Paris Permenter, along with her husband, John Bigley, is the co-author of Texas with Dogs and the founder of PawZaar.com.
Beach time! Now that the days have grown warmer, we can’t wait for our first beach trip of the year with Irie and Tiki. Our favorite dog-friendly beach getaway is Port Aransas, Texas on Mustang Island. The town is small, with a family-owned grocery store and not much more; if we need more serious supplies, it means a hop on the ferry to get to a full-service store. So, we pack everything we think we might possibly need for every beach trip.
1. Beach toys
We always pack some balls and some floating toys for the beach as well as a plush toy for the car.
Water, water everywhere…but make sure there’s plenty to actually drink at the beach! We pack liter bottles to carry to the beach along with a silicone bowl. Every night, we fill the water bottles 2/3rds full and freeze them. As the water thaws, the dogs have chilled water at the beach!
3. Extra leashes and collars
We like to pack a spare collar not only so we’ll have one in case of breakage but also to give the dogs a dry collar. We also pack not only a spare fixed leash but a retractable, too. Irie likes to romp in the shallow water and, on this beach, we don’t have to worry about underwater hazards snagging the leash.
4. Identification tags
Our favorite place to stay in Port Aransas is A Laughing Horse Lodge, a place that’s so dog-friendly that they provide dog ID tags with the hotel address, just in case your dog goes astray on his visit:
It’s a simple idea that you can use; for just a couple of dollars, have a second ID tag made before your trip with your hotel or beach house address along with your cell number.
Irie and Tiki also wear GPS trackers so we can monitor them in case they should get away from us. For overnight stays, we also pack the base station that serves as a charging station.
We keep a pack of information packed in the car for beach trips (and any other getaways with Irie and Tiki). It includes their immunization records, their microchip numbers, our vet’s phone number, and the address and phone number of the veterinary clinic at our destination. If you’re traveling out of state with your dog, you’ll also want a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) or health certificate.
6. First aid
Better safe than sorry! Since it’s a long way to the grocery store, we pack a full first aid kit. Along with any prescription medications your dog takes, be sure to carry items such as gauze sponges and first aid adhesive tape, stretch gauze bandages, Vetrap self-adherent bandages, a triple antibiotic ointment, saline eye wash (which Irie often needs when she gets sand in her eyes while digging on the beach!), Benadryl for allergic reactions (check with your vet before leaving for the dose rate for your dog), and tweezers for pulling out any thorns or stickers.
Our cleanup supplies fall into two categories: cleaning up dogs and keeping our beach cottage clean. For the dogs, we pack dog shampoo, a couple of old towels, dog waste bags, and a small bottle of baby oil, perfect for removing any tar balls they may step on at the beach. Our beach accommodation has a dog wash station that makes it easy to rinse off the dogs when we come back from the beach.
To keep the room clean, we carry old sheets to toss over the bed and couch. We always pack a roll of paper towels and a couple of trash bags as well.
Irie and Tiki are happy just playing in the surf; they don’t want to get out and swim in the Gulf. If your dog is a big swimmer, consider a dog life vest.
The sun at the beach can be brutal. Early morning and late afternoon times provide some shade; otherwise be sure to carry a beach umbrella to provide your pup some shade.
No one likes tummy troubles on a trip! We pack Irie and Tiki’s usual diet and treats for a beach getaway, along with a food and water bowl for each dog. We also carry yummy training treats to help keep our dogs’ focus when we dine with them at patio restaurants or take them shopping at dog-friendly souvenir shops.
11. The camera!
Whether you use your phone or a camera, get ready for some great photo opportunities!