The beach holiday is ideal for relaxing after the long months spent in the city. If you live with a dog, you can safely plan a trip to some seaside resort with him. In this regard, we interviewed Giorgia, the owner of our Ambassador Happy, who knows about beach holidays with the dog and we got advice on where to go, how to get organized and more… Take note!
Hello Giorgia, nice to see you again! When did you start taking Happy to the seaside? Already as a puppy?
I started taking Happy to the sea very early, when she was 3 months old, she learned the first exercises and tricks right there. Initially, she stomped ashore and did not seem very enthusiastic about entering, then with the arrival of the hot season she took courage and we threw ourselves into the water together. It didn’t take long before Happy became a good swimmer, also facing high water, but always staying by my side.
Have you had some training?
We did some lessons with a rescue dog instructor, it was a wonderful training experience for both me and Happy! He gave us many ideas and exercises to work on to swim well together. We have learned to go on the sup board (a kind of surfing where you are standing on a board). I believe that all this work done with the appropriate breaks, without forcing or stressing the dog and above all having the, has made Happy a true water lover.
What are your favorite destinations?
Happy and I hang out at the Romagna Riviera a lot because we live very close. We love taking us on a free Saturday morning and going for a walk on the beach, especially during the winter when there are no particular restrictions. Well, actually instead of walking Happy chases the seagulls along the shore, but that’s another story!
In summer we also went to the free beach for dogs in Ravenna and a well-equipped factory in Fano, the Animalido. I highly recommend it! Last year I was in a camper in Croatia, on the island of Krk and also there I found pet-friendly campsites with a beautiful sea where I could swim with Happy… it was a beautiful experience.
Do you prefer free beaches or seaside resorts among the pet-friendly ones? Why?
I tried them both, I prefer beach establishments for different reasons. First of all, because Happy without a bed in which to lie down risks being submerged in sand, and for a dog with long hair it is a real tragedy! Secondly, the pet-friendly beach resorts offer many useful facilities for pet parents: small bowls that you can bring under an umbrella, fountains and showers to rinse the dog after a bath; some establishments provide fences with small swimming pools where dogs can be kept and there is free access with the animal to the bar and restaurant on the beach.
We also like to rent a sup board or kayak to play offshore between dives and paddles!
I forgot, you must not be afraid of having four-legged umbrella neighbors who do not get along with your dog: in these beaches there is always a dog educator who has the task of selecting the compatible dogs among them to put close to each other’s.
How many days do you suggest spending at the seaside, avoiding the dog getting too tired?
I would say that one week can be spent safely. Of course, choosing the less hot and chaotic times of the year helps the dog not to suffer too much. The best thing is to get to the sea early in the morning, take a break during the hottest hours and then return to the beach in the late afternoon to enjoy the sea until late. Eventually if you go to the beach at daytime it is important to stay under an umbrella during the hottest hours and pay attention to the sand as well, at midday it is really hot!
Besides you need to get informed about the times the dog can swim in the sea, the local ordinances vary a lot from region to region and therefore it is good to inquire or by calling or checking online the directives. In my experience, an area where the dog can access the water all day is preferable to a place with restrictions.
When I notice that Happy is tired and no longer seems eager to play, I go home. The important thing is to always have an eye for the dog, the sea tires us, let alone them!
How do you plan your holidays? Do you book well in advance or last minute?
Let’s say I’m a little bit of the last minute. In any case, I opt for pet-friendly facilities. If I can’t find one, I always inform in advance of the presence of a dog, I ask what services they offer for the four legs … also because there is almost always a surcharge to pay.
Do you prefer staying with Happy in a hotel or in some camping?
I have tried both hotels and campsites. Camping is more comfortable, you are freerand the dog never bothered; you are practically all day immersed in the greenery and the pine forests offer a cool environment where the dog can rest. If I go camping I always have pesticides spray to be sprayed at Happy in the evening, when it is dry: unfortunately mosquitoes or other insects are annoying even for dogs!
Where does Happy sleep? And how do you do with food?
When I take Happy on vacation with me, she sleeps on her mat or that I bring from home. When she was small, however, she used the pet carrier as a kennel, she felt safer. With food, I always try to keep its schedules and doses. She eats twice a day, morning and evening. I carry my travel bowls and dry food in a container. Before I let her into the water I wait 2-3 hours, so I’m sure she digested well.
And what about you? Where will you take your dog on vacation? If you have any doubts, write to Giorgia and follow Happy on Instagram @felicementehappy.
The second part of the interview will be published next week, you will find out what to pack and what games to play with your dog at the seaside!