Can I Safely Walk My Dog On The Beach At Night?


Safely Walking A Dog At Night

My dog loves the beach and especially the water. Sometimes we’ll spend the night while beach camping.

We have learned some night walking tips over the years  Dress your dog warmly for air temperatures below 40° F. Watch out for nocturnal animals, be cautious where you walk, and get your dog some extra care after the walk. It’s also a good idea to bring a 200-lumen flashlight and a leash.

Comfortable Temperatures For Dogs

Smart dog owners keep their dog’s temperature in mind when planning a trip.  The normal body temperature varies according to its size.   The normal air temperature range comfortable for most dogs is between 85° F and 40° F.

Dogs use their coat as insulation that keeps them cool in hot temperatures and warms in cool weather.

Use this helpful air temperature chart to consider appropriate outerwear for your pet:

Small Medium Large
Comfortable55° – 85° F50° – 85° F45° – 85° F
Risk Unlikely45° – 54° F45° – 49° F40° – 44° F
Potentially  Unsafe 30° – 44° F30° – 44° F20° – 39° F
Dangerous Conditions​​​​25° – 29° F15° – 29° F15° – 19° F
Life-Threatening Conditions0° – 24° F0° – 14° F0° – 14° F

Source: How Cold Is Too Cold – Petplan.com** Table values do not include wind chill factor

Smart pet ownership is like being a parent.   You need to watch them ensure they don’t go too far and do things to affect their health and well-being.  You can help your dog maintain temperature by following a few tips:

  • Don’t let your dog go into the surf, especially in cold weather.  The surf can be deceptively colder than the air temperature.
  • Avoid letting your dog roll around in wet sand.
  • Keep your dog moving, especially in cold weather.  Just like you and me, dogs need to keep moving to maintain higher body temperature.  You will need to return if you notice your dog begin to slow down and show fatigue.
  • Outfit your dog with a good waterproof winter coat or sweater.  Use the air temperature chart as a guide when deciding what your dog is to wear.

What To Expect When I Walk My Dog On The Beach At Night

Each area of the country has a variety of nocturnal wildlife.

You may commonly come across coyotes, black-tailed jackrabbits, spotted ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, and deer.  Others such are opossum and raccoon are seldom seen.  A few, such as badgers and bobcats, are rarely encountered.

Sea Turtles are seasonal and are usually active early morning.

There are over 14 varieties of snakes, including the Western Diamondback rattlesnake occupying the sand dunes and are known to be nocturnal.

In Florida, some locations have the American alligator and the American Black bear.

Additionally, prepare for car headlights shining on your pet and anticipate how it will react. Stop and kneel with your dog to calm it as necessary.

For the sake of your pet and wildlife, it is important that you walk your dog with a leash at all times.

You might be tempted to night swim while at the beach. Here are some tips and precautions to consider.

Preparing To Walk My Dog On The Beach

Proper preparation for a walk will ensure each of you has an enjoyable time.

Research if your beach allows for pets and requests any fees   Also, check if your beach allows overnight camping or visits past dark and the corresponding fees.

Check the weather report and take warnings of lightning and thunderstorms into account.  Freezing weather and torrential winds are risky and should be accounted for.

Most of all, be prepared to postpone a trip if unsafe or just unpleasant. Other opportunities may have better results.

What To Bring When Beach Walking Your Dog At Night

  • Pack a flashlight that is at least 200 lumens.  You will need one that is fairly powerful to see for distance and to deter other dogs or animals you might encounter.  One with a flashing option is great for this.
  • A laser pointer can be a valuable tool to keep your pet redirected when necessary.
  • Wear water shoes or tennis shoes on a walk.  Nothing beats a comfortable walk and it allows you to go to places you wouldn’t otherwise if needed.
  • Dress appropriately.  Wear a coat or jacket and make sure your canine does also.  Use the previous air temperature chart I listed to determine a need and amount of protection.
  • Carry a water bottle and a collapsible cup or bowl to take regular water breaks. Dehydration occurs in humid terrains too.
  • Outfit your dog with a proper leash.  We have all had those moments when we come across another dog with strong reactions.  This will help keep things under control.
  • Most importantly, communicate your walking plan with someone staying behind.  Cell phone service is practically not existent on the beach. So give a location and an expected time to return. Schedule a time to go to pick you up if you are running late.

How To Choose Where To Walk Safely

Spend a few minutes reviewing the path you will take during the day.

Prepare a walking plan when deciding where to walk.  This gives you locations of obstacles, rough terrain and animal habitats you may wish to avoid on your walk that evening.

Here are some things to consider in your walking plan:

  • Consider a state park. These beaches have plenty of room and are pet friendly. Most do require that dogs must be leashed at all times.
  • Drive or walk the walking path during the day to review
  • Plan to stay along the shoreline where sand is firmer. Observe large holes or burrows where animals may nest
  • Check for large amounts of seaweed and debris
  • Check the weather for when the high tide will roll in
can i walk my dog on the beach

Best Way To Night Walk My Dog On The Beach

Most times, how you do something makes a difference in your experience.
Here are some guidelines to follow that will make a difference:

  • Don’t allow your dog run leash free especially in a dog park.
  • Stick to your walking plan as much as possible.  It makes things predictable for you and your pet.
  • Stick to the shoreline and avoid sand dunes.  This is where you may run into more wildlife.
  • Keep your walk-in pace with your dog.  Let it stop and start like it does in parks and around the block.  Try to keep a walk as normal as possible.
  • Pick up dog poop during a walk.  A beach may be huge, but someone will step in it tomorrow.

Enjoy the sights and the time you are spending with your furry friend.  That’s really what this occasion is all about.

Avoiding Obstacles And Hazards

Even when invest time and planning, sometimes things happen.

  • Use a laser pointer to distract your dog if you come across any crabs foraging across the sand. The smaller ghost crabs are quite small and will speed across the sand in your path.
  • Be aware and avoid any large wildlife you come across. Usually, coyotes and bobcats, and snakes will stay in dunes. Dunes are usually covered with greenery and short, bushy trees.
  • Avoid walking through seaweed and debris. You will see this beyond the high tide line. Bottles, shells and broken glass will often be there.
  • Avoid the high tide.  It will travel across your path longer than you may expect.

Things To Do After A Walk

Pets want to adjust and be comfortable after an outside activity just like the rest of us.  Here are a few things to do when a walk is over to ensure your canine will have a positive experience.

  • Brush all sand from your dog’s coat
  • Wash and towel dry its feet and pads
  • Check your pets post-activity temperament and well-being
  • Put down plenty of water
  • Feed your dog
  • Allow time for calm and relaxation
  • Consider a state park or a dog park. You will see other dogs of all sizes.

Related Questions

Where are some dog-friendly beaches?  Here is a helpful link for dog friendly beaches.

Where are beaches that allow overnight camping?  Here is a helpful link for camping beaches

Tracy Villarreal

I'm the owner of Active At The Beach. I grew up in a beach town in which I was fortunate enough to spend tons of time around the sea and the beach.

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