My dog, Malc, absolutely loves being in the outdoors, and one of his favourite places to get out to is the beach. A time for running free, the sea to splash and run in plus plenty of open space to stretch his legs and tire himself out.
Many a dog owner will testify that a coastal walk is not only great for the dogs but also ourselves. Fresh air, miles of open beach and is a great refresh that helps our mental health.
Just as families head to the beach with their children to experience and play. Dog owners can take advantage of stimulating the dogs mind with the sounds, textures and the nature that a walk by the sea brings. A perfect place for chasing a ball as you walk along. If you are training your dog it is an opportunity maybe to get the long line out and do some recall training at the same time as creating extra bonding.
Malc now goes crazy and excited if he sees the beach out of the car window.
However, that is not to say that we should not be careful and I have learnt recently first hand that we should be more wary of things to watch out for and how we can enjoy dog walks on the beach without injury to the dog.
So, what is dangerous to the dogs on the beach?
Yes, this is something that I shall be watching for ever more closely after a recent accident with Gladys. Around so much of our coastline the fishermen like to get out and spend their time, especially at high tide, fishing in the tide.
Most are responsible of course but watch out. They use smaller fish heads etc as bait on their big barbed hooks. A lot of these then become waste or litter on the beach. A dog that loves food will see and smell them long before you do and as they eat the fish they swallow the hook and can cause serious damage! It only takes a few seconds. Gladys was so lucky the vet immediately operated succesfully. phew.
Away from hooks you may still find washed up dead fish that are like candy to a dog. You don’t know how rotten they are or what bacteria they have picked up.
This leads on to litter on the whole, naturally. People love to have picnics on the beach and quite rightly so. Families spending the day enjoying the sunshine and the sea. A great day out. But there is a minority of them that leave their rubbish behind unfortunately.
There is so much that we eat that is poisonous or dangerous to dogs, and prevalent in packed lunches. For example, chocolate, raisins, onions, cooked bones, avocado. I shall talk more about these and other foods in an upcoming post.
Please be careful with your dog around rubbish. Some people do not think of dogs when discarding.
Ok, my dog absolutely loves his ball. He will chase and fetch it all day long if he could. On the beach a wet ball gets absolutely covered in sand as it rolls and inevitably he ingests some as he picks it up. I am very careful not to overdo this and if I feel he has accidentally ingested to much I will stop. The worst that happens then is sandy poos the next day 🙂
There is a thing called sand impaction. Imagine you get a container and keep channeling wet sand into it. It starts to compact and solidify easier yes? Just be wary that too much sand going through the dogs digestive channel can cause blockages. This is sand impaction and should be treated by a vet if you think your dog is affected.
You may have seen on local news updates near beaches that there has been outbreaks of white palm oil washed up on beaches and for people, especially dog owners to beware. It can be even more prevalent after storms.
When found on the beach it usually takes the form of white, waxy, sandy blocks and smells perhaps of diesel. Palm oil is used in the manufacture of many things from soaps to foods and biofuels. Big ships use it to clean their tanks etc and are legally allowed to dump all the waste in the sea as long as they are over 12 miles out from the coast. But we do have tides and storms alas bringing it to shore.
If a dog digests it there could be problems, not necessarily fatal, but every case is different. Most cases if any cause diarrhoea or vomiting. In some cases the oil gets into the system and causes pancreatitis or liver problems or even pneumonia. If from a ship the diesel etc gets in it so no panic but see a vet of concerned.
Yes! Dogs get sunburn just like we do. They just have lots of hair as a natural deep sunblock. However dogs with short thin hair or with bald patches need to be careful. The pink skin showing on ear tips perhaps? Or the nose you see getting redder? Malc has a patch on top of his snout behind his nose that I have to watch as it is not so hairy and I can see getting red in the sun. You can buy dog sun cream from pet supply outlets.
Hot Sand On Paws
Have you ever gone barefoot on sand in the middle of a heatwave, and found it to be really too hot it feels like it is burning? If you are with your dog in this case remember he or she is barefoot with just their pads for protection.
Running around on the beach can make a dog really thirsty, especially if it is a warm day. A dog’s reaction is to get some water and at the beach the sea or rock pools are there for the taking. When you or I drink salt water it isn’t pleasant at all and you know it is not right to drink. To a dog who has no fresh water available it tries everything to quench its thirst. I would make a point of fresh water being the first thing you pack when going to the beach. Let your dog know you have the good stuff and enough of it for the weather and activity.
In the old days people used to give salty water to a dog to make it vomit after eating a poison. What we know now is that you are just replacing one poison with another. The more salt a dog intakes the more the animal’s body takes water away from the blood etc to try and compensate, hence eventually the vomiting. Way more salt then tips the balance the wrong way and can be very dangerous.
In The Sea
Dogs often love playing in water and the sea is a fun and exciting thing to be in. It is lovely to watch them play and tails wagging. Just be careful of strong tides, even if they are good swimmers, If there are big waves they are not as strong as you think at fighting against them.
Plus again, litter. You have no idea what waste is being washed up on our shores daily. It is quite frightening to be honest when you look into it.
Oh, and watch out for those pesky jellyfish!
Ha! I have made the beach sound like a terrible place. But of course it is not, it is a wonderful place to escape to with your dog and have the time of your lives, bonding and playing together in the great outdoors.
All I say is please be careful. And train your dog right from wrong so you can have even less worry and allow your dog to run free!