Enjoying the Bank Holiday Weekend with your Dog
Bank holidays are a cherished opportunity to escape the daily grind and unwind with your four-legged friend. Whether you're headed to the beach or the countryside, these breaks provide the perfect chance to create lasting memories with your pooch. However, it's essential to be aware of potential hazards that can mar your otherwise perfect weekend. In this article, we'll explore how to make the most of your bank holiday while keeping your dog safe from hidden dangers at the beach and in the countryside.
Frisbee Photo by Lenin Estrada on Unsplash
The Beach Retreat
Leash Up: The excitement of the beach can be overwhelming for dogs. Before letting them loose, ensure they're on a secure lead. This not only helps you maintain control but also prevents them from running into unsafe areas or bothering other beachgoers. Once your dog appears settled and you think it is safe to do so, let them off the lead but keep a close eye on them
Follow the Rules: Some beaches have designated dog areas so make sure you read the signs and follow local byelaws. Take plenty of bags to clean up after your dog too as nobody wants to step in poop on their day off!
Watch Out for Waves: Although many breeds of dog love the water and are strong swimmers, it's crucial to monitor their interaction with the waves. Strong currents and undertows can quickly become dangerous. Start with shallow areas and gradually introduce them to deeper waters if they're comfortable. Check to see if there are any flags flying on the beach which may alert you to any safety issues.
Hydration is Key: The combination of sun, sand, and saltwater can dehydrate your dog faster than you might expect. Always carry fresh water and a collapsible bowl to keep them hydrated throughout the day. Most dogs will naturally steer clear of drinking sea water as they can smell that it is salty. If your dog ignores that and tries to drink it anyway keep an eye on them to intervene and provide them a fresh alternative, because drinking saltwater can make them sick or cause other health issues.
Avoid Sunburn: Just like humans, some dogs can get sunburned. Apply dog-friendly sunscreen to their exposed areas, particularly their nose, ears, and belly.
Mind the Sand: Dogs love to explore with their noses and mouths, which can lead to them ingesting sand. Ingested sand can cause discomfort, digestive issues, and even blockages. Keep an eye on their behaviour and discourage excessive sand consumption. This is most likely to happen when playing fetch so make sure you keep an eye on things when throwing a ball.
Bulldog Photo by Tom Hills on Unsplash
Snack alert: Of course you may want to bring some healthy snacks for your dog if you're staying at the beach all day but when we talk about snacking we mean don't let them eat anything that they find washed up on the shore! This could be dead fish, crabs or other people's dropped litter. This spaniel needed surgery after eating an old fish carcass that he found on the beach and needed emergency treatment to remove the blockage. Likewise if your dog is a bit of a beach comber don't let them chew bits of plastic or driftwood or other things that could injure them. Discarded fishing line can also be a problem that washes up on UK beaches so be vigilant to make sure your dog doesn't get tangled up too.
Red dog Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Under Control: When hiking or exploring the countryside, adhere to local byelaws and guidelines. This not only protects your dog from getting lost but also minimises their interactions with wildlife and other potentially dangerous animals.
Wildlife Woes: The countryside is home to various wildlife, some of which may not be friendly to your dog. Keep an eye out for snakes, ticks, and other critters that could pose a threat. Ensure your dog is up-to-date on tick preventatives.
Poisonous Plants: Familiarise yourself with toxic plants that may be prevalent in the area you're visiting. Dogs are curious creatures, and they might ingest plants that could be harmful or even fatal.
Long Grass: Grass seeds from long grass can get stuck in your dogs coat or between their paws and cause irritation. The can also get lodged in their nostrils or ear canal, requiring removal by a vet. Avoid longer grass on your walk if possible and check your dogs coat for anything they may have picked up en route.
Collie Photo by Sam Field on Unsplash
Food Caution: Picnics and outdoor meals are a staple of countryside outings. However, certain foods that are safe for humans can be toxic to dogs. Avoid sharing foods like grapes, raisins, chocolate, and foods high in fat or seasoning.
Clean Up After Your Dog: Leave no trace by carrying waste bags and picking up after your dog. Not only is this a responsible practice, but it also helps prevent the spread of diseases and keeps the environment clean.
Bank holiday weekends offer the perfect opportunity to bond with your dog in beautiful beach and countryside settings. Remember to prioritise your dog's well-being, from proper hydration and sun protection to steering clear of dangerous wildlife and toxic plants. With the right precautions in place, you can create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. So, leash up, pack your essentials, and embark on an unforgettable adventure. Got some plans with your dog this bank holiday? Let us know in the comments section below!
Main photo of Daschunds on the beach by Kojirou Sasaki on Unsplash