Beach Safety for Dogs
Who else is starting to get their summer glow back? Dreaming of lying on the beach and spending your days on the water are now in arms reach. While you are focused on the positive enthusiasm, realizing that summer is upon us, here at FlipFlop Dogs, we felt it was the perfect opportunity to give you summer dog safety advice.
We want you to have a happy, healthy and safe summer with your dog, but the beach poses as a threat to many dogs. The four major safety concerns are: dehydration, salt intoxication, sunburns (including paws) and a heat stroke. To avoid any health concerns, follow these dog safety summer guidelines to have a carefree couple of months.
Dehydration: With the heat, dogs can easily get dehydrated- just like humans. Although, they are unable to alert us as well, a quick sign would be when they start acting lethargic, have sunken eyes and panting with a dry mouth. A simple preventative measure is to bring water for your dog when you are outside in the heat for an extended period of time. If you are playing Frisbee, you can easily fill that up with cool, clean water in between throws. We recommend providing them with water, at least, every 15 minutes to ensure they will not be dehydrated. Dehydration at the beach can be especially concerning, which leads into the next point of salt intoxication.
Salt intoxication (hypernatremia): If you bring your dog to the beach, be aware of how often they gulp down the ocean water. Dogs do not understand that salt water is harmful to them, and different than the clean water you normally provide for them. Some dogs have a tendency to overload on salt water by keeping their mouth wide open while playing or swimming. Even a little salt intake can upset certain dog’s stomachs. The early signs of hypernatremia are vomiting and “beach diarrhea”, but can quickly develop full-fledged hypernatremia by showing neurological signs of having trouble walking, seizures and sudden depression. If you notice these signs, take your dog to the vet immediately to be treated. Prevent this by using the tip above and provide your pup with fresh, clean water frequently so they aren’t as tempted to start swallowing the salt water.
Sunburns: Just like humans, dogs can get sunburnt. Our FlipFlop Dog, Charlie, is our first dog to get noticeable sunburnt. Like other white coated, thin haired dogs, this should be a concern as their skin turns distinctively pink/red after lying outside. While there are pet specific sunscreens, baby sunscreen works just as well and is more accessible at local stores. After applying the sunscreen, keep a watchful eye to be sure your dog doesn’t lick the area (which would reverse the benefits of applying the sunscreen in the first place). Providing an umbrella or shaded area for your dog to lie under is another easy way of preventing sunburns and overheating.
Your dog’s skin is not the only part that can be burnt, but also their paws. Asphalt, sand and boardwalk wood can all become too hot for your dog’s paws when the summer temperatures are rising. A way to tell is by putting your palm on the ground. If it’s too hot for your palm, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on. Try walking them in a different area, such as grass, or at a different time in the day.
Heat strokes: Panting and disorientation are the main signs of a looming heat stroke in your dog. Dogs can easily over heat by being outside in the hot temperatures. Limit the amount of time they spend outside and do not leave them outside unattended. Daily exercise is always healthy, but during the summer, be careful with the temperatures and monitoring your dog’s heat intake. Exercising should be moved to the early morning or late evening to prevent a heat stroke. Most dogs do not realize anything is wrong and will keep jogging or walking, so it’s your job to know when to stop. To cool your dog down, bath them in cool, not cold, water. Cold water can make overheating worse. If your dog does not cool down, call the vet. Heat strokes can happen outside, inside and, especially in a car. Did you know that an inside temperature of a car can rise 40 degrees within an hour, when the temperatures are between 72 and 96 degrees outside?! Thanks to the study done by Stanford University School of Medicine, we know for that to be true. Leave your dog home, inside and with air condition to prevent any over heated related incidents.
Use your best judgment in keeping your dog safe and cool this summer. If you notice something “off”, contact your vet as the summer heat could be affecting your dog. Your dog can still have fun outdoors by playing in a sprinkler and when they are being carefully monitored during the hottest months.
Look for more dog safety blog posts throughout this summer, including an upcoming post on safety while swimming. Comment below if you have any specific concerns about your dog’s safety during the summer- we’d love to provide you with our tips.