Beach Basics for Dogs

As we move into the thick of summer, a day at the beach can make a fun adventure for both the humans and dogs in the household.

Before you head out, make sure you know which of your local beaches are dog-friendly and also keep a few other things in mind:

Lifeguard Check-In

There are certain ocean dangers when it comes to the beach—from high tide to jellyfish—so check in with the lifeguard on duty for a beach report on what the day holds, and make sure to heed all advisories.

Leash and Collar

A water-resistant, durable leash and collar designed for use in the ocean will come in handy particularly for regular beach-going. If not, you may find yourself replacing his regular leash and collar due to the added wear and tear from long exposure to saltwater. Make sure your dog’s collar and leash are safe and comfortable for active beach play. Also, don’t forget to obey all leash laws.

Sun Protection

Even though most dogs are covered in fur, there can still be a risk for sunburn and even skin cancer. If your dog has very short hair, a light-colored nose and/or has a skin condition with hair loss, consider sun protection. You’ll want to avoid human sunscreens and be very careful to research ingredients in doggie sunscreens as they are not all created equal. As an alternative, consider a dog shirt or sunsuit that acts as a barrier between your dog and the sun. Avoid going out during high sun and bring a beach umbrella so you and your dog both have a place to escape the sun. Also, sand can get very hot, so you might want to consider doggie booties for the walk to the water.

Beach Toys

It’s not really a day at the beach without some fun toys. There are plenty of water-friendly toys out there, so find a few your dog really enjoys playing with and bring them along. When searching for the right set of toys, look for ones that are easy to clean since beach days can leave things pretty messy. Also, avoid tennis balls or water-absorbent toys not designed for ocean play because these can accumulate saltwater, which you don’t want your dog to consume.


Because your dog will definitely be getting wet at the beach—and full of sand—a quality, absorbent towel will make the end of your dog’s beach day easier on the cleanup crew (meaning you). Bring at least two towels, if not more: one for the beach and one for the drive home. And make sure to remove sand gently from your dog’s body and face—since sand is abrasive, you don’t want to apply too much pressure.


It seems counterintuitive that you need to bring water for your dog when at the beach surrounded by water. But humans and dogs really shouldn’t make it a habit of ingesting saltwater. Bring a dog bowl and/or doggie water bottle with fresh, filtered water to offer your dog regularly—try and keep him from gulping by offering small amounts at a time.

Ear Cleaner

Water in the ear happens to the best of us. Let your dog do his thing of shaking all the water off and out, and gently dry his ears where you can. If his ears are bothering him after a day in the water, consider an ear cleaner that helps dry out the ears. Consult with your holistic vet for any questions.

A day at the beach can be a lot of fun for you and your dog. Keep these quick tips in mind for a safe adventure out in the sand. Oh and don’t forget the poop bags.

Meet the Author: Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.

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