Pet Travel Tips for Your Outer Banks Vacation


OBX dogsSo you're dying to get away on an Outer Banks vacation but can't bear the thought of leaving your furry little friend behind. Don't fret. Family vacations are no longer reserved for those of us who walk on two legs. According to a study by AAA and Best Western International, more than half of Americans take their canine companions and feline friends with them when they travel for vacation.

Because of this outstanding desire, the Outer Banks seeks to meet the needs of pet owners. The beach is a superlative vacation spot that can be both fun and rewarding for pets and their owners, but you will need to plan ahead. There are many pet-friendly accommodations available on the Outer Banks, including rental homes and cottages as well as motels, some of which may require an additional fee for pets. Be sure to review your options if you want to include your furry friend in your accommodation needs.

Aside from accommodation, there are a number of things to be mindful of before embarking on your journey to the OBX with Lassie:

  • Each town on the Outer Banks has its own restrictions as it pertains to pets. Some require leashes (with or without length requirements) while others do not. Please review the regulations and restrictions provided by each town.
  • There is a lot of traffic in the summertime. To keep your pet safe, keep them on leash at all times (most municipalities have leash laws anyway).
  • Bring fresh water. To state the obvious, the ocean and sound are both salt water, and if your dog drinks it, he can become sick.
  • Beach sand and pavement get very hot on sunny days. Just like your bare feet can burn on those surfaces, so can your dog's. To avoid this, we suggest morning and evening walks.
  • Bring protection from ticks and fleas (i.e. Frontline or Advantix). With the beautiful nature on all corners of the Outer Banks comes an abundance of bugs, particularly through the summer months.
  • Keep your little friends hydrated and cool. Like you, animals can become seriously overheated and dehydrated in the summertime. Because they do not perspire the way we do, they rely on panting to dissipate heat. To avoid a life-threatening situation, always have fresh water, keep them in the shade if possible, reduce their physical activity during the day, and never leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle.
  • Be intently and carefully watchful over your pet if he's swimming. There are a number of dangers in the ocean between waves, rip currents, and even surfers that can threat your pup in the water.

Before you hit the road or fly the friendly skies with your furry companion, also consider these travel tips:

  • Go through a trial run. If you're going to road trip to your destination, test your dog's ability and willingness to endure long trips in the car. Does he get anxious or car sick?
  • Use proper safety precautions. According to the AAA, roughly 30,000 car accidents happen each year due to unrestrained dogs in the front seat. Consider a pet barrier, seal belt, car seat, or travel crate for your adventure.
  • Prepare for appropriate pit stops. Maybe you can hold your bladder in record-breaking fashion, but vets advise pets to stop and go every two to three hours. Despite the possible annoyance, you should still keep them very hydrated, so always have fresh water on hand.
  • Don't leave pets alone. Again, reconsider that lunch break while leaving your pet to bake in the car.
  • Find out if your pet is fit to fly. Too young? Too old? Not in good health? Snub-nosed? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may consider leaving your nice critter at home.
  • Check for regulations and fees. All airlines are different in their approach to access baggage. If you're traveling out of the country, check out necessary vaccinations.
  • Do appropriate research. There are monthly incident reports provided to the DOT pertaining to pet-related incidents. There are reports of loss, injury, and death on airline travel with pets.
  • Have ID tags ready. Attach contact information to both your pet's collar and his carrier.
  • Consult the vet before travel, especially if your pet has health concerns or hasn't traveled before.
  • Bring familiarity in some form. Take with you a blanket or toy on your trip. The familiarity is comforting to your little guy.

Like a child, your pet requires a bit more preparation and planning. But the joy of having him with you on your Outer Banks vacation is worth it because this is a truly idyllic destination for travelers and pets alike. At Elan Vacations, we open up many of our vacation homes, in all shapes and sizes, to canine guests. Please review our pet policies, and download our Dog Owner's Vacation Guide to the Outer Banks Beaches. For more information, call us at , or visit our website.