Tuesday, August 24, 2021

"Tips for Beach Dogs"

Coastal Animal Hospital-Kitty Hawk

Dear fellow Dog Owners,

Welcome to the beautiful Outer Banks! It is a paradise to explore for both man and dog alike. Much of the fun is focused around the spectacular beaches and sounds, and while these areas offer many hours of fun for all, there are a few unique hazards that you should be aware of.

Heat Prostration 

Every summer we see several animals that become seriously overheated. This is a potentially life threatening condition which can be easily avoided. It is important to remember that our canine friends cannot perspire as we do, so they rely on panting as the chief way to dissipate heat experienced by their bodies. In order to compensate for this one should always have fresh water available. Exercise should be limited to short intervals with close attention paid to their breathing patterns. When staying at the beach for extended amounts of time give them a place to lay in the shade. Breeds of dogs with shorter snouts or those with a history of respiratory or cardiac problems are even more sensitive to the effects of heat. And remember that even on overcast days it is possible for dogs to overheat in short periods of time. Lastly, never leave your pet unattended in parked vehicles.

Salt Water Ingestion 

While romping at the waters edge some dogs will drink saltwater as if it were fresh water and in large amounts this can be dangerous. The most common effect of this is vomiting and diarrhea. Most time symptoms last a short while, but if they do not subside in a short time it is important they be evaluated by a veterinarian for dehydration. Severe dehydration has the potential to severely damage their internal organs, so be mindful of their drinking habits and make fresh water available at all times when at the water.

Surf Dangers 

Waves breaking in the surf can be dangerous to our smaller companions. Cresting waves can pack quite a punch and cause your pet to develop musculoskeletal injury or worse, drown. It is important to watch them closely at all times when they are in the water and do not allow them to swim too far from land. Rip currents, which are powerful underwater currents going out to sea are dangerous to humans and dogs. Make it a habit to know the current beach report before heading down to have some sandy fun.

Be safe and have fun! And if you have any questions or concerns about your pet's health, please call one of the helpful veterinarians.

Stephen M. Samson, DVM
Coastal Animal Hospital
Kitty Hawk, NC

This article was first published in Vol. 2 page 6 of Pampered Pets Guide.