Summer is here, so it’s the perfect time of year to go to the beach in Central Florida. And what could make a beach trip better than spending it with your dog? Before you head out to the beach with your dog, here are a few things to consider:
Many beaches in the Central Florida area don’t allow pets. The beaches that do allow pets usually require them to be on-leash at all times. Check the rules for the beach you plan on going to before you head out on an adventure with your dog! Here’s a list of a few dog-friendly beaches in Central Florida:
- Smyrna Dunes Park in New Smyrna Beach, Florida (on-leash at all times)
- Lighthouse Point Park in Ponce Inlet, Florida (on-leash at all times)
- Picnic Island Park in Tampa, Florida (off-leash allowed in dog beach area)
- Fort De Soto Park near St. Petersburg, Florida (off-leash allowed in dog beach area)
Going to the beach with your dog can be really fun, but it also poses some risks. Here is a list of safety issues that dog owners should consider prior to taking their dog to the beach:
- Hot sand and pavement can hurt dog paws. Be aware of the temperature of the ground by taking off your footwear and testing it yourself–if it’s too hot for your own feet, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Paw wax and dog booties are great solutions for keeping your dog’s paws safe.
- Swimming does not come naturally to all dogs. In fact, some dog breeds cannot swim at all! Be sure to test your dog’s skills before taking them out for a swim in the ocean. Never throw your dog into the water for the first time. If your dog is not a strong swimmer, consider buying a dog floatation vest for him or her.
- Monitor your dog at all times, especially if your dog is off-leash. The beach is an exciting and distracting place for dogs, which can be dangerous when hazards like strong currents and large waves are present. If you want to take your dog off-leash, be sure that your dog has off-leash training. For untrained dogs, check out our Basic and Advanced Obedience Training, where our professional dog trainers will teach your dog how to stay calm even in the most distracting situations and obey off-leash commands.
- Dogs can get sunburn. Dogs with short fur and light fur are especially at risk for sunburn. Pet-safe sunscreen and UV-protective dog goggles can help prevent your dog getting skin and eye damage from the sun. Never use human sunscreen containing zinc oxide–it’s toxic to your dog!
- Keep your dog hydrated. Do not allow your dog to salt water. Be sure to bring fresh, cool water and a dog bowl for your dog to stay hydrated throughout your trip.
- Don’t exhaust your dog. Bring an umbrella or find an area with shade for your dog on the beach so he/she can rest after running and playing. Remember, running on the sand is different from running on pavement or the grass. Your dog might become tired more quickly than usual.
- Rinse your dog off at the end of the day. After a day at the beach, your dog’s coat will be full of saltwater and sand that can cause skin irritation. Rinse your dog off in fresh water and towel dry your dog. Make sure your dog’s ears are especially dry to prevent ear infections.
Here’s a handy checklist for your trip to one of the dog beaches in Central Florida:
- Fresh water
- Water bowl
- Food and treats
- Dog leash and collar/harness
- Large towels to dry body off
- Small towels to clean face, muzzle and ears
- Water-resistant toys
- Dog waste bags
- Umbrella or tent
- Pet-safe sunscreen
- UV eye protection
- Dog life vest
- Waterproof dog footwear
- Paw wax
We hope you have a safe and fun summer with your dog!