Ensure a holiday with your dog runs smoothly

As all dog owners know, it can be heartbreaking leaving pets at home or in a kennel for an extended period of time. But with Australia having one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world, an increasing number of places are willing to accommodate them.

Sarah Hemingway is the general manager of the Melbourne-based national pet-friendly accommodation website Holidaying With Dogs. She has seen visits and inquiries skyrocket in the wake of COVID-19.

Her four-year-old business has 3000 properties listed, and now she’s finding properties that previously banned animals are approaching her after changing their policy.

“We get contacted by property owners who say they weren’t pet-friendly but they’re getting so many inquiries they’re now just going where the demand is,” she says.

And it’s not just bed and breakfast-style accommodation operators getting in on the action.

Read: Launch of dog-friendly caravans creates ‘pawfect’ road trip

Increasing numbers of hotels around Australia are finally matching a long tradition in the UK of allowing people to stay with their animals.

Make sure you get the most from your adventure away with your pups, by following these tips.

Have a test run

Sleeping in an unfamiliar place can be a nerve-racking experience for your dog if they’ve never done it before, but getting pets used to sleeping in different places from a young age will stand you in good stead. Try taking them to a friend or family member’s house. If you are planning on camping, it’s a good idea to get your dog familiarised with a tent by pitching it in the back garden.

Things to remember before you go
Before you head off, make sure your dog is up to date with any treatments, vaccinations and general health checks. Ensure they are microchipped, and that pet insurance is valid. You can check the contact details associated with a microchip at petaddress.com.au.

Pop an engraved ID tag on your pet’s collar, too. The risk of your pet losing their way or escaping is much higher in an unfamiliar environment, and the quickest way to have them returned safely to you is through an ID tag with a phone number.

Pack a doggy survival kit

Having a successful trip is all about being prepared and having everything to hand. So, what should you include? Basics such as food, water and toys should be top of the list. While it’s tempting to feed your pooch scraps from the BBQ, it’s not a good idea to interfere with their eating habits.

Some destinations, such as camping sites, request that dogs are on a lead when near wild animals or endangered plants. Having both a short and extendable lead is a good option – ensuring your dog is always under control.

Read: Pets could soon be allowed to travel in plane cabins

Stick to a schedule
Dogs love a routine and they know when it’s time to eat and when to go out for a walk. Sticking as close to your dog’s regular routine as possible adds a sense of normality in an unfamiliar situation, which will help to reduce their stress.

Be a responsible dog owner

There’s a difference between just bringing your dog along on your trip, and having a holiday that involves your dog. If you like to spend a lot of time with your animal, do some research on the area first. Is there nothing but national parks nearby? You won’t be able to take your dog walking there but there might be a state park that allows them.

Read: How to hike with your dog

Look for places such as local wineries that allow dogs to join you in the outdoor area. Make sure you know where the nearest off-leash dog park is and where you can and can’t walk them.

Do you holiday with your dog? What are the pros and cons? Please share your favourite pet-friendly accommodation with our members in the comments section below.

– With PA

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