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Stay with me! STAY!

This month’s good read recommendation: Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee

It may be September, and we may be putting up the fall decorations of pumpkins, goblins, and turkeys, but believe me when I tell you that there is still a lot of great beach time left for you to share with your dog(s)! The weather is not so hot that you need to worry about you and your dog(s) being in the summer heat too long (heat exhaustion), the water is generally warmer for comfortable swimming with your 4-legged one, the pavement and/or blacktop is not as hot so it won’t be as likely to burn the paws, and the beach is less crowded. All good reasons to enjoy the next few months traveling to the beach with your dog(s)!

When you go to the beach with your dog, be prepared. Be sure to bring plenty of water for both your dog(s) and you, and a bowl so that your dog(s) can drink – bottles are great for you, but most dogs will need a bowl. Bring a leash or long lead. Bring doggie pick-up bags, too. And most important, STAY WITH AND WATCH YOUR DOG(S)! That’s for the protection of your own dog(s), other dogs, and to insure that you and your dog will be welcome back on the beach again the next time! And, because you are not alone on the beach! No, I am not saying the beach is haunted – though there are stories of pirates’ spirits protecting buried treasures! But, that’s a story for another time and place.

First of all, you need to stay with your dog to be able to know when you need to pick up after your dog. We should always want to leave the beach clean and ready for ourselves and others to return, and so we can enjoy playing with the other people and dogs who are with us at the beach.

Running, playing, swimming, and having a really great time can be exhausting. Keep your dog leashed, even on a long lead, so he/she can play and swim, but is still within your sight and within your reach, should you need to intervene to help, reassure, or calm. You want to stay with your dog so you’ll know when your dog needs fresh water, when your dog is tired and needs to get some rest, and to insure that your dog does not ingest anything which may cause a problem digestively.

One problem can be ingesting salt water. If a dog ingests too much salt water – called salt water intoxication or salt water poisoning – it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and lethargy. If you suspect your dog(s) has ingested too much salt water, be sure to get your dog(s) to drink fresh water. If symptoms persist, get your dog(s) to a vet for intravenous fluids. My former two dogs, Cheyenne and Gretchen, both loved the water – one loved to swim, the other loved to “bite” the waves, getting too much salt water into her tummy. She then would vomit on the return trip to the car. We had to watch her carefully and work hard to entice her into swimming so she would not spend her time “biting” the waves. My other dog, a real swimmer, had to really be kept on a long lead, since she was a birder. If she saw a bird fly by, which happens a lot at the beach, she would have been swimming to Delaware to try to “catch it. The long lead allowed her to swim to a point, and allowed me to then “reel” her in.

Another ingestion concern is some of the “others” who are joining you at the beach – like dead fish, crabs, bird feces, old people food/trash, etc. My two dogs now, Guinness and Jameson, both love to swim, but one is also a digger. She loves to dig for “buried treasures” so I need to watch her carefully so she doesn’t eat any “delicacies.” The other dog loves to swim and he just keeps retrieving his toy, over and over. I have to watch him for the salt ingestion.

Before going into the water, and while on the beach, watch for jellyfish. Their sting can be very painful to both you and your dog(s). Sea stars (starfish) are poisonous and there are numerous varieties of sea stars, not just the 5-legged ones most of us are used to.

So, dog people, STAY with them! STAY! Your day at the beach with your dog(s) can and should be a really fun way to spend time together, meet other people and dogs, play, swim, and relax. STAY! And, ENJOY!