Friday, August 6, 2010

Dog-Friendly Beaches

By Tamara L. Waters

Most dogs love the water, and if you live near a beach then taking your dog to romp in the sand and surf can be great fun. If you’re looking for dog-friendly beaches in the United States, there are some great beaches that are rated as friendly and accommodating to man's best friend.

According to the website, there are a number of dog-friendly beaches in 29 states where you can take Fido for a swim, a run or just to hang out with the family. The website also breaks down the list of dog-friendly beaches around the United States into regions (West Coast beaches, East Coast and Florida beaches, Gulf of Mexico beaches and Great Lakes beaches).

Both of these websites offer information about dog-friendly beaches. The format of is a little easier to navigate as it has all of the states and the respective beaches listed on one page. The site has the states divided into clickable links. Once you click on the state, you then have clickable links to various cities within the state. Clicking the city brings up a listing of all locations within the city that are pet-friendly – not just beaches but also hotels, stores and more. Both sites offer great information and are definitely worth checking out but in the end, before you visit a beach with your dog, it would be worth the time and effort to make some phone calls to verify what is and what isn't allowed.

There are a few rules that are universal with most beaches, and taking your dog to the beach means paying attention to and following these rules. Why are the rules important? It all boils down to safety: safety for your dog, safety for you and your family, safety for other dogs on the beach, and of course safety for other beach visitors. In the end, following the posted and expected rules for taking your dog to the beach falls into the category of being a responsible pet owner, and your dog deserves that.

If you take your dog to the beach, be sure to clean up after him! That is not only common courtesy for other beach visitors but it also helps keep the area clean and welcoming. Cleaning up after your pooch doesn't just mean poop detail. It also means cleaning up any messes your dog may make just from being rambunctious, playful, or simply mischievous. If your dog gets excited and shreds a toy or something else on the beach, then you need to clean it up.

Remember to also keep your dog under control – that means on a leash or under the control and direction of your voice, or both. Many beaches have a leash law requirement and you need to make sure you follow that. Some beaches may allow you to let your dog off of the leash, but you need to make sure you know the rules ahead of time. If in doubt, keep your dog leashed at all times.

Just like you would not leave a child unattended on the beach, you shouldn’t leave your dog unsupervised either. Make sure you know where your dog is at all times and that you can intervene quickly if there is an issue. Don't forget that there may be other dogs roaming around and of course, children. Keep your eyes open for potential issues with interactions between your dog and other pets and beach visitors.

These simple guidelines can help make your beach visit fun and safe, while ensuring that other visitors will enjoy their experience also. Want to help your dog learn to surf while you're at the beach? Check out Responsible Pet Ownership writer Julia Williams' article, Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Surf.

Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters

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