MANILA, Philippines – You may not know it yet, but dogs make the best beach buddies. They’re always happy to be there, they make silly faces when they’re swimming, and they won’t make you take a million bikini photos of them for the ‘gram (though you’ll probably be snapping away anyway cos they’re so darn cute).
There is some worry that comes with planning a beach trip with your doggo. At the beach, they’re exposed to even more elements that can irritate or even harm them. However, there’s nothing to be afraid of if you just take a little extra care.
Here are a few tips for making your next beach getaway safe and fun for you and your best buddy:
Avoid the hottest hours
If you can, avoid the times when the sun is at its highest (anywhere from noon to 2 pm). The hot sand can be really painful on their paws and their skin (and yours, too).
Bring clean drinking water
When your dog is out in the sun, you’ll want to make sure they stay hydrated. If they get thirsty, they might be inclined to take a gulp or two of sea water, so keep them away from that by having clean drinking water for them at the ready.
Be wary of saltwater poisoning
Speaking of drinking saltwater, vets might warn you about saltwater poisoning – which is when dogs have ingested too much saltwater that it causes diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. This is a serious condition that could be fatal, but also bear in mind that it takes A LOT of saltwater ingestion to cause this.
To prevent this from happening, take breaks away from the shore every few minutes and let them drink fresh water in between swims. If you suspect your dog has ingested way too much seawater, watch for saltwater poisoning symptoms such as weakness, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and seizures. If any one of these symptoms present, it’s best to rush them to the vet.
Watch their eyes
Saltwater and sand can easily irritate your dog’s eyes, and so can drift wood, dead coral, crabs, and more. Keep a watchful eye on your pupper so that they’re not face-planting on the sand, getting wiped out by the waves, or running through thorny dead coral. You could also try getting doggles on the internet, but some dogs just hate wearing them.
Bring (the right) toys
If you want to teach your dog to swim, it’s best to slowly coax them into the water with a toy. Their favorite tennis ball or rope toy might just get encrusted with sand, and they’ll probably sink when you throw them in the water, so pick toys that are made of plastic and made to float.
Don’t force them to swim
You might have a vision of your best friend paddling happily alongside you in the water, but not all dogs take to the water as naturally. For most dogs, it’ll take a few tries to get them to swim, and some of them are fine with just getting their paws wet then lying down in the shade. If they’d rather keep out of the water, let them.
Watch for strays
In the Philippines, the beaches are open to all kinds of dogs – including strays. While many of them mind their own business, some do get territorial, so keep your dog on a leash untill you’re confident that the strays won’t mind them.
The first thing you should do when you get home from the beach is give your dog a quick rinse to wash away the sand and salt on their coats. Don’t use dog shampoo or soap unless they’re really due for a bath, cos you might dry out their skin. After rinsing, slather some balm on their paws and nose to keep them moisturized after spending a day out in the hot sun. – Rappler.com