There’s nothing better than seeing an elated dog playing on the beach. There’s nothing worse than stepping in sandy dog waste or having a stranger’s hound competing with the seagulls for your sandwich. So which way should it go: Should dogs be allowed on the beach?
Most beaches don’t allow dogs, and the main reason is that people have a hard time obeying leash laws at the beach, understandably. Why take your dog to the shore if he can’t run around and frolic in the waves?! The two other main problems are dog waste and sand dune damage. That said, there are a number of beaches that do allow dogs. “Dog beaches” are generally known as such, and attract the canine set. The advantage here is that people that don’t want to share their day at the beach with everyone else’s Fido or Fifi can elect not to go to a “dog beach.” Just like if you didn’t want to see naked people you’d stay away from a nude beach!
If taking your dog to the beach, keep in mind these points of dog beach etiquette:
1. Keep your dog on-leash if the beach requires it.
2. Don’t let your dog bother other beach goers.
3. Clean up after your pooch.
4. Don’t let your dog trample on sand dunes.
5. Don’t let your dog harass birds or marine life.
Check out this fantastic travel guide of sorts to know dog beaches across the country, compliments of Hike With Your Dog.
While at the beach with your pooch, there are a number of “oh yeah” safety tips that you should keep in mind. Here are a few great ideas from an especially good list of tips for canine beach safety from Coastal Living:
1. Your dog should wear a collar with an ID tag. When traveling, get a waterproof tag with your cell phone number and lodging location just in case.
2. Remove a flea collar before the dog gets wet. A wet flea collar is useless and it may irritate your dog’s skin.
3. Dogs can sunburn, especially if they have short hair or light skin. Apply sunscreen (SPF 15) to sensitive areas like the nose and ears prior to heading to the beach.
4. Consider taking your pet to the shore in the morning or evening when the sun is not so high and temperatures moderate a bit. Dogs can get overheated and suffer heat stroke.
5. Some breeds love the water and will take to it like a duck. However, if this is your pup’s first experience, acclimate her slowly. Never force your dog into the water, especially deep water. Watch for undercurrents and rip tides, and protect your pooch from these hazards. Boating dogs should be fitted with a canine life-vest.
6. Sand and salt water can irritate your best friend’s paw pads. When you return from the shore, rinse sand and salt away with fresh water. Towel dry ears to avoid infections.
For the full list of smart dog-safety beach tips, see Coastal Living.