A practical guide to taking your dog to the beach
Article by Lauren Bate (diaryofaspanglishgirl.com)
As the summer sun starts to appear, most of us will start thinking about packing a deckchair and having a relaxing trip to the beach. If you’re a dog owner, like me, you’re more than likely considering packing your towel and taking your dog for a fun trip out to the beach too.
If you’re lucky enough to live near the sea, or have the capacity to travel to one with your dog, you’ll find great pleasure in taking your four-legged friend to the beach. It can be such an enriching and fun experience, but the wonderful days at the beach very rarely come without an incident or two.
As somebody who has taken our dog to the beach many a time before, I’ve seen it all. From irate dogs getting a little out of control, turtles and fish in their mouths and one or two pees up a lunch bag. The latter being the incident of our pooch. Aren’t they little darlings?
First things first, taking a dog on a long journey is much like taking a small child out. For such a little animal going on a day trip, you’d have thought we were heading away for a week.
Packing for a Doggy Day Out
You’ll need to pack everything in advance for a trip to the beach. It’s essential that you have everything within close vicinity and pack for all sorts of eventualities. That accessory you have never used? Chances are, you probably need it now.
- Beach Toys
It’s essential that you pack toys for your pooch to play with. We always take Rio, our cavalier’s, favourite teddy bear as a comforter and a few balls and floating toys. Just like children, dogs get bored very quickly. Rio isn’t the biggest fan of the sea, but he loves playing fetch along the sand. Plenty of toys will keep your dog entertained. Check out our review of 15 tough dog toys – ideal for lots of fun at the beach!
Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink, that’s what they say and it rings absolutely true for dog beaches. Most dog beaches you’ll venture to won’t actually have any facilities. From past experience, they are usually deserted coves with masses of open space. If you’re really lucky, there might be a beach shack bar on site too. But, don’t count on this! Take plenty of water with you! We pack a few bottles of water and freeze them before we go. This means Rio has access to plenty of cold water as it thaws. Don’t forget their water bowl too!
- ID Tags
We use safepet.eu to have the perfect ID tag made for Rio. Not only does it contain all of the essential data, it automatically translates it to the local language which is absolutely incredible for travelling. A simple but effective idea is to have a separate tag made for each trip. If you’re planning to head to multiple cities or countries, you can have separate ID tags made with the local hotel added. If your dog beach is local, it’s a good idea to have an extra one made with your home address on. The tags are waterproof too which makes them great for use in the sea. If you’ve been thinking about a GPS tracker for your dog, then this might be the perfect excuse to get one!
Depending on where you’re heading and for how long, you’ll need some sort of paperwork. Whether this be their pet passport and vaccination papers to the local veterinary phone number and address and insurance documents.
- First Aid
You never know when you might just need it. Dog beaches are usually in the middle of nowhere and can take a while to head to the nearest supermarket or pharmacy. It’s generally good practice to carry around a few pieces of emergency first aid when heading somewhere out in the sticks. We usually take eye wash, for when he’s digging his nose in the sand and some gets into his eyes, first aid tape and antibiotic lotion.
- Cleaning up equipment
Keeping the dog beach clean is everybody’s responsibility. Always ensure you have a selection of doggy bags to pick up any mess. On the other side of cleanliness, we also take Rio’s dog towel to dry him off afterwards and old sheets to throw over the seats of the car.
- Food and Treats
What more do we love than having a nibble whilst laying on the beach? Well, dogs are the same. They get the urge to have a nibble or two and nobody likes travelling with somebody who has a rumbly tummy. If we’re heading out on a long trip, we regimentally stick to Rio’s feeding schedule, but may give him more treats than usual. Usually, travelling somewhere new can make your dog feel nervous and on edge, so it’s a good idea to stick to some sort of routine.
The summer sun is harsh. It can burn. It can make your dog lethargic and dehydrated. You should always ensure that there is somewhere for your dog to seek shade whilst on the beach, even if it doesn’t feel too hot to you. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to head to the beach with your pooch, but ensure you research the area first as some places may be rife with flies at this time! If you are spending the entire day at the beach, it’s essential to pack an umbrella so your dog can seek refuge in the shade.
It’s quite an extensive list, isn’t it? Rather naively, I never considered how much you might just need before taking Rio to the beach. It’s hard enough packing for a beach trip for yourself, let alone when you add on the copious amounts of stuff we’d be lumping along for Rio. When you’re in the midst of packing, there’s always something you’re bound to forget which is why we now make lists. Checking everything off as we go along.
I had this impression that Rio would love the beach. I envisioned me running in the sea and him chasing after me splashing around in the sea. Well, turns out Rio is no water baby.
You might find that like Rio your dog doesn’t take to the water very quickly. On a puppy level, those waves look intimidating. Petrifying even. You’ll need to be prepared for plenty of cuddles and encouragement. If you’re lucky, another accustomed dog might come charging along into the water and encourage your pooch to play. If he’s still nervous and shy, let your dog play along the sand, with each visit he’ll get more and more comfortable and get closer to the edge. Rio is at the stage of standing on the shore and letting the waves crash against his feet now. Every time he makes progression.
After a long day at the beach, your pooch is sure to be exhausted. Normally, Rio curls up into his bed and takes a long snooze as soon as we’re home. A trip to the beach can be fun and such an enriching experience, but remember to take precautions and pack the essentials!
Now you’re equipped with what to take, we hope your dog has the best time at the beach and you make some unforgettable memories together. Don’t forget your camera!