Visiting the beach with your dog can be a great way to switch up your daily walking routine. The beach can be a place for running free, the sea to play and splash in and lots of room to stretch their legs and tire themselves out. Keep reading to find out why a visit to the beach can be a great day out. And make yourself aware of what you should look out for to keep your pet safe.
Benefits of Visiting the Beach
Our little green island is full of wonderful, beautiful beaches. These beaches have a huge open space for dogs to run around which is sometimes restricted in other walking locations. The open space provides opportunities for ball games, recall training and some added bonding with your furry friend. Digging and exploring throughout the vast amount of sand are fun activities for your dog too. This open space helps burn energy for dogs, especially those extra energetic dogs. This can be particularly helpful for those dogs who require more exercise to release some of that extra energy once a week.
If your dog is not up for running around, they can make some new friends with other dogs that are on the beach too. Another element of the beach that is great for your dogs is the sea water. Many dogs love water, especially retrievers or spaniel. These dogs love running in and out of the waves playing fetch and have lots of fun.
It’s Physically Beneficial for You Too!
Being in a natural environment is good for your furry friend by stimulating their minds with different sounds and textures of the beach. But it is also good for you too. A visit to the beach can be great for your mental and physical health. Being away from city noises can be refreshing as beaches are one of the most natural environments to visit. In current times especially, there is more stress and anxiety, but getting out and about in the fresh air can really has positive effects on reducing stress and your overall mental health.
Walking on the sand can also be a stress reducer, it’s peaceful and relaxing which reduces your stress making you happier and healthier. Also, walking on the sand helps build up strength. The sand is soft so when your foot sinks down into it your muscles need to work harder to push you forward for your next step which strengthens your ankles and foot muscles which in turn strengthens your whole leg. If you do this with no shoes on, your little muscles that help support the arches of your foot are also strengthened. Because walking on sand is more effort, it burns more calories, and because it is such a natural peaceful environment people tend to exercise longer too. So, you are not only reaping benefits from the fresh air, but you get some exercise in too, it’s a win-win situation!
Be Aware of the Dangers
Around coastline there are many fishermen who spend their spare time fishing form beaches and harbors. While most are responsible and take everything home with them, sometimes things are left behind. However sometimes fishing lines can snag a rock and the hook gets lost in the water. The hook can washed back up on the beach, sometimes bait can still be on the hook which dogs sniff out. Keep your dog away from any old fish or bait on the beach. These fishing hooks can cause serious damage if swallowed or if they get stuck in your dog. Also, it is best to make sure your dog avoids dead bait/fish, you don’t know what bacteria is in it.
We are all aware of the climate change crisis and how waste and water pollution is a huge problem around the world, Ireland included. There are many ways for litter to end up on a beach, be it from being washed ashore from some unknown location, dropped by people on the beach, or blown on to the beach from an over full rubbish bin. With the tide coming in twice a day, moving and churning sand causes litter to be buried underneath which causes problems for your dog. This litter can include plastic bottles, oil drums, syringes, glass, sharp metal, rusty nails in driftwood to name just a few. Keep an eye on your dog and if they start digging make sure to check what their scent is on to.
Another dangerous litter problem which is common during summer months is people leaving hot charcoal behind after a barbeque. Charcoal is sometimes tipped onto the sand in an effort to extinguish it or disposable barbeque trays are just left behind. Be aware of your surroundings to protect your dog from being burnt. As always, when visiting the beach take only memories and leave only footprints.
All that running around can make your dog thirsty particularly if it is a warm day, but your dog may react to drinking water from the sea or rock pools. As humans we know not to drink salt water, but as far as our furry friends know, they are thirsty and there is plenty of water for the taken on a beach. Try to avoid this by bringing fresh water with you on your excursion. If a dog drinks too much salt water their body starts taking water from their blood into their intestines which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration.
Sun & Sand Burn
Some dogs have a thicker coat of hair which helps block sun rays and acts as a natural sunblock. However, for dogs who have short/thin hair or if they have bald patches care must be taken. You can purchase dog sun cream from most pet stores, which can help protect your furry friend. Another way your pet can burn while at the beach is the hot sand. With the sun beating down on the sand all day, the temperature of the sand rises. This can cause damage to your dog’s paws. You should wait until it gets cooler in the evening or early morning to go for your walk.
Jelly fish may look striking, but they pose a danger to both humans and animals alike. Most of the jellyfish found after being washed ashore are more than likely already dead. However, they can still sting for many weeks afterwards. Your dog may encounter a jellyfish on the sand or when playing in the water. It is important to note the type of jellyfish to help heal your pet if have an intense reaction. The chart below has the six most common types of jellyfish in Ireland which may be helpful in identifying jellyfish. Common symptoms of jellyfish stings include but are not limited to vomiting, excessive drooling, swelling, retching, licking the affected area, and difficulty breathing. If you are concerned your dog was affected by a jellyfish, please contact your veterinarian.
The beach can be fun for both you and your dog. It is a great way to change the environment of your walks. During warmer days, early mornings or evenings can be a great time to bring your pet for a walk. If you are aware of things to keep an eye out for, you’ll have a great time at the beach! Just don’t forget your own sun cream too! For more information on caring for your dog during warm days read our post Keeping your Dog Safe this Summer.
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