What Are the Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in San Diego? Plus Beach Tips

May 22, 2018

San Diego has an abundance of beautiful beaches that are easily accessible for any San Diego resident. One of the best additions to a beach day is bringing your favorite furry friend. Unfortunately, not all beaches allow dogs. Before you head out with your dog, it is important to do some research about whether your intended beach will let you bring your dog.

Here is a guide of the top San Diego beaches that allow dogs.

#1. Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is one of the first beaches in the San Diego area to allow owners to bring their dogs without leashes. It even has the nickname Dog Beach. If you go to Ocean Beach, you must clean up after your dog, and your dog must be up to date on vaccinations. Additionally, your dog must have a collar from the County Department of Animal Services.

#2. West Beach, Del Mar

Nine months out of the year, West Beach lets owners bring their dogs without leashes, controlling them only with voice commands. During the other three months, owners must have their dogs on leashes. Though dogs can be anywhere on the entire beach, the North Beach is the best place for dogs.

#3. Fiesta Island, Mission Bay

Most of the Fiesta Island Beach allows dogs to run around without leashes. Many aspects of the beach are ideal for dogs to play. With panoramic views and places for bonfires and bay play, it’s a great place for picnicking with your pets and friends.

#4. Coronado Dog Beach, Coronado

Coronado Dog Beach allows dogs without leashes, but be sure to use a leash until you reach the sand, as a police officer could fine you $500 for not using a leash off the beach. With giant areas of san to run around, special water fountains for dogs, and even a dedicated dog wash at Wag N Tails, it makes for a great place to bring your pup.

#5. La Jolla Shores Beach, La Jolla

La Jolla Shores Beach is another great place for you and your dog to spend a sunny day. It is open to dogs all year after six in the evening and after four in the afternoon in the winter.

#6. Pacific Beach

Unlike the other beaches, Pacific Beach does not allow dogs on the sand. However, there is a nice boardwalk along the sand that is ideal for walking a dog. There are also dog-friendly restaurants along the boardwalk that you and your dog can visit.

#7. San Elijo State Beach, Cardiff By The Sea

San Elijo State Beach allows dogs, as long as you have a leash. There is not as much sand as other beaches, but it is ideal for taking a walk or just lounging with your dog to enjoy the waves.

What do I need to know when I bring my dog to the beach?

If you have researched and decided upon a San Diego beach to visit with your dog, it is important that you keep in mind some tips about bringing your dog to the beach.

Watch for heat exhaustion.

The hot sun and scorching sand can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Bring plenty of fresh water and make stops for drinking. Some signs of overheating in dogs include:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Coordination problems
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Collapsing
  • Loss of consciousness

Pay attention to the rules at the beach.

The right to bring your dog to the beach hinges on whether you are respectful of beach rules. Some potential rules could be:

  • Stay off the dunes
  • Clean up after your dog
  • Follow the leash laws
  • Supervise your dog
  • No aggressive dogs, to avoid any dog bite incidents
  • Use a collar and ID tags
  • Make sure your dog has up to date vaccinations
  • No females in heat
  • No puppies younger than four months old.

Prevent sunburns.

Dogs can get sunburned, too, especially dogs that have shorter hair. Find sunscreen designed for dogs at your local pet store. Apply sunscreen anywhere direct sunlight hits, and re-apply after your dog goes in the water.

Make sure your dog is well-trained.

Do not bring your dog to the beach without a leash if your dog does not follow your commands. Many beaches that allow off-leash dogs depend on the fact that owners can verbally control their dogs. Make sure you have properly trained your dog before going to the beach.

Take safety precautions.

The beach can be a dangerous place for dogs. Try to keep your dog from drinking seawater or eating any of the debris on the beach because it could lead to vomiting or diarrhea.
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