beachphotoAre you heading to the beach this summer? If so, there are several precautions you probably take to keep you and your family safe, such as wearing sunscreen, avoiding strong currents, and keeping hydrated.

Those same concerns apply to pets at the beach too. If you’re planning to take your furry pals to the beach or pool, keep the following tips in mind.

Consider the temperature and sunlight.

It’s best to limit time outside between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the heat, as high temperatures can put your pet at risk for heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Limit your dog’s physical activity during the hot weather, and watch out for signs of health illness. These include breathing problems, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, heavy panting, and even seizures. Pets with heat illness require immediate medical attention.

Protect your pet’s skin.

Pets can get sunburned just like us, especially if their coats are thin or light in color. Talk with your veterinarian about using pet-safe sunscreen to help protect their skin. You may also want to consider bringing a source of shade, such as a tented pet bed, to provide some relief from the sun.

Additionally, remember that the scorching sand can be painful to your dog’s paws–just like it is to your bare feet.

Have plenty of fresh water on hand.

Fresh water is essential during a day at the beach. Obviously, your pets should have regular access to fresh, clean water to keep them hydrated. But water is also important for rinsing off your pets after their playtime. Sand, pool chemicals, and ocean minerals can irritate animals’ skin.

Always monitor your pets around the water.

Never leave your pets unattended near bodies of water–even if they know how to swim. (And don’t assume all dogs can swim!) To provide an extra layer of protection, you can look into getting a doggy life vest. Avoid letting pets hang around water with strong currents too.

Your dogs may think they’ve hit the jackpot if they come across fish washed up on the shore, but don’t let them eat it! Fish and other ocean creatures can be toxic to your pets. The high sodium level in the ocean water can also cause sickness, so try to keep pets from drinking it.

This may seem like a lot to consider when you just want to hang out at the beach, but following these tips could save you from some headaches–and heartache.