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Thank Goodness It’s Summer!

I think we can all agree that a major perk of living in Hawai’i is the glorious summer days. People save up dollars and vacation days to get a taste of what we have close-by all year long. And while some of us don’t make it out to the beach as often as we’d like most of the year, the summer (and the promise of cooling off!) makes the beach that much more appealing.

For dog parents, a beach day can be an exciting day for all. What better way to take advantage of Hawai’i life with your dog than with a little sun, sand, and surf?

So to help you and your dog enjoy the beach this summer, here are a few safety tips to make sure that a day at the beach is a happy and healthy adventure for all!

1. Bring lots of water for your dog!

Your dog needs to stay hydrated to avoid heatstroke and deter them from resorting to drinking ocean water for hydration. Your dog gets dehydrated faster exposed to the sun and saltwater. Be sure to take water breaks several times each hour. If your beach park doesn’t have access to fresh water, be sure to pack enough bottled water for your pet.

Don’t forget a travel bowl! We carry an assortment of collapsible travel bowls, including these from Ruffwear and Bamboo.

And if you’re going to spend the day at the beach, be sure to bring your dog’s food stored in a sealed container, preferably a cooler, to avoid bugs and going bad in the heat.

2. Know the signs of heat stroke, and what to do in case it happens to your dog.

Acting quickly could save your dog’s life. Symptoms can include:

  • Rapid panting

  • Bright red tongue

  • Red or pale gums

  • Thick, sticky saliva

  • Depression

  • Weakness

  • Dizziness

  • Vomiting – sometimes with blood

  • Diarrhea

  • Shock

  • Coma

Acting early could be a matter of life or death. If you have any REMOTE suspicion that your dog is suffering form heat stroke, remove them from the heat immediately and call your vet.

Along with removing your dog from the heat, you should also:

  • CALL YOUR VET. This is so important. They can offer specific advise for your dog’s condition. Also, bring your dog to the vet immediately, even if they seem to be improving.

  • Allow them to drink cool, NOT COLD, water. Encourage them to drink, but do not force them if they refuse. You can try wetting their lips and tongue with a wet cloth to entice them.

  • Cool your dog with water, but do NOT use very cold water (air temperature water is advisable), and do not submerge them. You do not want to cool them too quickly. Lightly douse them with a hose or use wet towels to wipe their body and pulse points. Wipe their paws with damp cloths. DO NOT cover them in wet cloths, as that can serve to trap heat.

  • If your dog wants to move, let them. Circulation and blood flow helps cool your dog, confining them or holding them down can cause further stress and heat accumulation.

3. Shade.

An umbrella, a tent, an air conditioned car — make sure your dog has a place to take a break from the heat. Build some relaxing time into your day, even if you have an enthusiastic beach dog!

And don’t forget to protect your dog from the sun, especially if they have light skin. We carry SPF 40 sun protection shirts in various sizes by Zack and Zoey. Safe and stylish for the summer sun!

4. Don’t assume your dog is a natural swimmer!

Your dog may love splashing in the water, but may not feel safe swimming. Only ask your dog to do what they are capable of. If your dog likes the water and might want to try swimming, a properly fitted life vest like Ruffwear’s K-9 Float Coat can keep your dog safe, confident, and their head above water. This is especially important if you’re boating or paddle boarding.

5. Don’t overdo it.

Running in sand and surf can tire your dog out quicker than usual. Don’t keep throwing that ball out into the surf for your dog to fetch if they are starting to look tired. While the beach can be exciting, keep in mind your dog’s physical limits especially if they are older, out of shape, have any sort of physical limitations or handicaps, or are puppies. Overdoing it at the beach can lead to heatstroke and exhaustion.

6. Remember your dog’s paws!

You know how hot that sand is on your feet. Protect your dog’s paws with a paw balm or dog booties. We carry some paw balms that can help heal, protect, and soothe your dogs paws. Among them Musher’s Secret and a staff favorite, Buck Mountain’s Wound Balm.

If your dog might be walking on hot pavement or rocks by the beach, booties are great for protecting against heat and cuts. We carry booties from Ultra Paws and from Grip Trex and Summit Trex booties from Ruffwear

Also make sure your dog has a blanket or mat to lay on away to get away from hot sand, gravel, or concrete. And check their paws throughout the day for cuts and scrapes (don’t forget between their toes!).

7. Know the beach.

Is there a sudden drop off from the shoreline? Is there a strong undertow or current? Are the waves pounding the shore? Are there hidden hidden rocks or sharp coral? Do YOU feel uncomfortable going into the water? Don’t send your dog into water you are unsure of, or wouldn’t send a beginner swimmer or child into.

8. Make sure your dog has a secure collar and identification, and is microchipped.

You should always keep your eye on your dog, but just in case they get away, this will ensure that they can be returned.

9. Don’t force your dog.

Some dogs are afraid of the water, just like people. If they are afraid, don’t throw them into the water. A life vest and slowly letting them toe into water may help them learn to enjoy swimming, but if they are too afraid, don’t force them.

I’ve met a couple dogs who don’t like walking in deep sand. You may even have an old dog who just wants to sit under the umbrella with you and people watch. There are many ways to enjoy the beach, find the one that suits your dog.

10. Thoroughly rinse or bathe your dog after a day at the beach.

Salt and sand can be very irritating to your dog’s skin, eyes, and paws. Be sure to wash and/or rinse between their toes, between their legs, under their tails, and wipe out their nose and eyes. Be sure they drink lots of fresh water after a day at the beach. Check your dog from nose to tail for cuts and scrapes, and if found, clean them out and apply the proper medical treatment.

Your dog might even get an upset stomach from accidentally swallowing salt water. Be sure to keep them hydrated and if necessary, mix some plain, steamed pumpkin into their food to help settle their tummy. We like Nummy Tum Tum, Pure Pumpkin 100% Organic, you can find it in our canned food section. I always like to have a can around!

With just a few precautions, the beach can be a you and your dogs’ favorite spot this summer. We hope you have many wonderful beach days with your furry-family members!

Happy Summer!

~Your Loyal Calvin & Susie Blogger

As always, check with your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet or body care. The Calvin & Susie Blogger always researches to the best of her ability, but she is not a vet. This blog is not in any way meant to replace veterinary advice or care. When in doubt always ask a vet.

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