Bing’s Story- Keeping your dog safe at the beach

bingWho doesn’t love walks on the beach? Down in Devon we’re lucky to have some stunning coastline right on our doorstep. However, there are a few common hazards you should be aware of when you and your furry companion hit the sand, as poor Bing found out!

Little Bing came to see us feeling rather ‘ruff’ having spent his whole morning with vomiting and diarrhoea. Vet John examined Bing and was concerned when he felt a long firm object in his abdomen. Worried that he might have eaten something, Bing was rushed into the hospital for x-rays. On the x-ray there was clearly a big blockage in Bing’s intestines which looked almost like a rock!

It turned out that Bing had spent the day before at the beach, happily playing with his ball which was covered in sand! The sand had compacted together in his gut creating a blockage which was causing Bing a lot of discomfort. Thankfully, with the help of some fluids and pain relief, Bing managed to pass the sand and after a few days of ‘pooping sand castles’ was back to his normal happy self!

The white horseshoe shaped structure on the X-ray is all sand!

The white horseshoe shaped structure on the X-ray is all sand!

Every year vets have to operate on dogs who have over indulged on sand and stones. Keep an eye on your dogs especially if you think they might be silly enough to try and have a ‘sandwich’! Other hazards to watch out for at the beach:

  • Sea water– Unfortunately a lot of dogs don’t realise that salty water wont quench their thirst. Please stop your dog if you see them trying to have a drink from the sea, at best it can cause tummy upsets and at worse potentially lethal salt toxicity. Make sure to carry plenty of fresh water for when they get thirsty.
  • Sand- Take heed of Bing’s encounter! Sand and rocks are no good for dogs but that doesn’t stop them eating them! Keep a close eye on your dog at all times. Also never throw stones for your dog it could end in costly dental work and a pup with a sore mouth.
  • Seaweed– Don’t let your dog eat seaweed! Dry seaweed will absorb water and swell which can cause a blockage and result in emergency surgery.
  • Heat- Dogs overheat very quickly. Make sure you bring plenty of water and an umbrella for shade if you plan to stay all day and remember to NEVER leave your dog in a hot car! Heat stroke can be lethal so make sure you keep them cool.
  • Exhaustion– Running on the beach is way more tiring than running round the park! Learn your dog’s body language and make sure they take a time out when they look like they’re overdoing it.
  • Swimming– Not all breeds are designed to swim. Don’t assume your dog can swim, some breeds, especially those with shorter noses (e.g. pugs and french bulldogs) can take longer to learn and if they aren’t a fan, don’t force them.


So take care and most importantly have fun and enjoy the (occasionally) glorious British summer! Follow these tips and you should stay on the beach and out of the vets!