Frequenting the beach with our dogs, we often seen California Sea Lions and Seals swimming near the shore. These creatures are beautiful and look so playful but we must remember to keep a safe distance between the seals and our dogs. Anytime we enter the ocean, we must keep in mind that being at the ocean is an experience in the wilderness – it is a wild habitat that needs to be respected and protected.
You should always keep a close watch on your canine pals taking care that they do not harass or harm wildlife, and in turn, this will keep your dogs safe too.
For an interesting read on comparing dogs and seals see the article, Dogs And Bears Are Closely Related To Seals by Christopher M. Stephens on (Thursday, August 15, 2013 http://knowledgenuts.com/2013/08/15/dogs-and-bears-are-closely-related-to-seals/).
Before You Hit the Beach with your Canine Buddy…Safety First!
Obey the Bag and Cleanup After Your Pooch: As a responsible dog owner you should always bring your own doggy waste cleanup bags, however, most dog-friendly beaches provide “mutt mitts” at the entrance just in case you misplaced your bags or ran out. Dog excrement is a source of water and soil contamination for ocean wildlife, so pick up after your dog responsibly.
Sun protection: Like humans, dogs can sunburn, particularly if your dog has light skin and fur or short hair. You can purchase sunscreen formulated specifically for pets, and focus on the ears and nose when applying on your dog. Apply before and after swimming.
Teach your dog to swim: Don’t assume your dog is a natural swimmer. Take it slow and go into the water with your dog and see how your dog swims. Make sure your dog is comfortable and enjoys the ocean. Let your dog explore the shore and feel secure. Don’t just chuck his favorite ball into the crashing waves and expect him to go fetch it – how would you feel if someone did that to you?
Steer clear of rough water: Water that’s turbulent with large waves, and busy with surfboards, and body boarders can alarm your dog, so try to find a calm water area to enjoy together and with other dogs if your dog is social. Also, be aware of sea life – and always, call your dog into shore if seals are present.
Salt Water Tummy: Yum! Yes, for many dogs salt water is a delicious thing, however, it’s not good for them. Try to limit your dog from drinking salt water by encouraging regular hydration from the fresh water that you provide for him.
Fresh water and shade for your dog day at the beach: Make time for breaks, cool naps, and fresh water hydration for your dog. A beach outing can be both exhilarating and exhausting for your pooch, so make sure you have refreshments and sun shelter for both of you.
Sand Traps: Be aware that all sorts of items can be partially or fully hidden in the sand, so be aware of what your dog is digging in and possibly consuming. Though we pride ourselves on keeping our shores pristine, dogs can dig up the darnedest things!
Hit the Showers!: After your beach romp, (and this is also applicable for fresh water play), rinse off your dog’s coat thoroughly to remove sand, salt, and even germs before continuing on to your next activity. A mild shampoo, non-drying shampoo might be necessary at the end of the day too.