How to prepare for holidaying with dogs

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Before you head off on a road trip or caravanning adventure with your pooch there’s some important preparations for holidaying with dogs that you need to consider.

Planning and research

Whilst many caravan parks and other accommodation providers say they are pet-friendly, it’s important to ensure you plan your journey well ahead of time and do your research into how pet-friendly they actually are.

Always ring ahead whilst still in planning stage, particularly at caravan parks or camping grounds so that you can find out what their individual rules and regulations are, as every park is different and during peak periods and in popular tourist areas they may have restrictions during holiday periods.

They may also have restrictions on how many dogs and other types of pets you can take with you.

Dogs are generally not allowed in most National and State park camping grounds all year round so you will need to be aware that holidaying with dogs is still not always that easy, despite the growth in more places accepting pets these days. Check out the benefits of camping with your dog HERE. 

Most holiday parks will require your dog to be on leash when in the park at all times, so you should consider also taking along something that you can secure them too with a long line so they can still move around freely around your caravan or campsite when you are seated outside.

Many caravan parks won’t allow you to leave your dog alone in your van if you head out, so is worth checking if they provide doggy day care or can recommend a pet sitter in the area as well.  You should also research the local off leash beaches, parks and places to eat so you can enjoy your holiday together as much as possible.

If staying in home style or a pet-friendly hotel, also know their individual rules as some may say they are pet-friendly, but dogs are only allowed to stay outdoors. Even if pets are allowed indoors, there may still be restrictions around them being on furniture or beds, so keep this in mind as you may be charged extra or lose a bond if you break the rules.

Health and safety

If you are heading away for an extended holiday, make sure you visit your Vet before you leave for an all over check-up. It’s important to also research local Vet and emergency clinics in the areas you’ll be staying at and along your route.

You will need your dog or cat to be up to date with their C5 vaccinations and take a copy of your vaccination certificate with you as you will need to show this at the caravan park or doggy day care facilities.

Make sure their flea and tick treatments are up to date and relevant for the areas you are traveling to, particularly if there are paralysis ticks in the areas you are visiting.

Ensure your dog or cat’s microchip details are up to date too. Especially if you have moved or may have changed your contact number. Even if they are, always put an ID tag on your dog’s collar with your mobile number so your dog can be returned to you immediately should they wander off or get lost, otherwise they may end up being taken to the local council pound.

Before going on any road trip or holiday with your pet, make sure you have a First Aid Kit in  your car or caravan that is suitable for both yourselves and your pet. Ideally order a dog or cat pet specific First Aid Kit.  Click here for a list of what to include in your kit.

What to pack when holidaying with dogs

You can help your dog to feel safe and comfortable in new places by taking along their familiar belongings on your trip such as their bed, blanket and favourite toys.

Don’t forget their lead and collar, food and drink bowls, poo bags, grooming tools and any other necessities, including their medications and the First Aid Kit.

Crate training your dog has many benefits and is particularly useful when travelling, both for the car journey and for providing your dog with their ‘safe place’ in unfamiliar surroundings. It is also useful for keeping injured or sick dogs safe.   You can find out how to do this and choosing the right crate for your dog HERE.

Also make sure you take enough of their food away with you to last the trip. Or, if you are heading off on an extended holiday, know where you can stock up on your usual brand along the way.  For some food specific tips when holidaying with your dog, click here.

If your dog or cat does tend to get stressed or anxious, then a calming spray or collar such as Adaptil or Feliway may help keep them calm on your journey.

Click here for advice on how to prepare your dog for car travel, particularly if they get motion sickness or anxiety, to help make the journey as safe and stress free as possible for them and you and your family.

Considering buying or hiring a caravan for a pet friendly holiday?

There’s no doubt that Australians love caravan and camping, and this continues to rise among people and families of all age groups.  For tips on what to consider when buying a RV then check out Gomakesomememories.com.au

Here’s a few Top Tips from our friends at New Age Caravans on what features are particularly handy to look for when holidays with dogs in particular.

  • Air conditioning, especially if travelling in summer or heading up north is vital to keep your pooch cool.
  • A shower with a pull-out water head is really handy after days out at the beach.
  • A good sleeping area or spot for their bed
  • Having plenty of shade is important for you and your pooch so a van with an awning is as must
  • Find something sturdy to secure your dog ‘s lead to and purchase a long lead so they can still roam about but also be kept safe.
  • Look for extra storage space to help keep all of your pet’s gear in one spot together to help avoid clutter or losing anything!
  • A caravan with an outside tap is also very handy to place their water bowl under.
  • New Age Caravans can even customise your van to suit your individual needs too!

If you are really only just considering or getting into caravanning and camping, then why not check out some more Tips & Advice from the Caravan Industry Victoria website as well HERE.

If you haven’t already signed up to receive your FREE downloadable pet-friendly travel guide, you can do that HERE.   Use our Contact Us form if you have signed up but didn’t receive your welcome email or travel guide. (Check your junk in box too.)



About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog walking, dog minding and dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.

Looking for more dog tips and fun facts?

Get your paws on Lara Shannon’s best selling books ‘Eat, Play, Love (your dog) and World of Dogs.

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