Memorial Day weekend is here, and many of us will be heading to the beach. Before you decide to pack up the dog and head for the sand and sun, please keep these tips in mind:

1. First and foremost, make sure the beach you are visiting is dog friendly. If you are staying overnight, make sure your lodging is as well.

2. Make sure you are clear on rules regarding pets on the beach. Some beaches require your pet to be leashed at all times, while others allow off-leash play.

3. Just like the dog park, the beach is a place for obedient and friendly dogs. If your dog is anti-social and not used to being in public or new settings, the beach may not be the best idea.

4. It is always proper to pick up your dog’s poop in public and especially at the beach. Not only is it the right thing to do, but also at many beaches, it is the law.

5. Bring lots of fresh water to keep your dog hydrated in the heat.

6. Protect your dog from the sun just like you would yourself and your child. Bring an umbrella or tent to offer shade in between play.

7. Sunscreen is for dogs too! You can purchase dog-specific sunscreen at your local pet store. Be sure to use sunscreen on lighter coats and sensitive spots such as your pet’s nose and tips of his ears.

8. Make sure to pack your dog’s favorite ball or Frisbee for fun playtime!

9. If your dog is adventurous but not a good swimmer, make sure to bring a doggy life jacket.

10. Make sure your dog has a secure collar with proper identification tags, is up-to-date on vaccinations and microchipped before traveling.

11. The beach is not for every dog. If you think it will be a stressful situation, or if you cannot provide the undivided attention your dog will need at the beach, then it may be best to leave Fluffy home.

Taking your dog to a pet-friendly beach can be the highlight of the summer for both you and your pet. Knowing what to expect ahead of time and packing accordingly can make your beach experience with your dog a memorable one!

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a 501c3 nonprofit. ARNO operates a volunteer-based, no-kill shelter in the Elmwood Industrial section of Jefferson Parish and depends upon the generosity of people from all over the country who have followed them since Katrina. Contact ARNO at or leave a message at (504) 571-1900.