Dog Friendly Travel

Beach Days With Fido

  • September 9, 2017
Tropea Italy Beach

Our dog loves the beach. Like, when her feet hit the sand she sort of freaks out and gets the “zoomies” as we like to call them. She chases the surf and digs and rolls in the sand. (A Type-A dog mom’s worst nightmare!)

Our homes in Southern Spain and the North Eastern United States fared well for early morning beach walks and off-leash beach running. Wide open spaces and crisp morning beach breezes. Ahh the memories.

Unfortunately our set up here in Italy isn’t quite as ideal! We don’t live walking distance to the beach and even if we did, the beaches just aren’t the same. Most are pebble beaches ridden with tourists, more debris than I feel should be at the beach, and are packed out with private beach clubs. …I digress…  ANYWAY.

Last week, though, Ava got to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Tropea. I don’t know who loved it more, me or her.

With the summer heat waning and the crowds dissipating a bit, it is THE perfect time to bring fido! If you didn’t already realize, summer is quickly coming to an end-and now is the time to get your last beach trips in.

Just remember that bringing fido to the beach is sort of like bringing a toddler. You need more than just a towel and your bathing suit. Here are few handy reminders for having a smooth and enjoyable beach day with your pup!

  • Bring a shade source
  • Protect those paws
  • Bring lots of water
  • Bring a stake
  • Get them wet

White border collie dog on beach in tropea italy
Ava relaxing on the beach under her Shade Shack

“…you wouldn’t leave your child out in the sun without protection, so you shouldn’t leave your dog out in the sun either.”

Shade is so important when you’re going to the beach. Maybe you are such a sun soaker that you don’t think it’s necessary. (I used to be that way). But you wouldn’t leave your child out in the sun without protection, so you shouldn’t leave your dog out in the sun either. 

Remember that dogs can get sunburnt, and can also overheat. Even on a mild day at the beach, the temperature in the sun is much worse. Dogs don’t sweat like humans do, so having a nice shaded spot for them in the cool sand is heaven. If they want to lay in the sun, that is their own choice!

An umbrella would be fine, but depending on its size you might need two umbrellas to really make enough shade. We use this awesome contraption called a “Shade Shack”. It’s a three-sided pop-up tent and on a normal day involves no stakes or real set up. It folds up in to a convenient to-go baggy and is super easy to transport. Cool, huh?

White border collie dog resting on the beach in tropea italy
Nothing like a nap on the beach, is there?

“Hot sand is no joke.”

The next thing that pains me to see is when people bring their dogs to the beach and force them to walk on the burning sand! Here’s my take on that: If the sand is too hot for you to walk on without sandals, it’s likely too hot of a day to have your pup at the beach, period.

Hot sand is no joke. This is why it’s usually best to take fido to the beach in the mornings and evenings.

Earlier this summer I watched a little dog in SO much pain as his aloof owner strolled across the BLAZING hot beach with his dog on leash. The poor pup was frantically hopping around trying to get onto other peoples’ towels. The owner was yelling at the dog for this! Awful, just awful.

If you insist on taking fido to the beach on the hot sand, bring booties to protect their paws, although at those temperatures  you will have more than just burnt paws to worry about. If you do find yourself in a situation where the sand is too hot, carry your dog. Who cares what silly looks you get. Here are some good tips for protecting your dogs’ paws in the summer months, no matter where you are.

white border collie dog resting on sunset beach in tropea italy
Sunset at the beach

“…bring more water than you think you will need.”

Fido can’t drink salt water, so make sure you have enough fresh water for drinking.  A good rule of thumb is to bring more water than you think you will need.

Ava is a messy drinker, I’m sure she isn’t the only one. She has that pesky but oh-so-cute underbite and she often gets sand in her month and lips, which then transfers to the water bowl.

Be prepared to dump out gross water and add fresh a few times throughout the day. Try to keep the water in the same shaded spot as your pooch. No one likes to drink hot water- Ick!

Our somewhat rusty, incredibly useful beach stake

“It’s an inexpensive, easy way to “stake-out” your spot.”

Thanks to my smart husband, we now have a sturdy, reliable method to secure Ava to our “camp site” on the beach. It’s a metal stake about 24 inches long, with a thick cable attached to the top. It’s an inexpensive, easy way to “stake-out” your spot. Ha!  Ours is a little rusty, but it’s seen years of use!

If you’re lucky enough to have a beach day with virtually no other people around, you probably won’t need to worry about this. But with a constant flow of activity around us, it’s nice to have Ava safely tied in our space for the day.  

If your dog is on leash at the beach, remember to take them elsewhere to have potty breaks. Ava will not go to the bathroom anywhere near our beach site, but she will go on the same sand if I walk her 50m away. Dogs can be funny like that.

White border collie dog on sunny beach in tropea italy
Ava watching the active search and rescue operations

“…let your dog get wet!”

Last, let your dog get wet! A wet dog is a cool dog; add shade into the mix and they have got it made at the beach. After all, isn’t that what we do when we go to the beach?

For some odd reason Ava didn’t like the water in Tropea as much as in Spain. I think the sand down by the water was thicker, easier to sink into. So, I had to carry her the last few feet down into the surf, to get her feet and belly wet. (Which she welcomed!)

Use care when letting your pup go swimming around a lot of other people, though. Swimming dogs can do some serious damage in the area of scratching! If your dog has sensitive skin, remember to brush or rinse off any residual sand at the end of the day. It can be irritating, and itchy!

The best part about bringing fido to the beach is that it truly can be an enjoyable day for the whole family. If you take the proper preparations and precautions with regard to the summer heat and beach safety,  there is really no need to feel guilty about leaving your dog behind! Hope you get to enjoy a few last beach days with your furry friends this summer.

Please comment below and share your favorite part of bringing fido to the beach! 

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