There’s nothing quite like a dog walk along the coast with a bracing sea breeze to fill your lungs.
Dogs usually adore beaches and the wide open space it provides to burn off energy, chasing waves (or seagulls!), playing fetch or digging in the sand or sniffing around rock pools.
Once you’ve decided on an ideal location, check nearby beaches will welcome dogs at the time that you plan to go. Some are dog friendly all year round, whereas others have a ‘closed season’– from May to September for example.
Don’t assume your dog can swim. Every dog has to learn and some breeds are naturally good strong swimmers, others are not. Experts advise if your dog is not used to swimming the sea is not the place to start.
Coastal paths offer great dog walking opportunities. Dogs love the sights, sounds and smells they encounter. A word of caution on clip-top walks though – dogs have been known to tumble over cliff edges while chasing rabbits. so keep your dog on a lead especially if you don’t have good recall.
Where a routes crosses through a beach, you may be permitted to cross it with your dog (look out for signs). Keep your dog on a lead, don’t linger, and keep to the line of the path – normally along the back of the beach.
Never leave your dog in the car on a sunny day — a sea breeze may fool you into thinking it’s cooler than it really is.
Health tips for beaches
- Salt water is not good for dogs. It can make them vomit, or worse, lead to salt poisoning, which is potentially fatal. Take water and a bowl for your dog to drink from.
- Use sunblock on dogs with thin or pale fur, applying it to the nose and ears.
- Watch for signs of overheating such as excessive panting, drooling, coordination problems, vomiting and/or diarrhea and collapse. Ensure your dog has somewhere cool to shelter.
- If your dog suffers from arthritis or other joint conditions limit the amount of time he spends swimming. He could be rather stiff the following day.
- When it’s time to go, check your dog for cuts and scrapes and if possible rinse him off to remove salt and sand from coat and paws.