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Want to take your dog to the beach? Here’s what you need to know

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR PURINA PRO PLAN - Gidget, a Pug from San Clemente, Calif., competes in the Incredible Surf Dog Competition, a west coast feature of the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge at Huntington Beach State Park on Friday, June 10, 2016, in Huntington Beach, Calif. Gidget took second place in the small dog division. (Casey Rodgers/AP Images for Purina Pro Plan)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR PURINA PRO PLAN - Gidget, a Pug from San Clemente, Calif., competes in the Incredible Surf Dog Competition, a west coast feature of the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge at Huntington Beach State Park on Friday, June 10, 2016, in Huntington Beach, Calif. Gidget took second place in the small dog division. (Casey Rodgers/AP Images for Purina Pro Plan) AP Images for Purina Pro Plan

As summer rapidly approaches, North Carolina beaches are drawing visitors in droves, and our dogs love the beach as much as we do.

But before bringing along your furry friend, it’s wise to check ahead and make sure dogs are allowed on your beach of choice and, if so, what specific laws apply. And it’s also important that you keep your dog safe in the hot summer sun.

Can I bring my dog here?

Outer Banks

Corolla and Nags Head: Yes, dogs are allowed on the beach, but they have to be leashed.

Duck: Yes, your dog can freely roam the beach with you — unleashed.

Kitty Hawk: Yes, but between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, dogs must be leashed (not during the rest of the year, though).

Kill Devil Hills: Sort of. Dogs are prohibited on the beach during daytime hours between May 1 and Sept. 30 and must be leashed otherwise.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Ocracoke Island: Kind of. Dogs are prohibited at designated swimming beaches and must be on a 6-foot leash on all other beaches.

Emerald Isle

Yes, but dogs must be leashed, even in the water and surf zone.

Pine Knoll Shores: Further down the isle, dogs have to be leashed as well.

Topsail Beach

Yes, but dogs must be leashed between May 15 and Sept. 30. (The rest of the year, they can be off-leash as long as they’re under voice command of a responsible person.)

Wrightsville Beach

Nope, no dogs are allowed on Wrightsville Beach between April 1 and Sept. 30.

Carolina Beach

Yes, Freeman Park at the northern tip of Carolina Beach is a dog-friendly beach, with dogs allowed off-leash during the off-season (October through March) and requiring a leash during the busy months (April through September).

(Note: Freeman Park is a four-wheel-drive beach, however, and daily access permits are $30.)

Kure Beach

Sort of. Kure Beach allows leashed dogs October through March. It’s illegal to take your dog to the beach strand from April through September, though.

Caswell Beach

Yes, due to a summer exception, dogs can be off-leash between dawn and 9 a.m. but must be leashed on the beach the rest of the day.

Oak Island

Yes. Where signage allows, dogs in Oak Island are allowed off-leash between Oct. 15 and March 15 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Holden, Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach

Brunswick beach rules vary, but you can definitely find a fit for you and your dog. Get the details at ncbrunswick.com.

How can I keep my dog safe?

Bring plenty of water

Be sure your dog has fresh water to keep him or her from drinking the ocean water. The high sodium content in the water along with other contaminants can be harmful to your dog’s health. Having fresh water on hand will keep him or her hydrated and decrease his or her chance of getting sick.

Provide shade

If you plan to be at the beach for an extended time, be sure to have an umbrella with you. This will ensure your dog has a place to get out of the sun and rest.

Use sunscreen

Dogs that are hairless or have a short or light-colored coat are especially vulnerable to the sun. It is always wise to apply a dog-friendly sunblock to make sure your four-legged friend is protected from the harmful rays of the sun.

Rinse off

Rinse your dog off as soon as he or she is done playing. Your dog may love to roll around in the sand at the beach, but the sand and saltwater can irritate him. Rinsing him or her off sooner rather than later can help avoid rashes.

See Corbie Hill’s original story here.

Photo: Casey Rodgers/Associated Press

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