t running wild and bothering other beachgoers. We usually visit more remote beaches and so we don’t have neighbors right on top of us, so we usually let the dogs run loose with their leashes attached. They tend to stay close anyway. There have been a few visits where we’ve had the beach to ourselves and we just let them run, which they love.
Provide clean, fresh water. Don’t forget to provide lots of drinking water for the pups, especially on a hot summer day visit. Keep the water dish in the shade, and change it often to keep it fresh and clean.
Keep them cool. You don’t need to bring the air-conditioned dog house, but provide plenty of shade. Usually there’s a nice breeze blowing to help cool them off also. Also, light-colored dogs or those with thin coats may need sun protection.
Sand can be hot. Remember to protect their paws from hot sand. If they are by the water or in the shade they will be fine. When the sun has been baking the beach for hours the sand can get very hot and uncomfortable on their paws so keep them off of the hot, dry sand as much as possible.
Saltwater, sand and fur. Most dogs love to play in the water. Ours don’t swim so much but still play in the surf by the shore and of course they get saltwater in their coats. And when their done they lie down in the sand, so they are covered with sand and salt pretty quickly. This has never seemed to bother our dogs, but we still clean them up occasionally. I suggest brushing the sand off of the pooch, and giving them a quick rinse with freshwater once or twice a day. I use our portable shower – a garden sprayer – and quickly rinse off their coat. After we get home they get a good bath and rinse.
Protect them from other critters. Being in Texas we are constantly aware of the possibility of gators, snakes, scorpions, ants, etc. Protect your pets from these other critters by limiting or preventing them from exploring back in the dunes. Most dunes are protected anyway and walking in them is prohibited. Some beaches, like Bryan or Sea Rim, are known to be home to gators so take measures to protect your furry buddies from them.