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Taking Fido to the Beach

June 15, 2021

Do you plan to hit the shore this summer? If so, you may want to take your canine companion with you. Many pups love visiting splashing around in the surf! Just be sure to put Fido’s safety first. The beach can be a dangerous place for dogs! A Roanoke, VA vet offers some tips on taking your pup to the coast below.


Before taking Fido to the beach, make sure he’s been fixed and microchipped, and is current on vaccines and parasite control. He should also be wearing ID tags.


Try not to hit the beach in the middle of the day, when it’s hottest. Go in the mornings and evenings, when it’s a little cooler. Also, if possible, choose times when the beach isn’t too crowded.


Only take Fido to dog-friendly beaches. These often have shallower slopes and lighter currents than regular beaches.

Paw Care

Paw care is a huge concern in summer. Your pooch can burn his feet on hot sand or tar, or cut them on sharp rocks or shells. Paw balm or wax will help protect those cute toe beans. Fido’s paws are particularly delicate when they’re wet, so be extra careful after he’s been swimming.


Your canine pal will probably do a lot of running around. Fido can get very hot in a very short time! The biggest thing is to make sure he has lots of water. It’s also important to keep a close eye on your furry buddy, and look for signs of overheating. Panting is often the first thing you’ll notice. Other red flags include trembling, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, dark or reduced urine, a warm back, discolored gums, and lethargy. If you see any of these warning signs, immediately give your pet water, get him out of the sun, and contact your vet. For more summer safety tips, check out our article on Helping Fido Get Through The Dog Days Of Summer.


Your pooch will probably end up with salt and sand in his coat if he plays in the water. Rinse him off before you head for home. You may need to brush him later.

Beach Bag

Your four-legged friend should have his own beach bag. Some things you’ll want to include are towels, collapsible bowls, a first-aid kit, an umbrella, water, a tie line, waste baggies, and paw balm. Fido may also appreciate a cooling vest.

Our Advice on Taking Fido to the Beach in 2024

What specific vaccinations should dogs receive before visiting the beach, and how far in advance should they be administered?

Before visiting the beach, dogs should receive vaccinations against rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and bordetella to protect against common diseases and meet public safety regulations. Vaccinating against leptospirosis is advisable, as dogs may come into contact with contaminated water. These vaccinations should be administered at least two weeks before visiting the beach to ensure full immunity has developed. Owners should consult their veterinarian to confirm their dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date and discuss any additional preventive measures that may be necessary based on the specific beach environment.

Are there any breeds of dogs that may be more susceptible to heat exhaustion or other health issues when visiting the beach?

Yes, certain dog breeds are more susceptible to heat exhaustion and other health issues at the beach. Brachycephalic breeds, such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boxers, with their short noses, find it harder to regulate their body temperature through panting, making them more vulnerable to overheating. Additionally, breeds with thick or dark-colored coats, like Huskies and black Labradors, can absorb more heat, increasing their risk. Elderly dogs and those with pre-existing health conditions like heart disease or obesity are also at a higher risk and require careful monitoring.

What are the signs of saltwater poisoning in dogs, and what steps should owners take if they suspect their pet has ingested excessive amounts of seawater?

Signs of saltwater poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, excessive thirst or urination, and, in severe cases, seizures and coordination loss. If owners suspect their dog has ingested excessive amounts of seawater, they should provide fresh water to the dog immediately to help flush the salt from the body and prevent dehydration. It’s critical to limit further salt intake and seek veterinary care promptly. Early intervention is crucial, as saltwater poisoning can lead to serious complications like brain swelling and kidney damage.

How can dog owners protect their pets from potential hazards at the beach, such as jellyfish stings or encounters with other aggressive dogs?

To protect pets from hazards at the beach, dog owners should maintain vigilant supervision and keep their dogs on a leash, especially if unfamiliar animals are nearby. This helps prevent interactions with aggressive dogs and gives owners better control. Owners should also be aware of their surroundings and avoid areas where jellyfish or harmful debris might be present. Educating themselves about local wildlife and consulting beach warning signs can further mitigate risks. In case of a jellyfish sting or aggressive encounter, owners should seek veterinary care immediately.

What are the best ways to introduce a dog to the beach environment, particularly if they are nervous or anxious around water or large crowds?

Introducing a dog to the beach, especially if they are nervous or anxious, should be done gradually. Start with visits during quieter times, such as early mornings or weekdays, to avoid large crowds. Keep the initial visits short and positive, using treats and praise to associate the beach with good experiences. Gradually introduce your dog to the water by encouraging them with toys or treats, but never force them in. Always remain calm and patient, allowing your dog to explore at their own pace. Consistent, positive experiences will help build their confidence.

As your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, we’re here to help. Contact us anytime! For emergency situations or critical care needs that might arise from beach visits or other scenarios, learn more about our Veterinary Critical Care services. We are equipped to handle all your pet care emergencies and ensure the well-being of your beloved dog.

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