I recently took my dog to check out two local doggie beaches. The two dog friendly beaches that I know of, Columbia Rd. Beach in Bay Village and Bow Wow Doggie Beach in Stow, offer very different experiences for dogs, but my dog had a blast at both.
Columbia Rd. Beach
I didn’t know about this beach until a Dogs in the CLE reader informed me of its existence (I LOVE reader tips, hint hint). It seemed to be one of those hidden spots that no one really talks about much. Located where Columbia Rd. dead ends into Lake Rd., this dog-friendly area is a great place to take your dog on a casual stroll on the beach or play a little catch. I took my dog on a Monday in the early afternoon and it wasn’t too crowded. Considering that it’s not a very large stretch of the beach, I imagine it could get crowded during peak times though.
The sign out front requests that dogs stay on leash, but most of the dogs that I saw there were off leash. It is kinda hard to play catch with a dog on a leash, so it’s understandable most weren’t. However, as always, use caution if you want to take your dog off leash. Especially if it’s his or her first time at a beach since many dogs tend to run when scared. The beach is not fenced in and if you have a runner she could pretty easily take off. All in all, I would say Columbia Rd. is a great place to introduce your dog to the beach, since you can leisurely take a stroll and let him test out the waters in a fairly contained area.
Bow Wow Beach
Once you’ve introduced your dog to the beach at Columbia Rd., the next step is to take him to Bow Wow Beach. This is the ultimate in doggie beaches. Located in Silver Springs Park off of Stow Rd., the 7.5 acre beach offers several different fenced in areas for small or large dogs, a dog agility course, a dock jumping area and doggie wash area. I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed when I took my dog. The park is huge and there are dogs running free everywhere. I was glad to see that there was a fenced in small dog area that was actually fairly big and contained actual small dogs. This area is fenced in away from the lake, but it’s a good spot to go if your small dog needs a break or doesn’t love the water. I also learned later that main area surrounding the lake is the large dog area, and that there is a small dog area with lake access as well right by the other small dog area.
Besides the lake, there is a dog agility course (that no one used when I was there) and lots of open space for your dog to roam around. The beach is all fenced in, but there is A LOT of space, so you might want to make sure you’ve practiced your “come” command before letting your dog off leash here.
I’ve been told that all dogs instinctively know how to “doggie paddle” but I took it slow and let my dog test out the waters. He wasn’t too into it at first, but was definitely curious. He was much more into it the next time, splashing around and chasing dogs in the water. I kept him on leash for our visits, but next time I will try off leash with these tips* from the AKC about how to make sure your dog can swim. Or, maybe I’ll get him a stylish life vest. Just don’t judge me if you see us out at the beach.
- Never throw your dog into the water.
- Start in shallow water, and call your dog’s name. You can also try to coax him in with a treat or toy – but always keep your dog within reach.
- Another way to introduce your dog to the water is with a dog that already swims and is friendly with your dog. Let your dog follow his friend.
- If your dog begins to doggy-paddle with his front legs only, lift his hind legs and help him float. He should quickly catch on and will then keep his back end up.
- Swimming is a great form of exercise, but don’t let your dog overdo it. He will be using new muscles and may tire quickly.
- Be careful of strong tides that are hazardous for even the best swimmers.
- Never leave your dog unattended! You should always be in a position to help him get out of the water
Are there any other beach areas you take your dog? I’ve also heard of dogs at Edgewater, and seen a few at Rocky River Park, but I don’t think those are officially dog friendly. Email me at email@example.com
if you know of any others!