Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday's Tip: Beaching It

Ahh, it's spring and the weather on the Central Coast of California is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!  With such nice weather, it is just a matter of time before my hu-mans take me to the beach.  I love, love, love to run on the sand, play in the water and chase the birds (don't worry, I've never caught one!). 

If you are preparing to take your loving sidekick to the beach, Cesar Milan (The Dog Whisperer) offers these tips for beaching it:

•Know the local laws. Some beaches do not accept dogs. Others require that they be on-leash at all times. Find out before you head out.

•Prepare. You may not be aware that, like humans, dogs need protection from the sun. Talk to your veterinarian about protective goggles and canine sunblock.
•Be confident in your pack leadership. For a dog to get the full benefit of a beach visit, off-leash (where permitted) is ideal. But remember, the beach is full of interesting scents of the sea life there. This can send your dog into a very primal state. If you don't have your leadership skills down pat, you could lose your dog.
•Protect your dog from fleas. This is not an issue most people associate with the beach, but sand fleas are prevalent in some areas. Be aware that a wet flea collar is ineffective and can also irritate your dog's skin. Consult your veterinarian to find the best solution.
•Let your dog dig! This is the perfect spot to let your dog try to make that tunnel to China he's been dreaming of.
•Check conditions. Sea lice, jellyfish, undercurrents, and rip tides all pose just as much of a threat to dogs as they do to humans. Before you let your dog roam, verify with a lifeguard that the environment is safe.
•Keep your dog hydrated. Make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water—and never let your dog drink salt water. It can make him sick.
•Be aware of your dog's physical and emotional state. A trip to the beach isn't the time to punch out. Your dog may be having so much fun that he looses track of how tired, hot, or thirsty he is. It is up to you to watch for signs of dehydration or over-exhaustion. Sand and heat can make a normal exercise routine more strenuous. Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, call your dog back to rest in a shady spot.
•Be respectful of other visitors. Whether canine or human, other visitors to the beach may not appreciate your dog's company. Make sure to keep your dog in check.
•Be vigilant. Remember that many items washed ashore, like fishing lines, litter, plant-life, and dead fish, may not be safe for your dog. When he goes exploring, keep a close eye on the objects he finds.
•Pick up after your dog! Help keep the water clean and the beach pleasant for other visitors.
•Give your dog a bath. If possible, give him a good rinse with fresh water before leaving the beach. When you get home, make sure to wash your dog immediately! Chemicals from sea water can be harmful to your dog's coat and health.
Until next time, enjoy the beauty of today!  ~Zoe

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