Virginia Beach boasts two dog parks featuring approximately one acre of fenced area where your pet can run free off leash and socialize with other dogs. First-time visitors must bring a city dog license and dated proof of rabies vaccination.
Register at the Park Office for an annual fee of $15 for the first dog and $10 for each additional dog. Owners will be issued a tag for dogs to wear on their collar.
Children are required to be at least 8 years old to enter the park.
Rules & Guidelines
For more information on dog park guidelines, amenities and hours of operation, visit the official Parks & Recreation Dog Park page
Visiting Other City Parks with Your Dog
Dogs are welcome at all city parks as well, however, owners are required to adhere to the City of Virginia Beach’s leash law
outside the dog park. Owners must also maintain control of the animal at all times and properly dispose of pet waste.
Virginia Beach Leash Law:
The "leash law", City code 5-531
, states that when a dog is being walked in a city park or on any city sidewalk, city street, or public right-of-way, it has to be on a leash or lead at all times. Violation of this law is a class 4 misdemeanor and an animal control officer or police officer may issue a summons to pet owners who are not adhering to the law. Dogs being walked on a leash must also be wearing a city pet license.
Dogs are welcome to enjoy the public beaches and boardwalk any time during the Spring, Fall and Winter months (before Memorial Day and after Labor Day weekend). Leashed pets are allowed on the boardwalk and may be off-leash on the beach.
However, during the summer months, (Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend) pets are limited to frolicking on the beach at the north end above 42nd Street or the south end in the Sandbridge area and only at certain times - before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. During the summer season, dogs are also allowed on the boardwalk from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. only. They must don a leash and owners are required to pick up any feces. This time of year, dogs are prohibited on the resort beach at all times (south of 42nd Street and north of Sandbridge).
Dangers Dogs May Be Exposed to at the Beach
Effects of Salt Water
If excess salt water accumulates in your dog’s intestines, it can cause “beach diarrhea.” Symptoms include drooling, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (sometimes severe). There may also be blood or mucous in your dog’s feces.
Ingesting high concentrations of salt water can also raise the sodium levels in your dog’s bloodstream to unsafe levels. This is known as “hypernatremia.” It is a serious condition that may result in seizures, coma, and sometimes even death, due to swelling in the brain.
To limit the amount of water being swallowed, bring your dog in the shade every 15 minutes and provide fresh water.
Effects of Sun Exposure
Dogs with short hair, white fur and pink skin are most vulnerable to sun exposure. Just like people, dogs can burn, but human sunscreen can be toxic. It is best to use sunscreen specifically formulated for dogs or use a child-safe sun lotion approved by your vet.
Effects of Swimming
Swimming is also quite tiring, so be sure your dog doesn't overdo it. Don't allow your dog in the water if there are strong tides or rip currents. Because salt water may irritate your pet's skin and because your dog is an easy target for sea lice and jelly fish, be sure to rinse your dog thoroughly after a dip in the ocean.
The Effects of Heat
Dogs can develop heat exhaustion if exposed to the heat for too long without shade. Be aware that running in the sand is tiring and can lead to exhaustion and leg sprains. Some dogs tend do over do it, especially when they have residual pent up energy. Keep in mind that dogs may over heat even when in the water.
Other Hidden Threats
Sand granules in the eyes may cause irritation, eye pain and redness. Should this occur, flush the eye with fresh water. If the eye does not get better, consult your vet, it may be a corneal ulcer. Also be sure to prevent your dog from eating sand, shells, starfish or stones. They can cause serious intestinal obstructions or upset stomach.