Trust us: Your dog loves the beach.
Pretty much all dogs do. The sand, the seagulls, the splashing…for dogs, there’s nothing better than a day on the shore. But does the beach love your dog as much as your dog loves it?
Benefits of Salt Air for Dogs
For millennia, humans have flocked to the seaside to breathe in the salt air, long purported to offer significant health benefits. Today, researchers can actually back up a lot of these claims with studies: there’s known evidence that salt air can effectively alleviate some common respiratory issues in people and presumably in dogs as well.
Bear with us while we get sciency for a moment. Salt air actually contains negatively charged hydrogen ions which more readily absorb oxygen. Breathing in these ions for a few hours can do wonders to reduce mucus, relieve sinus pressure, alleviate coughing, and even help asthma sufferers. If your dog has breathing problems or even if he’s just getting older, salt air at the beach might really make a big difference.
Salt Water and Your Dog’s Skin
A lot of dog owners worry, “Is salt water bad for my dog’s skin?” The good news is, it’s not! Salt water actually has a lot of beneficial properties for animal skin just like it does for human skin; you really only need to be vigilant if your dog rolicks in the waves every single weekend.
On the plus side, natural sea salt includes many common minerals your dog’s skin can actually benefit from. Sea salt can naturally improve hydration and strengthen the skin…in moderation. On the flip side, too much salt water can actually be drying to skin, causing it to become flaky and tight over time. Dogs that spend a lot of time in the ocean might even develop a dullness to their coats.
Protecting Your Dog at the Beach
The beach is a special – and vulnerable – place for your dog. You need to be aware, of course, of the power of the ocean where you are; dogs who aren’t intimately familiar with the sea can easily be caught off guard by big waves or rip tides. You should also keep a close eye on your dog while on shore; ingesting driftwood, litter, or anything else he finds on the beach could actually make your dog sick.
It’s not uncommon for dogs to suffer from diarrhea after a day at the ocean, especially if it was a one-off trip to the beach. This is usually due to the high levels of sodium inadvertently ingested through seawater and should pass after a few hours. Just be sure to give your dog plenty of fresh water after the beach to balance out the salt and rehydrate after a day in the sun!
After a dip in the ocean, it’s a decent idea to bathe your dog, or at least rinse him down with fresh, clean water to remove residual salt. If you can’t, don’t panic. Your dog’s skin will be just fine (and might even benefit!) as long as it doesn’t become a habit.