Should I Travel Australia with a Dog would have to be one of the most asked questions that we see in our Facebook Group – Planning a Lap of Australia. For many people, their dogs (or cats for that matter) are part of their family and leaving them behind is just out of the question.
For starters, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. But, there are a lot of factors to consider before you make a decision in that regard. In writing this I have tried to include as much information as I can think of to help you make the right decision for you and your dog. And if anyone is wondering, we don’t have a dog, but we are dog lovers!
So here are a few things that you might need to consider prior to making the decision to travel Australia with a dog.
ARE YOU A RESPONSIBLE PET OWNER?
This would have to be the number one question you need to ask yourself and answer honestly as well. Do you keep your dog on a lead at all times? Do you always pick up your dog poo no matter where you are? If your dog is barking for some reason, do you respond quickly to quieten it down? If you can honestly answer yes to all these questions then you are off to a good start.
IS YOUR DOG WELL TRAINED AND BEHAVED?
How well trained is your pooch? Do they come when they are called? Do they follow commands easily? How do they behave around other dogs? How do they behave around other people and children in particular? If they are responsive and easily managed, then that is another plus.
WHAT BREED OF DOG DO YOU HAVE?
There is no doubt that some dog breeds have bad reputations. But I firmly believe it is how they are trained and cared for that makes a good or bad dog, not the actual breed. But having said that, there will still be some places who may not accept very large dogs as a way of safe guarding other guests or travellers.
Having a larger dog travelling with you may mean that they need lots more exercise than a smaller dog which can be a good thing as it may mean you yourself will get more exercise and perhaps travel more slowly.
HOW WELL DOES YOUR DOG TRAVEL?
Is your dog a good traveller? I know some dogs do get car sick and that would certainly be a challenge. But if your pooch is content to flop on the back seat and sleep the miles away then you might be on a winner. But if you have a dog that requires a lot of exercise or is always on the go, it may not be fair to the dog to be cooped up in a car for long periods of time. So make sure you take plenty of rest breaks.
IS YOUR DOG IN GOOD HEALTH?
If your dog is young and fit and healthy, then they should travel easily. If they are getting older then you may face some more challenges.
In some areas of Australia you may find different diseases such as Leptospirosis. Transmitted through rat urine it is common in rural areas of Queensland and the Northern Territory. Another fatal disease if left untreated is Erhlichiosis which is a tick-borne disease and found in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. So make sure all your dogs vaccinations are up to date ad you have enough flea, tick and worm treatments with you.
It may be a good idea to have a vet give your dog a thorough check up before you leave and carry a list of any medications that your dog may need.
If your dog has special dietary requirements or only eats a certain brand of food, it may not be available in all areas of Australia.
WHAT DO I DO WITH MY DOG IF I WANT TO GO OUT?
This will possibly be your biggest challenge if you choose to travel Australia with your dog. There are still many places where you are unable to take a dog such as National Parks, Museums, Art Galleries, Theme Parks, Art Galleries, Cruises etc.
However, more and more caravan parks are accepting pets these days. It may pay to do some research to see which ones are the most pet friendly. For example, Kui Parks have almost 80 parks Australia wide and around 97% of them of pet friendly.
You will be pleased to know that there are loads of resources out there to help you find somewhere to leave your pet during the day or for a couple of hours. As the demand for more pet friendly accommodation grows, we are seeing more places offering Doggy Day Care. We first encountered this idea when we stayed at Sandstone Park at Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland.
Most pet owners know their pets very well, so only you will be able to judge if it’s okay to leave your dog in your caravan for a little while. We had good friends that travelled with an older border collie and they knew that if they left her in their van for a couple of hours that she would just snooze on their bed. But we’ve all seen the below image do the rounds on the internet!
There are now loads of resources available to help you as you travel Australia with your dog. The below is a list of sites, pages and groups that may be useful as you travel. Also, if you are looking for a pet sitter don’t forget to check local Facebook groups or even Gumtree for pet sitters. Many local vets also offer a pet sitting service. You may also find that you can help out another traveller by looking after their dog one day and then they can return the favour the next.
- Mad Paws Pet Sitting – a website for finding pet sitters Australia wide.
- Caravanning with Pets – Website from the team at Caravanning with Kids
- WikiCamps – shows whether a caravan park or campsite is pet friendly
- Travelling With Dogs in Australia – Facebook Group
- Travel Australia With Dogs – Facebook Page and Website
- Travel Dogs Australia – Facebook Page and Website
- Caravanning, Holidaying, Travelling with Dogs in Australia – Facebook Page
- Travel Australia with Dogs – Facebook Group
- Pet Sitters AU – For Travelling Pets – Facebook Group
- AUSTRALIAN Caravanning/Camping Travelling With Dogs – Facebook Group
- Camping/Travelling with Pets – Facebook Group
- Take Your Pet – website for finding pet friendly places
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
Here are a few other things that you might need to consider, if you do decide to travel Australia with your dog.
- Remember to take regular breaks from driving so as your dog can stretch his legs and go to the toilet.
- Always carry extra water, especially when it is hot.
- Always carry poo bags.
- Don’t forget to include your pets food in your travel budget.
- Make sure you budget for if your dog gets sick or injured whilst you are travelling. Will you have access to a vet or money to cover those expenses?
- It may be worthwhile to consider taking out Pet Insurance before you leave
- Make sure your dog is micro-chipped and your contact details are up to date. Ensure you dog has a collar with your contact details on it as well.
- Be aware of areas that may have 1080 baits. It may be best to use a muzzle in such areas.
Many towns provide fenced, off-leash dog exercise areas. Some even have agility equipment in them. Many caravan parks are becoming more pet-friendly and installing dog washes. Some even have a separate washing machine that you can use to wash your pets bedding. There are now even some caravan parks that have completely fenced caravan sites so you don’t have to leave your dog tied up.
TRAVEL ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR DOG
Your dog will want a few things to make life comfortable for him (and easier for you) whilst you are on the road. A good quality dog bed that folds up for storage is a good idea. If you are travelling in the southern states during winter you can add a fleecy topper that can be removed for washing.
If your dog travels on the back seat of your car, you might like to protect your seats with this Dog Seat Buddy from Navigator. It has zipped sides to allow easy access. Plus it is made from strong, durable fabric that you can easily wipe clean. Add to that a good quality lead, so you can keep your beloved pooch secure at all times.
Also from Navigator is this awesome set of a collapsible water bowl, dry dog food storage bag and a poo bag buddy. The dry dog food bag holds 8kgs of biscuits. It then rolls over and clips securely at the top meaning no annoying spillages. Given the current mouse situation, you should have no issues with them getting into your dog food!
So should you travel Australia with a dog? I think the answer is yes as there are many more resources available and places to stay with your pet than ever before. It may mean that you have to plan your outings and day trips a little more in advance but I think it is 100% doable.