How to Have the Perfect Dog Friendly Topsail Island Vacation

How to Have the Perfect Dog Friendly Topsail Island Vacation | Ward Realty 

UPDATE: This post was originally published on December 4, 2017.
It has been refreshed with updated links and content.

If you would like to enjoy a Topsail Island beach vacation with your favorite four-legged member of the family then this post is perfect for you. Let's be honest no true family vacation is complete if you have to leave your dog at home. Thankfully we have lots of great pet-friendly vacation homes available for your family getaway. With miles of pet-friendly beaches, you’ll find Topsail Island is a dog lovers paradise. Here is everything you need to know to plan your next Topsail Island vacation with your dog.

The Perfect Topsail Island Vacation Rental

With over 70 beautiful pet-friendly beach rentals to choose from Ward Realty is your go-to place for a Topsail Island pet vacation. If this is your first time traveling with your dog and have specific questions please be sure to give us a call. Our friendly staff is here to guide you to your perfect Topsail Island vacation and that includes making sure your dog has a great experience as well. We can be reached at (910) 278- 1147. Don't forget there is still plenty of time to book a Topsail Island vacation. 

Hitting the Road

Traveling with your dog in the car is a time-honored tradition. Nothing is better than packing up the minivan, loading up your furry family member and heading out on a great family vacation. Whether you're heading to Topsail Island this summer or looking forward to a late-season vacation at one of our beautiful vacation homes there are a few things you'll need to remember when traveling with your dog in the car. Here are a few tips that will help make sure you arrive safely at your Topsail Island vacation. 

Packing car for family vacation with dog | Ward Realty

Be Safe - While it isn't illegal in North Carolina, it is just common sense to make sure you don't drive with your dog on your lap. We all know the dangers of distracted driving and that also applies to being distracted by your dog. A dog wandering free in the car or near your steering wheel is an accident waiting to happen. 

Heat Is Dangerous- We all know how beautiful a Carolina summer day is but, even in fall or spring, a car can rapidly heat up to dangerously high-temperatures within minutes. Even a short stop for gas can be dangerous to your dog. If you must leave your dog in the car at a stop make sure to leave the windows open to allow adequate airflow. It is also a good idea to leave your dog restrained for his/her safety.

Crates Are Great - Just like humans, it is important for your dog's safety to keep your dog restrained in the vehicle. A great option is a travel crate or one of several commercially made harnesses specifically designed for dogs traveling in cars. Make sure to take your dog to the store to size the harness properly as the sizes vary and a good fit is important.  Another advantage of a travel crate is it gives you another way to secure your dog while at your vacation home. Finally, it is never ok to travel with your dog in the back of a pickup bed without a crate. 

Water and Stops - Many dogs are not fond of the car, and even those that are still need constant access to fresh water and food. A great thing to invest in is a collapsible bowl which makes feeding and watering your dog on the road a cinch. Plan your trip to allow for frequent stops to let your dog use the bathroom and stretch out, this is also a great way to burn some energy which generally calms your dog. 

Get Them Tired - Speaking of burning off excess energy, you'll find a tired dog generally travels better. Prior to loading your dog up in the car make sure to take him for a long walk or other exercises. The last thing you want is sixty pounds of boundless energy bouncing around the car. 

Travel Check List

Packing up for vacation is always a balancing act between packing too much and bringing too little, between remembering and forgetting everything you need. It's easy with the excitement of heading out on the road for your favorite Topsail Island vacation to forget something critical you'll need to make your dog's vacation a fun and stress-free one for everyone in the family. Make a list a few days prior to leaving and you'll be sure to remember to pack up the essentials for your dog. Here are just a few of the basics that you'll want to remember to pack.

  • Dog Food (vacation is not the time to try a new brand).
  • Favorite chew toy, or other toys. Dog waste bags.
  • Any medications, treats, and snacks.
  • Grooming supplies
  • Favorite blanket or bed.
  • Make sure your dog is microchipped and/or has a dog collar with owner info.
  • Food and water dish.
  • Lead and leash.

Set Your Dog Up for Vacation Success

Once you arrive at your Topsail Island vacation rental you'll want to take a few steps to help your dog acclimate to his/her new surroundings. New adventures are fun for you but can be stressful for your dog. To prevent acting out, or anxiety in your four-legged friend, follow these easy tips: 

  • Dogs are creatures of routine - Bring a familiar item like a stuffed animal, blanket or familiar toy.
  • Exercise your dog often allowing him/her to get expend any pent-up energy. This is especially important when you first arrive at a new destination.
  • Take your dog on a tour of your Topsail Island vacation home allowing him/her to become familiar with his/her surroundings being sure while doing a walk around to look out for any unfamiliar or dangerous items that may harm your dog.
  • Talk to your dog in a normal voice as if you are at home. Dogs pick up on your tone; if they think you're worried they will worry. If they think you're relaxed they will relax.
  • Make sure to use familiar dog foods and treats. This isn't the time to try new things. Dog's stomachs can be very sensitive to sudden changes in diet.

A Day On the Beach With Your Dog

Dogs, like humans, love Topsail's beautiful beaches. However, enjoying our pristine beaches comes with added responsibility for those traveling with their dog. Here are a few things to keep in mind while vacationing on Topsail Island with your furry friend.

topsail island beach dog rules | ward realty

General Requirements

All dogs must have a current rabies vaccination tag. Additionally, each dog must have an identification tag. A helpful tip when traveling with your dog on an extended vacation is to bring along any pertinent vaccination records. Collars get lost, tags come off, this way you are sure to have all the required information on hand should you need it. 

Leash Laws

All three municipalities on Topsail Island have slightly different leash laws, however, the essential thing you need to know is that all dogs must be on a leash while on the beach. Additionally, owners are subject to fines for violating each municipalities leash law. In Surf City the length of the leash cannot exceed 10 feet. On North Topsail leashes cannot exceed 25 feet (retractable), and in the municipality of Topsail Beach, no dogs are allowed to be at-large within the town limits including the beach (dogs must be on a leash 20 ft or less from May 15th thru September 30th of each year. 

Keeping the Beach Clean

Now that we have hit the beach let's talk about cleaning up after your dog. Dog feces spread diseases and therefore it is critical to the health of our beaches that you clean up after your pets. Nothing is more disgusting than finding pet waste on our beautiful beaches so please be courteous to others and clean up after your pets.

Keep Them Safe

Remember to keep your dog safe by watching the waves and the riptides, mother nature doesn't discriminate and a riptide can be just as dangerous for your dog as for humans. Be aware and keep your dog at an appropriate depth of water. Finally, on hot days make sure to bring a gallon of water and portable bowl so your dog can stay hydrated during the heat of the day.

Protect Our Ecosystem

Topsail Island is a beautiful place for dogs to explore. Salt marshes, beaches, and canals are all places most dogs love. However, these areas are also important and fragile ecosystems. Make sure you have control over your dog at all times. Dogs are curious and many love to dig. ALWAYS avoid Sea Turtle nests. A moment's inattention can be catastrophic to these fragile creatures. This also is important in areas where there are migratory birds. We know your dog is just trying to...well be a dog, but we all have a responsibility to ensure we protect our beautiful island and that starts with responsible dog owners. 

topsail island sea turtle nest | Ward Realty

Surf City Bark Park 

Maybe your dog is just not a beach lover but still loves a little off-leash play time.  If that is the case then head over to the centrally located Surf City Bark Park located at 201 Community Center Drive, Surf City, (behind the Surf City Community Center.) The dog park is open from dusk to dawn, water is available and the park features all sorts of cool obstacles your dog is sure to love. 

Just In Case

Dogs tend to find trouble - it is just part of their nature. However, being the dog-loving destination that Topsail Island is we have everything you need to take care of all your pet's emergencies.

But *just in case* your pup needs a little expert attention, here are a couple of local clinics to help you out:

13775 NC-50, Suite 503
Surf City, NC 28445
P: (910) 329-4700


All Pets Animal Hospital

2024 NC-172
Sneads Ferry, NC 28460
P: (910) 327-1100

We hope this post helps you and encourages you to bring your favorite four-legged family member on your next Topsail Island Vacation. A great beach vacation is one where the whole family can enjoy all that Topsail Island has to offer and that includes bringing everyone in the family along. We have a long tradition of providing our clients with the premier pet-friendly vacation rentals on the market today. So come explore our pet-friendly vacation homes today.  We're sure we have just the vacation rental to suit you, and your dog's needs.


How to Have the Perfect Dog Friendly Topsail Island Vacation | Ward Realty

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