Dog Days at the Beach

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.


Valentina R.
Valentina R6 years ago

Good tips, thanks.

Jude Hand
Judith Hand6 years ago

My dog-owner friend and I took our lil guy to a doggie beach for his bday. It was a bit tough for him, a rescue dog whose social skill set is a challenge for him. And we learned that he doesn't relish swimming in ocean water. So, it was a learning time and we focused on the car ride, the walk and some birthday treats. Next year, we'll probably do something different. After all, it's HIS birthday and we love to see him happy. A couple of dog beach comments apply to local dog parks as well. It's so sad when beaches and parks make special allowances for dogs, that there are still owners that leave their dogs off leash and don't clean up after them. What gives, people?!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams7 years ago

Thanks for the post.

Kelly Rogers7 years ago

Thanx, for the wonderful article

Jez wildmoon
jayne Turner7 years ago

It's definately people that are the problem, not the dogs! We live within range of a dozen beaches and my dog used to love visiting them... though she didn't like the sea much. Now I don't have a dog, but when I do, it'll be back to the beach!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams7 years ago


Cat C.
Cat C7 years ago

Good advice, especially the "clean up after" one! I know of several beaches here in California that are not much more than giant litter boxes (without the box). Poo everywhere! lol

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola7 years ago

Thanks for posting!

Carole Rousis
Carole R7 years ago

Dogs love the beach and as long as their owners are responsable and pick up anything left behind, they should be able to enjoy it.

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you