Essentials & Extras For A Beach Day With Your Dog

By Anna West

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Summer time is here, and with summer comes the need to beat the heat and hit the beach to cool off. Luckily, for those of us in San Diego, this doesn’t have to be a human-only activity. Whether you’re in North County or down South, you’ll find a dog-friendly beach nearby where you can enjoy a day in the sun with your pup.

Packing for a day at the beach by yourself already requires a laundry list of items, but packing for a beach trip with your dog is a whole other list of stuff! I’ve learned from trial and error the dos, don’ts, and must-haves for a day at the beach with your dog. Whether it’s a quick beach walk or a full-day beach adventure, here are some guidelines on the essentials versus the extras for a successful beach trip.

Essentials

FRESH WATER AND WATER DISH. Not all beaches have easy access to fresh water for your dog, and if your dog is anything like mine, it runs like crazy at the beach. Be sure to bring extra water and a dish so your dog can stay hydrated.

FOOD. Packing this item could depend on how long you plan on staying, but if you’re making it a full beach day, I would plan to bring some extra snacks to keep your dog well fed.

CLEAN-UP BAGS. Almost all beaches I’ve been to are already equipped with these, but if you’re a dog owner, I’m sure it’s something you don’t usually travel without, and the beach is no exception.

LEASH, COLLAR, HARNESS. Even if you are going to a leash-free beach like Del Mar dog beach, you still need to get from the car down to the sand. Be sure to remember the basics and bring your leash and collar.

ID TAGS. I’m going to assume most owners keep their dog’s ID on its collar, but especially if you are going to let your dog roam free off-leash, be sure to keep its collar on so it can be identified.

SUNSCREEN. Not just for you, but also for your pup! Dogs are susceptible to UV rays just like humans, and various brands of animal-safe sunscreen now on the market make it very easy to protect your pup from a painful sunburn.

Extras

FLOATING TOYS. If your dog is a swimmer, you won’t want to go without some type of floating toy—plus you get the bonus of watching them swim!

CHUCK-IT TOY. San Diego is great for a lot of things but, let’s face it, it’s not known for it’s wide-open spaces. The beach is one place you can really play a good long game of fetch with your pup. Chuck-it takes the game to a whole new level and can really help you wear out a high-energy dog.

CAMERA. It goes without saying that you’ll want to capture all the fun!

ABSORBENT PET TOWEL. Call it an extra that also qualifies as an essential, because nobody wants a wet dog getting in their car. After making that mistake a few times, I did some research and found numerous brands of extra-absorbent, quick-drying dog towels. The Dirty Dog “Dog Shammy” is one of my personal favorites.

LIFE VEST. If your dog loves the water but isn’t the strongest swimmer, I highly recommend trying a doggie life vest. Perk number one, your pup looks adorable. Perk number two, they stay safe at the beach.

ANIMAL FIRST-AID KIT. Always carry a first-aid kit made especially for your pet.

UMBRELLA. This is another extra versus essential, depending on how long you plan on staying. For a long visit to the beach, there’s nothing better than being able to get out of the sun for a few minutes.

PAW PROTECTION. Even though the beach is where you go to cool off, we all know the sand can be hot, hot, hot! Your dog will also feel this heat, and there are products to protect the paws from heat (and cold, too).

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