Ruff conditions ahead.
Dog owners who plan to bring their pooch along with them to the beach this summer should be wary of the dangers that their four-legged pals could be in.
While playing on the beach, many dogs may get sand in their mouths, whether its on purpose or accidentally, but if ingested, the sand could block up in the intestines, called sand impaction, leading to severe health problems, veterinarian Laura Plyforth says.
“Believe it or not, some dogs have been known to eat sand when they visit the beach. Most, however, ingest it by accident through digging or repeatedly picking up sandy balls and toys,” Plyforth wrote on Vets Now.
“If a dog swallows enough sand it can cause a blockage in the intestine, which is called sand impaction. Signs of this serious condition, which requires urgent veterinary treatment, include vomiting, dehydration, and abdominal pain.”
While sand is made up of very small particles, when it gets wet it clumps together and becomes heavy, and if ingested the sand will become wet because of saliva and other intestinal liquids.
Other sand impaction symptoms pet owners should look out for are panting, constipation, restlessness, and hard mass in the stomach area, according to the American Kennel Club.
As with anything it can be hard to prevent anything from happening to your dog, but some preventions the AKC suggests owners take include, watching the dog intently, bringing plenty of fresh water, not allowing the dog from drinking the salty, sandy water, and bring toys that won’t absorb sand as much like a plastic frisbee.
Owners should bring plenty of fresh water for their dogs and not allow them to drink the salt water as the ocean water could contain parasites, bacteria, and of course salt.
After leaving the beach, owners should rinse off their dogs to remove any sand and other debris that got trapped in their coats and paws, along with the salt, which could dry up their skin and paws.
Humans and dogs share similar hazards on the beach like sunburn, dehydration, and walking on hot sand, so owners should always make sure there is a shady spot set-up for their dogs whether it’s under a table, in a well-ventilated tent or under a tree.
Other hazards are more aimed at dogs, including staying away from sea creatures like jellyfish and eating dead fish that wash ashore.
“Don’t let your dog eat dead fish that have been washed up on the beach. These may contain potentially deadly toxins,” Plyforth said.
Owners should also not assume their dogs can swim, and even if they are strong swimmers in still waters, currents and riptides could drag the dog under or out to sea.
“Many dogs are natural swimmers, but some may need to learn to swim. And any dog can be carried out by a strong current. Consider using a doggy life vest to keep your dog afloat if they get into trouble,” the AKC said.
Palm Oil is another hazard, as white clumps can be found on the shoreline, and if swallowed by the dog can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and even pancreatitis.
Other hazards include fishing hooks that can cause injury if swallowed, foreign objects, and overexertion because sand is harder to run on than grass.