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Dogs at the Beach: Etiquette and Tips



What could be more fun than a day at the beach? Splashing in the surf, bounding along the sand and being allowed to dig anywhere you want to!
For most dogs, a day spent running around in the sand, fetching balls and dipping in the water is a dream come true. Whether you’re going on holiday with your dogs, or live near the ocean and can make regular trips to the seaside, take note of the following tips to ensure a pleasurable, safe experience for everyone involved.
  1. Choose a dog-friendly beach.
    If you are travelling, it is important that you research the beaches at your destination so that you know where to take your four-legged friend. Most coastal cities will have information about dog-friendly beaches readily available. Do some internet research or speak to your travel consultant about dog-friendly beaches.
  2. To leash or not to leash?
    Just as important as only taking your dog to a dog-friendly beach is to find out whether or not you can have your dog off-lead. Letting your dog run free on a lead-only beach can lead to a hefty fine. Some beaches may also have this rule for your dog’s safety - to protect them against dangerous conditions or terrain.
  3. Have fresh water and shade.
    Playing at the beach can be thirsty work! Ensure that you bring along plenty of fresh water and your dog’s water bowl so that he can rehydrate after all the running and swimming. Take along a shade tent or umbrella so that your pup can get some sun protection – particularly during the hotter hours of the day.
  4. Watch the water.
    Although most dogs are excellent swimmers, there may be a time when they are no match for the ferocity of the sea. Make sure your dog doesn’t venture too far in the water, and find out the sea conditions before you let him start swimming – a rip current or strong backwash can land even the strongest swimmers in trouble. If your dog is unfamiliar with the ocean, it is best to introduce him to the water when it is calm.
  5. Be courteous.
    Your dog may be very friendly, running around and greeting everyone he can. However, it is important to remember that this might irritate some beachgoers, particularly if your dog is boisterous and kicking sand up everywhere. Only a well-trained dog should be off-lead in any public place, so ensure that your pooch recalls well and walks to heel when you command it. If you see your dog lingering too long with people, or soliciting playtime with another dog who is not receiving it well, it’s time to call him to heel.
  6. Sun protection.
    Dogs can also get sunburnt, particularly light-haired and skinned ones. Purchase sun protection specifically made for dogs, taking care to apply it to the ears and nose in particular.
  7. Keep an eye out for dangerous items.
    Beach sand can hold a myriad of dangers, such as broken glass, hooks, coral and rocks. If you find anything that could hurt your pup – or someone else’s – pick it up and throw it away.
  8. Pick up after your dog.
    When you take your dog anywhere, it is imperative that you pick up after him. Dog waste is a contaminant to sea life and sand.
Dogs (and humans!) just want to have fun on the beach, and the best way to have fun is if everyone is safe and considered. Now that you know the rules and etiquette regarding dogs at the beach, all that’s left to do is enjoy your special bonding time with your best friend!

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