Dogs love to go to the beach. They love running free through the sand and splashing in the water. However, there’s array of issues and concerns of how dogs affect the environment and ecosystem. But there’s a plethora of other reasons why dogs are banned from beaches. And some are even deadly! So, before taking your dog to the beach, you need to read this!
Beaches are a great place where you can take your dog to run free while frolicking in the sand and surf. It’s the perfect venue for dogs to not only have fun but also get some healthy exercise. But, dogs’ existence on beaches has become a complex issue.
From environmental concerns to people’s safety and health standards, legislators are stepping in to ban dogs from beaches.
We’re learning that banning dogs is actually becoming more commonplace.
So, let’s see why dogs are banned from beaches; disallowing mutts from enjoying their own beach.
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7 Reasons Why Dogs are Banned from Beaches
Protected Wildlife Habitats
Beaches are a great playground for dogs. But, we have to remember the shorelines are habitats for wildlife and sea life. Some are even protected environments.
Living animals such as sea turtles, seals, crabs, and even small insects and spiders migrate to and live on the beach, in the sand and sea. But also, migratory birds, butterflies and insects also take refuge or even live permanently on the shores.
So, while your dog plays on the beach, they’re essentially intruding on their habitats, disturbing migration routes and upsetting the ecosystem.
Because dogs are naturally inquisitive, they may interact with, injure or even kill healthy sea life and beach wildlife. Hunting dog breeds, in particular, tend to gravitate towards catching birds on the beach.
Additionally, some sea wildlife may rest or take refuge on the beach. Seals, for example, may leave their babies on the beach while they go hunt for food.
And during sea turtle egg laying season, entering the beach interrupts the migration of the momma turtles and the hatchlings.
And while the sea creatures health and wellness is most important, be aware of the implications that may happen to your dog (sting rays, toxic jellyfish, poisonous animals, etc.).
Any one of these reasons are why dogs are banned from beaches, regardless of season or time of day.
Destruction of Sand Dunes
Dune grasses and other vegetation on beach sand dunes are an integral part of the ecosystem. But also, these natural (or manmade) barriers exist to prevent erosion and flooding from storm surges.
Simply sitting, stepping and running on grasses and vegetation on the sand dunes weakens the plants’ root systems that hold the dunes together. Any unnatural pressure on the sand dunes will cause slides; making them unstable and causing them to collapse. This includes dog paws.
But let’s not forget that beach sand dunes are nesting areas for sea turtles as well as habitats for birds, rodents, reptiles, lizards and even thousands of insects. Coastal dunes provide food, nesting material and a place of refuge for land and migratory wildlife.
So, imagine anytime your dog steps on or disturbs the dunes, they’re essentially disturbing nests and literally crushing their homes and tunnels.
And lastly, think about your dog’s safety. In some regions, venomous snakes or toxic critters take refuge or hunt for food in the dune grasses.
Face it, not everyone likes dogs; especially unleashed dogs. Most beaches fall under local and state leash law jurisdictions. However, many dog owners take on the ‘open space mentality’. They think it’s perfectly okay to let their dogs run wild and free.
Due to which, much resistance occurs between other beach goers, dog owners and local legislators. When people are trying to enjoy their day at the beach, the last thing they want is some unfamiliar dog getting up in their business.
A big reason why dogs are banned from beaches is because beach goers complain of dogs and their owners exhibiting poor outdoor pet etiquette.
Some dog owners blatantly turn a blind eye to their dog’s manners; from urinating and defecating everywhere to refusing to clean up after their pet.
Also, dogs are notorious for running carelessly through beach blankets, shaking water or kicking sand all over. They get so happy and rambunctious that they knock over small children and jump onto people.
And as we all can commiserate, the excessive barking ruins the enjoyment of listening to the surf or the laughter of children playing in the sand.
Another point is several dogs present on the beach at the same time. That in itself presents unpleasant conflicts between dogs and their owners. And believe it or not, why dogs are banned from beaches is due to reports of intimidating or banned dog breeds.
Most importantly, full-fledged dog attacks and dog bites sadly occur on these public properties leaving local jurisdictions liable for injury and/or death.
So, as you see, these safety concerns are reasons why many municipalities and counties, state and federal parks legislate rolling up the welcome mat at beaches. Sadly for the dogs, it’s them who suffer the consequences.
Dog Poop and Potty Pollution
Oh! You knew this one was coming! Unfortunately, some dog owners do not care about their dog’s manners. One of which is their bathroom habits. The biggest and grossest violation dogs commit is going to the bathroom on the beach.
Having taken my own young grandson to the beach only to find him digging in the sand that had lumps of dog crap in it. Not only did it ruin our beach day adventure but we ended up having to throw away his toys because caked with dog crap!
Not only is it totally unsanitary, it goes against the leave no trace principle we all should be following.
These two nasty diseases are a threat to adults. But for children and pets exposed to parasite eggs in the beach sand may cause serious and even deadly illness.
But, it’s not just the dog poop at the beach that is an unsanitary and unsafe issue.
As we all know, dogs don’t pee on demand. Instead, they pee whenever they feel like it…anywhere and everywhere on the beach.
Which means, an hour after you take your dog home, some child is will be playing in the same sand your dog peed or pooped in.
But, let’s also think about the environmental and ecological implications.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection in their Nonpoint Source Pollution Education: Managing Pet Waste, dog waste left on beaches and sand dunes is also washed into the sea.
Thus, these local and state departments must close swimming beaches and shellfish beds due to toxicities leaching into the ground and water environments.
Adding to that, wildlife are also prone to parasite eggs in the beach sand which presents serious and even deadly consequences to nature’s balance.
Dog’s Health and Safety
While dog owners may see dog bans on beaches as offensive, there’s more to it than just assuming the authorities just don’t like dogs.
A blissful day on the beach could potentially expose your dog to a plethora of health dangers and safety issues. From drowning and sunburn to heat stress and hypothermia, dogs suffer outdoor dangers just like people.
But also, your dog’s curiosity can land him in the animal hospital because of ingesting toxic algae, bacterias and parasites, and potentially life-threatening sea life or beach wildlife.
In some coastal regions, sharp rocks, coral and oyster shells can cut your dog’s paws; exposing them to bacterias and infections. And, last but not least, dogs can pick up diseases from, you guessed it, other dog’s poop.
Algae poisoning should be enough to make a dog owner thank the authorities for banning dogs from beaches. Because this is a serious health risk that could end badly.
At certain times of the year on the east coast and gulf waters, that so-called red tide rolls in with terrible consequences. These seasonal bacteria conglomerates have been occurring since before the 1500’s and Florida’s Gulf Coast even as early as the mid 1800’s.
According to the Northeast Animal Hospital, “Red tide exposure can result in neurological and digestive symptoms that include tremors, seizures, stumbling, paralysis, vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling. Your dog may also experience low heart rate and low blood pressure. Symptoms can develop within 30 minutes to one hour after exposure and must be treated quickly.”
But here’s the thing. Even if you don’t allow your dog into the water, Karenia brevis phytoplankton washes ashore. It, then, dries and releases chemicals into the air. So, each time your dog would romp around in the sand, he’ll stir up all those dangerous, toxic chemicals. Thus, causing your dog to suffer from respiratory and lung irritations and infections.
An algae of another color; the blue-green algae poisoning occurs in ponds and lakes. While not really an algae, it’s a microscopic bacteria called Cyanobacteria. As it clumps together is what gives it that algae appearance.
Blue-green algae is found in stagnant freshwater during high temperature seasons and when there’s very little rainfall. This highly toxic algae also breeds in backyard pools and decorative ponds if owners don’t routinely clean and properly maintain them.
Oddly though, dogs are attracted to it because of its’ nauseating, dead animal smell and will drink from water infected with the blue-green algae.
ASPCA reports, “Dogs can develop blue-green algae poisoning when they drink from, or even simply swim in, contaminated water sources. If a dog ingests blue-green algae, it can cause severe neurologic or liver damage.”
Signs of blue-green algae toxicity include:
- Excessive drooling
- Respiratory failure
- Liver failure
- Ultimately death
If your dog begins to experience any of these symptoms, you need to contact your veterinarian immediately.
So, as a dog owner, those should be reason enough to understand why beaches don’t allow dogs; especially during those seasons when these algae are more prevalent.
Can Service Dogs Go on Beaches?
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are permitted on any beach open to the public. A service dog is trained to do specific tasks directly related to the owner’s disability.
A service dog must remain under the owner’s control at all times. Any individual whose failure to maintain control of a dog results in disturbance to wildlife will need to leave the beach and may receive a citation.
Final thoughts on why beaches don’t allow dog
We totally agree that dogs deserve to run free and enjoy a day at the beach. But, there’s more to their existence than fetching balls in the sand and frolicking in the waves. We hope dog owners understand all of these reasons why beaches ban dogs, either permanently or part-time.
So, if you’re a dog owner, don’t take it offensively by thinking the authorities just don’t like dogs. That truly is not the case here. These reasons for not allowing dogs on the beaches are for the safety for all. From coastal wildlife, plants and vegetation to fellow beach goers. These ordinances and rules in place to protect your dog and you.
IMPORTANT HEALTH DISCLAIMER:
Anything on this blog should not be considered as being professional pet medical advice. The content published on this blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed veterinarian for dog or pet medical advice.
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