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If you have a dog and live near the beach, you’ve probably taken it to play in the sand. Much like people, dogs absolutely love the beach. Not all dogs will go in the ocean, but all dogs enjoy running freely on the beach.
Whether you’re out for a morning jog, or visiting the beach a game of fetch in the whitewash, this article has a product – or two – for you and your pup. We’ll also highlight what we believe is the best beach item for dogs.
Do Dogs Need Beach Gear
Franz was a big dog, half Husky and half German Shepard. Unfortunately we didn’t socialize him properly when he was young and he had a hard time controlling his aggression.
With that said, he was a great dog and loved being outside. If there were few people around we’d let him off the leash to roam freely on the beach but most of the time he was kept on a leash.
I’d occasionally take him to the beach for a run. I always ran in the morning to avoid people and other pets. It was also cool during the morning so he didn’t overheat.
Franz was scared of water so he never swam however he loved to dig…and the beach was the perfect place to dig.
He’d chase seagulls but never caught one. After an hour or so, Franz would beome exhausted. He’d stick his head out the car window on the way home then nap on and off in the afternoon (ah memories).
As far as beach gear, we always took a few essential items. Number 1 was a leash. Most beaches require a leash for all pets and we always followed the rules. Number 2 was water.
Sadly, dogs (or people) can’t rehydrate with the ocean water. A bottle of water was perfect for our dog and we could usually find a drinking fountain to refill the bottle.
Lastly, we always used a cover inside the car. The cover kept the seats and trunk clean, free of hair and sand. The covers available today are much better than the homemade ones we used in the 1990s.
Related: Under-the-Radar Beach Gear
Why the Beach is the Best Place for Dogs
As a dog owner we have a lot of options. Dogs can roam in the backyard, they can be taken to the park, they can visit dog parks to socialize, or set the pace on hiking trails.
Because I grew up near the beach I’m biased but beaches are the best place for dogs for the same reason they are the best for people. Here are a few reasons:
- Sunshine and fresh air
- Plenty of room to run and dig (shouldn’t dig at the park or in the backyard)
- Option to swim
- Space for fetch
- Difficult to get lost
- Option to socialize
- Great for people/dog runs and walks
- Happy dog + happy owner
Considerations for Taking Your Dog to the Beach
Time of year
When taking your dog to the beach you’ll want to be aware of the time of year. Is it high or low tourist season? In the summer you’ll have to be mindful of other people.
I found that taking our dog to the beach in the morning, no matter the time of year worked well. The season will also influence whether the temperature is too hot or cold (consideration below)
Time of day (people)
As we mentioned above, the amount of people at the beach should be considered. It really depends on the beach you go to as some are busier than others.
If you have a local beach that is relatively unknown to tourists it might be ok any time of day. Less people means less of a chance for accidents. Unfortunately, my family learned the hard way when our dog was lost and he bit someone out of fear.
Related: Best Pop Up Tent for the Beach
Time of day (heat)
Further, the time of day will also have implications for heat. Midday summers are the worst for your dog. And don’t be mistaken, ultraviolet rays can also harm dogs.
If they are out in the sun too long their skin can burn (short haired breeds) and their nose can burn too. Do yourself and your dog a favor and take them to the beach before 10am or after 4pm when UV radiation is at its lowest.
The length of the leash does matter. On walks around my neighborhood we use a short leash perfect for walking, however we use a much longer leash when going to the beach.
A longer leash allows for freedom but also maintains control in case you come across posturing dogs. We recommend a long leash that’s also retractable in our dog beach gear below.
Does your dog like swimming? If so, be prepared to get a little damp. Some dogs venture deep into the waves while others are terrified.
If you don’t want your dog to get wet make sure you bring a leash. If you’re ok with your dog taking a dip in the water, small dog might need a life vest.
You’ll be at the beach so you’ll likely have light, quick drying clothes on but also remember you’ll want to make sure your dog is dry when they get in the car. A quick dry cloth can help.
Related: Beach Essentials for Women
Travel to and from the beach (pet hair, car sickness)
Getting to and from the beach will also require some planning. If you have a small dog the transportation logistics might not be a problem but larger dogs can do some damage to a car, not to mention making it smell after being wet.
Trust me, one of the worst smells is a long-haired breed after swimming in the ocean – a damp, musty smell that lingers. When you’re driving friends and family in your car you don’t want them smelling that wet dog smell.
Your dog might want to play at the beach. Packing a few dog toys is a great idea and can keep your dog busy for hours.
We really like the Chuck It Sport Launcher and I see people using them all the time at the beach (we’ll talk about it more in the dog beach gear section below).
Food and Water
Food and water are no brainers. For a few hours a dog won’t need much food, but packing a few snacks is a great idea.
I usually fill up my pockets with treats that help my dog before and after a run. It also helps when trying to get your pup back in the car (they won’t want to leave the beach!).
Water is essential and a water bottle works fine. Be sure to check if your local beach has water fountains or showers to fill up your bottle, otherwise bring some water. We recommend a nifty portable drinking waterer from Guardian (below).
Lastly, be cognizant of other dogs on the beach. You never know if other dogs are a friend or foe and loose dogs can make your dog excited and unpredictable.
In addition, larger dogs can bully smaller dogs or simply run them over. Think about how your dog reacts to other dogs before your trip to the beach and prepare yourself accordingly (leash etc.).
Related: Beach Running versus Road Running
No. 1 Chuckit! Sport Launcher (Must-Have Gear)
The Chuckit sport launcher is our number one product for your dog at the beach. Why you ask? If your dog likes chasing balls, which most do, then it will love this product.
I’m not sure how many balls I’ve thrown in my life. Between baseball and throwing balls for my dog I’m sure it’s in the 100’s of thousands.
This tool makes it easier, taking pressure off the arm, while throwing a ball 2-3 times farther. Dogs like playing fetch but if you throw like a girl (pardon the saying) it just isn’t as fun for them. Dogs prefer a long runway to chase down a ball and the beach is a wide-open place.
The Chuckit ball launcher has almost 3,000 positive reviews and is priced at a steal of a deal. It reduces the need for bending over to pick up the balls so it’s great for older people or those with back pain. It comes in various colors and sizes and is super light so it won’t weigh you down when walking on the beach!
If you want to make your dog go extra crazy for the balls, add on the Chuckit balls that whistle. When you throw the ball, the whistling will add extra excitement for your pup!
No. 2 Pet Dog Baseball Cap Sport Cap Hat
If your dog likes style then this beach gear will turn some heads. Ok, it’s not essential but it’s fun and will make people (including your dog) smile.
It also serves a purpose. The hat will provide some shade for your dog and shield its eyes from the sun.
At the beach there can be a strong glare from the ocean. This hat has a strap that goes under the chin and ear holes so your dog’s hearing isn’t affected.
It even looks like a real trucker style hat. It comes in blue or brown – looking at the picture makes me laugh. I love it!
No. 3 URHAPPYDOG Fleece Seat Cover for Dogs
Don’t be confused by the brand name (URHappydog), YOU will be happy with this product and so will your car. It features a fleece, waterproof, and slip-proof fabric that will shield your car from hair, smells, and slobber.
I like that it’s an American company and hooks onto seats with snaps. I also like that its fleece – fleece will hold onto pet hair like Velcro so the hair isn’t loose and flying around the car. It can fit in the back seat and cover expensive leather, or it can rest in the trunk of an SUV.
It measures 54 x 58 inches. Take out anytime and machine wash or vacuum. With almost perfect reviews on amazon this dog product is worth a shot.
No. 4 Yellow Dog Design
This is a fun option for your dog. It’s a beach styled collar designed with beach umbrellas, fruity cocktails, and sand buckets. There is also another style option called Aloha Blue with a tropical Hawaiian theme.
It’s made from 100% polyester and we like the fact it’s an easy snap on/off collar with an adjustment. It measures ¾ inches wide and fits dog necks 14-20 inches around (check price and reviews on Amazon).
If you’re looking for more a summer beach theme for your dog, then start off with the collar!
No. 5 TaoTronics Retractable Dog Leash
Retractable dog leashes have been around a long time however the designs have improved to feature more ergonomic designs. TeoTronics makes durable dog leashes for large and small dogs.
This one is 16 feet and perfect for dogs up to 110 pounds. It comes with one button break and lock.
It also comes with a doggy bag canister for picking up doo-doo. I like that it comes in a few different styles and colors and uses a fray-proof nylon ribbon.
Reviewers give solid feedback. Customers like that it’s durable, reliable, and doesn’t get tangled up.
Although the warranty isn’t clear, customers like the service and responsiveness of the company. If you’re looking for a retractable leash for the beach that provides length but doesn’t get tangled up, then this is the one. Plus it’s affordable (check price and reviews on Amazon).
No. 6 Coleman Pet Flotation Vest
Coleman is a long-standing American company. They make all kinds of camping and beach equipment like coolers and BBQs. I had no idea they made products for dogs as well.
This life vest, or more generally a floatation vest helps support dogs that love to swim. If your dog is a younger dog learning handle the water, or an older dog who can’t swim as well as he/she use to, think about getting a vest for the water.
Surprisingly, this dog floatation vest looks pretty good and I doubt it will bother your pup.
You can tell there was solid engineering put into this vest. It has a bright orange color so your dog will be seen in the water and attaches easily with click on buckles that are adjustable. The vest is made specifically for smaller dogs, like Chihuahua, yorkies, and teacups.
There are a few different sizes to chose from as well. Give this product a chance because Coleman’s guarantees its products. You’ll be able to return it without question if it doesn’t live up to your expectations.
Related: Helpful Beach Hacks and Tips
No. 7 Guardian Gear Pet Waterer
We’ve highlighted this product before and we’re mentioning it again. The Guardian Gear Pet Waterer is a great travel item for your dog.
You could simply use a water bottle but a lot of water will be wasted as you slowly pour it out.
This product provides a small tray where your dog can drink from. It’s perfect for long days at the beach or at the park. The tray folds over the bottle for storage and the rubber flow-valve will keep the bottle from leaking. It measures 10 x 3 x 3 inches.
No. 8 Microfiber Travel Towel
ECOdept makes this large 52 x 32 inch quick dry towel. It dries extremely fast and is naturally antibacterial. Although it’s made for humans, it’s a small towel that can fit in the back of your trunk.
I use it for my feet after running on the beach but it would be perfect for drying your dog off after a dip in the ocean. The material wicks away moisture from hair and captures that wet dog smell.
Just throw it in the wash and use it again and again on your dog. It comes in 4 colors and weighs just 8 ounces.
No. 9 Dog Backpack for Hiking
On California’s Central Coast my family always goes for long hikes on or near the beach. Many of the beaches are empty and stretch for miles (I won’t tell the names and keep these places secret).
If you’re spending a long time at the beach you’ll need to pack water, food, and toys for your dog.
Rather than you, the owner, carry everything, make your dog pitch in and help. This dog backpack is the perfect gear for hikes on the beach.
It’s similar to a saddleback for a bike. It fits over the back of your dog and the design has pockets on the side. It has 2 zipper pockets and a water bottle holder. It comes in blue (his) and pink (hers) and clicks to secure the pack over the back and under the belly.
There is also a handle on top so you can easily take off the pack (well designed). I also like this company (2Pet) because they donate a portion of sales to pet shelters and charities and offer a 1 year warranty against defects!
No. 10 KONG Rubber Flyer Dog Toy
If you have dogs, you probably know the Kong brand. Kong makes relatively indestructible toys. Their balls are ubiquitous around American households and this Frisbee should be too.
Although my dog doesn’t chase Frisbees, I still bought this rubber flyer to check out how it works. As a Frisbee it flies well and holds up over time.
It’s much better for dogs than traditional plastic Frisbees because the rubber is soft on teeth and gums. It’s a not toxic product and measures 1 x 9 x 9 inches.
If your dog likes Frisbees this is your best bet for playing fetch (check price and reviews on Amazon).
No. 11 Burts Bees Paw and Nose Lotion
This is a product we didn’t realize existed. Burts Bees is growing into the pet industry too. They make great products that are natural, so why not help out your dog too?
If your dog has spent all day at the beach, chances are its nose has pushed around sand and it has inhaled a little saltwater. Its paws have also had some wear and tear.
Since dogs spend so much time in and around the house, their noses and paws aren’t as tough as they would be if they were always outside.
Burts Bees paw and nose lotion help soothe your dogs nose and paws. I imagine it works great after a long day at the beach or at the park.
If you notice some scabbing or calluses on your dogs nose or paws, try out Burts products and let us know how it works. It has impressive reviews so it must work wonders.
No. 12 LED Dog Collar
Our final product is the LED dog collar by Illumiseen. This company is based out of Beaverton, Oregon and their mission statement is to help improve safety. They focus on lights for runners and pets. We really like what they’re doing.
We have to admit the beach isn’t the best place for an rechargeable device. In fact, it’s not a good idea unless you’re positive your dog won’t be going in the water.
The collar lights up beautifully so if you’re taking your pup to a bonfire it might be a great way to keep an eye on your dog. It has a lifetime guarantee and 5 hours of use between charges.
It comes in multiple sizes depending on the size of your dog and 6 different colors that look really cool. It only weighs 4 ounces so it’s super light as well.
Although the LED dog collar by Illumiseen might not be the best option for the beach, it certainly is perfect for other places. It will help you keep track of your dog and help other people (think cars) see your dog as well. Safety first!
So there you have it. We just gave you 12 items for your dog at the beach. One of them we strongly suggest (Chuckit) and another (LED dog collar) might not be the best for the beach but is a great idea and product for dog safety.
We love the beach and we love dogs. Rather than make your dog sit inside all day, get outside, be active, and enjoy the fresh air with your favorite companion.
Your dog will thank you for it and you’ll feel good too! Thanks for reading the Beach Life Expert and check out our site for more fun articles about the beach.