Now that winter is here and the nights are drawing in, there is less time for dog walking before it gets dark, but a great thing about this time of year is that we can take our dogs on the beach again!


However, beaches can put dogs at risk of several hazards, which it is important you are aware of.

Salt water: dogs can be very sensitive to the effects of salt water. When swimming in the sea, they may ingest significant quantities of salty water very quickly. This can cause vomiting within a few minutes. In severe cases, neurological signs can develop up to several hours later and occasionally, muscular rigidity, convulsions, coma, renal failure and shock may occur. The majority of cases of seawater ingestion reported are mild, but sadly, rapid-ly ingesting huge amounts of salt may occasionally prove fatal. In mild cases the dog should be allowed to drink small amounts of fresh water at frequent intervals but more severe cases will require veterinary treatment.

Palm Oil: palm oil has been seen washed up on beaches throughout Kent and if eaten may have a rapid onset laxative effect. Vomiting and diarrhoea are the most common signs re-ported. There is risk of dehydration and pancreatitis in chronic cases. Gastrointestinal obstruction has also been reported. If you are concerned that your dog might have eaten Palm Oil, you should seek veterinary advice.

Jellyfish: Be aware that dead jellyfish can sting, even weeks after death, therefore, licking or ingestion of any jellyfish may result in a sting. Areas with little fur are at greater risk from a sting such as the nose, around the eyes and mouth and also on the hairless abdomen. Clinical signs occur quickly and can last several hours. Common signs reported are vomiting, swelling, hypersalivation, oral irritation, distress, pain, hyperthermia and diarrhoea. Twitching and respiratory signs may also occur. Skin irritation can occur upon skin contact. Following a sting, the affected area should be irrigated with seawater immediately. Any remaining tentacles should be safely pulled off the skin but never rubbed off. The area must not be rubbed with sand. Veterinary medication may be required to reduce swelling and inflammation.