While dogs have wonderful instincts, we have learned a lot about their safety and care from our guests and want to share some of their expertise:
Dog paddling is not a given! We didn't know that not all dogs can swim until our dear guest Grace, who owns a pug, told us. Also corgis and other small dogs don’t swim. Who knew? Well, probably the dogs: one of the best ways to find out if dogs swim is to see if they will follow you into calm water. If they do like to run into the water, check their paws from time to time as shells and other sharp things under the water could injure them. Also, know that even if a dog has always enjoyed the water, as they get older, cold water can be especially painful to them, so sun bathing may be a better option.
Speaking of sun bathing, sun protection is important for dogs, too! Especially their noses and ears. There are sun screen products especially for dogs available. Also, dogs can get very hot under the sun and on the sand, so a shady place under the umbrella with plenty of fresh water is a good idea. Make sure your dog doesn't try to drink the salt water – if he or she does, then that's a sign they need fresh water. Also, running on sand can wear your dog out quickly, so start off activities slow and then don't do as much as you would on grass or hard ground.
We've had some guests fit their dogs with a doggy life vest and we think that's a good idea. Avila Beach is a protected, south-facing beach, so it has calm water most of the time. However, the ocean is alive and currents can quickly tire out your dog, which could be very dangerous for them in the water. Our guests' recommend one that fits snuggly, fastens at three points and – they said this is important – that is has a handle on the back to make it easy to lift your dog out of the water.
Like humans, it's important for your dog's health that they are rinsed thoroughly after their day at the beach. The salt, sand, and microscopic organisms in your dog’s coat can irritate their skin causing a rash or infections and it is also very important to dry their ears thoroughly, because moisture in the ear can cause ear infections!
Remember, all dogs are different; some go in the water but don't want to swim, others dash in to fetch sticks or balls, and others just run up and down the beach like children. The beach is great fun for them no matter what they do!
So, we encourage you to bring your best friend!