Beachin’ It With Fido
Dogs on the Outer Banks
When you go on vacation, you certainly don’t want to leave your pooch behind. Our pets are an important part of our lives, and we want them to enjoy this beautiful sandbar! After all, Fido enjoys digging his or her paws in the sand as much as you do.
Fortunately, the Outer Banks is a very dog-friendly place and there’s no doubt your dog’s tail will keep wagging all week long. There’s lots of four-legged fun to be had on the beaches, at the dog parks and all over town. But to ensure you and Fido have the vacation of a lifetime, we wanted to provide some tips, regulations and other useful information you’ll need to know to be sure that your canine buddy will be as happy as a clam!
Every town, as well as Cape Hatteras National Seashore, has its own rules when it comes to keeping Fido on a leash as well as designated times you can bring your four-legged friend on the beach. All towns require that you remove dog waste and dispose of it in an appropriate container.
• Dog Parks
Satterfield Landing Road Dog Park, Nags Head. Nags Head’s dog park is free, open to the public and does not require a permit. There are two parks, one for small dogs 30 pounds and under and one for larger dogs over that weight. The park is located on the grounds of the Dare County Recreation Park at 227 West Satterfield Landing Road. There’s plenty of room for your doggie to play! Water and doggie waste bags are available.
Kitty Hawk Dog Park. Located just off W. Kitty Hawk Road, the park is open to both residents and visitors of Dare County. In order to receive the keycode for the park, dog owners must complete an application that can be found at darenc.com/how-do-i-/register/for-the-kitty-hawk-dog-park. Owners must provide a rabies certificate as well.
• Pet Safety Tips
You’ll find that many of the same safety tips that apply to us while vacationing on the beach also apply to our furry friends. To ensure everyone enjoys these beautiful dog days of summer, here are just a few tips to keep Fido happy – and safe – while you are on the Outer Banks.
Hydration, hydration, hydration! It can get hot here during the summer months, so whether you are spending the day on the beach or at the park, make sure you have plenty of water for your pet, along with plenty of shade. Overheating is a real threat to your pet during these hot months. Note: Signs to look for are excessive panting and drooling, wobbly (drunk-looking, disoriented) movement, vomiting, and a rapid heart rate. Overweight dogs, the very young and very old, and breeds with long hair or flat-faces (like pugs and bulldogs) are at a higher risk of heat stroke.
Try to keep your dog from taking in too much salt water, as it can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. While it typically runs its course within a day, it can be a bummer for you and your dog.
Dogs can drown, too. Make sure whatever precautions you take for yourself and your family when it comes to water safety, you do the same for Fido. Dogs can get caught in rip currents or hurt from high surf just like we can.
Ouch, that sand is hot, especially for your furry friend. A good rule of thumb is that if it is too hot for you to walk on without shoes, it’s definitely too hot for your dog. Consider keeping your dog off the beach during the hottest hours of the day. They and their paws will thank you. Sand can reach temperatures of 120 degrees during mid-day, and just like your feet, their paw pads can burn and blister. Note: Sandspurs can cause your dog some grief, so watch for areas where they are troublesome – and pay attention if your dog seems to be limping after some exploring back in the dunes.
Be sure to administer your pet’s flea and tick medication well before you head to the beach as both pests are on our beaches and can make your dog pretty miserable. Please note: Safe Pet Vacation kits provided by the Dare County SPCA are available at town halls and include information on what to do if you are separated from your pet. Also provided is a temporary dog tag and other important information and contact numbers.
• Pick Up the Poop!
Our island is simply beautiful, and we all want to keep it that way. Dog poop is a huge pollutant that can get washed into our oceans and sounds and have negative impacts on our fragile ecosystem. Besides, dog feces is not only really unpleasant to step in, swim near, or lay your beach towel next to, it can be extremely harmful to both people and wildlife. So don’t forget to clean up after your dog and dispose of it in the trash can!
As you can see, the Outer Banks is the perfect place to visit with your four-legged pal as long as everyone follows a few simple guidelines! Miles of beaches, trails, walking paths, and parks make it fun and easy to get out and explore with Fido. You’re even likely to find a cafe or two that will welcome your pooch on their outdoor patio, and many of our shops even have souvenirs for your buddy as well. More and more of our rental homes and hotels are becoming pet friendly, making it easier than ever to bring your canine friend along with you on vacation. There’s no reason to leave your dog at home anymore, and as long as you play it safe and are respectful of our unique environment, you’re both sure to have a tail waggin’ good time!
From north to south, here’s a rundown on the leash laws by area or town:
In Corolla, dogs are allowed year round on the beach and at the Whalehead Club’s Heritage Park, but they must be on a leash. There is no leash length requirement.
In Duck, there are no leash laws on town beaches, however dogs must be supervised and under control at all times. Dogs must be leashed throughout town including the park, boardwalk and Duck Trail.
In Southern Shores, dogs must be on a leash year round on the beach and during the season. From May 15 to September 15, they can only be on the beach (leashed) before 9am and after 6pm. Leashes must be no longer than 10 feet in length.
In Kitty Hawk, dogs are allowed on the beach and must display a current rabies tag. From the Friday before Memorial Day until the day after Labor Day, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., dogs must be on a leash no longer than 12 feet. Dogs can be taken off the leash only if they are well-behaved, don’t disturb other people and remain within 30 feet of owners at all times. The owner must have a leash, however, at all times.
In Kill Devil Hills, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, dogs are not permitted on the beach between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. unless being used to aid a handicapped person. Dogs must be leashed at all other times.
In Nags Head, pets are welcome at any time as long as they are restrained with a leash no longer than 10 feet.
In the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, dogs are permitted on the beaches as long as they are restrained on a leash that is six feet or less.
Currituck Animal Control – 252.453.8682
Dare SPCA – 252.475.5620
Cape Hatteras SPCA – 252.473.2111
You can also find more detailed information about regulations in each town by visiting each of their websites, or visit obxbeachaccess.com