Beach Awareness

Posted by Dr Dan on 21 August 2015

Okay so we have not had many warm sunny days to enjoy the beach this Summer but dogs love frollicking in the surf whatever the weather!

After an unprecendented number of canine beach emergencies I felt it would be useful to post something to raise awareness. Here is a brief list of what to watch out for:

1] Heat exhaustion: It goes without saying to reduce exercise in hot weather, especially for breeds with short noses such as boxers, pugs, pekinese, etc. They struggle to regulate their temperature as well as other breeds and can overheat fast. Always carry water with you when out and about and never leave your pets in a car alone.

2] Secondary drowning: If dogs ingest too much salt water it can cause both vomiting/diarrhoea and salt toxicity which causes cardiorespiratory problems and dehydration. Some dogs will seem fine after inhaling excessive water and will only show signs later in the evening with rapid, sometimes raspy breathing. They may be suffering from secondary drowning which can be fatal.

3] Foreign Bodies: There is a plethora of playthings on the beach for dogs. You must be aware that it is easy for dogs that carry stones to accidentally swallow them, this can result in emergency surgery being required to remove them. Throwing sticks is also risky business, especially on the sand as they can stick in the ground and a high speed colllision with a stick can cause serious injuries, particularly at the back of the throat - so take care! Fish hooks are another classic for getting stuck.

4] Dietary indiscretion: Jellyfish, dead fish, anything rotten and stinky, seaweed. You name it, if it is gross, a dog will probably try and eat it! This can cause acute episodes of gastroenteritis, specifically haemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) which presents as watery, bloody stools which usually needs medication and sometimes fluid therapy.

There are plenty more potential hazards for dogs on the beach, more recently palm oil has been washed up on some island beaches which is incredibly toxic to dogs and causes kidney failure. There is no need to avoid the beaches, just be aware and be sensible! Also don't forget the sun cream and hat for yourselves ;)

Dr Dan