Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Keeping a Dog's Paws Safe While at the Beach

By Tamara McRill

Few things are cuter in the summertime than a dog frolicking in the sand and surf, and I can't wait until my own Wuppy gets in on the action. All of that fun can come at a price, though, and I know from past experience that I need to be vigilant about keeping my dog's paws safe while at the beach. Watching out for his tender pads is the least I can do for my furry BFF. So, after deciding on the best sunburn protection for your dog, here are some more precautions to take at the beach:

Check the Area

Finding dog-friendly beaches in your area means more than just 'dogs are allowed.' The terrain should be pet-friendly, meaning there should not be many sharp rocks, shells or other things on the beach that could cut your dog's paws. This is easy enough to figure out by going alone to first scope out the beach and shore before you ever bring your pet there.

Timing is Everything

There's a reason commercials featuring a dog and its owner blissfully running along the shoreline are back-dropped by the colorful skies of a rising or setting sun: the sand is hot during the day. Ever run across the hot midday sand without sandals as a child? That's an intense burning sensation you don't want your dog to experience. Go to the beach during the morning or evening hours to prevent painful scorched paws.

Avoid Hot Coals

Responsible pet owners will steer their dogs clear of any cookouts or campfires. Not only can there be mishaps with the fire or food, but it takes longer for hot embers and coals to go out in the summer.

Tall Grass is Dangerous

Grass that grows knee-high on the perimeter of the beach is notorious for hiding broken bottles, sharp aluminum can bits, hooks and other harmful objects that can lacerate a paw. Not only that, but your dog can pick up ticks and encounter snakes here. The safest bet is to avoid these areas altogether.

Decide if Dog Sandals Work

Some pet owners have had success with protecting their dog's paws from danger on the beach by having them wear specially made canine sandals. Consider this solution with caution and never have your dog wear sandals to the beach if they are not comfortable walking in them. They aren't going to have any fun if they are floundering around like Mosley The Boxer Dog did when he got his new shoes in this funny video.

I have two dogs, Dusty and Cody, that get highly anxious if their feet are messed with at all. Sandals would never be an option for them. As for my Wuppy, he tends to think like beautiful Belle does in this video—sandals make better toys than footwear.

Consider Using a Leash

Even if your beach allows dogs to be off-leash, strongly consider whether your pet is up to the challenge of obeying while around so many stimulating new things and people. Dogs will prefer playing with a little less freedom to not getting to join you at all. Even if your dog is impeccably behaved when loose, you should still bring the leash along for emergency situations. 

Bring Toys and Treats

Don't forget to take toys and CANIDAE dog treats with you to the beach. You use these to make the trip a better experience for your dog and to reward good behavior. More importantly to your dog's safety, you can use both to lure a headstrong pet out of an iffy area they are bent on exploring.

Take it Easy

Even if your dog is used to visiting the beach—and especially if he's not—make sure to allow for some downtime so they don't get overheated. Dogs dissipate heat mainly through panting, but also do so to a lesser extent through the sweat glands in their footpads. Make sure they have something to lie on in the shade, where they can drink water and recoup their energy.

What is your dog's favorite beach activity?

Photo by Aaron Silvers

Read more articles by Tamara McRill


  1. Those are some great suggestions. We have never taken the dogs to the beach but all those ideas about protecting the paws sure sound good. Thanks.

  2. These are all very useful things for pet owners to think about when taking their dog to the beach. Thanks!

  3. I think this blog is so great chock full of wonderful info. Any pet owner needs to read!

  4. We're planning to have a beach trip next month and your tips are great help. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  5. Great tips, I honestly would have never thought of some of the things you mentioned.

  6. Sharing this with all my friends at Doggie Clothesline. Wonderful info here and you know, sometimes even the best owners just don't think of these things.

  7. Great tips -- especially about the tall grass and the sandals. I've never bought my dog sandals, but once when it was extremely cold here and it hurt him to walk on the sidewalk (when we needed to take him out to do his business), we picked up some shoes for him at PetsMart. Though it seemed like a good idea, we never could get him to wear them.

  8. Oh, if only we had a beach nearby! These are amazing tips. I've seen doggie booties and dog shoes but never dog sandals. Great idea.


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