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Do Right By Your Doggy (And Moggy) On Holidays!
  • Taking in the sun
  • Worn out...

More Australian families are taking their furry kids on holidays.  We all know that feeling… getting sorted for a holiday, packing the bags – and having to deal with the morose looks coming our way from the pets.  At least dogs are so happy to see you when you get back that they quickly forgive you, but we all know how well our gorgeous feline friends can hold a grudge!  It used to take my cat a good couple of days before she would talk to me again – and while there are many caring and well-run catteries and kennels who do their best to keep your pet’s spirits up, there really is no substitute for taking them with you.

This is becoming easier all the time as accommodation operators (usually pet lovers themselves) realise that more and more people want to enjoy their holidays with their pets.  Once upon a time pet-friendly accommodation meant an old kennel on the verandah, along with a water bowl, and a half-chewed ball, if you were lucky.

These days, many properties allow you to have your dog or cat inside with you, and some are even happy to baby-sit while you head out.  But there are many things to consider long before you load up the car or head off to the airport.

Firstly, do your homework.  Using a holiday site like TakeABreak allows you to search for pet-friendly accommodation Australia-wide, and it puts you in touch with the operators themselves, giving you the chance to ask the questions to ensure that the property is right for you and your pet.  There are many places that welcome pets inside, while others have a great outdoor area to keep pets happy – but a policy of no pets indoors.  So many properties are now pet-friendly and you are sure to find one that suits you.

Once you have found the perfect place for the whole family to stay, remember to add your pet’s needs to the packing list.  Many properties have clean and comfortable beds available, but for comfort and a sense of security, it is best to take your own if it can be easily transported.  Pack essentials such as tick/flea/ heartworm treatments, as well as any other relevant medication, toys, doggie do bags, leads and collars and comfort items.

Ensure that your pet is micro-chipped and has an ID tag on their collar with clear contact details.  It is always wise to have a mobile number on the ID tag, as there is not much point in people calling your home number to say they have found your pet, when you may be away in another state!  It is also a good idea to have a couple of recent photos of your pooch or puss, in the unhappy event of them being lost.

Make sure that your pet is used to travelling in the car and plan your journey so you stop every couple of hours.  This is good for the driver and a necessary break for your pet.  It allows pooches to stretch their legs and have a toilet stop and cats appreciate the fresh air and lack of motion, even if it isn’t practical to allow them out of their travelling crate.

Ensure you have plenty of water, and it is a legal requirement that pets be properly restrained in cars.  For cats, this usually means a travel cage, for dogs it may be a travel crate, or a harness that clips into the seat belt buckle.  Do not let your pet hang out the window – you wouldn’t let your child do this, and it is just as unsafe for pets.  Many a dog has had an unscheduled trip to the vet after getting road debris in their eyes while ‘window surfing’.  Another point to remember is that your dog's harness should NEVER be secured in the front passenger seat, as even a low level impact may trigger the airbag, and this is likely to injure - or even kill - your pet.

Not all pets are great travellers, so remember to chat with your pet during the trip.  Sit the kids next to your pet and make sure they talk to them and pat them during the trip, to keep them calm.  If it is just you and your best friend, remember to turn the music down and chat with them on a regular basis.

Holidays in more distant places are still possible with your pets, as several airlines such as Virgin Blue and Qantas will transport your pet in a specially designed crate, for a reasonable cost. The crates can be hired from companies such as Jet Pet.  Make sure you check out the costs and conditions for pet travel on airlines – it usually means an earlier check-in time to make sure that your pet is settled before the flight.

It is a good idea to check with your vet before you travel, especially if you are going by air.  Most pets cope really well with air travel – it tends to be their humans who get stressed!  If your pet is on any medication make sure to take it with you, and it is a good idea to take the prescription with you as well, in case you need more supplies while away.

Finally, it is up to you to make sure that the property you choose is right for the whole family.  An urban dog that is used to life in a backyard or courtyard may behave very differently in a rural setting.  You need to know that your pet and any wildlife they may encounter are safe.  Ask searching questions about fences… how high are they, how sturdy, could your terrier dig beneath them or your kelpie jump over them?  Knowledge is the answer to enjoying a stress-free break with your pet, so plan ahead and make your furry friend holiday one you will all remember – and repeat!

Here are a few properties around Australia that welcome your pets…

Russellee (NSW)

Grevillea Lodge B&B (ACT)

Mataranka Cabins & Camping (NT)

Noosabreeze Villa (QLD)

Holiday House at Normanville (SA)

Coronation Cottage (TAS)

Red Paws of Lorne (VIC)

Paperbark Cottage (WA)

About the author
Lisa Monk is a marketing communications writer with a diverse background that includes experience in travel, hotel, finance, public relations and advertising. She has worked with Club Med, the Holiday Inn group and on a number of other travel projects on a freelance basis.  Lisa has travelled throughout Asia Pacific, North America and England.

Lisa now works with TakeABreak.com.au as editor of the Holiday Inspirations newsletter and other publications.  She lives in Sydney with her husband Andy, sons Joseph and Nicholas, and Scout, a West Highland White Terrier.

About the author
Lisa is a professional editor for Holiday Inspirations.

If this article mentions a tourism region or activity you're passionate about, why not help us promote it by linking to this article from your own website or blog? You can use a short excerpt with your link if you wish. If you'd prefer to publish the entire article, please contact media@takeabreak.com.au - we are usually happy to grant permission with reasonable restrictions.

  Thanks Lisa, great article! Hope it encourages more people to take their devoted pets with them, but, more importantly, I hope it encourages lots and lots more holiday places to allow us to take our loved pets with us!

I firmly believe if we put ourselves through the trouble of taking our pets we are responsible people. Of course, there will always be those who let us down, but they surely are in the minority.

Thanks again Lisa. Please submit your article to city newpapers, RACQ, holiday booking agents, etc.

Leigh Petersen.
Posted on Jun 04 2008 at 14:50

  I am an accommodation owner and a pet lover. We would love to be more flexible with people who want to bring their dogs with them but have been let down more often than not. Firstly my chooks are free range and it hasn't taken too long before visiting dogs have had one or two of them by the throat with their owners saying with surprise that they haven't ever done that before.Of course not, the average city dog doesn't often come across chooks and often act totally unpredictable in such different surroundings. My long suffering cats, who are 16 years old, don't take too kindly to being chased up trees in their own home where our own dogs wouldn't even think of it. I can't tell you the number of times we have had to have our carpets shampooed because thoughtless owners have let their dogs inside with muddy feet with no thought for those who must follow them into the same room.All in all, it is a 2 way street. If accommodation owners insist on visiting dogs being under control at all times, then it is for a reason and the owners must be prepared to play the game.
Posted on Jun 04 2008 at 20:10

  We are accommodation owners who have an outside only policy with pets. We also ask on our enquiry page for owners to describe their pet and if they have any special needs.
From this, we gain valuable information and follow up with the enquirer and more often than not allow the pet/s inside.
We only ask them to bring along their own blankets to cover lounges/beds and to watch out for fish hooks & bait left behind by other holiday makers.
Yes we have been disappointed, but overall have been more than impressed with all our pet owners.
We love to see the city dogs having so much freedom in our small coastal town of Seabird.
Posted on Aug 07 2009 at 07:53

  We are a senior couple, who love being able to take our Staffie on holidays with us. Thanks to owners who are allowing this to happen more & more! After seeing mess left by some families without dogs in holiday accom, I'm sure owners would prefer our bookings with well-behaved pet any day! We have just spent 6 weeks in 3 different locations in Qld & pet-friendly accom in all places was wonderful! More of it please! Thanks to owners already enlightened!
Posted on Aug 29 2009 at 20:19

  Thank you so much for encouraging accommodation owners to allow us doggie people to bring our furry children. I have a toy poodle x bichon. He's my baby boy and I wouldn't consider leaving him in a kennel, every holiday is worked around him to make sure he can come with us. So please accommodation owners ask us lots of questions about our dogs but please let us enjoy a holiday with them too.
Posted on Mar 04 2010 at 14:55

  We are pet-loving accommodation providers at Ocean Grove, Victoria. We welcome cats and dogs of all sizes. We have a dedicated 'pet room' with a bed and blankets. There's a hot/cold shower outside for a quick wash after a day at the beach, fluffy towels and other dog friendly goods.
The yard is fully fenced, with lots of grass and space for your pet to run around.

Posted on Mar 04 2010 at 15:51

  I offer some of my cottages for pet owners but am aware there are other guests who would like to know that the cottage allocated has not had pets inside - whether they are worried by allergies, or think there will be smells etc. So I make a point of keeping several cottages pet-free, and have those that are pet-friendly sanitised more regularly. I provide old sheets for the lounges and pet-gates for the verandahs, have information regarding the many beaches in Tweed and Byron Shire that allow dogs. Council rules differ. I agree it is a 2-way street allowing pets to accompany owners, so I don't have any pets of my own on the property.
Posted on Mar 05 2010 at 18:04

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