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Most dogs love the beach. The sights and smells of the salty water and sandy beach are a sensory wonderland for their noses. And as pet owners, it’s a joy to see them as excited about the beach as we are.
We have two dogs, an 8-year old black Labrador Retriever named Dexter and a 3-year old spitfire of a Yorkshire Terrier named Stetson, and we love to take them to the beach in Port Aransas. It would be an understatement to say they like the beach, because the mere mention of the word gets their ears perked and they’re headed for the door.
Dexter’s not a fan of being apart from “his humans” for long, so he’s always up for a day on the sandy shore. It’s a blast to see him dip his nose in the salty ocean water, dive for a ball, and then dig and roll in the sand. Little Stetson may not be a fan of the waves, but he loves to sniff everything and dig for treasure. Both dogs are a sandy mess by the end of the day, but they’re wagging tails remind me it’s worth the clean up.
Like most dogs, they both love to ride in the Jeep with the windows down slightly to take in the salty air. We take them both out for morning and evening walks through the neighborhood, and do our best to avoid sand spurs (aka ‘stickers’) in the grass. Both Dexter and Stetson walk well on a leash, so it’s a treat to their senses to take a long walk around the block.
If you’ve thought about bringing your beloved four-legged friend to the beach in Port Aransas, here are a few tips to help your and your dog enjoy some fun time in the sand.
Healthy = happy
Before hitting the road to head to Port Aransas, it’s a good idea to take your pup to the vet to ensure that they’re up to date with all of their vaccines. It’s highly likely that they’ll meet other dogs on the road or at the beach, and you’ll want to make sure both your dog and others are protected from diseases.
Keep your dog’s veterinary health records organized and on-hand with you, in case an emergency arises, with a Pet Health Organizer notebook.
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Look for pet-friendly lodging
Regardless if you stay in a hotel, condo, RV or tent, you’ll want to bring your pet’s favorite travel bed (like this one by Hero Dog) with you when you travel. Having a comfortable, familiar place to chill for a bit will ensure that your dog sleeps well at night.
There are quite a few places in Port Aransas that offer pet-friendly lodging, so call ahead to be sure your rental accepts dogs of your size. If you’re renting a home, be sure to ask if pets are allowed and if there’s a fenced yard.
Some places may request or recommend a dog crate for your pet when you travel. There are lots of sizes and options for hard-sided, soft-sided and collapsible dog crates (like this one by MidWest) that are easy to setup in your rental or use in your RV or tent.
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Personalize your dog’s collar, leash and tag
When traveling with your dog, it’s vital that you give them a great-fitting collar (like our favorite collars from Lucky Love Dog) and an engraved tag that identifies you as their owner with your cell phone number, in case you’re ever separated for any reason while traveling. Per Port Aransas city ordinances, all dogs must be leashed.
If they happen to get loose at the beach or in town, anyone who finds them can easily identify them and reach you to be reunited. Port Aransas is a very pup-friendly city!
I love Lucky Love Dog because they’re based in Austin, Texas, and part of each purchase is donated to a partner dog rescue group. They are devoted to making great dog products for people who love their dogs and like to shop with purpose. Plus, their designs are super colorful and fun!
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Maintain your dog’s routine
When we’re in Port Aransas, we try to keep the same wake and walk schedule for the dogs. Both Dexter and Stetson know that we’ll take them outside the moment we’re awake, so they head straight for the door, turning circles in excitement. Dogs need exercise and the beach in Port Aransas is the perfect place for it. Take your dog on a long walk to and from the pier.
We also ensure that our dog’s know exactly where their food and water bowls are located in the kitchen, and we typically all sleep around the same time every night.
TIP: Watch our Facebook page for local dog surfing competitions sponsored by Animal Friends of Port Aransas, and Paws in the Pool at the Community Park during the summer in Port Aransas. We’ll share local pup-friendly events as soon as we hear about them. They’re not only exciting to join, but fun to watch!
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Have fresh water available often
When traveling in the car, exploring around town or spending the day at the beach, it’s essential to have fresh water available for your dog to drink. There are lots of dog travel bowls available, but one of our favorites is the LIFE4FUN Water Bottle & Food Container. You can use it to store water and food on-the-go (at the same time) and it comes with two collapsible bowls. Whatever method you use for making water available for your dog, be sure to offer water frequently while you’re out and about.
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Bring your own dog food
Port Aransas has a great local grocery store, IGA Family Center, but they may not carry the brand of dog food that your dog is accustomed to eating. So be sure to pack the same food that your dog eats at home.
It’s fairly common for dogs to have less of an appetite on travel days, so give them a day to adjust to their new surroundings of your rental or RV and offer food again.
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Keep your car clean
Road trips to Port Aransas with your dog can result in two things: lots of dog hair and lots of sand. To prevent both from taking over your vehicle, use a dog hammock (like this one from 4Knines). We have one for Dexter, our 85lb Lab, since he sheds quite a bit and likes to bring half the beach home with him. We use it anytime we take our dog to the beach.
These dog hammocks are pretty easy to install, easy to shake the sand out and wash (if needed), and will surely cut down on the amount of hair and sand in your car from the beach. It fits well into the 2nd or 3rd row of our SUV, keeps the dogs from falling into the floor space, or can be used in the cargo area behind the seat.
As for our little 6lb Yorkie, Stetson, he certainly prefers to travel in a comfy bed where he can curl up and sleep. So for him, we use a travel bed (like this one by Devoted Doggy) that can be secured to the seat or headrest.
If you need to give your dog a proper bath after a day at the coast, swing by the Dirty Paw Dog Wash on Avenue G to rinse those sandy paws.
Plan to pick it up
Whether you’re on the road to Port Aransas or already on the beach enjoying yourself, your dog’s going to have to go. Plan ahead with environmentally-friendly dog waste bags (like these from Pets and Bags) and a dispenser that easily attaches to your dog’s leash.
While we all enjoy a walk on the beach, none of us want to step in poop so be a responsible pet owner and pick it up easily with a bag. And trust me when I say, bring more bags than you think you will need.
Protect your pup
Spring, Summer and Fall temperatures in Port Aransas can be pretty warm, so take care to protect your pup from the heat. Remember that when it’s hot outside, you should never leave your dog unattended in a hot car.
Temperatures in a hot car can rise very quickly, even with the windows cracked, and be dangerous for your pet. So protect your pup and take them out in the fresh air with you.
Share your dog-friendly travel tips!
Have you discovered some helpful tips or tricks for keeping your dog happy on the road and at the beach in Port Aransas? Let us know in the comments below.