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What do dogs think about sea water? Does it harm them, or is it good for them?

author Lucy Byrne | Health and diet

If you go out to sea and take your dog with you, you will need to plan, think and anticipate to make sure that your vacation goes smoothly for all members of the trip. Some people may worry about what the sea water will do to their dog. Will it dry out the dog's skin, can it harm him?

If you have similar thoughts, you don't have to worry. Sea water is just as beneficial for dogs as it is for us. That is, if we're reasonable and don't let our dog swim all day on a hot day. Moderation is key. 

If you're planning to spend your entire vacation on the beach, you might want to think again about whether this holiday is appropriate for your dog. Spending all day in the sun isn't the best for your dog. If you do go together, you may notice that your dog's coat is beginning to lose its shine and his skin is dry and scaly. Sensitive dogs may also experience hair breakage and loss.

Some breeds tolerate water (not only the sea) better, respectively their fur is better adapted to stay in it. Because their coat is naturally greasy, it better resists the absorption of salt water and also helps keep the skin moisturized, preventing scaling. Such breeds include the Labrador, the Portuguese Water Dog, and the Irish Water Spaniel.

On the other hand, dogs with a double coat have the biggest issues with salty water. They are prone to humidity, because the water stays between their thick inner coat and their outer softer coat. Bacteria also multiply easily in such humid environments. This is true for the Husky or Akita.

We should also be more careful with dogs with fine hair, as well as hairless dogs or dogs with very little hair. They also need more care so that the combination of sun and salt water does not damage their skin. 

Whatever the dog's coat, here are some measures to keep their skin healthy. After bathing in the sea, give your dog a proper shower from the ends of its fur to its skin. Keep him in the shade as much as possible; in addition to preventing overheating, this will also prevent their fur from drying out. Allow your dog to dry before loading it in the car, locking it in a crate, or before he goes somewhere where his wet fur won't trap moisture. For sensitive dogs, use sunscreen products. Your veterinarian can recommend appropriate sun protection, or you can buy dog clothing with UV protection. 

As a first aid, pack a soothing shampoo that will help if your dog starts to itch or turn red in response to salt water. You could start adding salmon oil to your dog's food before the trip, which will help keep his coat and skin healthy and nourished.

I hope you enjoy a smooth, trouble-free seaside holiday with your four-legged friends.