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Safety First: How to Keep Your Dog Safe on the Beach

Last September I wrote an article entitled STAY with me! STAY! about safety at the beach. Review and reminders of safety for your dog(s) at the beach is very important, especially since we are in the throes of an exceptionally hot and humid spring and summer, and I’m guessing fall!

I have already been made aware of a few situations where dogs have become ill due to ingesting too much salt water, or “dining” on something on the beach which should not be ingested – even by the curious canine. Both of these situations are serious enough to more than likely require a trip to the vet. Both situations are potentially fatal and both situations are totally avoidable!

I love to take my dogs to the beach, and they love going to the beach. Guinness loves to smell, anoint, and swim. Jameson loves to explore and steal Guinness’s ball when he’s almost to shore. But, in her exploring, Jameson often finds what she thinks are “tasty” morsels and will sample or devour almost anything. So she needs very careful watching, and being on a long lead – reeling in. She has had a multiple stay in the emergency clinic on fluids because she found and ate something in our own yard.

SO, when you take your dog to the beach, and you know your dog better than anyone, be attentive! The whole idea of having your dogs go with you to the beach is to have fun – together. That means watching your dog and keeping the activity level high enough to avoid “beach dining.”

Even more important, prevent your dog from drinking too much salt water – called “salt water intoxication” or “salt water poisoning.” Bring plenty of fresh water for your dog – and you – to drink, and if your dog starts drinking the salt water, change the activity or take them away from the water and sit for awhile under an umbrella. If you think your dog has ingested a lot of salt water, check for signs of “salt water intoxication” ‒ lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or drooling. Get fresh water into the dog and if the dog won’t drink, this may require a trip to the vet for intravenous fluids since the dog must be rehydrated ASAP.

The water is warmer in August and September, but watch for jellyfish as the water warms. The water has been warmer than usual this year, so the jellies may arrive earlier than usual. A minor sting will be annoying and painful, but a more serious sting, or tentacles/stinging in the mouth, can be more serious. Symptoms of serious stings for your dog and for you would involve difficulty breathing, possible vomiting, and possible coma. With a serious sting, you need to get your dog to a vet immediately, especially if the dog has ingested any tentacles.

All of this may sound dangerous and foreboding, but it truly is great fun to go to the beach with your dog. So go to the beach, take your dog, enjoy, and…. Attention! To Safety First! Seriously! cape may dog friendly beaches

Note: During the summer, only beaches in Lower Township along the Delaware Bay welcome dogs. See a map of dog-friendly beaches


GOOD READ OF THE MONTH: Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

A brilliant story of the nature of family ‒ both human and wolf. How family can be torn apart and how family can be brought together. A story of hope. This story is riveting and the book is expertly interwoven with facts about wolves and wolf packs. Informative and emotional. This is a good read!