Keeping your dog and others safe at the beach

Posted at 4:00 PM, Jul 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 17:00:49-04

As summer heats up, more people will head to the beach with their dogs, and that could be dangerous to people and pets.

Corona is a chihuahua who’s been coming to the beach for the past eight years, Evie is a mix and was rescued last year, so this is her second time to Padre Balli.

"They’re like your children and you shouldn’t have a dog if you don’t love it enough to take good care of it," said Virginia Cragle, who came here from Fort Worth. She says Evie is always with her, but the dog’s safety is always on her mind.

The dogs owners, sisters Lisa and Virginia, have been bringing their dogs to meet up at Padre Balli for almost a decade, but even before they leave for the beach, they pack safety items and plan ahead to make sure the dogs will be cared for.

"We keep them plenty of water, we keep shade, we don’t keep them out too long, walk them in the edge of the water so they can get their feet wet and it kind of cools them off," said Cragle.

Veterinarian Rob Perkins says most dogs should be fine at the beach with shade and cool water, but when dogs run and play too much it can be dangerous.

"We see dogs with heat stroke, and a lot of times it’s exercise induced. They’re running in these fields and they overheat and they come in here, they’re in shock" said Perkins.

Perkins says dogs cool off by panting, but they pant for all kinds of reasons.

They pant for anxiety or excitement and they pant for heat exhaustion.

Perkins says an important tool to understand the difference between a dog panting normally and an emergency is a thermometer.

If your dogs temperature is 103 that’s okay, but if it’s 105 that’s a danger zone!

Perkins suggests using ice packs to cool your dog, and alcohol on the dogs paws will help with cooling as it evaporates. When your dogs temperature hits 105 it’s time to head to the vet, especially if they look sleepy or are acting differently.

Perkins says dogs with darker fur absorb more heat and get hotter faster. Light haired dogs can get sunburned more quickly.

He also says it’s important to keep the dog in the environment they’re used to. A dog used to air condition can’t stay out as long as a dog who’s not.

Another danger for dogs is when their owners tie them up and leave.

"If they have an animal tied up to one of these park benches, and there’s no shade and there’s no water and they’re frolicking around and not paying attention to their animal, you know, we call them out on that stuff," said Scott Cross, Director of Nueces County Coastal Parks.

Cross says there are places to get fresh water for dogs, the office at the beach will gladly help.

Another concern for people at the beach are dogs who run off leash.

In Corpus Christi or Port Aransas, all dogs must be on a leash, but in the county dogs can run off leash.