The Dog Days of Summer: Safe Summer Fun with Man’s Best Friend

Jillian and Lusca enjoying some Bimini fun in the sun. Photo credit: Duncan Brake.

Things to keep in mind when spending a day at the beach with your dog (or vacationing in The Bahamas with your dog.)

Summer is here and for most people in South Florida or the Bahamas that means time to hit the water. Boating, fishing, snorkeling and kayaking are all fun ways to enjoy the great outdoors.

What about Fido? You love your dog and you want him or her to join you on your adventures. No doubt your canine sidekick will enjoy the time with you, but there are a few things to keep in mind when spending a day full of sun, sand and sea with your dog. Think about things you need for a day in the sun and most likely they will apply to your dog. Well, definitely not the ice-cold cocktails, but pretty much everything else.


You don’t want to spend hours in direct sunlight and neither does your dog. If you are going to the beach make sure there is a place to find shade either under some trees at the edge of the beach or bring a tent. If you are boating and you do not have a T-top, I have a found a towel or blanket spread across two coolers works well. Get creative, but make sure there is a place your dog can get cool.


Think about an ice-cold beer or cocktail cold in your hand and how refreshing it is. You wouldn’t drink water from a bottle that feels like it just came out of the microwave, so do not ask your dog to. Make sure they get a space in the cooler for their own bottle of water. One thing to also remember is just because you are not thirsty doesn’t mean your pup isn’t. I like the canvas travel bowls that fold up when not in use. They even fit in my purse and are easy to wash.


Even if your dog is a great swimmer a life jacket is still a good idea. Most marine supply stores or pet stores offer a variety of choices. Make sure it fits and it is comfortable for the dog. If your dog is not a champion swimmer it might be a good idea to keep the jacket on while the boat is moving. Securing the dog to something while the boat is moving is also a good idea especially if he or she tends to get excited and want to run around the boat. The floor of the boat can also get hot and slippery, so I always put a towel down for our dog to sit on. It seems to give her a sense of comfort and a place that is theirs.


Again, the travel dishes that fold up are a great option for feeding your dog on the boat or the beach. Make sure you pack plenty of food and snacks. I am always a lot more hungry when I have been playing in the water all day and I know our dog; Lusca is as well.


Frisbees and tennis balls are great for the beach and the water. There are also lots of toys made especially for the water and they are a great way to make sure your dog is having a fun day too.


If you are planning a longer trip that involves staying at a marina or hotel make sure they are dog friendly. Places like Bimini Sands Resort and Marina love pets and have a great beach for them to enjoy.

Clean Up Committee

Just because you are on holiday does not mean the normal rules do not apply. Most pet friendly resorts will have doggy poop disposal-stations stocked with poop bags and a designated trashcan for dog waste. No one wants to step on a land mine your furry friend has left!


After a long day in the sand, sun and salt I am pretty sure we all want a shower, well so does your dog. They may fight it a bit, I now Lusca is not a fan of the hose, but their skin feels a lot better after. Make sure to give their collar or harness a rinse as well because salt and sand can cause irritation if it rubs against dry skin.


If you decide to head due East for some fun in the sun Bahamian style there are a few things you need to know about traveling with your dog. Although the Bahamas is close to Florida, it is still a different country and there are specific rules for bringing pets in. The scary word “ quarantine,” is not needed when traveling with your pet to the Bahamas, but here are the key requirements.

♦ Request, in writing, an import permit from Contact the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Industry

♦ Your pet must be 6 months of age or older

♦ Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies not less than 1 month and not more than 10 months prior to importation.

♦ Your pet must be accompanied by a Veterinary Health Certificate for the Bahamas presented within 48 hours of arrival. Your vet can fill this form out for you.

♦ Copy of the Rabies Certificate should be included. Rabies does not exist in the Bahamas, so this is the most important aspect of the permitting.

♦ There is a $ 10.00 US processing fee for each animal.

The permit is valid for 90 days from the date of issue. There will be a customs duty at the point of entry. This will complete your cat or dog passport for the Bahamas.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Agriculture website.

And a site I found very helpful:

It is also worth checking out travel sites and forums to see issues other people have encountered on various islands. It is also important to remember that while the larger islands like New Providence and Grand Bahamas have veterinary clinics, most of the smaller islands do not. Bimini, for example, has a traveling vet that visits from Nassau three to four times a year.

Last, but not least, have a blast!

Don’t have a furry friend? There are plenty of dogs in need of good homes, especially in the Bahamas. Check out The Strays Dogs of Bimini Facebook page and