By Candi Amundson, CVT
Veterinary Information Specialist at Pet Poison Helpline
The beach can be such a relaxing time or even a fun outing for the family, including your family dog. Being prepared may help avoid any potential mishaps. Anything can harm your dog that could potentially harm yourself, such as broken glass, starfish, jellyfish, hot sand, sunburns, and salt water.
Keep your dog’s paws protected
Things like broken glass, rocks, sharp shells, and even hot sand can cause injuries and even burns to the paw pads. Be sure to survey the area for any objects that may cause injury and to check the temperature of the sand. If it is too hot to the touch, it’s likely a threat to your dog.
These amazing creatures are a common collectable item and can come in all sizes. If your dog is chewing and ingesting pieces of these, it can cause oral irritation and upset stomach. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and obstruction. Some starfish (not commonly found in US waters) can contain Tetrodotoxins which can cause weakness and paralysis.
As we know these can cause severe affects in humans, and similar sx can develop with your dog. It is best to keep your dog away from jellyfish if you see them in the water. If your dog does come in contact, immediate Veterinary attention is necessary. This can cause acute respiratory distress, dry eyes, urinary retention, cyanosis, and cardiac arrest is possible. Ingestion of dead jellyfish will likely cause vomiting.
Sunburn can affect humans as we all know; even some dogs can be at risk as well. Dogs with short fur, white coat, or sensitive skin could develop skin burns. Try to avoid using human sunscreens as these contain Aspirin which could be toxic if enough were ingested. There is such a thing as sunscreen for dogs, just ask your Vet!
Remember to bring plenty of fresh cold water for your dog to drink. Drinking salt water can cause upset stomach and is very irritating. If your dog drinks a large amount of the water this can lead to electrolyte imbalances, essentially salt toxicity. Salt toxicity symptoms can include: vomiting, diarrhea, trouble walking, muscle tremors, and seizures. Salt water on the fur and skin can be itchy, dry and irritating. Best to rinse them off when they are done swimming.
The beach can be a fun place to spend a day in the sun with your best friend. As long as you are aware of the potential hazards things will go great. Always pack a Pet First Aid Kit in the car and keep away from the dunes!