Have you ever been to a dog beach? Where your dogs can dig holes in the sand and bounce in and out of the waves? Where you meet fellow dog lovers and talk dog? It’s such fun, and the dogs get so much exercise!
In California, a lot of beaches allow you to take your dogs down on the sand off season, or from 5 pm to 10 am, but they have to be on lead. There are a few places where you can let your dog off lead all day, every day, and over Easter I discovered a new spot, Avila Beach.
I am directionally challenged, so, of course, I got lost on the way, but once there it was worth the effort. The crash of the waves, the rumble tumble of wet sandy dogs and the joyful, “Good mornings!” I heard from fellow dog owners.
On this particular trip, I took more gadgets than usual. I had my GoPro on my head and my camera around my neck. Then the live critters–a five month old Golden, a five year old Lab and an eleven year old Terrier Chihuahua Mix. Every dog wore a leash, a collar, and as I learned during the walk, had stored up a lot of poop. (No trash cans anywhere for poop bags! Why not?)
For Sherlock, the puppy, this was his first ocean adventure. He ran full tilt into the surf and was promptly drench by a large wave. Once wet and sandy, he loved bounding into me when I knelt down for a photo. Nothing like a five month old Golden Retriever knocking you on your rear while you try to keep hold of your camera.
Kinsey focused on out running dogs and stealing their balls. Every now and then I’d have to drop everything to return one. The nice thing about a dog beach is that no one gets mad about a crazy ball stealing yellow Labrador Retriever. They love dogs too. Why didn’t I take a ball for Kinsey? If I did, then I would be required to throw it the entire time. Like, she does not take a break for any reason and my arm will be sore the next day, throw it. Plus, it’s good for her to play in the water like a regular dog. She doesn’t need to be a crazy toy obsessed search dog all of the time!
Quincy stayed at my feet because I had dog treats in my pockets. She was quite hungry on our beach trip, as she was on a strict diet. Why? Because she wolfed down an entire Starbucks breakfast sandwich that was left in the car the day before. (If she had her way her stomach would drag on the ground when she walked.)
While I didn’t remember all of the items listed below for this trip, in an ideal world, these are the things I’d bring along every time.
In the car:
- A plastic crate for each dog (Minimizes the mess!)
- A couple of old towels
- A gallon of water
- A metal water dish
Be prepared, because when you get back to the car your dogs will be thirsty, sandy and wet. Rubbing them down with a towel will help, but my advice is to stop at a dog wash on the way home. If you can’t, hose them off really well before you take them inside. The salt water can be itchy, and the sand will linger in your house for days.
Down to the beach:
- A backpack (On this trip, as you will see in the video, I forgot mine. Boy, did I regret it. I had to keep putting the leashes down in the sand to pick up poop. Of course, when I picked the leashes back up, they touched my camera and covered the lens in sand.)
- A couple bottles of water
- A collapsible water dish
- Poop bags (Love these because they’re big and smell good!)
Of all of the items, the most important is water and a water dish. The first time I went to the beach with dogs, I didn’t bring any water and my Lab ended up sucking down saltwater while retrieving. The result? Explosive diarrhea on the way home. Not fun at all. The dogs get SO THIRSTY, and fresh water means they won’t drink saltwater. (Do keep an on your dog’s belly! Remember dogs can suffer from water toxicity.) Plus, they can play for longer so they’re even more exhausted when we get home. YEAH for tired dogs!
I’m still figuring out the GoPro. (I realize the angle is a bit off.) Wearing it on my head, over my baseball cap, was not every comfortable. Then, I had to adjust my cap every time I crouched down to take a photo. I kept worrying the GoPro would pop off and fall into the sand! Still, I hope you enjoy it…