Take your dog to the beach … sometimes

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Everybody loves to go to the beach, even our furry, four-legged friends. But dog owners need to know the rules about taking Rover for a stroll on the beach during the summertime.

The same leash laws that are common in your hometown also apply in Myrtle Beach on a year-round basis. All dogs must be kept on a leash a maximum of 6 feet in length all times, technically even if you and your dog go for a dip in the ocean, although some lifeguards might cut you some slack for letting Fido off the chain to chase a Frisbee or a tennis ball in the waves.

But the summertime brings a new set of rules that are strictly enforced by both lifeguards and beach police patrols. In Myrtle Beach, dogs are forbidden from the beach during the daytime hours due to the heavier traffic and crowds. Exactly when dogs are allowed depends on what side of the Grand Strand you are staying. If you're not sure, check with your hotel front desk for rules specific to your location.

In the city limits of Myrtle Beach, dogs are prohibited year-round between 13th Avenue South and 21st Avenue North, the stretch featuring the highest concentration of oceanfront hotels. For the rest of Myrtle Beach, dogs are not allowed on the beach between May 1 and Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

* In the city limits of North Myrtle Beach, dogs are not allowed on the beach from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. between May 15 and Sept. 15.
* In the city limits of Surfside Beach, dogs are not allowed on the beach anytime from May 15 to Sept. 15.
* In unincorporated Horry County, dogs are prohibited from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from June 1 to Sept. 1.
* In Georgetown County, dogs are allowed on the beach year-round, and not all areas require a leash. In Pawleys Island and in Huntington Beach State Park, dogs are required to be leashed between May and October.

A few pointers for those who do take their dog to the beach:

* Carry fresh water and a bowl so your dog can stay cool on the hot sand. Do not let them drink ocean water for it will make them sick.
* Most of the problems involving pets on the beach is dog-on-dog violence. As tempting as it may be to let your dog “meet” another one to play with, you have no way of knowing if the other dog is as friendly as yours.
* Wash your dog down good at the beach access when you leave, especially longer-haired dogs. They can carry an incredible amount of sand in their fur.

(posted 5/15/14)

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