How to Create a Dog Beach in Your Backyard

Dog running on a beach.
Photography by Shutterstock.

Summer means beach days for humans and canines alike! If you don’t live by the water or would rather not deal with the hassle of bringing your pup to the shore (think: sand, strangers, choppy waters, pet restrictions!), create a DIY dog beach in your very own (enclosed!) yard. Here’s how:

Dog in a kiddie pool in summer.
Photography by tcsaba/Thinkstock.

1. Fake an Ocean with a Kiddie Pool

Purchase a kiddie pool (a.k.a. wading pool) to get all the splashing and fun of a day on the ocean without the dangerous waves, sandy shores, or deep waters. Kiddie pools can be found in just about any big box store once summer hits, and they’re perfect for cooling off when the temperature rises. But don’t let your dog sip from the hose as you’re filling up his doggie “ocean” — bacteria can sit in the hose, so it’s best for him to steer clear.

2. Protect Your Dog’s Skin with Sunscreen

Humans aren’t the only ones subject to harm from UV rays. Dogs are susceptible to sunburns — all dogs can get skin cancer and burned on the nose, and certain breeds, pups with short or thin hair, and pets with light hair or skin are especially at risk. Look for an easy-to-apply spray sunscreen formulated for dogs that will stand up to splashing around in the pool (waterproof!).

3. Stock Up on Dog Beach Toys

Don’t reserve traditional dog beach toys for a day at the shore. Toss a Frisbee to your furry friend and let him paddle after a water toy that floats. Or, add a beachy aesthetic with plush, sea-inspired toys in the shapes of underwater creatures or nautical favorites.

Dog chasing a sprinkler in the summer.
Photography by VladimirFLoyd/Thinkstock.

4. Add Sprinklers

If a dog beach without waves just doesn’t seem that exciting to you, add some interest with sprinklers that your dog can chase or run through. A rotating sprinkler really reinvents a game of fetch.

5. Don’t Skimp on Shade

Even if your pup spends the majority of his faux dog beach day in the pool and wears his sunscreen, it’s still good to provide a cool respite from direct sunlight. Set your dog beach up near at least one shady tree, or provide an old beach chair to give him a comfy place to relax off the ground (especially good if you’re around hot pavement, which could mean burned paw pads!).

6. Fight Dehydration by Providing Cool Snacks and Water

A dog beach day calls for cooling treats, just like a human beach day isn’t complete without a frozen drink and cold ice cream. Keep your dog from getting dehydrated — a big concern in warmer weather and if your pet is burning off tons of energy in the kiddie pool — with a good supply of drinkable water. For food, make sure you have treats on hand, or check out these recipes for frozen, dog-friendly snacks.

7. Dry Off with a Dog Drying Towel

Whether the dog beach day is over or your pup needs a break, dry him off with a towel designed especially for his four-legged kind. A towel crafted with highly absorbent microfiber fabric will ensure your pet gets clean and dry ASAP — and doesn’t bring his beach day into the house.

Was your at-home dog beach a complete hit? Read more articles on dogs and beaches here: 

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