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How to Care for Your Dog’s Skin After Going to the Beach

Taking our dogs to the beach, lake, or pool is fun for everyone, but it can play havoc with our pup’s skin. By toweling them off as soon as you leave the water and washing them thoroughly with a dog-safe shampoo once you get home, you can prevent irritation and more serious problems like swimmer’s itch.

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During the summer there are lots of things we humans add to our skin care routine. Spending time in the sun or in the water can make us pretty uncomfortable if we’re not careful! Products like sunscreen, moisturizers, and aloe can help to protect and soothe irritated skin.

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Well, summer activities can be “ruff” on our dogs’ skin too! And if we’re not on top of our doggie skin care routine, a fun romp at the beach can have some pretty itchy aftermath! Whether you’re dealing with chlorine from a swimming pool, sand and salt from a day at the beach, dirt they pick up from playing at the lake, or even swimmer’s itch, treating your dog’s skin the right way can make a huge difference in how they feel after a day at the water.

can dogs get swimmer's itch after a day at the beach? yes!

Here are some important skin care tips for dogs who love the water.

1. Clean Up Before You Head Home

Even though it’s tempting to just throw everything in the car and head home after a long day of fun in the sun, your pup needs a little TLC first.

This is especially important if you spent your day at the lake or anywhere algae grows because of the risk of swimmer’s itch.

Can Dogs Get Swimmer’s Itch?

Yes! Like humans, dogs can get swimmer’s itch. It can be more serious in our pups, however.

Swimmer’s itch is caused by parasites called schistosomes. Schistosomes are tiny worms that live in water snails and ducks and other waterfowl. While these parasites can cause skin irritation in humans, they can cause more serious troubles in our pups because they get inside their bodies and reproduce.

How to Prevent Swimmer’s Itch in Dogs

If you’re swimming in a lake or pond, avoid areas with lots of weeds or algae.  At public beaches, there may be warning signs letting you know certain areas are hot spots for parasites.

The most important thing you can do is to towel yourself and your dog off as soon as you’re done swimming. Normally, the parasites stay in the water droplets on your pup’s fur until those drops evaporate, so toweling off quickly gives you a chance to wipe them away before they have a chance to infect your pup.

2. Cleaning After You Get Your Dog Home

Once you get home, a good skin care routine helps your dog’s skin stay healthy and prevents irritation and hot spots. Here are some simple steps to take to keep your dog feeling their best after a day of fun in the sun.

Give Him a Bath

Just because he’s spent the day swimming doesn’t mean he’s clean!

If your pooch has been in the water, or even if he’s just been exploring around on the shore, he’s probably picked up all kinds of icky stuff! If you don’t wash them off, things like sand, salt, and allergens can do a number on his skin. Even if your pup just enjoys taking a dip in your swimming pool, all that chlorine needs to be rinsed off.

My dog Chilly always got a bath when we came home after a day at the beach. That way I knew I’d washed off anything that could irritate his skin. Not to mention anything I didn’t want rubbing off on my carpets and furniture!

Towelling Chilly off to prevent swimmer's itch

For Chilly and me, no bath time would have been complete without Vetericyn’s FoamCare Shampoo! Since he had sensitive skin, I usually used the medicated formula, but it also comes in two other formulas; one for dogs with thick fur and one general formula for all fur coats.

Now, bathing a dog Chilly’s size is no walk in the dog park, but FoamCare makes it a little easier. It comes in a spray bottle, which makes application a breeze. It lathers up quickly, and it rinses off easily, leaving your pup smelling and feeling great and you with energy to spare. I could literally bathe him by myself in under five minutes — no joke!

Use my code PETLIVING to get 20% off your purchase at Vetericyn.com.

Prevent or Treat Irritation

If your pup has sensitive skin, a bath alone might not be enough to soothe it. Dogs who only experience occasional irritation may simply need to be treated when they get itchy. Others may need a skin-soothing, anti-itch treatment every time they return from the beach.

Chilly was prone to getting irritated skin. No matter how thoroughly we washed him, he tended to break out in a rash after a beach day, even if we were just boating on the Gulf! We’re not sure why, but we think it probably had something to do with the salt water or whatever else may be in the water.

Thankfully, Chilly’s skin issues didn’t mean that he had to miss out on fun times with the family! In addition to his shampoo, we always used Vetericyn Plus All Animal Antimicrobial Hydrogel to soothe his skin.

After he was dry from his bath, I sprayed it on the areas where he typically got rashes and bumps. Chilly’s sensitive spots were on the insides of his back legs and his tummy.

I used it every day on those sensitive areas — even when we hadn’t been to the beach. Usually, it completely prevented his breakouts. When he occasionally had an active hot spot, cut, or scrape, it made his recovery much quicker.

Clean Those Eyes and Ears!

When you’re cleaning your dog after your beach day, don’t forget to wash his eyes and ears.

If you’ve ever spent a day sitting in the sand, you know it can get absolutely everywhere! Sand is the most noticeable culprit, but it’s not the only thing that can sneak in and cause issues. I think it’s a great idea to spend a few minutes during bath time to flush any salt, toxins, allergens, or sea life that may have found their way into your dog’s delicate eyes and ears.

Beach day - Chilly in the sand

My go-to products for caring for Chilly’s eyes and ears (and now Tulip’s) are Vetericyn Plus All Animal Eye Wash and Vetericyn Plus All Animal Ear Rinse. They’re non-toxic, they don’t sting, and they leave me with peace of mind knowing my buddies aren’t going to end up with an eye or ear infection from some lingering beach gunk.

Some of my best summer memories are days spent on the water with my dog. Chilly absolutely loved the fresh sea air and the special time with his favorite humans! And thanks to my fool-proof post-beach skin care routine, he wasn’t left with any itchiness to spoil the fun.

If you’re itching to get your paws on these skin care products for your dog, go to Vetericyn’s online store and enter the code PETLIVING to get 20% off your purchase. Have fun swimming!

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This is a sponsored post. However, all opinions and anecdotes are my own, and I never promote any products or brands I don’t believe in. ~Petfully yours, Kristen

Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert and influencer with over 30 years of experience in the industry. She's helped millions of pet parents provide the best care at every stage of their pet’s life.

Her blog, Pet Living with Kristen Levine has been featured in Pop Sugar, Good Housekeeping, New York Times, USA Today, and more.

She's also the founder of FWV Fetching, the first marketing agency exclusively serving pet and animal health companies.

Her early work with the SPCA led her to a lifelong career in the pet industry, advocating for pet adoption and rescue as well as for pets and their parents here on her blog and in the media.

She’s frequently booked on satellite media tours and national shows, like FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, and Daytime, to talk about pet trends and new products.

Insanely passionate about pets since she was a little girl, Kristen has had more than 30 pets in her lifetime — including dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, a horse, a gerbil, mice, and chickens!

Today she lives in Florida with her dog Tulip, cat Olivia, and husband Paul.

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