For dog-lovers, a beach vacation without sandy paws and the sweet(ish?) smell of salty, wet dog is a beach vacation lacking. In North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, our dog-friendly beaches couldn’t agree more. In fact, tripswithpets.com named Caswell Beach and Oak Island numbers 1 and 2 respectively in its list of "Top 5 Dog Friendly Beaches in North Carolina."
Even the most timid of dogs tend to find joy in chasing the tide as it rolls in and out, biting the white caps of the waves close to shore, and running carefree along the expansive shoreline. Of course, one of the best parts of sharing a day at the beach with your fur baby is witnessing that unmistakable wet-dog shake. You know the one. It starts out at the tail with a distinctive swish, hits the hind end with a jerk, heads up the spine with an aggressive wiggle, and then ends in an epic shake of the head, ears and jowls (if you’re lucky enough to have a dog with jowls).
Ready to Take the Leap?
If you have not yet taken your dog for a beach trip, fall is a great time to do so. With lots of dog-friendly accommodations available and relaxed pet regulations on the beaches, the Brunswick Islands are the perfect seaside destination for your pup. But even the dog-friendliest of spots won’t save you from mishaps if you don’t plan ahead.
Prepare three things for a trip with your dog:
- Travel in the car
- A stay in a vacation home or hotel
- Time on the beach itself
With a little forethought, your beach visit will be as fun for you as it is for Fluffy.
Travel in the Car
Probably more important than preparing your car for the ride to the beach is preparing your car for the ride home! Things to consider stowing in your trunk:
- A blanket or seat cover for protecting seats from saltwater and sand
- Several old towels for wiping Ginger down
- Bottled water and a plastic bowl to quench thirst
- A brush (doggy, not human)
Vacation Home Prep
Remember that your dog – like your family – is a guest in your vacation accommodations. He will most likely be excited, anxious or just plain curious! Prepare your surroundings with these tips:
- Establish Fido’s food and water location as soon as you arrive.
- Immediately leash your dog and take him outside to find a designated place to potty – take waste bags to clean up.
- If you’re renting a vacation home, walk through the house, making sure anything your dog might get into or knock over is out of reach.
- If you and Rex are staying in a hotel, check with the front desk to see where on the property it’s best to walk him.
Time on the Beach
You prep yourself with sunscreen, a hat and something to read. Max deserves the same. Don’t forget:
- Keep your dog close to you at all times. Leash regulations may be relaxed during the fall, but you don’t want other beach-goers to be bothered by a searching wet nose.
- Familiarize yourself with the beach regulations for the Brunswick Islands. All of the beaches welcome dogs in the fall, but the rules vary from beach to beach.
- Watch your dog carefully in the water. Not all dogs are great swimmers, and even the best should not go into deep water where tidal pull can be strong.
- Pack a dog toy or two to keep Charlie occupied.
- Bring waste bags and pick up after your dog immediately if he poops on the sand. Make sure to dispose of the bags properly, leaving the beaches just as pristine for the next family and their four-legged friend.
For more information about North Carolina's Brunswick Islands, go to ncbrunswick.com.
(Edited March 5, 2019)