The East Bay SPCA, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Park Service offer the following tips to help dog owners and beachgoers enjoy Northern California beaches: Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water to drink -- salt water is poisonous to a dog's stomach and intestines. Rinse your dog's coat off to remove the saltwater and prevent skin irritation. Cold water can shock even mildly arthritic joints, leaving a dog in pain for days or even leading to drowning. As a safety precaution, any dog that is entering open water (beach, bay, or riding on a boat) should be fitted with a life vest, regardless of the dog's size. If a dog gets pulled into the water and the current moves the dog down the beach, the dog may come ashore a distance from where you are located. Ensure that your dog has a microchip and a collar with ID. If you get pulled into the water, remain calm and swim parallel to the shore.