5 Things All Dog-Owners Should Do Before Heading to the Beach This Summer
If you're planning an all-day excursion, pack plenty of clean water. "You don't want your pet drinking from oceans, rivers, or lakes," says Michael J. Topper, PhD, DVM, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Why? They might contain organisms—algae, dead fish—that could cause illness. Try the AutoDogMug, a handy hybrid water bottle/bowl.
Strap on some safety.
Meet the Cadillac of dog life jackets: The Ruffwear Float Coat comes in bright colors with reflective trim, features an adjustable neck closure (to help smaller pups keep their snout above water), and is topped off with a strong handle that lets owners easily hoist pooches from the surf when they're pooped. And for sensitive eyes, there's Doggles ILS: rubber-framed, shatterproof specs that protect against sand, sun, and UV rays and can fit furry faces of all sizes.
Hose down post-dip.
Once your Dalmatian is done splish-splashing, rinse her coat with clean water. Excess chlorine could lead to gastric distress if ingested, and salty residue can result in dry, itchy skin.
Block harmful rays.
Apply pet-safe sunscreen on pups' bare bellies, floppy ears, and any other hairless areas. Keep in mind that canines with light-colored coats (think a bichon frise) or short hair (a boxer) may be at greater risk of getting burned. Epi-Pet Sun Protector sunscreen is safe for your pup to lick and has a vanilla scent. Reapply every two hours.
Bone up on local docs.
If you're vacationing somewhere new with an adventurous dog, Topper recommends saving the number for a nearby veterinarian in your phone before you travel. Otherwise, having an emergency in a Wi-Fi-free zone could put you and your pup in a ruff spot.
From top left, clockwise:
1. AutoDogMug, $15, highwave.com
2. Doggles ILS, $25, woof.doggles.com
3. Epi-Pet Sun Protector, $18, epi-pet.com
4. Ruffwear Float Coat, $80, Ruffwear.com