We’re an island of dog lovers. The fact that we’re an island means we’re also surrounded by sea, so we’re lucky that our fair isle is ringed by some amazing beaches. Now that the weather is warmer, it can be tempting to pack up the swimming trunks and towels and take our dogs on a beach adventure. It can be a truly memorable occasion but a day by the beach can also have associated risks for our pooch pals. We spoke to our pet health expert to find out 9 potential hazards of a seaside trip.

Dog InsuranceKeep it cool

Hot days can post a threat to your canine friend due to the risks presented by heat stroke. Make sure that your dog has somewhere to rest and sleep in the shade. Something like a beach tent will provide ideal respite from the sun’s rays.


Water water everywhere…

…but not a drop to drink. Your dog may be thirsty but discourage them from drinking saltwater. Take plenty of cold water to keep them hydrated. Sea water can cause gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, and it can act as a laxative. Large volumes can also cause salt poisoning.

Play by the rulesDog Insurance

Often rules are put in place by the seaside for a very specific reason. Take note of any beach rules which may apply at the beach you are visiting. They are quite often in place for you or your animal’s safety. Be aware of any areas your dog is not allowed to visit due to nesting birds.

Cream up

Your dog may be at risk of sunburn, particularly if they are short haired or have been clipped, because of the little pigmentation they possess in their skin. Use a suitable sun cream on your dog on hairless or unpigmented areas. If possible, use a cream made for dogs, which does not include zinc.

Test the temperature

What feels hot to us can feel even hotter to dogs. Test the temperature of the sand on the beach before taking your dog on to it as it can cause bad burns. Also be aware that sharp shells, stones and rocks can cause damage to the soles of their paws.

Dog InsuranceBe safe in the water

If your dog can’t swim, consider investing in a doggy lifejacket. Always supervise your dog when it’s near the water. Check tide times, take note of strong current warnings, and beware of rocks or vegetation under the surface. Mud flats can also pose a danger.


Watch out for debris

Beware of any litter left on the beach, particularly fishing hooks and lines, broken glass, rotting fish or shellfish and food waste. Also, camp fires can remain very hot for some time after they’ve been extinguished, particularly in the summer. Be careful if your dog starts nosing around the remains of one.

Lead by example

Try to keep your dog on a lead when walking through sand dunes or along coastal paths, to avoid disturbing any adders (the only poisonous snake in the UK). They tend only to bite when surprised and they’re more likely to be active in the warmer parts of the day. Seek immediate vet advice if you suspect a bite.

I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly

Jellyfish tend to congregate on the shoreline, possibly at just the point where your pooch will be diving in and out of the water, so keep an eye out for them. Their stings can be quite painful and can cause localised swelling and irritation, resulting in a painful few days walking for your dog.

With all of this in mind, taking your dog to the beach is as much your responsibility. Other people will be indulging their coastal passions, so be considerate of other beach users. Not everyone appreciates soggy, sand-covered dogs joining their picnic or getting involved in their game of cricket. Be aware of this, make sure that you clean up after your animal and you’ll have the perfect seaside adventure. Remember – Don’t be a beach bum, keep your dog safe in the sun!


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