Many of us have pets we consider part of the family, and when we travel, we love to take them on the journey with us. Trends in holiday parks have moved towards a pet-friendly environment, making sites and facilities available for pet owners, particularly for dogs. In this guide to travelling with your pets, we outline essential tips and tricks you need to know to ensure your furry friend has the time of their life and is safe whilst doing so.
Firstly, Plan Ahead!
Before setting off on the road. Ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, and that your contact information is prominently shown on their tag or collar, so they are fully protected. Remember to do your research on your destination and campsite. Does your caravan park allow pets? Here is a list of our favourite pet-friendly campsites:
Wikicamps is a helpful app to help you find pet-friendly parks. It allows you to research your desired destinations to see if they allow pets. This will make the planning process that much easier as you can filter options for “dogs allowed” to find the right match for you.
If you are planning to visit a National Park, ensure you have organised for your pet to be looked after – either by a sitter, local kennel or if allowed, leaving them at your campsite whilst you’re gone. If you choose to leave your pet at your site, leave them with plenty of food and water and if it’s a hot day maybe opt to leave them inside your van with the air-con on so they can be comfortable. Additionally, organise with a site neighbour to check up on your pet throughout the day. Research local kennels or pet sitters, pet-friendly parks always have good local recommendations.
Bring all the necessary equipment needed for your pet whilst travelling, this includes food and food bowls, grooming tools, toys, coats or boots, travel crate or harness, collar and lead, any medication or supplements your pet requires, and a pet first aid kit as vet services can be scarce in remote areas but having this on hand will help immensely in an emergency. We recommend taking a pet first aid course if travelling to remote areas so you can be prepared
if the worse happens.
When travelling to remote parts of Australia, pet owners need to be more aware of restrictions and care to be taken to protect our pets and abide by applicable laws. National Parks are an area that strictly prohibits pets however some state areas such as State Forests allow both camping and your four-legged friends. NSW State forests allow pets however it’s important to understand some of the risks. Fox and wild dog baiting is a practice used in state forests and on neighbouring properties to control feral animals. Generally, these areas will be signposted but it’s important to take precautions. Keep an eye on your pet and have them leashed at all times.
State forests that allow dogs are:
NSW State Forests
Victorian State Forests with the exception of Murrindindi Scenic Reserve
Certain QLD State Forests and Timber Reserves.
Check the website https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/before-you-visit/dogs-and-pets
Setting up for your Pet:
Commercial holiday parks offering pet-friendly services are well documented and easy to find information on. These are safe environments for your pet, but you still need to be conscious of the peaceful enjoyment of others. Most importantly, always set up your area so your dog is comfortable, and always has shade and water. A dog run is easy to set up with a length of suitable rope and sturdy pegs such as short star pickets. Alternatively, a collar with a long lead tied securely to your van or under the tyre is an option for many. Be sure there are no sharp edges or points your pet or others can injure themselves on and mark trip hazards well. Make sure you give your pet a break from being on the run or on a lead and bring them inside for a few hours of comfy family time.
If your storage availability allows it, enclosures are a great way to keep your pet contained but allow freedom of movement. Set up under the shade of an awning or inside your annex, you can keep your pet shaded and comfortable even while you’re away from your van.
On The Road:
When getting from A to B on your trip it is essential that your animal is restrained in a safe manner so that it is comfortable but also protected. For both your and your animal’s safety. For dogs, special travel harnesses are available to buy from any pet store. These harnesses have a seatbelt attachment that allows your dog to be secure but still be able to witness what is going on around them. You could also install a cage in the back seat of your car, but make sure that it is comfortable for your animal and that they are calm and can see what is happening around them. Give your dog a good run around before getting in the car, as this will expel lots of energy and calm them for the drive ahead. Giving your animal some time outside before your journey also allows them to go to the toilet before you set off. However, animals are just like people when it comes to toilet breaks, when you need to go, they probably do too. Take regular toilet breaks for both yourself and your pets.
If travelling with cats or birds, who are known to disagree with long-haul drives, place a towel over their crate to keep them calm.
Done properly with some planning and the right tools, travelling with your furry best friend is a great experience for you and your pet. Travelling with your pets can allow you to camp more remotely and thus experience even more of what nature has to offer. And who wouldn’t want their furry member of the family sharing all the fun that caravanning and camping have to offer? So, remember to always keep your pets safe and comfortable, and ensure they don’t interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of others.
Happy camping to you and your four-legged friends!