Berners at The Beach
Fenway and Lola the Berner love to explore the beach with all its wonderful smells, the ocean and the sand. I know that no amount of hollering their name, throwing the ball in the other direction or trying to bribe them with healthy treats is going to get their attention.
Berners at the Beach – Sand
Rolling in the sand is a natural instinct for dogs. There are a few theories behind why dogs do love to roll in the sand. One of the first things my Berners do is find their spot and roll around happily in the sand – kicking their feet up and twisting and turning. One explanation for why dogs roll in the sand is to dry off or to scratch and itch. Another theory is that it keeps dogs cool.
Berners at the Beach – Seawater
Drinking salty seawater could dehydrate your dog. Make sure to bring plenty of fresh, cool water and a bowl for your dog so there is no temptation to drink from the ocean.
Ingesting a small amount of sea water won’t do any harm as long as dogs have access to fresh water, but if they swallow enough seawater, they can become seriously dehydrated. Signs include vomiting; thick, ropy saliva; and dry, tacky gums. Dr. Fort recommends establishing what your dog’s saliva and gums look like under normal conditions so you can immediately recognize—and hopefully prevent—a potential problem at the dog beach.
If your dog is vomiting and having trouble walking, those could be signs of severe dehydration.
Berners at the Beach – Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is a real issue for both humans and dogs. Dogs eliminate heat by panting as well as through sweat glands in their feet. When dogs are panting they are hot and their body temperature rises. This can be fatal if not corrected quickly.
What to watch for to identify heat exhaustion – an increase in body temperature, excessive panting, excessive drooling. What you can do to prevent heat exhaustion is to run a cool shower over your pet, covering the whole body – especially the back of the head and neck. A cool bowl of water never hurt either.
To keep your dog safe, avoid the dog beach at the hottest parts of the day, and provide your pup with plenty of access to shade and fresh, cool water. Try to keep activity to a minimum. It’s OK to play fetch with your dog—just make sure they have plenty of time to rest, get out of the sun and drink water in between games.
If your dog seems overly tired or is panting more than normal, it’s a good idea to wrap up the day early and get them into the air conditioning.
But if your dog is exhibiting symptoms like extreme lethargy, excessive panting, red (rather than pink) mucous membranes, diarrhea and vomiting, bring them to a vet immediately. Those could be signs that the dog is suffering from extreme heat stress.
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