By Trisha Snow
My Dog Lucy and I spend a lot of time at the beach in all seasons but especially more when the weather is beautiful. Lucy is a fun loving, bird chasing, water-loving, sand rolling Beach Dog. We have lived for the past 20 years in the beautiful oceanside community of White Rock, British Columbia and we’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way about what your Dog wants you to know when spending time at the beach.
The Smellier, The Better
Lucy loves to explore the beach with all its wonderful smells, the ocean, and the sand. She can be in a full-blown sprint racing to the water’s edge when suddenly she stops dead in her tracks to stick her nose in the sand to investigate something new. As soon as I see this, I know what’s coming next. I know that no amount of hollering her name, throwing the ball in the other direction or trying to bribe her with healthy treats is going to get her attention. Most likely, what she has discovered is very stinky and usually very dead. Although I admire her focus, I know what’s coming next – she stops, she drops, and she rolls her body all over this gloriously dead prize.
This type of behaviour is a natural instinct for dogs, and it isn’t unique to just yours. There are a few theories behind why dogs do this. I believe that Lucy is doing this to let everyone know that she’s found something exciting, dead, and it’s hers!
Yes, Dogs will try to drink Salt Water
Your Dog will happily drink sea water usually because they don’t have access to fresh water and are thirsty. This will cause them to be dehydrated and sick. Dogs are unaware of how dangerous this can be for them, so we need to be sure to bring fresh water as an option for your thirsty pup to drink. There are a ton of lightweight, collapsible bowls that you can carry with you for this purpose and give them a drink from your water bottle. Our Dog loves to drink from a hose, so we give her a freshwater drink from the K9 Clean Portable Dog Shower while we rinse her off at the car. The signs to watch for if you suspect your Dog has had too much salt water are Vomiting, Diarrhea, Lack of Appetite, Lethargy or unstable on their feet appearing drunk. Keep a close eye on your puppy!
Balls or Rocks…which is better?
If given the option, my Dog prefers rocks. She will spend minutes under the water searching for rocks to bring them to us. Although this is humorous to watch as she can be under the water with her butt in the air for almost a minute at a time – this is not a good thing. Rocks can wreck your Dog’s teeth or worse they can swallow the rocks causing severe if not fatal intestinal issues. Be sure to bring your Dog’s favorite ball with you to the beach to give her a healthier option and try to distract your pup from seeking out those rocks. If you suspect your Dog has ingested a rock, please take your puppy to the vet immediately.
Rolling in the sand? Yes Please!
One of the first things dogs do is find their spot and roll around happily in the sand. There are many theories on why dogs do this – I believe the reason our Dog Lucy does this is for one reason only. Although she is a water dog, she hates being wet. The best way for her remedy the problem is to roll in the sand to dry off. Another theory is that rolling in the sand keeps your Dog cool. My daughter has an extremely fluffy Pomeranian, and when having a hot day, he loves to dig a hole in the sand and make a comfortable bed to lie down in. The earth a few layers under the sand is noticeably cooler, and this helps keep your Dog cool.
Dog’s get Sunstroke Too
Heat exhaustion is a thing for both humans and dogs. Dogs eliminate heat by panting as well as through sweat glands in their feet. When panting isn’t enough, their body temperature rises. This can be fatal if not corrected quickly. What to watch for – increase in body temperature, excessive panting, excessive drooling. What you can do to prevent heat exhaustion is to run a cool shower over your pet, covering the whole body – especially the back of the head and neck. The K9 Clean Portable Dog Shower is an excellent option for this. Also, try using a good sunscreen.
Watch for those Strong Currents
This topic is one that doesn’t get enough attention, and it is an important one. When our Dog Lucy was about a year old, we took her to our usual watering hole at the beach. This spot usually has a calm pool of water that branches off from the river just before it meets the ocean. There we throw her ball in the water, and she launches herself in to retrieve the ball. This is her favorite thing to do at the beach, and she races to get to this spot every visit. On one particular night, we were unaware as to how strong the undercurrent was until it was too late. Her ball was thrown, and the current picked it up and started carrying it down the river to meet the ocean. Before we knew it, our puppy was swimming madly trying to get the ball back. Within moments, we realized that this was a situation that was not going to end well if we didn’t move quickly. Long story short and one very wet husband later, our puppy was safe on shore (although without the ball).
Lucy happens to be a solid swimmer, but nature is no match for puppies and often times people as well. Dogs that are good swimmers can be overwhelmed by the current, so be sure to keep a close eye on your pup and avoid those areas! Be aware of the ocean tides and familiarize yourself with the area.
To introduce your Dog to water, start off in a quiet area with calm water to see how your Dog reacts. Remember, not all dogs can or like to swim!
Post Beach Clean Up
Sand and salt can be really irritating to your Dog’s skin. Make sure to rinse your Dog off with clean water each time you come back from the beach. Better yet, use the K9 Clean portable dog shower to give your Dog a quick rinse before they get back into the car. This is a beach staple for us, and we use it regularly to rinse off all the loose sand, which helps keep our vehicle clean and our Dog healthy.
Once we are home, we give her a full bath. Be sure to inspect your Dog’s paws, Don’t forget to dry your Dog’s ears and give them a good rinse with an ear wash solution. Our Lucy is prone to ear infections, and because of these steps, she has been Ear infection free this year! Consult with your vet about an ear rinse solution that’s best for your pup. Be sure to dry your Dog thoroughly to assist in avoiding hot spots.
5 Must-Have Items for a Beach Day
1. Poop Bags – There’s nothing worse than stepping in Dog Poop or seeing plastic dog poop bags thrown on the ground at the beach. Think of all those microplastics getting into the water and killing our wildlife. We always try to go plastic free at the beach and that includes our poop bags. Use paper-based Eco Poop Scoop Bags by K9Clean.com. Visit their page for use or check out Instagram @k9cleanpets for video.
2. Portable Dog Shower – Keep your dog refreshed and clean before getting back into your car for the trip home. Great for rinsing off your own sandy feet as well. This shower hangs on your car window or hatchback so that you can easily rinse off your pup and kids and anything else that gets muddy and sandy.
3. Collapsible Water Bowl – use fresh water source from the K9Clean Portable Dog Shower.
4. Chuck-it Ball – they float and along with the Chuck-it your dog can race across the sand and get good and tired!
5. Absorbent Micro-fleece Towel – Keep a towel in your vehicle. We use the Dirty Dog Shammy by Dog Gone Smart.
6. Sunscreen – look for a sunscreen that has UV protection and contains all-natural properties. The product most recommended by Dog Lovers is LifeFORCE SunDog Sunscreen.
Trish Snow is owner of K9Clean.com.
To learn more about K9 Clean and some of the products we have recommended, visit our website at k9clean.com and watch the product videos to see how they work!
Be sure to follow @k9cleanpets on Instagram or @k9clean on Facebook.