Even in summer, when waves may seem small and calm off San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, a unique set of geographic conditions combine to form some of the deadliest riptides in California.
Ocean Beach is the most hazardous and dangerous piece of shoreline associated with an urban environment in the whole United States. There aren’t many beaches anywhere that can create riptides this strong.
A unique set of strong hazards are created by water and sand pouring out of the Bay, while waves winds and tidal shifts from the ocean crash on shore, can create a deadly riptide, that can sweep any person or pet off their feet and into the ocean waters.
You can enjoy the beaches with your pet, but keep them near you always and never let me run off into the water. It can be deadly!
Ready to grab that beach towel and head to the shore with your faithful companion. Make sure you bring along a few things to ensure your dogs comfort and safety.
Although some dogs seem to be natural swimmer, not all breeds are. When in doubt make sure that your dog is wearing a life-vest and never leave your pet unsupervised in or even near any water.
Try keeping your pet from drinking too much salt water, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. The water in lakes, ponds and streams can also be problems and contain microorganisms that can lead to illness or even liver problems. Always bring plenty of fresh water for your pet to quench their thirst.
With the running and playing in the sun it’s easy for your pet to overheat. Be sure to provide a place in the shade for them to rest. Bring along an umbrella or popup tent for them.
Pets with pink or light-colored noses, coats and shorter hair are at higher risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Bring along some Pet Sunscreen and apply to your pets nose, ears, and belly or any exposed skin areas.
Sand can be a hazard too! Chasing Frisbees or balls across the hot sand can burn the pads of their paws. Or hidden broken glass, broken shells or fishhooks in the sand, can lead to cuts. You might want to keep a pair of canine booties to strap on them for protection.
You need to be the boss about where your dog can and can’t go. Often, tide pools are in rocky areas. Wet rocks are extremely slippery and razor sharp. You should always keep a first aid kit handy with a tube of antibiotic cream.
Look for and obey beach rules. Failure to comply may result in the loss of beach access for all dogs.
Leashes on the beach?
For each dog owner who is overly obsessive about keeping his dog on a leash there is one who insists the dog run free no matter what. Both attitudes can get a dog and dog owner in trouble. Read and obey the signs at the trail head or beach entrance.
Go ahead and leash your dog whenever you meet other people; never forget that some people have strong anti-dog attitudes. Offer your dog a treat every time you snap the leash on, and let him off again frequently; this way, he’ll learn that going on leash is just as enjoyable as getting let off.
Train your dog not to spontaneously jump up on people and to sit on command from a distance. That helps. Be wary of people walking along the beach without dogs. If a family with small children doesn’t have dogs with them, there’s a better than even chance that the little ones will be terrified of dogs. Then there’s the problem of the overtrusting child. If a child wants to romp with your dog, set rules and stick to them for the kid’s safety and for your legal protection.
When it’s time to go home, rinse your pet with clean water to remove any sand or salt from their coat.