Taking your puppy out to the beach for a walk is a great way to exercise and socialize your puppy. Dogs love to play, and the beach environment provides all the fun they want. It is a perfect activity for you and your puppy to bond and play in the summer months.
But is it safe to take your puppy to the beach? Yes, you can take your puppy to the beach as long as they have had their final vaccinations, at about 16 weeks of age. Vets recommend you wait at least 10 to 14 days after the last shots to take your puppy out to the public.
Besides vaccinations, there are other things you need to keep in mind when taking your new puppy to the beach. This article delves deep into crucial factors you need to consider before taking your little furry friend to the beach.
Vaccinations For Puppies
Vaccinations are vital before taking your puppy out to the beach or other public areas. Vaccinations are designed to help improve your dog’s immunity, preventing common diseases that puppies suffer from.
With the boost of immunity, your puppy can fight infections after exposure. Again, puppies are delicate as since they are still developing, their organs and systems are not strong enough to build adequate antibodies to fight diseases.
Remember, the beach is filled with other dogs and pets of different breeds and ages. Some of these are vaccinated while others are not. It would be challenging to identify those that are not, so it is best to keep your little furry friend from them.
The Risk of Contracting Canine Parvovirus
Parvovirus, a fatal disease, is one of the most significant risks for puppies. In an environment like the beach, the risks of contracting Parvovirus are higher because many dogs are mingling at a time.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Parvovirus is highly contagious and can affect all dogs. But, unvaccinated puppies under four months are the most at risk. The condition affects the gastrointestinal tract of the dog, causing excessive diarrhea.
Dogs that contract Parvovirus can die between 48 and 72 hours following the onset of signs. This shows how severe this condition is, with most infections resulting in death. And since dogs spread it via contaminated feces, it is best to keep your puppy away from dog-populated areas before being vaccinated.
The Vaccination Process for Puppies
Before you set out to the beach with your dog, you ought to understand the vaccination process for puppies, including the specific vaccinations and timelines.
Vaccines contain antigens, which are like disease-causing microorganisms. When introduced to the body, the immune system is stimulated, creating a memory for that disease. When your dog is exposed to that disease, the immune system can recognize and fight the disease.
There are two types of vaccinations for puppies; C3 and C5 vaccination. The C3 vaccination covers puppies against hepatitis viruses, distemper, and Parvovirus. The C5 vaccination protects puppies against all the above with the addition of kennel cough.
Vaccinations for puppies are given in the following schedule:
At 6 to 8 Weeks of Age
This is the first round of vaccinations for puppies, the C3, protecting against hepatitis viruses, distemper, and Parvovirus. Usually, breeders give this vaccination before selling the puppies, but it is essential to confirm if it was provided.
At 10 to 12 Weeks of Age
The second vaccination is the C5 which protects against kennel cough, in addition to the first vaccination, C3. At this stage, they still need a booster before you take them out to public areas. You can take them on short walks but avoid the beach until they get their booster shot.
At 14 to 16 Week Vaccinations
This set of vaccinations is optional, but vets recommend you get it for your puppy, especially if you intend to take it to dog centers, dog parks, and beaches. The booster vaccination can either be C3 or C5, and your vet can advise on the most appropriate one for your puppy.
After the booster, your puppy will be safe to go to the beach and play freely. But, as with other environments, the beach can pose additional risks other than contracting diseases.
Safety Risks At The Beach For Your Puppy
The beach is a fantastic place to take your puppy for playtime. But is it entirely safe for your little furry friend? Even if your puppy is healthy and fully vaccinated, the beach can bring about other risks that you should be aware of before letting your puppy loose to play.
You will most probably take your puppy to the beach during the hot summer months. While this is good to let them enjoy the sun, play in the sand and take a swim, it comes with the risk of getting sunburn.
The tummy and feet suffer the most since they are less covered with fur and the most exposed parts to the hot sand. The good thing is that you can protect your puppy from sunburn by getting vet-approved and age-appropriate sunscreen.
Apply sunscreen on their feet and tummy before letting them loose to play. You might need to reapply if your puppy swims for a while. The idea is to ensure the sensitive skin around these areas is protected all through the time you will be at the beach.
Sunstroke is another effect of the hot sun, usually at the beach. If you leave your puppy to play for too long under the hot sun, they might develop sunstroke. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long to develop sunstroke, especially if your dog does not hydrate frequently.
Avoid walking your dog in direct sunlight for too long and choose shady areas to minimize direct sun exposure. Check how hot the sand is and if it is too hot for your feet, it is too much to bear for your puppy. In this case, carry your puppy and save them from sunburn and sunstroke.
When taking your dog to the beach, carry a portable water bowl and bottle. Stop every few minutes to provide cold water for your dog to ensure it is hydrated. You will reduce body temperature drastically each time you provide water, minimizing sunstroke risk.
Sand In The Eyes
Besides sand getting hot and burning your puppy’s feet, it could get into the eyes, which can be problematic. The fine particles of beach sand can easily injure the dog’s eyes and potentially cause an infection.
The best way to avoid this is to get your puppy sunglasses. They will block the fine sand granules off the eyes while also protecting against the sun’s glare.
If sand gets into your puppy’s eyes, flush it out with water or use specialized dog eye drops to clear the eyes. If it is an extreme situation, visit your vet for prompt care.
Sea Tides and Waves
A beach is a lovely place for your puppy as it is for you. However, the irregular tides that come and go might be a safety concern for your little furry friend. You cannot expect your puppy to swim effortlessly and safely like adult dogs.
Even if they can swim, the tides can be too strong for your puppy to withstand. You should keep your puppy on a short leash to ensure you are close by at any given point. If the waves and tides come suddenly, you can retrieve your puppy and save it from the impact.
Alternatively, you can get a puppy life jacket and fit it on your pup. This can come in handy when keeping your pup afloat, especially during sudden waves. Again, you might not always be on the lookout when your puppy is playing, so getting your pup in a life jacket is safe.
If you are worried about your pup drowning, staying off the water would be best. Keep the leash on and stay as farther as possible from the shore.
The white sand and blue water are beautiful, but an important thing to note is that the beach comes with poisonous matter from dead fish and plants to dangerous creatures such as Jellyfish.
Naturally, your puppy will be attracted to the smell of dead fish and want to eat some. This can cause a health hazard as rotten fish might contain toxins that could poison your pup and cause other severe gastrointestinal infections.
Most seaweed is generally safe for dogs to eat, but it can be challenging to differentiate between safe and dangerous. Therefore, it would be great to avoid it altogether and protect your dog from potential poisoning if it ingests seaweed.
Physical Hazards Buried in the Sand
Unfortunately, most beaches are not just sand and water; there are sharp rocks, plastic, broken glass, metal scraps, fishing hooks, etc. These can cause injury to your pup as they play, especially if they are buried in the sand.
On this note, you should keep an eye on your pup and their environment at the beach to ensure there are no objects that could cause potential injury.
Tips for Taking Your Puppy to The Beach
Here are tips to help you take your puppy to the beach and keep it safe:
- Prevent your puppy from drinking saltwater from the ocean.
- Have a leash on hand for your dog to control its movement at the beach.
- Ensure the puppy is in your sight to monitor activity and playtime.
- Keep the dog as far as possible from the water line at the beach to prevent it from being carried away by strong tides.
- Carry clean water and portable water bowls and bottles to ensure your puppy is hydrated.
- Minimize your puppy’s contact with other dogs at the beach to protect against contagious diseases.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, and if unavoidable, apply sunscreen on your dog to prevent sunburns and provide water at close intervals to prevent heated exhaustion.
- Carry cleanup tools to clean up after your dog, as they can make a mess at the beach.
- If you are going with your puppy to the beach for the first time, carry a dog playpen to contain your dog and socialize them in the new environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Time of Day to Take My Puppy To the Beach?
Not all times are ideal for puppies to go to the beach. Consider that the heat will be bearable sometimes and unbearable at specific times. Remember, dogs can overheat and suffer from sunstroke and sunburn; therefore, you should be selective about the time.
The best time to take your puppy to the beach would be early morning or late afternoon. Around this time, the sun is not too hot, and your puppy can withstand the heat without overheating.
Regardless of when you go, always bring something to shield your dog from the sun. This can be a cooling pad or a beach umbrella if you will be out at the beach for a long time. Always pack cool water for your puppy to keep it hydrated all through.
Another consideration when choosing the best time to take your puppy to the beach is selecting a time when there are fewer dog owners at the beach. Of course, this can be hard to control and figure out, but a few trips to dog-friendly beaches can help you determine when there are fewer people.
Can I Let My Puppy Swim at The Beach?
You can let your puppy take a dip in shallow water, but keeping it off the water is advisable. With unexpected tides and waves, your dog is too small to swim in open water at the puppy stage. You can teach them how to swim from two months of age, but you have to be extremely careful teaching in open water.
Can I Take My Puppy to the beach After the 2nd vaccination?
You can take your pup to the beach after the second set of vaccines, but only at a time when the beach is less crowded. Also, avoid contact with unfamiliar dogs to minimize exposure to unvaccinated dogs. A good idea is to wait for the booster shot, but short walks after the second shots are acceptable.
Before you take your young puppy to the beach, ensure they have all their vaccinations and wait for a week or two after the last vaccination for maximum protection. Also, ensure your pup is safe by providing sun protection, water to cool off, and monitoring its movements.
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