Dogs love the beach; they are a great place for pets to cool off, get some exercise and play, there are however some important precautions to take to keep pets safe, even at beaches designated specifically for dogs. (See our guide).
Included below are the top 10 beach dangers for dogs, along with tips for keeping your dog safe.
Yes we know they are covered in fur but even dogs can get sun burn. Their noses, bellies and areas with particularly thinner fur are susceptible to the sun’s hot rays so it’s important to protect them just as you would a child. Provide shade with a beach umbrella and consider dog-friendly sunscreen. (Many sunscreens made for humans can be toxic to dogs. Be sure to avoid sunscreen with mineral Zinc Oxide which can harmful to your pup.) Also consider looking into doggy sun goggles to protect your pooch’s eyes from harmful rays, (good luck getting him to keep those on though!)
Hot sand, pavements and tarmac –this is less likely in the UK but still good to be aware of of and if you’re fortunate enough to holiday abroad and take your dog then then you’ll have experienced this at some point we’re sure. If the sand is too hot for you to walk barefoot, then it’s too hot for your pup’s paw pads. Save your beach trip for a cooler day or go in the early morning or late evening to avoid the heat.
Try to prevent your dog lapping at seawater as apart from the salt itself, it can be full of bacteria and contaminates that can make your dog sick. Try and provide plenty of fresh water, bring a large bottle and a bowl and make sure it’s easily accessible. Remember, even rivers, as they enter an estuary, will also be mostly sea water and bear in mind that estuary water may be the most contaminated water; as surface water, factories, agriculture and people all contribute to what drains into them and it eventually all finishes up in the ocean. Probably not the best thing for your beloved dog to be drinking.
Weever fish are common little (> 10 cm) sandy coloured fish that live in the English Channel. They spend most of the time actually buried under the sea bed with just their venomous dorsal fin showing above the sandy bottom. On the rare occasions when they are plentiful, rows of erect black triangles decorate the sandy floor of the sea bed. If you or your dog stand on one, then the fish discharges a venom; in the first two hours the pain is often described as excruciating, the foot goes red and swells up and it will then feel numb until the following day, with irritation and pain that may last for up to two weeks. Sometimes, the spine breaks off in the foot and it will cause discomfort until it is removed.
How to Treat;The venom is a type of protein and is heat liable. This means that the only treatment is to put the effected limb in water as hot as the victim can stand without causing scalding. For dogs work on a temperature a child could deal with and they’ll be OK.
In tests, the protein denatured above 40°C. This is meant to bring about rapid and permanent relief. Although most reports of stings occur during the month of August, this does not mean that this fish are particularly prevalent inshore during this month but merely reflects the greater numbers of bathers as the sea temperature reaches the highest of the year, so be aware as your dog won’t be as bothered by the temperature of the sea so may get stung at times of the year you consider ‘safe.’
Many breeds of dog love swimming, our springer spaniels used to jump into any water and on a few occasions on holiday in Cornwall, we had to go after them when they swam straight out after seagulls. Our advice would be to only let your dog swim in conditions where you could execute a rescue yourself, so watch out for our swimming advice on beaches, take into account currents and the temperature of the water. Also keep them on a long lead in case you have to reel them in. For peace of mind, you can of course purchase a dog life jacket in case he gets too tired of swimming.
Credit;This one was brought to our attention by subscriber Louisa Whitehead thank you Louisa and keep following.
Fatbergs are usually consisted of congealed palm oil which has been discarded from passing ships. It then gets washed across the oceans, often exacerbated in storms, all the while being contaminated by ocean waste and massive colonies of bacteria breed on them. Yes, in other words they are utterly disgusting; they sometimes look like chunks of washed up polystyrene foam from a distance, so be aware if you see your dog stop and concentrate on one spot, go and see what he’s found ASAP.
They can range in size from being as small as a golf ball to as big as a boulder, smell like diesel and because dogs are curious (and a bit gross sometimes,) they might be tempted to eat them.
The palm oil itself is a non-toxic substance but when combined with waste and huge quantities of bacteria then dogs can become seriously ill after ingesting even a small amount and there have been cases of fatalities where larger quantities have been eaten.
Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea leading to severe dehydration. In dogs that have consumed larger amounts, kidney damage, liver failure and blockages within the gut, which can result in the dog dying or the dog needing to be put to sleep.
Dogs can fall foul of jelly fish stings just as we can and whilst dogs being stung in the water, are rare, it’s much more common for dogs to pick up dead ones.
It’s rarely a major problem with the type of jellyfish we find in Britain, but you should treat them straight away as some dogs can have severe allergic reactions such as in the case below. Treatment Guide.
7.Dried Up Seaweed
During a period of hot dry weather, the seaweed dries up and shrinks to a fraction of it’s size, and stems as wide as an arm can appear like a child’s finger once dried .
Dogs walking along the beach then eat the algae without properly chewing it, but as it goes through their digestive system it absorbs liquid and starts to expand. It can then become lodged in the dog’s gut, blocking off the blood supply to the intestine before eventually rupturing it, releasing poisonous digestive acids into the body.
The first signs are characteristic of any upset tummy, including vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite, but this quickly progresses to lethargy, depression and weakness, with shaking or trembling at the slightest effort to move.
By the time that even the initial vomiting or diarrhoea has started, your dog is already in a perilous medical condition, with dehydration and circulatory shock and your dog could deteriorate quickly and gravely.
It can be hard for vets to diagnose as the seaweed may not appear as a block in the early stages, when the dogs can still be saved. The usual suspects are common inhabitants of our coastline all year round. Kelp, mayweed, bladderwrack and sea oak are all implicated. So be aware, the seaweed itself isn’t the real problem, it is the seaweed’s dry state and subsequent expansion in your dog’s gut that causes the damage.
OK this is a rare one but if your dog is fast, and most are, they might be quick enough to run through a field of razor clams, before they can bury themselves. There’s no danger here from a sting or venom here other than dealing with a cut, so if your dog comes back bleeding this may have been the cause.
Think about what goes into a beach picnic and this will make sense,
Grapes & raisins
While the toxic substance in grapes and raisins is unknown, it can cause kidney failure in sensitive individuals. Dogs that already have underlying health problems are at greatest risk and just one raisin can be severely toxic. Experts agree that there is no “safe” dose of grapes and raisins or foods including them such as hot cross buns, mince pies and fruit loaf.
Within 12 hours of ingestion, macadamia nuts can cause dogs to experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and increased body temperature. These symptoms tend to last for approximately 12 to 48 hours. If you suspect your dog has consumed macadamia nuts note the possible quantity consumed and contact your vet.
Remember that the chicken leg you’ve just discarded can choke a dog or splinters can cause intestinal obstructions or can puncture your dog’s digestive tract.
Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob may seem like a healthy table scrap to give your dog, but unlike most vegetables, it does not digest well in a dog’s stomach. If your dog swallows large chunks of the cob, or even whole, it can cause an intestinal blockage due to it’s size and shape. Signs to look out for are vomiting, loss of appetite or reduced appetite, absence of faeces or diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort. Here’s a story on Henry, a two-year-old black Labrador, and demonstrates what can happen if your dog eats corn on the cob.
Chewing Gum or Diabetic Sweets.
The artificial sweetener xylitol is found in many foods including some sugar-free gums, diabetic cakes and diet foods. It causes insulin release in many species (but not in humans) leading to potentially fatal hypoglycaemia (lowered sugar levels).
Dogs are extremely sensitive and even small quantities can cause toxicity. Some sugar-free sweets and gums have very high amounts per piece. Early symptoms of xylitol poisoning include lethargy, vomiting and loss of coordination. Seizures may also occur. Xylitol has also been linked to fatal acute liver disease and blood-clotting disorders in dogs. This effect is not thought to be dose related so even very small amounts can be extremely dangerous. If you think your dog has eaten any xylitol seek urgent veterinary advice.
10.Busy Roads and Getting Lost
A lot of beaches have a natural barrier of the ocean on one side but the other is usually boarded by a busy road. Dogs chasing seagulls can inadvertently run into traffic, so keep an eye on them. The other thing that often happens on a busy beach is that dogs lose their owners; they get confused trying to find their way back to you amongst the crowd and your shouts can get lost in the wind or general beach noise, they can then either keep running down the beach or away from it, so keep your dog under your control at all times.
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