Guide To Texas Outdoors

Guide To Texas Outdoors

The Texas Hill Country begs to be explored! From rolling hills, cliffs along the river, and beautiful desert views, you'll want to soak it all up while the weather is good. 

And if you're like the other 25% of the Austin Area, you've got an active dog or fearless cat coming along for the adventure. Just like us humans prepare for a hike with a water bottle and sunscreen or slip on your walking shoes, our pets need a few things to keep them safe while outdoors.

Check out our Guide To Texas Outdoors - pet edition.

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Safe Swimming for dogs in Austin Texas

Outdoor Activities

Safe-Swimming Spots in Central Texas

In the last few years, Austin has been under harmful algae watch. We made a map of safe-swimming holes in the Hill Country area for Fido and his friends!

Explore Safe Swimming Spots Here

More on "harmful algae"...

The City of Austin has found levels of a harmful "blue, green" algal bloom present in Austin waters since 2019 and each year after. Routine testing is set to resume this summer. As of June, 2024, Risk is HIGH for pets. Algae is in full bloom on Lady Bird Lake and blue-green algae has been found in Cold Spring on Lady Bird Lake. Please assume all algae may be toxic and avoid it.

Tomlinson's Pro Tip: Paws are extra sensitive after extended periods of time in the water. If you’ve spent the day on the lake or by the river, your pet’s paw pads will be softened and will need extra attention to prevent burning or injury.


Find Pet-Friendly Hikes Here

If you haven't gone on a hike in the Hill Country, were you really there? Just make sure you...

  1. Pack an Emergency Kit. Trust us, it's essential!
  2. Always pay attention to leash policies. They are in place for you and your dog's safety.
  3. Never allow your dog to drink from natural waterways in the Austin area. It is important you bring an ample amount of drinking water for yourself and Fido. And if you do swim, wash your dog off thoroughly. Algae can stick to their fur and it's unsafe if they lick it off.

Pet-Friendly Eateries in Austin

Top Austin Eateries Here

Austin loves dogs. In fact, it ranks 4th in the country with over 510 pet-friendly restaurants. That’s a lot!

Our dog's picked their top twenty-five dog-friendly restaurants that have off-leash parks, friendly staff, and even some with a doggie menu guaranteed to have your pup wagging.

Central Texas Fun

Pet-Friendly Activities Here

We're dog people here in the Texas Hill Country. And, exploring Austin, Texas isn't complete without your pup at your side.

So grab your leash, their booties (yes, seriously), and some drinking water because we're hitting the town!

Dog on a walk

Pest Prevention

More on Fleas & Ticks Here

Flea & Tick Spray

Don't let insects ruin your outdoor fun! Try our local favorite flea and tick repellant, Wondercide.

Their sprays are 100% naturally-derived, fast-acting, and non-toxic. While you're enjoying the outdoors, their formula will repel, kill, and prevent fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Some products even target roaches, wasps, and ants.

Even better, their sprays are safe for people, dogs, and cats! Simply spritz your pets coat and then your own legs and arms. Our team never leaves home without it - and you won't want to either.

Shop all of Wondercide here. Or, browse our full line of Dog Flea & Tick products hereCat's apply here.

Happy repelling!

Collars + Tablets + Spot Ons

It you need continuous protection, collars, tablets, and spot ons work around the clock to protect against fleas and ticks.

CollarsFlea & tick collars like the Seresto Collar are odorless, long-lasting, and for both dogs and cats. Seresto is good for up to 8-months, water resistant, and remain effective following a shampoo treatment, swimming or after exposure to rain or sunlight.

Wondercide also makes a prevention collar for dogs! This collar includes a break away safety feature and is safe to use for dogs 4 months and older. The Peppermint Flea & Tick Collar repels bugs and is an added layer of protection against fleas and ticks for up to 4 months, mosquitoes up to 1 month.

Tablets/Pills - Do you have an infestation? Over-the-counter Capstar Tablets are fast-acting for dogs. There is no mess, no odor, and you'll see results within 30 minutes. 

Spot OnsWondercide Flea And Tick Spot On for Dogs is a plant-powered topical flea and tick prevention. Each monthly application is protection against fleas and ticks for up to 1 month, and mosquitoes for up to 1 week. 

Wildlife Neighbors

And, as animal and pet lovers, it's important to know:

  1. If you find a vulnerable wild animal, how should you care for or protect it?
  2. Which Central Texas wild animals are dangerous to my pet, and which are friendly neighbors?

To keep you and your dog or cat safe, we partnered with local Texas wildlife experts to answer those very questions.

Local Snake Guide
Central Texas Wildlife

Dog Booties

Guide to Pet Gear

Harnesses + Leashes

Harnesses are the safest way to take Fido or friendly-kitties out on a walk or run. A secure, well-fitting harness will keep your pet safe, especially on rocky hill country trails. 

We have a few favorite harnesses that have all been through the ringer of hikes and still stand up to the test today:

- RC Pets Adventure Teal Kitty Harness

- 2 Hounds Freedom No-Pull Black Dog Harness

- Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Graphite Gray Dog Harness

- Ruffwear Front Range Basalt Gray Dog Harness

Along with your harness, always have a leash! While there are some off-leash area in Central Texas, most trails and parks on on-leash. Make sure you have one handy when you and your pet are out and about.

Life Jackets

Love pool parties, trips to the Greenbelt, or the boat? Life Jackets, like these from RC Pets, are a necessity. With grab handles, these make it easy to pull your dog out of the water in an emergency. 

Shop all Life Jackets here!

Dog Booties

One surefire way to prevent paw pad burns is to invest in a pair of pet booties. And after a few awkward attempts at walking, your pet will get used to them! These are essential if you have an active dog in Texas. Here's why...

Paw pads are more than just cute cushions. They provide important protection for bones, joints, and tissue deep within the paws. Burning these beans can result in painful injury! Make sure to keep them safe and happy by checking the walking path for excessive heat before heading out for a stroll.

It's all about checking the temperature. Place your hand palm down on the surface. If it's too hot for your hand after 30 seconds, it's definitely too hot for your pet's delicate paws.

Learn how to the symptoms and how to treat paw pad burns here! 

Vest, Bandanas, & Gaiters

Even though a pet's coat helps regular their body temperature, the Texas heat is sometimes no match. Cooling gear and apparel like vests, bandanas, and gaiters will keep your pooch cool as a cucumber for hours.

If you're looking for an immediate fix, and our free same-day delivery doesn't work, just use a towel, t-shirt, or bandana! Soak the item in water and pop it in the freezer. Use as you would any bandana or vest. It might not last hours, like these products, but it will do the job for quick outing.

Cooling Toys

These frozen toys are great for an afternoon outside! Simply soak or fill with water, freeze and your pup can relax while keeping cool and comfortable.

Shop our cooling toy collection here!

Floating Toys

No one wants to loose the ball during fetch, especially your dog! Make sure to have at least one floating toy when you're going on a swim-venture.

We have plenty to choose from!

Travel Bowls

Never forget your travel bowl. These are great for on-the-go feeding or water breaks.

Need one? We've got one!

Grooming Gear

A coat helps regulate a pet's body temperature. And, a healthy coat can keep them cool and comfortable with temps spike. During the summer, switch to a probiotic-infused or soothing shampoo and conditioner. And, be sure to brush them frequently! Matting, dander, and dirt can impair a coat's ability to do its job.

Book a dog wash with us! We have everything your dog needs at our pet-serve pet wash stations. Plus, we'll even clean up after you!

If you're washing at home, don't worry we have you covered with all the summer grooming essentials.

Dog Travel Bowl

Energy Boosting Diets

Bone Broths

If your pet, like mine, gets too excited to drink when they are out and about, bone broth is your answer. Bone Broth is a ready-to-drink supplement that helps support healthy joints and digestion. It's also a great way to get your dog to drink and get moisture throughout the day.

If you're on a hike or packing light, we suggest these travel-sized bone broths from Nulo.

Moisture-Rich Diets

Our kibble diets are nutritious, but due to their cooking method, lack moisture. Feeding a gently cooked or raw diet during the summer months will upgrade their water intake!

Shop a few different recipes here.

Dog Wearing Neck Gaiter

Sun and Shade Protection

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is no joke. It's why we wrote up an entire article to help you be prepared! Here are the headliner's:

  • A heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia.

  • Much like dehydration, dogs are more likely to have a heat stroke than cats.

  • Look for symptoms of dizziness, excessive panting, muscle tremors, bright red tongue, red or pale gums, or increased salivation.

  • If your pet is experiencing heat stroke take them out of direct sunlight and into shade. Make fresh, cool drinking water available. Cool them off with cool, NOT ICE COLD, water.

Heat Rash

We will probably hit triple digits this Summer. It's important to know how that can affect your pets, specifically your dog. While the temperature rises, outdoor activities might need to be cut short to prevent a common skin issue: Heat Rash. Read more here!

UV Protection

Bandana, neck gaiters, and vests are a must-have for Texan Pet Parents. Especially for short-snouted or long-haired dogs, these products make a big difference in their ability to fend off the Texas heat.

Not only to they act as cooling gear but they also aid in UV protection! Pet's with shorter coats can sunburn and experience heat rash. 

We couldn't recommend these items more!

Dog hanging out outside

Plan Accordingly

Areas like New Braunfels and Austin experience higher tourism in the Fall. While river towns like San Antonio, Wimberly, San Marcos, Canyon Lake, Lake Travis, and South Austin, have long lines and crowds during the summer.

Plan exercise and playtime accordingly! During the summer, try switching your dog's playtime routine to early mornings or evenings to beat the heat. That way, playtime doesn't have to be cut short when the temps reach too high.

Always provide plenty of shade and fresh water - regardless of the hour.

We're local!

As you head out to have some fun with your furry friend, our guide for tips and etiquette for pet parents will ensure your dog and other people stay safe. 

We love helping pups’ parents raise happy and healthy pups. That’s why we have tons of information on our blog to help you get more tail wags and have fun while at it!

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