China is one of the world’s largest countries, and it certainly has plenty of coastline – more than 8,600 miles of it, actually. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for officially-designated dog-friendly beaches in China, you may find they are in short supply. But that doesn’t mean you can’t accommodate your dear dog’s desire to swim and enjoy the sunshine.
Relocating overseas to some other country means you’ll have to adapt to lots of things – including the types of activities you and your pooch can take in. So where can you and Fido dig up some beachy (or at least watery) fun? Chances are good that, as an expat moving to China, you’ll be living in a major city such as Beijing or Shanghai. So let’s take a look at the possibilities there.
Beijing is well and truly landlocked
Why get sand in unwanted places or chlorine in your eyes? Instead, you and Fido could pad on over to Beijing’s favorite dog spa. Now we’re talking. You won’t have to forego swimming, as they have a heated pool, but you can also pamper Fido with a dish or freshly prepared organic food.
As an expat herself, veterinarian Jennifer Bolser knows how important it is for Fido to get regular exercise – not always easy to accomplish in a huge metropolis such as Beijing. She has some recommendations for excursions that get 4 paws up from her own dogs.
Shanghai, however, is a coastal city
Still, the beach thing might be sketchy. There are a few beaches where humans go to play, but Fido may not be welcome. Once again, though, dogs are in luck when it comes to swimming and other forms of barking-good fun.
Be sure to check out OKAYland, which looks like this in Chinese 萌物园 and means “cute animal park.” It is considered the go-to swimming spot for dogs and their humans in Shanghai. Fido will have to pay an entry fee, but he can bring you along for free. Once you’re in you can go wild.
In addition to the pool both of you can use, there’s a playground for dogs and a restaurant that is – of course – dog-friendly. It serves up yummy fare fresh from the surrounding farms. (Be sure to snag some of the area’s specialty, peaches.) When you’re finally ready to leave, you can take advantage of free bathing and grooming facilities to restore Fido to his pre-swim condition.
But why leave? There’s cold beer in the vending machines, and an onsite hotel that costs 280rmb a night. Who says you need a beach?
Other pup-oriented swimming options in Shanghai include Moon River Sculpture Park in She Shan and Pet Park in Songjiang. Even if Fido isn’t in the mood to swim, these parks offer a chance to exercise – notable because most of Shanghai’s parks do not allow dogs.
Pet-iquette matters, even at the pool
One of the most important things you can do as you’re preparing to move to China is to learn what will be expected of you and Fido when you’re out in public -- and as good neighbors. Some good manners are internationally universal – no one wants to hear your dog bark or whine, he should be on leash and at your side when out and about, and cleaning up after Fido is a must. Beyond that, however, this article will help you get up to speed on proper pet behavior in China.
Also, before you and Fido don your swim trunks, consider whether he is a good candidate for a public pool. Just as with dog parks, some canines can feel overwhelmed by the chaos inevitably created by multiple dogs. (Note that weekdays are often far less crowded than weekends, so if that’s an option for you, it might be a good option for Fido as well.)
Wherever you go for summer fun in China, don’t forget the sunscreen. Dogs can suffer from sunburn (and heat exhaustion) as easily as people.