Spring Break is here and you’re ready to hit South Padre Island for some rest and relaxation. You’ve got your sunscreen, beach umbrella and flip flops ready to go and you’re thinking of taking along your dog for the first time. After all, what’s better than having your furry best friend by your side? Sandy beaches, warm waters and ample space for playtime are fun for all dogs. But if this is your pet’s first beach outing, it’s important you pack your doggy bag with the right essentials to ensure your furry friend is prepared for the trip.

Ask the Valley Animal Hospital staff about how you can protect your dog from the elements.

Make Sure They’re Allowed

It’s important you make sure dogs are allowed at the beach you’re hoping to visit. The last thing you want it is a “No Dogs Allowed” sign ruining your day plans. Luckily, South Padre Island beaches do permit dogs, but for those venturing out-of-state or overseas, rules and regulations will differ.

They Get Sunburnt, Too

Just because dogs are covered in fur doesn’t mean they don’t need protection from the sun. Just like humans, dogs can suffer sunburns, too. Areas like the armpits, abdomen, ears, nose and muzzle are still vulnerable to the sun, even more so for dogs with lighter skin and fur. It’s important to avoid harmful sunburns with protective clothing or animal sunscreen that can be found at your local pet store. Try to avoid the sun at peak radiation hours between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.

A Sick Dog is Not a Happy Dog

While frolicking through the waves can be fun for your dog, they’ll sometimes choose to cool off by ingesting salt water. Saltwater dehydrates dogs and can result in vomiting and diarrhea. Toxins in saltwater or bacteria, algae or other microorganisms can make symptoms even worse. A sick dog on vacation is not a happy dog at all. Pack fresh water and a bowl and allow him/her to drink when thirsty in a shady area.

Don’t Over-Exercise

Trudging through the sand and swimming against the waves can tire a person out completely. And if you’re tired, your dog is probably tired, too. Keep in mind that the beach is an entirely different environment and running on sand can be strenuous, so take it slow. Some dogs aren’t used to swimming and they will be using muscles they do not normally use. Make sure to give them time to rest. You don’t want them pulling a tendon or injuring themselves.

Keep Them Away From Danger

The beach can sometimes be riddled with dangerous items like broken glass, coral, fishhooks, sharp rocks or even jellyfish. Keep an eye on your dog and choose a safe area for it to play. Never leave him/her unattended and be sure to always keep them on a leash.

Be Prepared

Remember, if your dog is new to the beach, it’s important to prepare them for the unfamiliar environment. They will be experiencing something foreign and it’s important that they are well-equipped to handle the sun, sand and water. Make sure your dog is ready by having Valley Animal Hospital check them out before embarking on a trip anywhere. Set a schedule with our pet hospital in McAllen as soon as possible!



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