August 09 2019

Can I take my dog to beach? 

Yes, but there are some requirements and important things to consider so read on.


1.  Check the Beach Rules

Before you hit the road and head straight to your favorite beach, make sure your destination allows dogs. Public beaches post their pooch-friendly policies online. Many beaches have dog-friendly hours and rules, but not every beach. You may find that the beach only allows dogs before 9 am and after 5 pm. This is often the case in beach towns and resort areas during peak season.

dogs allowed on beach sign


2.  Check the Forecast - Dogs Might Enjoy the Beach on Stormy Day but You Probably Won't

You’ll want to make sure you and your pup don’t wind up red as lobsters or cold as frozen shrimp, nor do you want to arrive just in time for a thunderstorm. When it comes to sun protection, always use sunblock on your dog’s nose, even if it’s overcast. Avoid zinc oxide since it’s dangerous for dogs, and never let your dog go swimming in water that’s below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.


3.  Dogs and Water Mix, but a Wet Dog Jumping into Your Car Isn't so Great

We cannot stress the importance of towels enough for a beach trip. Your dog will need a towel when he’s done swimming the first time, but he’ll probably go back in a few more times. You also want a couple extra for after he showers and to lay on the back seat for the ride home.

dog with towel on beach

4.  Pack Some Toys - Your Pooch will want to Play

Whether your dog is afraid of the wake or dives right in, make sure you have a Frisbee, ball, or a few other toys to keep your dog entertained. Most outdoor-loving dogs live for fetch along the shoreline. Tossing the ball into the water can also encourage nervous dogs to take the plunge and go for a swim.


5.  Bring an Umbrella - Dog's Overheat Easily

When your dog is exposed to the sun’s heat, he’s not just at risk for burning his nose, but he may also be at risk for heatstroke. Make sure you choose a shady spot to park your beach chair and puppy’s towel or make your own shade with an umbrella. Your dog will want a little reprieve from the UV rays and an area to cool off and drink some fresh water.

If you notice any signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, make sure you cool your pup off as quickly as possible and provide plenty of water.

dog under beach umbrella on beach near blue ocean


6.  Pack Plenty of Water - Your Pup will Need Extra H20 because of the Heat

Speaking of water, you’ll want plenty of that too. Your dog will likely be running and jumping and panting like crazy with all the fun he’s having at the beach. You’ll need a lot of water to help keep your dog hydrated. You probably want to bring a half-gallon for every hour for small breeds and a gallon for every hour for medium and large dogs. It’s always better to have more water than necessary rather than get caught without enough.

dog drinking water at beach


7.  Some Dogs Aren’t Built to Swim

If you’re teaching your dog to swim, let him slowly approach the water and get in at his own pace. Forcing a dog into the ocean can be traumatic. Keep him on a leash and try walking into the water beside him. If he’s too nervous or just isn’t feeling it, don’t force him out of his comfort zone. He may panic and scratch you or inhale water.

Some dogs just don’t like swimming in the ocean, while others aren’t physiologically made for it. Dogs with short snouts (brachycephaly) or stubby legs may not be the best swim buddies.  Dogs with large chests and short legs struggle to keep their heads above the water. While dogs like Pugs and French Bulldogs, with short snouts, can struggle to get enough oxygen while paddling.


8.  Take the Time to Teach Your Dog to Swim

Not all dogs have the natural ability to swim like champions. Be sure to slowly introduce swimming to your dog if he’s hesitant or a beach newbie.

Many dogs react strangely to waves lapping toward their feet. Some dogs bite and snap at the incoming water while others might bark at it. This is normal. Your dog may not have any interest in actually going in beyond his ankles, which is okay.

Here is another great article about swimming with your fury friend

Swimming with Your Dog – A Guide for Active Dog Owners

 teaching dog how to swim

9.  Check the Sand Temperature - Paws can get Burnt too

If it’s 95 degrees out and you have hiking shoes for your pup, perfect! But if you don’t have dog boots or shoes, be sure to test the temperature of the sand. If you can’t keep your hand pressed to the surface of the sand for more than 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Avoid hot sand by going to the beach in the morning and evening rather than midday.


10.  Always Pay Attention to Your Pooch - Safety First

Always keep a close eye on your dog and the nearby area. There are various dangers that may arise at the beach, even for the best-behaved dogs. These include loose dogs that may not be as friendly as you’d expect, debris such as broken glass or broken sea shells or even hot coals near the barbecue area.

You also don’t want your dog diving in a sea turtle nest, protected areas such as dunes.

Areas with tall grass might have ticks and other pests so it is best to avoid those areas even if not protected.


11.  Quick Doggie Beach Bath - No Salty Dogs in the Car

If your dog decides to swim to the horizon and back, be prepared to wash and rinse all the seawater from his coat. You may want to bring dog shampoo and scrub your pup in the beach shower before you head home. If your dog licks too much salt off his coat, he might end up with an upset stomach. The salt can also irritate his skin.


Bonus #1

Is the Beach Safe for Puppies?  

Yes, but you will need to use extra caution.  First, be sure that your puppy has all vaccinations and it is a good idea to ask your vet if the timing is correct for a visit to the beach.  Next, be sure to follow all the same tips as of above and remember that puppies are more easily injured and will not have the proper training, you will need to be extra focused.

french bulldog puppy lying on beach Chewdup


Bonus #2

Taking a Trip to the Beach with Your Dog - Items to Take

  • Water
  • Water bowl is bottle that can be used for drinking
  • Food and snacks
  • Food bowl
  • Towels
  • Dog shampoo
  • Towels
  • Cooling vest
  • Doggie first aid kit
  • Harness and leash
  • ID tags
  • Toys


In Conclusion

As the days begin getting longer and the sun is warming up the water, you may consider bringing your dog to the beach. Some of the best spring break and summertime activities include water and waves and our dogs digging in the sand. If you want to enjoy all the ocean side has to offer with your fuzzy best friend, make sure you’re prepared for all the fun in the sun this year!

Along with packing your sunglasses, flip flops, and towel, you may want to pack an extra bag for your best friend. The beach is a blast for most pooches. So, don’t miss out on all the fun the beach has to offer this year.

lab dog swimming in ocean

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