Everyone loves to be beside the seaside — particularly with our canine companions; but, according to our friends at Vets Now, the UK’s leading provider of emergency pet care, there’s a myriad of dangers lurking.
If you’re planning a dog-friendly holiday by the sea this summer, then you need to stay beach safe. We chatted to Dave Leicester, Head of Telehealth at Vets Now, who reveals the top ten dangers to be aware of before taking your pooch to the beach this summer.
Believe it or not, some dogs have been known to eat sand when they visit the beach. Most, however, ingest it by accident through digging or repeatedly picking up sandy balls and toys.
If a dog swallows enough sand, it can cause a blockage in the intestine – otherwise known as sand impaction. Signs of this serious condition, which requires urgent veterinary treatment, include vomiting, dehydration and abdominal pain. Try to dust off as much sand as you can from balls, toys etc before getting your playful pooch to fetch.
Swimming in the sea
Don’t assume your dog can swim. All dogs have to learn just like us. Some breeds are naturally strong swimmers, but other breeds, such as corgis and pugs, are not. If your dog is not used to swimming then the sea is not the place to start, so make sure they don’t get out of their depth!
If you notice your dog lapping up seawater — stop them. The salt, bacteria and parasites in the water can make them sick. To prevent your furry friend from drinking saltwater, make sure you have plenty of fresh water on hand to give them throughout the day. Irritation to your dog’s skin and paws can be prevented by a fresh-water rinse down before leaving the beach.
Dead fish & Jellyfish
Don’t let your dog eat dead fish that have been washed up on the beach. These may contain potentially deadly toxins that could seriously harm your dog. Keep a close eye on your curious canine if there’s likely to be jellyfish around, too. Often lurking in shallow water or washed up on the beach, these troublesome sea creatures can cause a very nasty sting.
Strong tides and rolling waves, mudflats and low tides
Even if your pooch is a strong swimmer, they’re still at risk of being swept under by large rolling waves. Be careful on windy days when the waves are high and make sure your dog doesn’t venture too far out. Waves and currents can quickly exhaust dogs so perhaps consider buying a life vest for your dog.
On some beaches, mudflats and small islands are exposed at low tide. These can be very dangerous for people and dogs alike and should be avoided. If you’re visiting a beach with a high tidal range, never attempt to reach the water at low tide and always check the tide times before you go.
Seaweed has been championed as a source of vitamins and minerals. However, dried up seaweed washed up on the shoreline can be dangerous for dogs. If swallowed, it can expand in the stomach and become stuck in the intestine.
Don’t be fooled by the cool coastal breeze, temperatures on beaches often soar in the height of summer in the UK. Whether it be under a parasol or a picnic table, be sure to provide a shaded area for your four-legged friend and give them plenty of fresh water to help avoid heatstroke. If you’re worried, you can arrange a video call with one of Vets Now emergency vets within the hour.
Walking on hot sand
Even in the UK, the sun can heat up the sand to dangerous temperatures. If it’s too hot for you to walk barefoot, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. If you’re planning on visiting the beach on a day that’s forecast to be hot, it’s a good idea to take your pooch in the early morning or late evening.
Just like humans, dogs can suffer sunburn. Breeds with short hair or white hair, and pink ears must be particularly careful on hot days. To combat this, you can use a sunscreen made specifically for dogs, but avoid those that contain fragrances.
And keep in mind that running on sand takes a lot more effort than running on grass. Overexertion, particularly in the summer sun, can quickly lead to potentially fatal heat stroke so beware. Make sure your best furry friend takes lots of rest and has access to shade and fresh water.
Need some additional advice?
If you’re worried about your pet whilst on holiday this summer, or even on a day trip, you can arrange a video chat with one of the highly experienced emergency vets from the Vets Now team, within minutes.
You can use Video Vets Now from anywhere in the UK, so whether you are on the beach, at home, or on your dog-friendly holiday, you’ll be able to gain quick and easy access to expert veterinary advice. A ten-minute vet video consultation costs £24 and is refundable if Vets Now recommend an in-person follow up within 24 hours.
What about some travel inspo?
Thinking about booking your next dog-friendly adventure, but aren’t quite sure where to look? Why not check out our favourite collections, featuring fido-friendly hotels, cottages and b&bs all hound-picked by our team of travel experts.