By Tuesday, June 9, 2020 13 No tags Permalink

Last week a GGD reader sent an email asking for our grooming tips after a day at the beach! 

Photo courtesy of Jeanne Taylor Pet Photography

Hi, I’m actually moving to Mount Pleasant, SC on Tuesday! I was super excited to see your blog, and I wanted to know more about how you manage grooming after taking your pups to the beach? I have an apricot golden doodle, and she can be a handful to groom. Do you typically blow dry them after letting them play in the ocean, or do you let them air dry? I’ve been strictly blow drying my dog, but I wasn’t sure if that’s always necessary. My husband and I have only had her for 4 months, so we’re still learning new things. Also, do you use regular sunscreen, or is there dog-specific sunscreen? Excited to hear there’s other doodle lovers near in Charleston!

All of our beaches have re-opened and the weather has been steaming up lately.  Since I only have one Dood who loves the beach – morning jaunts to jump waves is usually a “Jaxson and me” kind of thing.


The first time we took Harley & Leo to the beach my greatest fear was of the saltwater. I thought something bad would happen to them. This phobia could have easily been due to my mom’s obsession when we were little – 

wash that hair good or it will fall out from the salt water!

My Mother could quickly conjure up an Alfred Hitchcock image for every situation if needed… #lovedherimagination

But in regards to dogs, her theory was the furthest thing from the truth! Saltwater CAN be beneficial to dogs. But all dogs are not the same and repeated exposure to (saltwater, fresh water, intense heat or sun) can lead to skin and coat issues later on.

Did you know? –

  • Certain breeds are made for saltwater swimming (Retrievers, Water Dogs, Spaniels).
  • Double coated dogs “typically” have trouble with saltwater exposure. The saltwater gets trapped between their dense inner and softer outer coats.
  • Fine or silky hair (Yorkies) experience skin problems because their wet hair separates and leaves skin exposed to the elements.

Learn more – Is Saltwater Bad for Dog’s skin

I quickly learned the Boys skin adversary wasn’t salt water – it was the sand! Sand can be an annoying irritant if it’s left on the skin or lodged in the paws.


After consulting with the Boys groomer, I developed a “process” which works well for Jaxson’s skin in any type of water…

The Boys are bathed once a week (you knew that right?). They work at a hospital and they live in my house – so they’ve got to stay clean!

For those reasons I make sure water play is two days before or after a bath. Since we are so close to the water, it’s really not a big deal to maintain that schedule. I want to make sure his skin has enough natural oils to protect him from the elements.

Here’s what I shared with our reader:

I generally have a few methods I use whether it’s beach, pool or lake water…

Due to the intense heat in this area, I don’t keep their coats extremely short. They are shorter than when we lived in Northern VA. but not short enough to warrant sunscreen. 

Before we leave the beach, I drown him with the boardwalk hose. I try to rinse him really well to remove all the sand. I actually carry a large plastic bottle with dog conditioner in it. 

Once I believe he’s clean, I add that cool hose water to the conditioner bottle and pour it over him. I massage it in then rinse one more time. That extra step seems to eliminate scratching as he air dries.

We “drip-walk” to the parking lot. I leave a clean beach towel in the car to pat him down.

Cotton balls are a must for us because of his propensity for ear infections. I clean and dry those floppy ears well. Later that afternoon I apply a medicated solution to clean out the ear drum thoroughly.

My groomer recommended (because of the sand) I NOT use a blow dryer. The forced air from the dryer (regardless of the temperature) can’t feel good after the abrasive sand has been rubbing against his skin.

With the car windows down and the warm wind blowing, the majority of his upper torso dries from the ride home. The rest I towel dry sitting on the porch in the shade, and he naps. The warm breeze seems to dry what’s still wet. 

I brush really well late in the afternoon once he’s truly dry. That also allows me to examine his skin closely. If there are any red spots, I use a little coconut oil on there as a natural healing agent.


I am fortunate that Jaxson prefers to spend all of his time diving through the waves when we’re at the beach.

He is not that Dood who likes to roll around in the sand, so our clean-up ritual works well for him.

He’s my Dolphin Doodle…

I highly recommend discussing a trip to the beach with your vet or groomer before you venture out for the first time. It’s always good to have the opinion of a SME (subject matter expert) who knows your dog personally. 

Today I only addressed my grooming/bathing techniques after water play. If you want/need tips for taking your dog to the beach, here’s an excellent article that covers it all – 

15 Tips For Taking Your Dog To The Beach

If you’ve never heard of “Doodles in Dewey” (as in Dewey Delaware) then check out our blog post – Beach Bum Doodle

Due to the pandemic, Doodles in Dewey was cancelled Spring 2020, but click the link, check it out and bookmark the page for 2021. I love their tag line:

Not taking your Dood to Dewey is like not taking your kids to Disneyland!

Make today an affirmation that your goals are being moved another step forward ❤️

Until next time,

  • Vicki Brumbelow
    June 9, 2020

    I love the picture of you and your mother. She looks strong and assured and beautiful with a darling little girl by her side who is also strong, assured and beautiful (inside and out).

    • Cathy Bennett
      June 10, 2020

      She was truly something special Vicki –

  • Madison
    June 9, 2020

    When Mom lived on the North Sea Coast, Emma would swim in the North Sea several times a week. She always got cleaned off when they returned home, but only with shampoo now and then as it can be hard on the furs. Mom hated the sand everywhere, but the beach fun outweighed the sand issue.

    • Cathy Bennett
      June 10, 2020

      That’s how I see it too Madison, I don’t mind the extra work because it’s so much fun.How beautiful was that North Sea Coast that Emma swam in? I can’t even imagine. Breathtaking I am sure. Say hello to the other ladies in your house.

  • Cheryl
    June 9, 2020

    That last picture of Jaxson is absolutely wonderful, he looks so happy!
    Michigan isn’t the most friendly dog state, so sad and so frustrating! We really don’t have any nice dog beaches along Lake Michigan. Cody doesn’t care though, he’s one of those Doods that isn’t crazy about the water. He’ll sit on the pool steps when he’s hot, but never goes in the water.
    I find it interesting that some doodles love the water, and some just don’t!
    Have a great week.

    • Cathy Bennett
      June 10, 2020

      Hey there Cheryl – I have one who could care less about the water – Mr. Harley. He will dip his toe in the wet sand maybe twice and then he’s done. He hates the sand. You should see him rollup in a ball on his towel. I just don’t even take him anymore. Lee doesn’t care that much about the beach, so it’s become a Jax & Cathy thing. Hope all is well with you and yours. Take care.

  • Lindsay
    June 9, 2020

    Adorable pictures of the boys, Cathy. Give them our love. xoxo

    • Cathy Bennett
      June 10, 2020

      Hey there – I was thinking about you the other day. No deep sea diving in Barbados this summer? XOXO

  • Dashlillychester
    June 10, 2020

    Hi Cathy. I an sitting at the vet. Lilly is experiencing some
    issues today. I was scared at the beginning but now it seems to be old age issues. Poor girl. She is 12 now. She has outlived Dash by one year. Love the pictures— Jaxson is a beach dood for sure!! And love the childhood pictures. Those crisp white socks!! Glad you all are doing well. I think of you all so often. Best, Deirdre

  • Tails Around the Ranch
    June 12, 2020

    Jaxson looks like he’s enjoying the beach-bum life. Since beaches aren’t anywhere close my guys don’t get to experience a wild water adventure. They barely can stand the baths. Once/if the hospital opens up again, I will need to get Norman good with frequent baths; it will be interesting since he’s double coated whereas Sam wasn’t. For that reason, we’ll be going to a dog-wash since I’m sure my ancient drains won’t handle the hair well on a regular basis. Have a super weekend enjoying fun in the sun.

    • Cathy Bennett
      June 20, 2020

      So your hospital hasn’t opened up yet either huh? We were originally supposed to return on July 1st. I don’t see that happening at all. My guess it’s going to be more like September. Heading to the dog-wash is an excellent idea, let the sand, water, hair and overall mess stay there instead of your bathroom! Have a fabulous weekend my friend!

  • Pamela
    June 14, 2020

    We don’t usually have access to unlimited water when we take Honey to the beach. But I like your tip about using dog conditioner. I’m thinking we should add a little bit to the squirt bottle we keep available to rinse her off. It would probably do a lot for preventing tangles (which is where the sand likes to hide most).

    Great post! Hope you have lots of time to get to the beach (properly distanced, of course).

    • Cathy Bennett
      June 20, 2020

      Hey there Sailor….. We haven’t really been so far this season. They just opened up for the public not too long ago, I guess I was waiting for the rest of the world to get their “beach-on” before I took my dolphin doodle. I do have a friend who lives on the beach and she’s invited us over there – I plan to take her up on it this month. The conditioner mixed with water does make a world of difference with the tangles. You and Honey would both benefit from that little trick. When are you coming back this way?