\\\ Dog Safety
\\\ Updated 19 September 2021
How to Be Safe Dog Walking – Coastal Beach Safety – Using GPS Pet Activity Trackers
Stay Safe Walking On UK’s Beaches
The British coastline is one of the biggest in the world, according to Ordnance Survey, has more than 11,000 miles to visit, meaning there’s a lot to see whilst dog walking on beaches around Britain. Some beaches are privately owned and not open to the public, other areas may be closed as scientific areas for wildlife or home to MOD testing and firing ranges.
Pet theft exacerbated by the need to buy pets during the recent pandemic saw high profile cases, such as US singer Lady Gaga’s two French Bulldogs being stolen, reported by The BBC News USA, gears up for a much larger reminder of the significant growing problems of pet theft, not just in the US, but also in the UK, which can occur anywhere, anytime, including beach areas.
According to The Kennel Club, the majority of pet theft, 52%, actually happens while your pet is in their garden, but reports of snatches whilst dog walking are on the increase. (Read the latest updates The Pet Theft Act Amendments moved forward 3 September 2021).
It’s always good to double-check and refresh with reminders about safety and theft when you’re visiting new and different areas with your pet, including UK beaches.
Summer Beach Dog Walking
UK’s coastal beaches are generally a pleasure to walk, however, during the high season, the summer months, particularly when sunny, these areas become increasingly more packed with visitors, where there are Orders that dogs may need to be on leads, or are banned from certain areas on the beaches and promenades, made under the local council’s PSPO Orders.
PSPO’s are generally made for towns and areas that are popular with visitors and not a complete ban of the beach, but parts of. The various local councils provide detailed maps of the zoning, and signage at the beach entrances, promenades and beach car parks. There are fines imposed for offenders.
Fortunately there are only about 75 beaches in the UK where there are total bans, all year preventing taking your dog onto the beach, where the bans usually start 1 May until 30 September. Some very popular destinations, start bans as early as 1 April or Easter time.
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DOG RESTRICTIONS ON BEACHES
CHECK LOCAL COUNCIL RESTRICTIONS BEFORE LEAVING HOME
Your Dog ID Tag, Collar And Pet Tracking Device
Before you even travel to your coastal location, you must ensure your dog is wearing their collar and ID tag when you set foot outside your home, a requirement in UK law, and always ensure your dog’s microchip details are kept up to date with your provider.
If travelling on holiday, don’t be caught out, make sure you have a spare dog ID tag available to hand in case your pet loses theirs whilst busy sniffing around excitedly exploring new places.
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If your dog likes to wander but sometimes may have been distracted and not answered your commands to come back to you, then you may be considering investing in a reliable dog GPS activity tracking services which can be highly beneficial to keep track of your pet within 1-2 metres of their location when wearing the special tracker.
Simple to attach to their collar and operate through your mobile. Take out a subscription and then pay monthly a small fee for the service.
GPS pet activity trackers can be particularly useful if you’re not at home to know exactly where your dog is during your absence, especially if you employ a dog walker, where you’re dog has been taken and the amount of time out of the home. Likewise, if you travel abroad and leave your pet at home, that you’re pet sitter is acting responsibly, or if your pet is flying solo to another destination or being taken by a pet services road service to meet you at another destination.
Trackers are ideal on dogs when visiting beaches with large expanses to wander. Many of our beaches have sand dunes that back onto the beach backshores and are undulating making it quite difficult sometimes to see your dog as they move around exploring.
The uses are wide ranging. You would be able to establish very quickly where your pet was last and the unexplained, theft movements of your pooch, or where you pet has simply abandoned you and run off.
Whilst it isn’t lifeguard duties, it has been known that they’ve even had to take in, care, and repatriate dogs with their owners on busy beaches.
If you buy a GPS pet activity tracker and regularly pay your monthly subscriptions, let your pet insurers know, who may offer you a discount off their premiums.
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\\\ Beach Safety Rules
Before leaving for your beach walk
It’s important to be prepared for a day out
Check the tide times available at The Met Office and brush up on water skills with a quick reminder of the RNLI water safety advice page. Both are invaluable. If it’s high tide, in some coastal locations, then a coastal cliff walk or dune walk may be more appropriate, where beaches may become inaccessible. Work your visit around the tide times where 2 hours after the tide has turned, started going out is ideal. The shingle and sand being exposed is starting to dry out and not so soft underfoot.
If there are some local reviews about the beach on social media, have a read of these as they will have useful information for any new visitor. They may inform you if there’s a temporary closure because of an event, for example, and save you an unwanted trip or lifeguard safety information posted.
Ask a friend to come with you if on a special day out which you can both enjoy, and always helps additionally with the security of dog walking in a new location.
Dogs become very thirsty especially if they’ve been swimming in the salty water. Take plenty of freshwater and collapsible bowl. You will need to take some old towels to have ready for drying your dog after swimming and cleaning off the sand off your dog before coming home.
In hot weather, dogs can become dehydrated very quickly, so not only be prepared with plenty of water available for them, but plan the day around midday and early afternoon sun, not to catch sun burn either.
Dogs can become bewildered if beaches are busy with visitors, and act out of character. You may be happier muzzling your dog in busier beach areas and take a short and long lead with you.
Your mobile is essential, particularly if you use GPS tracking services for your dog. Some beaches may have no or poor reception, especially where they are located at sea level or below, so do check constantly that the beach has good signals whilst walking. You may only have to move 3 metres or so in another direction for the signals to be ‘live’ again.
A dog first aid kit is always handy to have in the car for any unexpected dog emergencies.
- Jollyes offer a sensibly priced first aid pack handy to have ready for that unexpected emergency.
- Pets At Home offer a handy pack suitable for dogs and cats
Avoid putting on social media any pictures with geo tags of your trip, or any prior notification that you intend to visit. This is particularly important if you own an expensive breed to avoid possible pet theft.
Tips To Stay Beach Safe
- New surroundings are a wonderful adventure for dogs and owners and this is from the minute you both step out of your car, right along sandy walks, dunes, cliffs and beaches. Try not to get distracted by the new scenery too much and keep your eyes on your dog at all times.
- Most UK beaches will have signs up informing you whether there are any dangers to look out for, and if dogs must be restrained or banned.
- Busier beaches operate a warning of sea conditions red flag system so take heed of the daily information and any local lifeguard advice. Other beaches sound fog sirens to warn of fast incoming tides. Take notice of these, act immediately securing your dog and walking up to the entrance of the beach.
- Your dog may try to wander off sniffing the ground frantically – we’ve all watched them – as they smell new interesting scents including local wildlife that may be nesting close by and on sand dunes. They need to be restrained and moved quickly away from these areas.
- You may be frantically whistling and unusually your dog doesn’t respond, bolting off and this becomes a problem. It’s important to keep your dog in view, even though you may now be jogging or running frantically to catch up with them. As soon as you do, pop them on a long line and walk to another area.
- If the tide is going out, it may have left rubbish on the upper shore. Your dog will want to scavenge, but try to avoid them from doing this as there can be broken glass, other sharp objects that cut their paws and plastics they could try and eat that’s been left behind by the high tide. They may disappear behind a rock nursing a bleeding paw.
- If your pet stops at rock pools and starts drinking, try and pull them away as the water will be salty and not necessarily healthy for them. It may mean you need to soon return to your vehicle, or seaside staycation home, so they can catch up drinking some fresh water.
- Remember to take all rubbish off the beach with you including dogs poo and dispose of in the local bins provided in the beach car park or take it home with you.
- When back home, it’s advisable to bath your dog removing all the salt and sand that will now be in their coat.
- If you’re away on a staycation or weekend break, ensure you have your insurance details with you as you never know when you may need them particularly in any pet emergency requiring local vet services. Carry a 24/7 online vet emergency number with you. Some savvy owners always carry a recent picture of their pet too.
- If your pet experiences itching, then it is possible that sand flies have bitten your dog and this will need veterinary help and advice. Read our blog about sand fleas that are actually flies.
- If your are sitting on the beach then its always advisable to sit on chairs some height above the sand to avoid being bitten and to provide your dog with a towel or blanket to lie on to avoid being bitten, as well as shade in summer.
- In most coastal areas vets are accessible by car being just 5-10 miles away, however remote, off-road regions can be up to 50 miles.
avoid pet theft – Never leave your dog unattended in your car
Autumn and Winter Dog Walking On Beaches
Autumn and Winter beach walks are less popular, can be less appealing with colder weather, rough seas, beating rain. The same rules apply if visiting for you and your dog safety but the PSPO’s banning certain parts are all lifted by 1 October. This means that you can use all the beach space. There are only about 75 public UK beaches that are banned all year.
Make sure you dress appropriately for poor weather, as well as your dog, and time your walks during the best warmth and daylight, usually at lunchtimes.
Some dogs love swimming, others hate it. A little like humans. Don’t force your dog to swim if they don’t want to and avoid where the tide is notoriously strong and sign posted. Winter time tides can be very rough and best to avoid. When the tide is strong and sea angry then sticking to walking the promenades, coastal walks, or sand dunes are a much better solution.
If you intend your dog to swim and they are wearing an activity tracker, then check the GPS Activity tracker details with the firm whether it will withstand swimming. If your dog is a regular swimmer then buying a special buoyancy jacket can help their safety if they become tired and start drifting in the water. Selected pet stores (Pets At Home ) sell these and they can start from about £20.00, very similar to wearing a dog rain jacket.
If you want to let your dog experience water, try the local doggie swimming pool events now being held across the UK. It’s a great way of them learning and practising swimming in a relative safe environment and having fun. Read about Saltdean Lido event.
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