Dogs are an important part of our lives. They provide companionship, loyalty, and entertainment. As our society grows to appreciate our best friends more, we see an increasing number of places that welcome them.
One place dogs love is the beach. It is a dream spot for them. They love the fresh air, cool breezes, the variety of scents, and the opportunity to explore. Different beaches have different rules. Some, sadly, do not allow dogs at all, but others allow dogs on a leash or even free-roaming dogs. When seeking out a dog-friendly beach, it is important to follow proper etiquette so everyone can continue to enjoy the beach with their best friends. It is also important to take precautions against some of the dangers that can lurk on a beach.
Most importantly, dog owners need to know the local ordinances—specifically, are dogs allowed at a particular beach and under what circumstances? After finding a dog-friendly beach, the next step is to know the leash laws. If the dog must be leashed, the beach is still a great place to go for a walk. The only items to remember are plastic bags to clean up after the dog and a bottle of fresh water in case the dog gets thirsty.
If a dog owner is really lucky, there is a nearby beach that allows dogs to roam free. This is the most enjoyable experience for the dog, but it comes with a lot of additional responsibility. Not only are plastic bags and fresh water needed, but also the dog has to be watched closely to keep it from getting into trouble. Running at the beach carries a number of potential hazards. One is that beach sand is a relatively unstable surface, and the dog can tweak its knee. Another is that ingesting sand can irritate a dog's digestive system, so it is best to leave the tennis ball at home and keep an eye out for objects the dog might eat. A third potential hazard is saltwater. Some dogs, like the famous Marley, might drink water directly from the ocean. This will make the dog sick. There are also the standard beach hazards like jellyfish or broken glass, so watch carefully.
Finally, it's important to know whether a dog plays well with others. A dog who challenges other dogs while on a walk will not be a good guest at any off-leash venue, whereas a dog who makes canine friends easily will love the experience. In order to minimize the risk of a fight, do not bring anything that the dog will want to protect. This includes food, bones, and toys. It's also advisable to scout the beach before exiting the car. Look for dogs who might pose a problem.
Finally, it's important to rinse the dog upon returning home. Whether the beach is an off-leash beach or not, the dog will come home with sand on its paws. There may also be sand in the dog's coat if the wind is strong enough. A good rinse will ensure that the dog does not pay for a day at the beach with an uncomfortable night.