Monday, June 17, 2013

Dogs at the Oregon coast

pug and Boston terrier at the beach
Self-portrait with crazy dogs.
The spring weather had me feeling a little restless last week, so I packed up the dogs for a day trip to the Oregon coast. Liam had been there before, of course, but I thought it might be fun for the little one to get a taste of sand and surf, and I knew she'd get plenty of socialization options while we were out and about on the beaches. All in all, it couldn't have gone any better, but there are a few lessons worth sharing.

We headed to Cannon Beach, as it has some great restaurants and shopping opportunities, but I was a little unhappy at the number of off-leash dogs strolling along the surf. My dogs were on their leashes, of course, and they didn't appreciate being bombarded with attention from bounding and wet dogs. More than once, I was tempted to pack these kids up because I had no idea if the dog running at them was friendly or out to kill them.

My position on leashes has always been pretty clear (love them), but it seems that people hate to use leashes at the coast. Those who have reactive dogs might do well to leave their pets at home as a result, since there's no way to guarantee that strangers won't come running.

I was also surprised at the turn of the weather on this crazy springtime day. When I left the house, clouds filled the sky and the weather man predicted temps of about 70. All of those clouds burned off, however, and we dealt with temps that seemed much closer to 80. This is in the danger zone for Liam, and I spent a significant amount of time rinsing him off with water and trying to get him to cool off in the shade. Sneaky Oregon weather like this isn't uncommon, so it's probably best for travelers to plan ahead and bring cooling vests (like this one: Ruffwear Swamp Cooler for Dogs, Large, Graphite Gray) on their excursions.

It's also worth mentioning that the water on the Oregon coast shouldn't be considered safe for dogs to drink. The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association reports that sea lions on the coast have tested positive for leptospirosis, and they can shed this virus through their urine. That pee could be almost anywhere, and in general, it's best to keep dogs away from any area in which they might pick up that infection. For me, that means not letting my dogs drink stagnant water, and I also haven't allowed them to do any body surfing (which they have no interest in doing anyway). I also picked them up as we walked through culverts of water moving from the land to the sea.

In any case, I'm back from vacation with the dogs intact, and I'm hoping to get back into a more regular blogging routine. Cheers!

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