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Traveling With Pets | PetsWeekly

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Heading to the beach with your best friend can be a great experience for both of you. Whether you have a Chihuahua or a Labrador, the love of water is a multi-species activity. Not only is it relaxing for both you and your pet to get out in the water, it’s great exercise as well.  There are some considerations before you head out for a day on the water. There are certain dogs that can't swim and some that just aren't very good at it! So you need to make sure your pets are prepared for a day at the lake or the ocean. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t forget anything.

Make Sure Your Dog Knows How to Swim

Many breeds of dogs are incapable (or not as able) to swim. If you have a retriever or a cocker spaniel, it's a safe bet that your pet will pick up swimming with ease. But if you have a Bullie breed, a breed with a large chest, or a bracephalic dog, this is not a foregone conclusion. If you're in doubt, you should take proper precautions (like Teaching Your Dog to Swim).

Follow the Rules

Visit the beach or lake prior to taking your pet. Become very familiar with the location, the possible escape routes, the routines of other people and their pets, and the rules associated with the locale. Never leave your dog unattended, always keep them on a leash (or under your control), and always clean up after your pet.

In addition, be courteous of other beach-goers. No one likes to be on the beach only to have someone’s dog come up and shake water all over them!

There are lots of ways to have fun at the beach without getting wet!

Be Prepared

Make a list (we have a great list here Hitting the Road: Packing for Vacations with Pets) because there are many things you're likely to forget. You should make sure you have the following items (depending on the activity and time spent outdoors):

  • PFD: A personal flotation device is a must-have any time you’re in (or on) the water.
  • Bowls: There are some great collapsible bowls on the market. Make sure you bring them along and keep them filled with water!
  • Sunblock: According to CanineCancer.com, "Exposure to the sun has been shown to cause a higher incidence of three types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and hemangioma." Only use an approved sunscreen as human-grade sunscreen can be toxic to pets. We recommend epi-pet sunblock.
  • Shade: Offering your pet a shaded area will help them stay cool and out of the dangerous sun. Sturdi offers a great “pup-tent” that is easy to transport and perfect to give pets some relief.
  • GPS Tracker: If you’re planning to visit an off-leash beach, be sure you have a way of finding your pet in case the worst happens and he is sucked out to sea in a riptide or running after seagulls on the beach. A GPS tracker that is waterproof, lightweight and easily affixed to the collar will tell you where your pet is at all times.

Standard pet gear:

  • Collar, harness, and leash
  • Proper identification (picture and dog tags)
  • Water and food bowls
  • Poop bags
  • Food and treats
  • Doggy towel
  • Plenty of toys

If you're planning on doing any boating, please review Keeping Pets Safe On Boats. There are a lot of things that can help you prepare before you hit the open water, and if you're planning on doing some sailing for several months at a time, this article is a must read: Pets Ahoy! Boating with Pets

TIP: Watch your pet's paw pads while your out. That sand can get pretty darned hot and paw pads can be damaged before you even realize there is a problem. Your pet won't appreciate the scrubbing of sand out of raw paws.

Before taking your pets to the beach, you should be well versed in CPR and basic first aid for you and your pet. There are many dangers on land and at sea, so be prepared for as many as possible to help make your visit to the beach a safe and non-stressful day for everyone in your group!

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Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.

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