With summer in full swing, many pet owners are heading to the beach with their canine counterparts for some fun in the sun and water. Beaches are a great place for pets to cool off, get some exercise and play, but there are some important precautions to take to keep pets safe, even at beaches designated specifically for dogs.
The new sights and smells at beaches can be overwhelming and cause your dog to act in unusual ways, and one of the best ways to be prepared for unexpected costs related to your pet’s health is with pet medical insurance. Heat stroke and dehydration are two of the most common beach-related claims Trupanion sees during the summer months and typically cost an average of $2,100 and $580 to treat, respectively. Trupanion has even paid out claims for dogs who have ingested everything from fish hooks and frogs to starfish and jellyfish.
Top Five Beach Dangers for Dogs
1. Sun burns – You may not realize it, but even dogs can get sun burns. Their noses, bellies, and areas with particularly thinner fur are susceptible to the sun’s hot rays so it’s important to protect your pooch. Provide shade with a beach umbrella and consider dog-friendly sunscreen. (Sunscreen made for humans can make your pet sick if he tries to lick it off.) Also consider looking into doggy sun goggles to protect your pooch’s eyes from harmful rays.
2. Salt water – Your pup may be inclined to lap up the salty ocean water if he’s thirsty, but the salt, bacteria and parasites in the water can make them sick. Prevent your dog from drinking salt water by providing plenty of fresh water. It’s also important not to let the salt water dry on their fur since it can irritate their skin. Be sure to give your pup a good rinse off with fresh water when he’s done swimming.
3. Seaweed and sea creatures – While exploring the beach you may come across washed up sea life and other items. Keep a close eye on your dog to prevent him from rolling in or eating anything that could make him sick. Some areas also have higher danger of sea creatures like jellyfish so be sure to keep a close watch on the surrounding waters to keep your pet safe.
4. Hot sand – If the sand is too hot for you to walk barefoot, then it’s too hot for your pup’s paw pads. Save your beach trip for a cooler day or go in the early morning or late evening to avoid the heat.
5. Big waves – Your dog may be a strong swimmer, but large rolling waves can be very dangerous. You might choose to keep your dog on a leash so that he can’t go out too far, or purchase a dog life jacket in case he gets too tired swimming.