As people look forward to the easing of lockdown restrictions, many will be looking to book a staycation with their pooches. But which popular seaside location is the most dog-friendly? As part of their Dog-Friendly Beaches, campaign researchers at Uswitch have crunched the numbers to reveal Devon as the second most dog-friendly seaside destination in the UK.
Devon was revealed to have 68 beaches that are open for our furry friends and is home to a number of pretty bays including Saunton Beach. The bay only requires your dog to be on a lead for the first five minutes of your walk, leaving them plenty of room to run around freely.
With many people having bought dogs during the lockdown period, taking your dog out to the beach or driving with your pup can be a big step for owners. That's why with the help of Wendy Kruger, Dog Behaviour & Training Specialist at Wood Green, we have the answers on how to prepare your dog for the beach:
Do you have any advice for first time dog-owners when taking their pup to the beach for the first time?
"As we approach the holiday and travel season, ensure your dog's microchip and collar tag details are up to date – just in case. Get used to checking ground surface temperatures before you take your dog out, as dry sand can be too hot for dogs' paws on sunny days. To check the ground temperature, place the back of your hand on the ground. If it's too hot to hold comfortably for at least five seconds, it's too hot for dogs' paws."
How can dog-owners prepare for it? What training can you practice ahead of time?
"Practising basic, reward-based training when out and about will help your dog to maintain focus and engagement on walks. Recall is also an area that needs particular attention. Even if your dog has a great recall at home, it's not something that can be guaranteed in unfamiliar environments with exciting new distractions. Games with toys are a fantastic way to help your dog engage with you when there are other distractions around."
Packing tips for a day at the beach with your dog (beach umbrella for shade, plenty of freshwater for drinking and rinsing, old towels etc)
"Always pack fresh water and a bowl, as well as some tasty training treats and a toy. If your dog goes in the sea, rinse them down so they don't lick the salty water off. Sometimes it's not suitable to have your dog off lead, so take a harness and longline lead."
"Dogs are highly susceptible to heat stroke, so it's critical to take precautions when the temperatures are higher too. It's a good idea to take something to provide shade, like an umbrella or windbreaker, and there are also cool mats and cooling coats available, which can be effective if used as per the instructions. You'll also want some blankets or towels to protect your car from wet, sandy dogs on the drive home!"
For more information, check out https://www.uswitch.com/car-insurance/guides/uk-dog-friendly-beaches-mapped/