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Dogs Love the Seaside.

Taking a dog to the seaside is such fun as almost all dogs clearly love it. Some dogs love swimming for the fun of it, others enjoy it mostly if they have a companion or if they are retrieving something that you throw in to the water for them.

Gaia loves the sea and I have seen her surf!!! I was on the beach with all the dogs once and it was a bit windy, so the waves were coming in fast and in just the right height for her. I saw her run out through the waves till she could just touch the seabed in between the waves. She was watching the waves and clearly picked one to ride on. At the right moment she jumped on it and enjoyed the ride in to the beach. It was definitely deliberate and great fun to watch. None on the others realised this fun and didn’t surf.

In terms of dog beds, we always have a waterproof dog bed in the vehicle for them to lie on during the journey home. They have so much sand and salt water stuck to their coat and the dog bed looks like a hairy beach after a while.

 

Beware of the Tide.

When you take your dog to the beach there are some things to be careful about, so it’s good to be prepared. There are dangers and there is courtesy.

The tide is important because on some beaches this can be very powerful and your dog can drown. We are all aware of this when we take children to the beach, but dogs, despite being strong swimmers, can succumb to the currents from the tide. Lots of younger dogs will chase the seagulls or geese they see on the water and gallop out till they have to start swimming, still pursuing the birds. The birds are wise enough to simply leave this to happen till just the last minute before the dog reaches them, where they then take off. If your dog is now a fair way out and the tide is going out at its fastest, he can be in trouble. If there is also an off-shore wind, it can be very dangerous. The dog, already a bit tired from the out-swim, might not be able to battle the wind and tide going back.

 

Heat and Sand.

The sand can be very hot to walk on. Although your dog’s paws can cope with a lot more than your bare feet, remember when you walk on hot sand (with shoes on) your dog might have a problem where the sun is beaming down midday and the sand (or tarmac) is at cooking temperature. Once a dog’s paws have formed blisters underneath, it can take a while to heal.

While we enjoy the heat by the beach, your dog might get too hot. Dogs with big, thick coats really are not suitable for beach life on the hottest days. If there is not a good breeze, even the shade can be too hot. The best thing to do for a hot dog is to dig a hole (often dogs will do this on their own) to get to the cooler, damp sand. This can help a lot to alleviate the hot conditions.

Remember to bring water and a bowl. We often go along with wonderful drinks and picnics, but your dog might not enjoy the Ribena or the lemonade drinks 🙂  He will need plain water. Most dogs have a go at drinking the salt water and realise it is not a good idea, but if they are very thirsty and have not got their own water in a bowl, they will be more inclined to drink the seawater. This will lead to more dehydration and possibly an upset tummy.

 

Courtesy.

It goes without saying, but should still be mentioned here….. : keep your dog on the lead and bring poo bags. You will not be very popular if your dog runs over and cocks his leg on a child’s sand castle! You might be quite relaxed about it, but, mom and dad won’t be….

The poo bags are absolutely essential to avoid the utter embarrassment of what to do with the results of your dog going to the toilet where everyone is playing and walking with bare feet.

 

A Nice Weekend at the Seaside for Gaia.

Here is Scotland it is not often catastrophically hot! Going to the beach is more often a wellie and rain coat affair or at least just pleasant and fresh. I went to the seaside with Gaia recently and she had great fun chasing those gulls. I was aware of the tide and when she was running in to the sea, it was on a tide coming back in, making it much safer. She was in hot pursuit of a pair of geese that had landed on the water. They sit on the water, waiting right up till the dog is about 15 metres from them and then they take off gracefully only to tease her by landing another 50-70 metres further along. Great exercise for the her….

Gaia running in the water.

Gaia running in the water.

She loves running on the rocks and while we do our wild foraging, she has time to explore. Where we were at the weekend, there are absolutely no roads (nearest road is four miles away), so there is no worries about traffic.

Running on the rocks....

Running on the rocks….

We had a little rubber dinghy out and she loved that. She clearly does not think about the consequence of falling off it, but I knew it would not be very good. I don’t think I would be able to get her back in the boat if she fell off and the engine would have to be cut immediately if she did due to the propellar. So when she was balancing on the edge, I called her gently, hoping it would all be ok. She got in and was not allowed to do that balancing act again.

Gaia balancing on the side of the rubber dinghy.

Gaia balancing on the side of the rubber dinghy.

Gaia loving the dinghy ride.

Gaia loving the dinghy ride.

She loved the two days at the sea and as we packed the boat to get home, she used the fish net that we had to take to the skip as a dog bed.

Gaia using the fishnet as a dog bed.

Gaia using the fishnet as a dog bed.

She was also very happy to get home to her luxury dog bed at home, especially because she had to sit in a harness in the van all the way home, which is not easy for sleeping.