Now we’re all stuck in Australia (most of us in our own states, even) it looks like road trips are the holiday of choice over, say, Euro trips. RIP. That being said, one benefit of a good ol’ Aussie road trip is being about to corral your pooch into the car and bring ’em along with you. Huge vibe. Primo. Best friends, hittin’ the road. Dog friendly holiday, here we come.
But before you think it’s simply about finding pet-friendly accomodation and packing their fave blankie, read this. I’ve now taken my dog on several road trips and I’ve learned a few things.
1. Really, REALLY Check That Accom
Once, I booked a “pet friendly” motel only to find out on arrival that they have one (1!) room that’s pet friendly, and if you don’t specifically book that room, you’re screwed.
This was in part on me – I didn’t read the fine print. But I’ve never made that mistake again. Always double, triple check the place you’ve booked is pet friendly – sometimes, they’ll want you to tell them more about your dog, or they will have special rooms or rules.
That being said, Airbnb is an easy one because once you tick “pet friendly” your search automatically narrows. For example, the above property in NSW is one of LOADS, and as you can see, just as swish as a non-doggo property. Still, read the House Rules section – while any listing in pet friendly will be pet friendly, some properties will only allow your dog outside – no bueno if you have a couch potato poochie.
2. Suss Your Days
Fun fact – dogs aren’t allowed in National Parks. That means if you planned to bushwalk every day, bringing Mr. Scruffleson might not be the best move. Camping can also make things complicated – is the campground you’re choosing dog friendly? If it’s in a national park, it’s unlikely.
There are other factors, too – are you lying on the beach all day? Will your dog hate that? Don’t take them if your day plans will suck for them, it’ll just cause drama for you and a shit time for your dog.
3. Watch Out For Baits
Be very, very careful about 1080 and PAPP baits. These are used to control pest animals like foxes in some parts of Australia, and the odourless poison is often put into dried meat. That means it’s appealing to the pests… and your dog.
Now, rumours abound that 1080 baits can travel beyond areas where signposts will warn you about them. Apparently, birds can pick them up and drop them elsewhere. Reports of dogs dying due to poisoning on road trips are out there, and you don’t want it happening to you.
Some tips that might help – if you’re in a suss area, keep your dog on a lead and take them out on a lead for wees and poos. Ask other campers if the area is known for 1080, even if there aren’t signs. Join Facebook groups for dog travel in Australia – these often have warnings and tips.
Also, the RSPCA have a guide on what to do if you suspect your dog has ingested a bait.
4. Don’t Wash Their Blankies Beforehand
Something that’s helped with my dog when travelling is bringing her stinky blanket with us. It’s familiar to her, and while the first time we decided to wash it so it was clean and fresh, things were far easier when it was smelly.
She settled way quicker in her new sleeping room, she liked laying on it for the first couple of days – basically, it brought a comfort of home that counteracted all the newness.
5. Road Test New Sleeping Arrangements
Getting your pup to sleep in a caravan? Try letting them sleep in there a few times before hitting the road. Going to have them sleep outside? Get them to sleep outside before you go a few times. Basically, try and adjust them to the change before you also go to a foreign place.
Another hot tip – try and rent an Airbnb (if that’s your plan) that has a room similar in terms of space and distance from bedrooms to your own, if your pet sleeps in, say, the laundry like mine does.
Once we took Millie away and the laundry shared a wall with the BATHROOM. Every time anyone went in there, she heard and started barking. Hell.
Overall, taking your pup on holidays can be SO fun. Just make sure you’re prepped and ready for it.