Summertime Swimming and Beach Tips for Your Dog

by Pool Builders on 04-26-2011 in Articles

There are starting to be glimpses of warm weather across the county and time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Many people enjoy taking their dog to the beach, lake, or to a backyard pool in the summer and are curious about the possible dangers from the sun, heat, or water. While it's always in your best interest to ask your veterinarian, here are a few tips to make sure you and your pet have a safe and fun time.

Before heading outside, the first thing to think about is the sun. Along with humans, it is possible for your dog to get a sunburn so they need sunscreen just like you! Two of their most sensitive places are on the bridge of their nose and tips of their ears. In addition, dogs with shorter and thinner hair are more prone to sunburn because they don't have enough hair to protect their skin. If you're going to have your dog outside for awhile, lather them up with sunscreen all over. And don't forget that if you have one of those dogs that love to lay in the direct sunlight and roll over to expose their bellies, this is definitely a great place for you to apply sunscreen because there's not much hair here to help protect them. And yes, you can use human sunscreen so there's no need to purchase anything special.

Now that you and your dog have applied sunscreen and are heading out the door to take a walk on the beach, you need to think about temperatures on the feet. If it's a bright sunny day and your shoes are off and walking on the sand or pavement burns your feet, remember that it will burn the bottom of your dogs feet too. The pads of your dog's feet are sensitive to the hot sand and hot pavement so care should be taken to protect them and walk in the grass or wait until it cools off. Some people like to buy little booties with rubber soles for their dogs to wear which is an alternative.

Since we've applied sunscreen and walked out to the water, is it safe to get in? As we all now know, it's an old wives tale that humans can't go swimming after eating but what about our dogs? Their digestive system is slower than ours which means they could have food in their stomachs sometimes 3-4 hours after eating. It is OK for them to go swimming after eating, but the concern lies in their amount of exertion. If your canine friend has a full stomach, that in combination with exertion could lead to nausea. So just make sure to take it easy and not let them get exhausted. If you're going swimming in the ocean, watch out for the jelly fish. If they get bitten, it will be evident because they will likely bite at the area, turn circles and whine. Have some vinegar with you to put on the sting, and then get to a vet. And we all know that the salty ocean water can dry out our skin and also can dry out our dog's skin and make them itch. As soon as you're done playing and swimming in the ocean, shower your dog off with clean water so as not to allow the salt to dry out their skin. Also at the beach, sometimes it's possible to pick up sand fleas. But luckily, if you use a typical flea product on your dog it works for all types of fleas, including those pesky ones at the beach. If you're going out on a boat, it's a good idea to have a life vest on your dog. Yes, it is true that most dogs are great swimmers, but if they are too far from shore they could get exhausted and have difficulty in swimming to safety.

Following these simple tips can allow for a wonderful day outdoors in the sun and water for both you and your dog.

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