If you’re a dog owner, the thought of going on holiday and having to leave your pet behind can be enough to put you off the idea of hitting the road. While pet sitters can often help ease the guilt of leaving them alone, it's not easy being away from your four-legged furry friend - after all, they're part of the family!
Should that be the case, then taking your dog with you on holiday might just be the best option for you. We’ve put together some handy tips on how to travel with your pet dog to help you plan and make your travels fun and easy as possible!
Every pup is onboard
Before you hit the road, it's important to ask yourself if you're sure your pet really wants to travel on the road too. While some of us may think our furry family members are great travel companions, there are occasions that the animal would much prefer being home away from strangers and new (noisy) places.
Think about your pet's personality and keep in mind that travelling always involves exposure to new environments and people, and sometimes, loud noises.
Read also: The best dog-friendly G'day Parks
Get familiar with the rules and regulations
Get to know the rules and regulations when travelling with your dog. While it is not mandatory to have your dog restrained in the car, it is highly recommended so that your dog doesn’t move around too much and distract you. Using a pet harness seat belt or a pet carrier (with your own doggy bedding) are some options available. It is also worth noting that it is strictly against the law for your dog to be sitting on the lap of the driver.
Make sure you’re aware of where dogs can and can’t go and if they need to be on a leash. Pets are not allowed in most national parks around Australia, so check with each specific park before planning on a long stroll with your dog!
Bring your pet's vet/ vaccination record
It’s important that your dog is up to date with all of their vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and deworming, so that you know your dog will stay in tip top shape on your travels.
You should also have their microchip number on record, in case your dog gives you the slip and the local vet or council need to be able to identify your dog and contact you.
Practise car travel
Some dogs don’t enjoy going on car rides so it’s a good idea to get your dog used to going on shorter car trips before you embark on a long journey. To help your dog feel their best in the car, avoid feeding them for at least 2 hours before starting your drive.
Make sure your dog has a comfy place to travel – most dogs like to be able to see out of the window so they can keep an eye on what’s going on. If your dog enjoys chew toys such as a Kong, this could help to keep them occupied and happy while on a car ride.
Pack your dog’s suitcase
Don’t forget to pack your dog’s suitcase! You’ll need the essentials like their collar and lead, food and water bowls, bedding, dog food, fresh water, toys, treats and doggy poo bags. When taking your dog on holiday, it’s a good idea to get a personalised dog tag with your contact details for your dog’s collar (an ID tag), so people can easily contact you if your dog goes for a solo wander.
Take along some doggy towels and a brush too, so you can make sure your dog is as clean as possible after any adventures before hopping back into the car!
Find pet-friendly accommodation
Make sure you’ve sussed out some pet-friendly accommodation options before you start your journey. Stacks of our G’day Parks have great pet friendly facilities, with some even featuring pet-friendly cabins so your fur child can sleep inside with you!
Most parks will have their own rules regarding pets in park, so make sure you’re across these before arriving – standard things include not leaving your dog unattended at any time, keeping your dog on a leash in common areas, and always cleaning up after your dog.
Bring along familiar comforts
It's always a good idea to bring a long some familiar comforts from home for your pooch. Items like their bedding, blankets, favourite toys are great to bring with you even when living in a pet-friendly accommodation.
New surroundings may cause some unease so having familiar smells around will help your furry friend settle calmly in their new environment.
Stay on schedule
Try to stay on the same schedule of feeding your pet as you would at home. Our pets get some of sense of safety and security from the boundaries of a routine so as much as possible, stick to the same times for feeding and toilet times. Which leads us to our next tip below.
Plan your journey
Be ready to change your travel arrangements when you choose to bring your pet along with you, especially when you know you'll be covering long distances. Boredom and restlessness will happen even to your furry family member!
Break up your journey by factoring in some pit stops along the way for your dog, so they can go to the bathroom and stretch their legs (and yours too!). You can also opt to occasionally detour to off-leash dog parks (fully fenced), so you can let your dog run freely to burn off some energy.
Always make sure to offer your dog plenty of fresh drinking water throughout the day, and never leave your dog in a hot car.
Above all, make sure you’re always a kind and considerate traveller – remember that not everyone is a dog loving individual and might not be keen to make acquaintance with Fido!