An Owners Guide to Bringing your Dog to the Beach

What to Bring for your Dog’s Beach Day:

  1. Shade (Umbrella, tent, etc.)
  2. Booties for all four paws in case the sand or parking lot is hot.
  3. Appropriate gear (harness, collar, e-collar, leash)
  4. Folding dog bowl for easy storage.
  5. Cold water
  6. Towel to lay on, if sand is hot, and towel to dry off
  7. Seat Cover/ Seat Belt for no-mess and safety going to and from the beach
  8. Life Jacket for non-swimming breeds, or if you plan swimming someplace deep.

The main reason people go to the beach is to have some fun in the sun, but for dogs who don’t have the same cooling mechanisms as humans, it is important we make sure they do not overheat. Dogs regulate body temperature through their tongues, which is why we see them pant. Know the signs that your dog needs a few minutes in the shade with some water, because they can’t tell you themselves!

Appropriate Dog Etiquette at the Beach:

Depending on the beach, whether it is a public access beach that is dog-friendly, or a dedicated dog-beach, the proper behavior for both human and furry friend changes.

Public Beach

  1. Assume everyone does NOT like dogs.

This means keep your dog leashed or tethered while supervised at all times! Yes, even if you’re confident in your dogs recall abilities. Don’t let your dog walk up to people uninvited as the walk by until they’ve given explicit encouragement to do so. On the flip side, don’t let just any stranger walk up to your dog, you don’t want to stress your companion out more than he/she probably is.

2. Expect some “Karens” and “No-self awareness”

There are always those people in the world who have nothing better to do than complain about something. Unfortunately, dogs are sometimes a target for those complaints. Know the laws prior to going to a public beach, as not all of them allow dogs in the beach area. If you know the rules this will prevent any misinformed “Karen” from making a fuss about your dogs presence.

Picture this. You’re at a small public beach which allows dogs. You have a leash and 15 foot line tether, and see a perfect pole at the end of the beach to secure the tie to let your dog have some limited freedom under supervision. Keep in mind, the beach is totally empty, and no less desirable than the spot you’re in. A single lady sees you and your dog, and walks over to set up her umbrella and chairs. She gives you a look of distaste when your dog attempts to approach her but still keeps setting up within 15 feet of you. You fasten your six foot leash to prevent your dog from approaching further. Then another family, who obviously had their fair share of alcohol prior to coming to the beach goes to your right and pitches their umbrella. You think. “There’s a whole beach open, and we were here first, why do they have to sit right next to us and act annoyed that we have a dog?”. This is a “lack of self-awareness”.

This was my latest beach experience.

Luckily there was another post all the way at the other end of the beach of which I got up and moved to, as it was not worth starting an argument over.

Be prepared to face challenges such as this, as people sometimes don’t understand the implication of their actions.


What makes dog beaches so great is that everyone expects dogs to be there! If someone doesn’t like dogs they can avoid this area all together. Your dog can interact with other people and animals gaining that important socialization all dogs need.

1. Off-leash

Only let your animal off leash if you have established unfailing and consistent recall. For safety reasons, you need to make sure your pooch will return to you in any emergency situation. Some owners will let their dogs off leash regardless of training, and this becomes a hazard to other visitors and dogs. I’ve heard of too many stories of untrained off-leash animals approaching leashed reactive dogs, or grabbing hold of sea-life and making it a dangerous situation for everyone involved.

2. Reactive Dogs

All dogs deserve to enjoy the natural world, and bringing a reactive dog to the beach may be possible under certain conditions. If you know your dog is reactive and may show aggression to other dogs, as mentioned above assume that unwanted attention will come your wy in the form of an untrained off- leash dog. Bring a muzzle if a bite is inevitable, and a sturdy leash or harness to secure them.

Consult a professional before bringing a reactive dog to a dog beach, as it may be stressful environment leading to increased anxiety and aggression.

3. Swimming

ALWAYS closely supervise or accompany your animal if swimming. Unexpected currents and steep drops in the ocean floor and cause tragedy to strike. I keep my dog on a leash no matter where we’re swimming and I always make sure that I have secure footing in case my precious pooch doesn’t and I can reel him in like a fish.

If you have a bully breed, or dog who struggles to swim, invest in a canine life jacket.

Now sit back, relax and enjoy your time with your dog!

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