It’s Beach Season! Should you bring your dog to the beach?


 Spending time at the beach with your dog is a favorite activity of many floridians. It provides great exercise, valuable one-on-one bonding time and time to just unwind from a hectic week. We, as veterinarians, enjoy seeing this “human-companion animal bond” strengthened.

There are some things beachgoers need to remember. Although the weather may be great and the salt air smells luscious, your dog is at risk for several things.

1. If the sand is too hot for your barefeet, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws! Although dogs’ paws have pads on the bottom, they can get burned from hot sand or hot asphalt. So be smart and don’t take your dog to the beach in the middle of the day when the sand tends to be the hottest.

2. Beware of riptides! If your dog likes to swim, realize that if he gets caught in a riptide, you may never see him again! Know the water conditions as best you can before you start to play catch with your best friend!

3. What about jellyfish? They can sting your dog too. So if you see them in the water, keep your dog out!

4. When dogs go in the ocean, they end up drinking the saltwater. Ingestion of too much saltwater spells big trouble. Not only can it cause vomiting and diarrhea but more important, ingestion of large amounts of salt can cause swelling in the brain. This can have catastrophic events; even death.

5. Sand ingestion also occurs. If too much sand is eaten, your dog can end up with a sand impaction. This can cause an intestinal obstruction which can be very dangerous.

6. Dogs also can easily become dehydrated or suffer heatstroke from spending too much time out in the sun. Make sure you bring fresh drinking water and limit the amount of beach time.

Despite all these cautions, spending time with your dog outdoors is fantastic in so many ways. As a pet owner you just need to use common sense. If your best friend seems sick after spending time at the beach, seek veterinary care immediately.

-Dr. Wasserman