There are miles of trails in the many dog friendly parks and preserves along the Suncoast where you can take your leashed dog for a hike, but Brohard Beach Park in Venice is the only Gulf beach where dogs are allowed.
Dogs may be our best friends, but they generally aren’t good for wildlife. Birds, in particular, respond differently to dogs than they do people, equating them with familiar four-legged dangers like raccoons and coyotes. The sight of a dog running along the beach can cause shorebirds, which nest directly in the sand, to abandon eggs or chicks, exposing them to deadly heat or predators. Resting birds can also be repeatedly flushed from the beach by dogs, expending energy they need for migration and nesting.
Leash laws in parks and preserves ensure a pawsitive experience for all. You’ll be keeping your furry friend safe from wildlife that can kick, bite, sting or strike, and other park users won’t be frightened or injured by an unleashed dog.
Outdoor etiquette with your pooch also means picking up those little presents they leave behind. Dog poop left on the trail is an unwelcome surprise for the hikers that follow. It also contains higher levels of bacteria and parasites than typical wildlife scat you might encounter. E. coli, tapeworm and ringworm from doggy doo can spread to people, other dogs and wild animals that share the grass.
Check below for guidance on safely enjoying nature with your pet on the Suncoast:
Find More Dog Friendly Nature Areas