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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pet Friendly Beaches: The Problem, the Solution, the Locater

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
Where are all the Dogs?
Despite the fact that I live in warm, sunny Florida, a state that boasts 1200 miles of waterfront coastline, Florida does not have the most dog-friendly beaches in the union. Far from it! 

I let my fingers do the walking at and found a surprisingly low 29 dog-friendly beaches in Florida, many of which are fresh water beaches found on lake fronts. That's an average of one beach to every 41 miles of coastline, if you don't tally up the lake fronts in the math. Sad.

And it gets worse. Many of these beaches are called dog-friendly, but their rules state your dog must remain on-leash. That fetch game is going to be pretty lame. Ditto on the swimming and Frisbee.

As I thought back on the movie Milo and Me, I couldn't help but remember that scene where Milo had a bit too much salt water to drink. Okay, so I get the problem. What I don't get is why we can't fix it. 

What can we do to get more off-leash beaches for our dogs and us to enjoy a Frisbee game, some Fetch practice, or a good ole romp in the rushing water? We can take responsibility for our dog. That means training, socialization, carrying a poop bag, and learning to be a proper leader, not just a gushy puppy lover who knows nothing about what we're doing. 

I know we all mean well. But we have to realize that together, collectively, the owners are the reason for a shortage of dog-friendly venues of all kinds--parks, beaches, hotels, outdoor restaurants , shopping--all the places that we'd like to take Fido, if only we were permitted to.

I get agitated sometimes when I feel my dogs are slighted. There was never a shortage of parks for my children, and they were not nearly as well behaved as my dogs are. Go figure. 

Okay, enough ranting from me. Let's get to the resource I sat down to bring you: 

A locater for dog-friendly beaches--just click your State and go at:

Yes, it includes lake front beaches. Yes, it includes beaches that require your dog to be on a leash. But at least there is a resource, and at least there are some beaches where Fido can run free. Find them. Thank the providers. Take responsibility for your dog. You may even have to bring your own poop bag or water. Let's set the example to be emulated all over the country:
Dog Lovers Take Care of Their Venues

Only when we do this, will we earn the right to demand our share of tax dollars for parks that our dogs can run free in. 

Got an opinion? Of course you do! But more than that, we need your ideas. What else can we do to help get more dog parks and dog beaches? Visit Adopt a Dog Park. Leave a comment below, send a Tweet, or get into the conversation at my Facebook page. Let's figure this out!

Every interaction with regard to this post will enter you in a dog lover's giveaway--3 prizes. It will be your choice: a dog toy for your beloved Fido (suitable for small or large dogs) or a copy of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul (suitable for small or large owners). Have a bowl now--leave a comment. Be sure to stop in and thank our hosts for this great hopping fun time: Life with Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume.
Hop On!
Check out my latest guest post at FIDO Friendly: Dog Park Safety Guidelines for Owners and their Dogs.


Peggy Frezon said...

I got my book "Two Plus Four Equals One" today. And the cool scarf. Thank you so much!

Tegan said...

This is interesting - I haven't thought about how dog friendly beaches around the world.

In my state, South Australia, most of our beaches are dog-friendly - and that means off-lead dog friendly. Most beaches specify dogs can only be on the beach off-lead between 8pm-7am, and must be on-lead at all other times. This means that people who don't want to have dogs around them at the beach can visit during 7am-8pm and have few encounters with dogs, at least off lead.

FANCY the Red Standard Poodle said...

Hi Y'all,

You have voiced my "pet rant". I usually lapse into it after my Humans have taken me on a trip and I get up "close and personal" with inconsiderate owners too thoughtless or too...

Thank you for once more being the voice of be a "good Human pet parent".

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

Road Dog Tales said...

The same problem exists on the SC coast! The off leash hours are pretty prohibitive around here and getting more so! How can you chase a ball into the ocean on a leash? Our solution? Mom and Dad just got us our own ponds to swim in :)

Our next favorite pet peeve - outdoor restaurants that don't allow dogs!

The Road Dogs

Jan said...

In California I've seen a lot of beaches go to "no dogs" over the years. And, of course, it's because owners wouldn't clean up after the dog and left the area pretty disgusting.

Even as a dog(s) owner I can't blame people for not wanting to put up with this.

Unknown said...

We hope you get more dog friendly beaches in Florida. There is a meditative quality to salt water and sand...

Mocha Barney, Ashley Pumpernickel and Winniechurchill

Road Dog Tales said...

Crikey! We need to change our header thingy. We are back from that trip and live in SC. You might find this interesting since you're talking about the beach - and
the resolution here

And, yes, we do know the Fabulous Amy and Rod!

Thanks for visiting!

The Road Dogs

Rubiegem said...

I am on the upper end of the east coast... bit cold up here for us people to swim a lot of the year.. by Savanah, my hearing dog, is a Lab.... a water lover. I have been wondering about this exact topic lately! Thank you so much for posting. I really need to find her some water time as she has been trying to take over my daughter's bath time! LOL (not really but she does look like wishful thinking)

She Who Loves Book and Dogs said...

Hi! We found your blog after participating in the blog hop! Please add us too!

I love your pups! Oh, and we had a hard time finding a dog friendly beach when we went to Florida last year also! Thanks for writing about it!


Abigail, Madison, Lisa said...

your pups are great! Pet Friendly beaches are hard to find, I hope they start to make special ones the way they do parks.

We found you on The Blog Hop! YAY!
Stop over and see us.
Madison and Abigail

clayts said...

That is amazing, that you have so few dog friendly beaches in FL. Here in the UK they are slowly making beaches less dog friendly - they started restricting the times of year dogs are allowed on the beaches and then stop them altogether. What these areas dont realise is the number of people that bring their dogs down and then spend money in that local area - they stop it because of 1 or 2 bad owners, out of the 1000's that visit. very frustrating.

Always looking out for a great Pet Friendly Cottage to share.

Ben said...

Great post! I definitely feel your pain on lack of dog friendly beaches in FL. When I first moved it was nearly impossible to find anywhere along south FL to take your dog. After about 2 weeks of searching, I found a great place about 20 minutes from my home that I absolutely love. the downside is that EVERYBODY within an hour radius of this beach brings their dog there so it is always crowded. I hope that in time more beaches will open up to bringing our four legged friends with us.

Heather said...

I love travelling with my spaniel, and I found this great free e-book that helps with my grooming efforts;

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