I think it’s amazing that two creatures from a landlocked region can love the beach so much. In case you’re wondering, those 2 creatures are Ollie and me. As far as I know Ollie was born in Oklahoma where I adopted him from. At only 8 months old he had already had a hard life and was sad and withdrawn but, for whatever reason, he decided he trusted me from the get go. In all honesty, I wasn’t ready for a new dog because I had only just recently lost my Aggie. But I couldn’t deny that there was something pulling me to this fuzzy guy and when I was told that he didn’t take to ANYONE it seemed even more likely that there was a reason I accompanied my sister to the shelter even though I really, really didn’t want to.
I didn’t realize it at the time but this guy was going to make life so much easier on me. I had been living alone for a few months and it didn’t take long for me to realize that the only reason I felt safe was because I had a dog companion to keep me company.
The idea of moving forever and a day away from Oklahoma wasn’t exactly on my radar when I adopted Mr. Fluffystuff. I knew I would be moving at some point, and my dad was helping me to get the house market ready, but it was in the plans to move to Houston, where my parents have called home for well over a decade. But when Rob and I started dating we soon realized that we wanted to spend as much time together as possible and we went from long-distance couple to living in the same house couple.
I’ll admit that I’m not terribly keen on my new zip code. I mean, it’s alright but I miss home. One of the redeeming qualities of my move is the fact that we are 20-30 minutes away from the beach. And, as I mentioned before, it turns out that Mr. Ollie and I LOVE the beach.
To be fair big boy likes going just about anywhere but there’s something about being at the beach and running through the water that lights up his eyes in a way that you can genuinely see his happiness. And that makes me happy.
It wasn’t all that long ago that my guy could only do about 30-45 minutes on the beach. With Carly, our new puppy around, Ollie has been stealing puppy food and packing on the pounds. He’s gone from fit and healthy to overweight right under our noses. But we’ve started feeding big guy Iams quality dog food and we’re noticing some pretty big Iams Visible Differences and right now, we’re pretty happy with the added energy he’s getting.
I have to admit that watching Ollie lethargically play with our new puppy while laying on his side was quite sad. He’s always been a run circles around the other dogs kind of a guy but with low energy he could hardly keep up. And he’s no old dog himself. He’s just had his 2 year birthday so he’s practically a puppy himself!
We’re so stoked that we are able to spend almost 2 hours at the beach our most recent trip and that Ollie had SUCH a fabulous time. And a lot of that is due to his new diet. He’s finally more interested in his own bowl than Carly’s bowl and we’re watching the weight slip off and the energy come back. In fact, getting big boy ready for the beach we noticed just how loose his collar has gotten. Huzzah!
But I’ve gotten a weensy bit side-tracked here, taking your dog to the beach isn’t just about throwing them in the car and going, so I’m sharing with you my tips to get pup beach ready so you can enjoy your time at the beach with dogs.
Tips for a Beach Ready Pup
Schedule out your time and plan not to stay more than a couple hours. The heat, the wind and the salt water can start to be tough on pup and we’ve found that our dogs max out 2-3 hours after arriving.
Don’t let your dogs run off leash unless you have very, very good control over them. It only takes one thing darting off in the distance to catch pup’s attention and send them running off. Our favorite beach is quite isolated and finding them again might be darn near impossible.
The sand is typically quite loose and doesn’t take a tether well. We’ve found that the metal pieces inside of the car’s door frames are quite sturdy so we attach leashes to them when we can’t have our hands right on pup’s leash. Be sure not to give them too much slack to where they get in the way of other beach guests or cars if vehicles are allowed on the sand. Alternatively be sure they have enough slack so that they can move around and be comfortable.
Be sure to provide shade for your pups and keep an eye to make sure that the moving sun hasn’t changed their situation. I like to park the car at an angle so that the car provides ample shade. Beach umbrellas and travelling canopies provide excellent shade as well.
Salt water can irritate a dog’s paws. Keep fresh water available to clean their feet regularly.
Take care to be sure that your pups never drink the salt water or eat anything they find on the beach.
Keep cold, fresh water on hand, more than you think your dog will need. Keep a plastic or travelling bowl constantly filled with cool, fresh water. This helps to keep pup hydrated and cool.
Bring along your dog’s food (for us that’s Iams quality dog food ). Though we don’t normally travel with the whole bag, a zipper bag of food is a good idea to bring along. With all of the extra activity it’s quite possible that pooch will work up an appetite. We get hungry after a day at the beach, why wouldn’t they?
Only take your dogs to pet friendly beaches. Be sure you check before travelling so that you don’t wind up turning around and coming right back home. Many beaches are NOT dog friendly and it may take some looking to find the perfect seaside locale to hang out with your pups.
Be prepared to clean up after your dogs. Nobody wants to find a present left behind by your dogs. In our experience there are rarely clean up stations so be prepared with your own clean up bags.
Even dogs can suffer heat stroke. Keep an eye out for signs and symptoms that your dog is suffering from heat stroke. More information can be found here.
Only take healthy dogs to the beach. Puppies should be over 3 months and vaccinated prior to their first trip.
When the pups start acting like they are ready to go, then it’s time to go. The sun, the heat, the wind and the salt water can start to irritate pup after some time. If you want to spend the full day at the beach, it’s a better idea to leave your dogs at home for this trip. Flat out, when taking dogs be prepared to leave when they need to leave.
And those tips, my friend, will help you have a successful trip at the beach with dogs. Have fun!