Taking your dog to the beach can be lots of fun, if you're prepared.
Things to Bring
This is a list of things we suggest you bring for a day at the beach. Things in bold are important items, others are extras/less essential.
to see plenty of people, including children, and other dogs. If you
plan to have your dog off leash, make sure s/he has a solid recall
(most beaches are not fenced.) Many beaches are near bike paths, so
joggers, inline skaters and bicyclers may be nearby.
The beach can present many hazards for your dog. Things to watch out for include boats, fishhooks, dead fish, garbage, and broken glass. We suggest you check out the area with your dog on a short leash or without your dog before letting him/her play. If you find any of the hazards above, look for a better area. If swimming in the Lake (Michigan) check the height of the waves before you allow your dog to get in the water. Even excellent swimmers can get into trouble when the waves are too high.
I suggest using a long line if you're not sure of your dogs swimming skills, or if you think your dog may swim too far. I don't recommend Flexis for the beach, mainly because sand will get into the housing, which would probably ruin them (we have firsthand experience!) I recommend tennis balls for water retrieving, because they're easy to spot and inexpensive- if your dog decides not to fetch the ball from the water, it's no big deal. If you do decide to use a 'fancy' retrieving toy, make sure that a) it floats and b) your dog will actually retrieve it, before you throw it into the water!
Where to Go
There is only one official beach within the Chicago city limits which currently allow dogs. Dogs are officially not allowed on other beaches in Chicago. However, many people take their dog to other beaches during off-season and off-hours.
The Chicago dog beach/dog friendly area is at Montrose Beach. The dog-friendly section is a fenced off area at the north end of the beach. If you do visit this beach, please be sure to keep your dog within the fenced area and do not allow your dog off-leash until you are on the sand. People have been ticketed for letting their dogs off the leash on the sidewalks or rocks before they were actually on the beach.
You can find some information on Montrose Dog Beach at MonDog.
The City of Chicago has
recently enacted a new law which requires all dogs at "Dog Friendly
Areas" including Montrose Dog Beach to have a special permit. The
permits are $35 plus $15 for each additional dog and can be purchased
There is also an "unofficial" dog beach at Belmont Harbor. (it's not
officially a beach, so there are no rules about whether dogs are
allowed.) This beach is small, but it is completely fenced in. One
warning, though- if you do visit and allow your dog off leash, you can
Evanston does have an official Dog Beach which requires a season token. This token is priced very high for non-residents (about $80.) For info on Evanston's dog beach, call 847-866-2900.
We plan to list other beaches here a we find out about them, but if you don't want to wait you can get information from the book Doggone Chicago by Steve Dale or (more up-to-date) The Dog Lover's Companion to Chicago by Margaret Littman.
Here's a tip! Before allowing
your dog in the water, soak her fur with a
pet creme rinse/leave-in conditioner
mixed with water.
Be sure this is a condition that is meant to be left on the fur!
(I use Lambert Kay's Fresh n' Clean)
When your dog dries off, she will smell
and feel like she just had a bath!
Ginger in Wisconsin
Background from Roxy's Renditions