For animal guardians planning summer beach vacations and wanting to include the whole family in the fun, PETA has rounded up the best tips for keeping pups happy and wildlife safe, whether you’re heading to the coast, the lakeside, or a campground.
Keep Dogs Cool When the Mercury Soars
- If it’s hot outside and there’s no shade available, let Rover sit this one out. He’ll be happier napping in a cool room and hitting a dog-friendly patio with you for dinner.
- The same goes for a hot day on the water if your dog doesn’t enjoy jumping in to cool off.
- Check the sand with your bare feet. If it’s too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
- Take along a water bowl that you can fill in the sink or rinse-off station and bottles of water if you’re not sure that running water will be available.
- Never leave an animal in a parked car in warm weather—even just briefly and with the windows partially rolled down. A dog trapped inside a hot car can succumb to heatstroke within minutes—even if the car isn’t parked in direct sunlight.
- Gauge how long you should stay by your dog’s age and health status—excited dogs can overdo it and end up limping the next day.
- Loose sand is hard on canine knees, so think twice before taking an older dog to the beach.
- Find out if and when the beach allows fireworks, and avoid going at those times.
- Don’t let your dog wander out of sight, and if you have more than one, don’t let them get too far apart. Use treats to practice getting them to come to you reliably when called.
- On days when the water is particularly choppy and rough, such as right before or after a storm, keep Rover safe on dry land.
- If you see lightning, it’s time to call it a day.
- Take plastic bags to pick up after potty breaks.
- If dogs are allowed to be off leash, make sure they are not going to be aggressive toward other dogs or people.
- Don’t let your dog harass wildlife, either, such as digging up sand crabs.
- If you see people not cleaning up after their dogs, let them know how harmful the bacteria in feces can be to fish and other animals.
Look Out for Other Dogs …
- Sometimes people try to force a frightened puppy into the water—in such a case, let the owner know that pushing dogs to swim when they’re frightened or simply don’t want to can create lasting anxiety.
- If you see a dog being trained with a shock collar, try to talk to the owner about positive reinforcement (such as treats) as a more humane and effective training method, and explain that shock collars can malfunction and cause injuries and trauma.
- Try to stop anyone who is seen hitting or otherwise abusing a dog by casually intervening with a friendly smile and demonstrating how well the dog will respond to reward training with treats.
- If you see people who are clearly ignorant of their dog’s physical needs, including adequate drinking water, shade, and rest, gently step in, particularly if the dog seems distressed.
… and Other Animals
- Watch out for discarded fishing tackle and hooks left in the sand.
- Keep an eye out for injured animals, and if they are small enough, be prepared to scoop them up and take them to a wildlife rehabilitator.
- For larger animals such as sea turtles or dolphins who might need help, keep the phone numbers of local wildlife rescue organizations handy.
- When you encounter someone who is fishing, strike up a conversation about the harm that discarded line and tackle can cause to birds and other wildlife. If the angler seems open to talking, work your way up to discussing the ability of fish to feel pain and fear.
- Children can often be seen unwittingly harassing wildlife, such as digging up sand crabs or chasing seagulls; you may be able to get them to stop by telling them how scared the animals feel when threatened.
- If you see a child collecting small animals, such as fish or hermit crabs, try to persuade him or her to let them go by explaining that animals can get hurt or die when taken from their homes.
Make Great Memories
- Take along a ball, Frisbee, or other fun game to play with your dog if there’s shade or it isn’t too hot.
- When you’re passing out the popsicles, don’t forget to give one to your pup.
- Take lots of pictures!