Dog and pet friendly beaches
Sicily is a region which welcomes dogs and their owners with open arms, with so many ad hoc beaches which allow everyone to enjoy the sea and the open air; here are a few of them!
In Priolo Gargallo, in the province of Siracusa, there's Bau Bau Beach. Admission to its three kilometres of sand is free (you just pay for parking) and there are so many opportunities for those who come with their dog on a lead: from the mini agility course to educational gazebos in which lessons are held and games are organised to improve the relationship between four-legged friends and their owners, including children. Initiatives and competitions are the order of the day and there's a bowl for water at the entrance and a bag for excrement. There are also showers for the animals and, if necessary, veterinary care.
In Messina there’s the Lido vengo anch’io and the Spiaggia di Pluto. There’s another Bau Bau Beach in Brolo, likewise in province of Messina: this one is also free and has a dog agility track, shady areas, the possibility of bathing, customised showers and ice bau, ice cream without sugar specifically for dogs.
On Vulcano, an Aeolian Island famous for its countryside and therapeutic mud, the Lido sabbie nere e acque calde allows dogs to access the beach freely and allows any size of dog to swim.
In Castellammare del Golfo, in the province of Trapani, there’s Bau Beach. This is animal friendly in the summer.
In Catania there’s the dog beach Lido Azzurro.
To find addresses, contact details and specific information on the beaches dedicated to our four-legged friends, consult the list below, which is updated annually by the Sicilia Turismo per Tutti association, which undertakes hospitality accessibility and sustainability projects throughout Sicily.
Table of Animal-friendly Beaches
Finally, remember to avoid the hottest times of the day, don’t leave your dog alone and always carry a sufficient amount of fresh water with you.
First aid kit: gauze, alcohol, bandages, plasters and elasticated strips, hydrogen peroxide for disinfection, Marseille soap, disinfectant for bite wounds, normal saline solution for the eyes, generic antibiotic cream for wounds, tweezers for removing ticks, nail clippers, syringes, small, pointed scissors, a splint for binding a limb firmly, worming tablets and sand-fly repellents.
VACCINATIONS — Useful to know — Transfers
Although the rabies vaccination certificate is not compulsory in Italy (though it is requested in some regions), when travelling with your animal it’s advisable to carry the card on which their vaccinations are recorded issued by your vet. If you’re travelling in Europe, the USA or Canada, you must obtain an international certificate of origin and health issued by the ASL [Local Health Authority] or by an officially authorised vet. The certificate should confirm that: 1) the dog was vaccinated against rabies less than eleven months, and more than twenty days, previously; 2) the dog was seen on the day the certificate was issued and found to be clinically healthy. This certificate is valid for 30 days from the date of issue. Some countries have even more severe regulations which you can obtain information about by contacting the veterinary service directly. Period of quarantine are also often envisaged, the length varying from country to country, during which the animal is separated from its owner and kept in a specific healthcare facility.
The reference legislation for travelling by car with a dog in Italy is the new highway code (Legislative Decree No. 285 of 30 April 1992, as amended) and more specifically, TITLOLO V – Norme di comportamento [Standards of Behaviour] — Art. 169. Trasporto di persone, animali e oggetti sui veicoli a motore [transportation of people, animal and objects in motor vehicles] — paragraph 6 of Art. 169.
Dogs can be transported on trains in Italy provided that the rules related to the type of train used for the transfer and the size of the animal are also followed. Guide dogs for the blind can travel on any train and in any class free-of-charge and at the most just have to wear a muzzle.
All airline companies generally allow the transportation of dogs and other small animals but each has different rules so it’s best to find out well before you travel.
In the case of guide dogs for the blind, they can board with the passenger provided they’re wearing a muzzle and are on a lead: they’re then transported free-of-charge though their presence should be reported to the booking office of the airline company. The dog and owner will be boarded first and suitably arranged side by side.
There is generally no problem for dogs on board ships or ferries for short crossings: you just need to have the certificate of good health handy. On some vessels there are specific cages or “on-board kennels”, in which large dogs must be locked; if it’s small, it can walk on the deck on a lead, and sleep in a cabin (booked in its entirety). Some companies also request the use of a muzzle.