I've been writing a lot of posts lately about dogs. Perhaps because we recently adopted Macy, a 4-month-old puppy and have been acclimating her in her new home, along with our older, 9-year-old dog Oscar and 12-year-old cat, Ginger. I happy to report she's fitting in just fine!
We plan to bring her along on our day trips to the Jersey shore, which prompted a search of the safest way to do that. I hope the advice and tips below will help you too as you bring your favorite companion along for a day of fun in the sun.
First and foremost, BEFORE you leave the house, make sure you are going to a dog-friendly beach. Check local regulations and make phone calls if necessary.
- Water - This goes without saying really. Just like us, dogs CAN'T drink salty water to hydrate and they will need to hydrate often with all the exercise they'll be getting. You need to have a travel dish and bottled water ready to share. Share often. Collapsible water dishes are easy to pack in just about anything.
- Food and Treats - If you plan to stay long enough for lunch or even dinner, be sure to bring meals for your dog too. Healthy treats for you and him throughout the day will help replenish lost essential nutrients. Check out my earlier posts on safe fruits and veggies for dogs and 150+ Homemade Dog Food Recipes Be sure to bring along heat-safe treats (nothing easily perishable) and pack with your food in a cooler.
- Collar and Lease - Most beaches will require you to at least walk your dog to a designated spot before unleashing. You will also need this for any outings you plan. Make sure your pup is wearing an ID tag and is microchipped if possible, especially if he likes to chase birds or people. You don't want to lose anyone today!
- Towel - Yes, your pup needs one too, for multiple reasons. Use it as a placemat for feeding, toweling off sand before getting in the car and keeping the car seats dry.
- Life Jacket - Do you know FOR SURE your pup can swim? Believe it or not, years ago we had a beautiful, loving purebred Akita. He couldn't swim. Nothing, not even a couple of feet. My husband even had to jump in a lake once to save him! Be sure he can swim before you assume he can. If you are planning on boating, I strongly recommend a Life Jacket, regardless if he can swim or not. Be sure to wash off as much salt water and sand as you can before heading home.
- Tote Bag - You really don't need a separate bag, but it might make things a lot easier if you did. You don't want anyone eating treats meant for him or having to dig for a lease when there's no time to spare.
- Bedding - If you don't have room on the back seat or plan to travel more than 30 minutes to your favorite sandy spot, bringing along their bedding is just a nice thing to do. If you travel a lot, a portable bed is the way to go.
- Toys and/or Bones - Always a good idea to keep dogs occupied when needed.
- Awareness - Keep an eye out for hidden objects in the sand. Debris, broken shells, horseshoe crabs and such can hurt your pup.
- Shade - Your dog needs rest and shelter from the sun just like us. Be sure to give regular breaks from the heat and sun.