Togs day afternoon: dress your pooch for the beach

Associated Press
FILE - This June 8, 2012 file photo shows King, a nine-year-old golden retriever rides a wave while surfing in the Incredible Dog Challenge dog surfing competition in San Diego. There are about 95,000 miles of shoreline around the United States and among the most treasured by dog lovers are those where you can unleash the beast. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, file)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Here's a rule that only applies to dog beaches: they are all clothing optional.

So if you're one of the rare owners that dress up your dog, designers have options for your beach-bound hound.

From bikinis to surf trunks, clothing makers have found a niche to sell garb for the pampered pooch that has almost everything.

Tommy Bahama Pets offers a Hawaiian shirt and a dress with a ruffled skirt made with the brand's traditional hibiscus fabric. Designer John Bartlett makes a canine beach tank top. And Martha Stewart Inc. produces a practical life jacket to give surfing and boating dogs a boost in the water.

In addition to floral bikinis and colorful swim trunks, pet retailers sell wet suits, visors, sunglasses and Doggles (think: goggles for dogs).

While the fashions may be fun they aren't very practical, said Dr. Brittany King of Banfield Pet Hospital in Houston.

"I'm a big swimmer and so is my dog, Hank," she said. "While he has his fair share of doggie-friendly swim trunks, they are simply meant for fashion_not function."

Practical beachgoers should do their dog a favor and put sunscreen on furless areas, bring fresh water, treats, a towel and an umbrella for shade.

And don't forget your own swimsuit.

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