Dogs love to have fun, and what better playground than the beach or a dog park. Here are some tips to help make outdoor recreation fun and safe for everyone:
- Everyone knows that hot pavement burns bare feet and paws, but we often forget that sand also gets very hot! Use the same common sense approach at the beach — if the sand feels hot to your hand or toes, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet.
- While some dogs are quite happy to just be running around with you, others need more interactive entertainment. Lucky for them we have Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff, Katie’s Bumpers Firehose Toys and Bumpers, and West Paw Design Zogoflex toys. These are not only durable, but they float!
- When it comes to collars many of us just find a nice collar, put it on our dog, and don’t give it another thought until it’s really dirty and worn. Collars get a lot a of wear and tear during playtime so it makes sense to have a recreational collar that’s appropriate for the kind of play your dog likes. A simple collar with plastic fittings and a quick-release closure such as the Alite dog leash bag dispenser or a simple Spindrift collar is perfect for the beach, leaving your attractive Dogla leather collar or earthdog hemp collar fresh for more civilized activities. The same goes for the leash. How many times have you either dropped the leash in surf or lost it at the park? A simple extra leash keeps your good one fresh.
- Treats in your pocket may make you the favorite human at the park, but look out for the seriously food-motivated dogs. These guys have a tendency to abandon all self-control in the hope of cornering the treat supply. To avoid instigating a skirmish, keep treats in the car, and reward your dog for leaving the park and hopping in the car.
- Many dog park and beaches have poop bag dispensers, giving all dog owners the means to clean up after their dog. But what happens when you’re planning on using the public bags but the dispenser is empty? Both the Alite Designs dog leash bag dispenser and their dog collar stash bag have integrated pockets that are perfect for keeping a few extra poop bags on hand as emergency back-up.
- Water! The Lixit Thirsty Dog water bottle makes it easy to bring along plenty of water for your dog. Not all parks have water, and sometimes the water supply to the drinking fountain has been turned off. Fresh water is even more important at the beach, and since saltwater has such a quick and unpleasant effect on dogs, it’s best to not let them drink it.
One last thought — It may seem like common sense, but if you have an unspayed dog and she’s in season, or about to be, please refrain from taking her to the dog park or beach. Her presence can trigger serious clashes among other dogs at or near the park.