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8 essentials For romping with rover on the beach

Dogs love the beach as much as humans and — just like humans — can suffer from sunburn, windburn and dehydration. Be sure your dog is as prepared as you to spend a day on the beach.

When heading for the sandy beaches of the Coastal Bend, prepare yourself and your furry friends for some fun in the sun without the burn. Follow these eight easy steps to keep the whole gang hydrated and happy.

1. Dogs can easily overheat in the summer sun. Make sure you and your dog have a shady place to hang out, whether under an umbrella, tree or picnic bench.

2. Bring a doggie bowl for food and water. Make sure the water is not sitting out in the sun heating up. Refill often with cool water to help keep down your dog's body temperature. Don't let your dog drink the saltwater. This can cause vomiting or diarrhea.

3. Hot sand can burn soft paws. Bring a bowl or blanket to lie on and do your running and playing along the water's edge.

4. Be extra careful with short-muzzled breeds such as English bulldogs, Boston terriers, pugs, Pekinese and boxers. They overheat more quickly than long-snouted breeds.

5. Short-coated dogs can get sunburned. Pink nose and hairless breeds sunburn just like you do. Dogs with a thick coat are not immune. Their noses are especially sensitive to sunburn. You can get sunscreens made especially for dogs, just be sure not to use a sunscreen with zinc or fragrances. Zinc can be toxic to dogs. Apply to nose and ears, back and head — anywhere that gets direct sun.

6. Give your dog a fresh water rinse when leaving the beach. Sand and seawater can irritate the skin. And dry its ears afterward to avoid infections.

7. Watch for these signs of overheating in dogs: • Rapid panting and excessive drooling • Coordination problems • Vomiting or diarrhea • Collapse • Loss of consciousness

8. Another essential for a good time on the beach with your pet is to know the rules for each beach. A little dog etiquette can go a long way in keeping everyone happy. Most common laws regarding dogs on the beach include: • Stay off the dunes, as most of them are protected • Clean up dog waste immediately; always supervise your dog's activities • Follow leash laws and make sure your dog obeys recall commands before allowing free time • No aggressive dogs on the beach • Collar and ID tags are usually required, with notice of up-to-date vaccinations • No females in heat and no puppies under 4 months old. • No excessive barking • Fill in any holes your dog digs

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