Dog safety tips for the beach

Safety Tips for Dogs at the Beach

If you’re planning to bring your pet to the beach this summer, it’s important to keep these safety tips for dogs at the beach in mind.

Bring lots of fresh water

Dogs need lots of water, especially after long swims and beach walks on hot summer days. Always plan to bring more water than you think you’ll need.

Don’t let your dog drink salt water, which will just make them even thirstier.

Not to mention the water contains seal feces (yuck! gross, but it’s true.)

Seals poop a lot. adult male seals on average consume 35-50 pounds of food per day — and there's an estimated 50,000 seals on the cape
the ocean is not as clean as it looks. adult male seals on average eat (and then poop) 35-50 pounds of food per day — and there’s an estimated 50,000 seals on cape cod. do the math.

plan for some shade

Nugget napping in the shade at Race Point Beach

Plan to bring an umbrella or other means of shade. It’s hot out there in the sun!

Have your dogs take frequent breaks when needed, and avoid over-activity on really hot days.  A good long nap in the shade is a great way to spend a hot day.

swim safely

Cape cod beaches often have strong undertows and currents. Make sure your dog is a strong swimmer before letting them crash the surf for the first time.

Dogs can tire on hot days, so it’s best to keep them close to shore when you notice signs of fatigue .Doggie life jackets are helpful for weak swimmers, and a requirement if your dog is out in a boat.

Another compelling reason to keep them close to shore:

Keep your dog safe from Great White Sharks!
The best way to spot a great white isn’t to look for its fin. Look for dark shadows in the water slowly cruising by.

don’t get bitten, part 1: watch out for sharks

Every year more and more juvenile great white sharks cruise the shoreline of the cape looking for an easy meal. They’ll race in within a few feet of the beach to pick off a careless seal.

Sharks can smell one drop of blood in a million drops of water.Never let your dog swim in the ocean with an open wound. sharks can smell just one drop of blood to hone in on their next meal.

Keep that in mind before chucking a tennis ball far into the ocean for your dog to fetch.  Even the strongest of canine swimmers can’t outswim row after row of serrated teeth.

Watch out! Beach grass is loaded with hungry ticks.
Stay off the grass! Beach grass on cape cod is loaded with hungry ticks.

don’t get bitten, part 2: ticks

Cape cod is loaded with ticks. Grassy dunes and beaches are especially dangerous, simply brushing by beach grass may will often leave you with a hungry visitor attached to your leg.

Always check yourself and your pet closely for ticks after you leave the beach, and each night before bedtime. Stay up to date on tick prevention treatments too. They’re everywhere!

A yellow lab sleeps on a Cape Cod beach

Use sunscreen

Some dogs with short hair or bald spots will need to use dog sunscreen to keep from getting sunburn. Remember that time you had a blistering sunburn so bad that your skin peeled? Your dog shouldn’t have to have that same memory.

Watch out for beach trash

Watch out for trash on the beach!Sadly many of the cape’s beaches are littered with debris. Make sure your dog doesn’t find anything it might choke on. This includes bones of filleted fish and grilled meats, clumps of seaweed which contain crab shells or fishing lures, and the random trash that previous visitors have left behind.

If your dog’s breed has a proclivity to always sniff out a bite to eat you need to keep an extra close eye out.

Be a nice citizen and pick up any garbage nearby.  This will help ensure our cape cod beaches stay safe and beautiful for dogs and humans alike.

The fireworks as seen from the beach next to the wharf in provincetown
A word of warning: Do not visit the provincetown cove beach near the wharf on the day after 4th of July fireworks unless you enjoy climbing mountains of trash. For some reason people just treat the beach like one big dumping ground, it’s gross.