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Dogs at the Beach

There are a few items we see more than the average vet’s share of compliments of the beach.


In our part of coastal Queensland, we see mainly brown, red-belly black and tiger snakes. Browns, in particular, live in high numbers in our coastal dunes. So it’s a very good idea to keep your dog out of the dunes when off the lead on the beach. Browns are aggressive, and a curious look and sniff from a dog is enough to elicit a bite. Often immediate symptoms can be an allergic type reaction, with vomiting, diarrhea and collapse. These symptoms can often be short lived and often not seen by the owner. A period of normalcy (from 30 minutes to several hours) then prevails until signs of envenomation occur. It’s usually pretty obvious something is wrong, with your dog/cat showing a variety of symptoms: vomiting, salivating, signs of apprehension or anxiety, and a difficulty with walking and breathing.


We always have multiple vials of the relevant antivenoms, including a combined one for those cases where the type of snake is unknown. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, we achieve a high recovery rate.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament

The AC ligament in the knee is a bit of a weak point (same as with humans), and many dogs rupture this ligament turning and twisting on the soft sand. The resulting instability causes varying degrees of lameness and if left unrepaired leads to a very damaged and athritic joint. So if your dog comes off the beach, (or anywhere for that matter) with a lame hind consider getting it looked at sooner rather than later.

Run Off Creeks

It is a good idea to prevent your dog from drinking out of the creeks that run into the beach. They are rife with bacteria and nasties like giardia which often results in a bout of gastroenteritis.

Council Patrols

I often see the council dog control on the beach when walking my dogs. Stick to the designated areas and keep on a lead until actually on the beach or you could attract a fine.

Fetching Balls and Sticks

Whilst good fun, a word of advice not to throw into deep water as swimming to shore with a stick or ball in the mouth means it is open and can lead to water flowing down into the lungs.