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For the love of your pet: Beach wear, gear for Fido

June 23, 2011 at 1:23 a.m.


By John Beck

We are planning a beach vacation this summer and want to take our dogs with us. What do we need to know before hitting the beach with our pooches?

Many families are taking their pets with them on vacations. They find that their dogs will enjoy the trip as much they do and the excursion provides good quality time that everyone has been missing. Make sure the place you are staying is pet friendly. I would bring a crate for your pet, even if you normally don't enforce crate behavior. You never know what you will run into. For example: If there are other vacationers that have also brought their pets, you may need to separate your dog from theirs. If you have an emergency and need to leave your pet behind in the house unsupervised or if they are the emergency, you might need the crate to transport them (keep them from bleeding in the car or moving around too much).

Make sure you take their food and water bowls . switching can sometimes cause the pet to not want to use the new bowls and in some cases a rash around the pet's mouth. Take their food from home. You don't want to have to get a different brand from the supermarket. This can sometimes cause stomach upset if the dog is not transitioned slowly to the new food. Take any medications your pet is currently on. Make sure you take a couple of days extra just to be on the safe side. You might drop one or stay a couple of days longer than you had planned. If you are spending a lot of time at the beach (away from the house or hotel) make sure you bring water for your pet and a container for him to drink from. Also, make sure you have a way to provide shade for your dog if he gets tired or hot and needs some relief.

Take a small first aid kit with you. Some stretch wrap (Vet-Wrap or ACE bandage); triple antibiotic ointment (Neosporin), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), olive oil, doggy shampoo, etc. The stretch wrap can be used on wounds that will not stop bleeding and the triple antibiotic on small cuts/scrapes and bug bites. Use the diphenhydramine for any swelling or allergic reactions. Olive oil works to protect the eye from salt water and shampoos. And finally, bring the shampoo because a dog at the beach gets very dirty very fast! Keep an eye on your pet. Make sure they are not overheating.

Some people even like to get booties for the dogs' paws. There are small boots that zip up around the lower part of your dog's feet to protect them from stepping on something (coral, rocks, etc.) that can cause a cut to the pad.

Last but not least: take the phone number of your veterinarian, and possibly try to find a vet in the area that you are travelling to in case you need one.

Dr. John Beck has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. Submit questions to Dr. Beck at drjohnbeck@hotmail.com.

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