As more people, dogs and wildlife visit Dunedin beaches this summer, dog owners should know what to do to ensure everyone stays safe.
Despite not necessarily meaning to, dogs can disturb wildlife through unexpected interactions.
This can pose a risk for not only wildlife, but your pooch as well. Here are seven simple steps towards safely sharing the beach this summer:
Know before you go: Check your council or Doc website for information on where dogs can visit. The DCC website has an easy-to-use map highlighting areas where dogs are permitted, need to be on leads or shouldn’t be taken.
A wildlife scan makes a good game plan: Scan the beach upon arrival for any wildlife so you can be prepared and remain vigilant when your dog is having a sniff around.
A stick is the best pick: Seagulls are wildlife too, so try to keep your dog entertained with an alternative option. Take a stick or a toy to the beach to chase instead, as this is a great decoy.
Walk on the wet sand first-hand: Many shorebirds or penguins like to use the dry sand areas or hide out in sand dunes. Walk with your pooch on the wet sand or stay on designated tracks to avoid the key areas where wildlife is more vulnerable.
Always have a lead to use when you need: Remember it’s a legal requirement to have your lead with you when you’re out with your dog. Loose lead walking is a great way to enjoy walking your dog on lead, especially when entering “dog on lead” beaches. If your dog pulls, check it in to your local dog club for some tips on how to control this.
Keep 20m from coastal creatures: 20m is a safe distance for both wildlife and pooch. If you spot wildlife, be sure to call your dog back and place it on the lead to keep it under control.
Help out and give a shout: If you spot wildlife on the beach, let others know so everyone can be better prepared.
We are privileged in Dunedin to have such wonderful species on our coast, and by following these simple steps we can ensure that they remain for all to enjoy.