You push your toes into the warm sand and feel the sun glowing on your skin. Your dog runs out from the ocean toward where you're sitting underneath your beach umbrella - their tongue hangs happily outside their mouth, and you could swear they’re grinning. You throw a frisbee and watch them bound for it, almost catch it, drop it, then finally grip it in their teeth, eager to bring it back to you for the next throw.
Isn't that most pawrents' summer dream?
Beach days with your dog can make up some of your fondest family memories. To make the most of your sun-soaked and salty afternoons for you and pooch, keep these tips for safe days at the dog beach in mind.
Enjoying the beach is thirsty work! The salty water, hot sun and running around can be a recipe for dehydration. Here's how you can help your doggo stay hydrated at the beach:
- Offer your dog a big drink before you leave the house to start them off hydrated.
- Bring a travel dog bowl and plenty of fresh water so they can drink along the way.
- Keep an eye on their panting and dribbling. Excessive panting and drooling can be a sign your dog is overheating or dehydrated. Dogs pant to cool themselves down naturally, but if you notice them panting heavier than usual, stop to give them some water and get them into the shade.
Keeping your dog cool at the beach
It can be easy to overheat under that Aussie sun! A few things you can do to help your doggo have their fun without getting too hot include:
- Prepping their coat for summer. Single-coat breeds might need a shave, and double-coat breeds might need a trim.
- Trimming hair from around their paw pads. Dogs naturally release heat through the bottom of their feet.
- Get them some outdoor dog boots to protect their feet from hot sand. If the sand is too hot on your skin, it’s too hot for their paws.
- Offer them a cooling vest, or cooling bandana. If your dog is swimming take off their cooling wear, so it doesn’t weigh them down in the water, but while you’re lazing around on the sand, it can help regulate their temperature.
- While your dog is swimming, you can help keep them safe with a dog life jacket.
- Don’t forget a comfortable harness or collar and leash for on-lead walks at the dog beach.
- Protect their skin from UV rays with a doggy sunscreen stick, sunmist or sunwipes.
- Bring a form of shade like an umbrella, beach tent or gazebo.
Car trips to and from the beach with your dog
On a hot day, cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures. Please drive with the windows cracked or the air-conditioner on, and always take your pooch with you when you leave the car.
A dog hammock can make car trips comfier and easier for everyone, especially on the way home when your pooch is sandy! These seat covers protect your car seats from sand and dirt and have mesh sides for airflow as your doggo dries off on the way home.
Check out more tips for safe car trips with your dog here.
Entertaining your dog at the beach.
Sometimes just running free at a dog-friendly beach will be enough for your four-legged friend, but playing with them never hurts! Playing with your dog can also strengthen your bond and give them the necessary attention.
Games like fetch and tug are perfect for the dog beach. The KONG squeakair balls can help keep them active and stimulated, plus the non-abrasive felt is gentle on your doggo’s teeth. If you’re still working on fetch with your pooch, check out this article on how to teach your dog to fetch.
Toys that float on the water make for better beach games, so check out our range, from amphibious bumpers to flying rings. To help keep the beach all fun and games for everybody, make sure you bring plenty of waste bags!
The importance of dog recall training for beach trips
If you’re visiting an off-leash dog beach, it's important that your dog will come when called. Your dog may become interested in other people running around or something they find on the beach, and you may need to call them away.
Recall dog training is best done gradually, so the beach is a good place to have as a goal for when your pooch knows how to come when called. Here are the basics of how to teach your dog to come:
- Choose a command to stick with, like “Come”, “Here”, or your dog’s name said with a consistent pitch and tone.
- Start in a small environment without distractions. From a metre or two away, call your dog to you. When they come, reward them with their favourite treat or lots of pats. A few minutes a day is a good way to start this training.
- As they get better at responding, increase the distance you’re asking them to come and start introducing other distractions like other people.
- Always offer a high-quality reward as your dog is learning to come when you call. As your dog starts to learn that being called means leaving the fun place and going home, they might learn to stop coming. Offering a reward that distracts them from whatever they were already chasing after or exploring is crucial for maintaining a positive association with recall training.
Summer fun for the whole family
Enjoying the outdoors can be so rewarding for you and your fur family. The sights, smells and sounds of nature will not only stimulate your doggy’s super senses, but it’s also great for your mental well-being! As long as all members of the family, whether two-legged or four, are hydrated and protected from the sun, long sunny days can be memories you share forever.