Great news arrived this week for Marbella pet owners who enjoy exercising their dogs on the beach. Until this October, anyone wanting to take their dog to the beach had to keep them on a lead or face a fine. Now a dedicated dog beach, where your pooches can freely play and swim, will be open during the low season from 15th October to 15th May. The pet-friendly zone is 300 metres long and is located at Linda Vista beach to the west of San Pedro Alcántara. For anyone familiar with the area, it runs west from Guayaba, which is one of San Pedro’s favourite chiringuitos, close to Bora Bora at the western end of the Paseo Marítimo promenade. The doggy beach ends at the small outlet of Arroyo del Chopo, just beyond the jetski centre. Overall, it occupies an area of 9,500 square metres, according to the town hall. Further along the coast in Estepona, the local council started work on a dog park in July 2014, while a beach area similar to the one just opened in San Pedro is also planned for the future. The dog park, which was inaugurated in September, occupies 2,000 square metres adjacent to Los Niños in Estepona town. It provides an opportunity for owners to let their dogs play off the lead, an essential part of dog care and training that enables them to interact with other dogs. The Estepona dog park has specially designed swings, rings and mini-walkways for canines to play on and is equipped with water fountains, poop bag dispensers and bins, as owners are responsible for helping to keep the area clean. Dog owners in the Mijas and Torremolinos areas can also let their pets run free at four dedicated leash-free parks in Calahonda, Las Lagunas, El Oliver and Los Palacios. These dedicated areas are welcomed by Marbella’s many dog owners, who want to exercise with their pet without getting in the way of people who may be with children, or adults out jogging or cycling. Providing special areas allows owners to feel more relaxed – and the dogs can have more fun too! It’s a win-win situation and boosts Marbella’s image as a place that is both people and pet friendly.