Ocean Currents

Beach Tips for Dog Lovers: Keep Your Pooch (and Wildlife) Safe

© Lucian W. Fox

When the dog days of summer blast in, there’s nothing like a romp at the beach with your canine friend to beat the heat. My golden retrievers love a beach on the Delaware shore where they are welcome after 5 p.m. for a frolic in the surf. And over the years, I’ve learned a few things that make a good evening great.

Planning ahead makes for the best beach trip possible, so before you head out, find a beach where dogs are allowed and check out the rules on leashing. When outside for longer periods of time, your pup needs the same things you do, including plenty of fresh water and protection from the sun. And remember: The urge to run and swim will be irresistible; if your dog isn’t used to a lot of activity, take it easy to avoid pulled muscles or exhaustion.

And ocean-lovers will want to consider these tips:

  • It’s great to see your dog frolicking on the beach, but be sure she’s not tearing into wildlife habitat or destroying the roots of grasses that hold dunes in place.
  • Scoop droppings and discourage your pup from pooping in the water where you can’t clean up – better yet, get her to do her duty before heading to the beach.
  • Play chase with balls and beach toys so you dog is less likely to go after sea birds feeding or nesting on the ground; stress can kill. Know your beach; endangered species like the piping plover are protected by law. (And don’t leave your ball on the beach. Bring it home with you.)
  • Toss floating toys to ensure they don’t go wayward in the waves; playthings that sink wind up as ocean trash.
  • Carry a leash; leashing could be the law, and may come in handy if wildlife shows up unexpectedly.
  • Leave only paw-prints; if Rover tears up a toy, carefully dispose of the pieces so they don’t become confetti trash in the ocean where marine life like sea turtles and fish mistake it for food.

Fellow ocean-going dog-lovers, please add your beach-going dog tips in the comments section below!

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