When we first made the decision to sell everything and do the big lap of Australia, we had so many things to consider, pets being one of the most obvious. We wondered about travelling Australia with a dog and if it would be possible to take our mate with us.
Our dog, Yoshi is a Kelpie x Koolie, who happens to think he is human, and about the size of a maltese terrier. I know this because he has been know to try and curl up on the lap of his unsuspecting parents, and believes that whatever is cooked for everyone else should also be on his menu.
So, we couldn’t let Yoshi in on the fact that he’s really a dog, that would have broken his heart, the only solution was to bring him along with us of course!
Our cat, lives with my brother and sister in law and their children, and I’ll be seeing him for the first time in 5 months soon, and upon my return I expect to be utterly ignored for the first 24 hours so he can prove to me how much he resents me for leaving him, and how much he loves his new mum (my sister in law), but I know I’ll win out in the end, he loves his mum and knows she feels guilty for leaving him, but she also knows he’s in safe hands (thanks Jo).
So, back to travelling Australia with a dog. Let’s take a look at how that works for us, and hopefully answer any questions you have.
I remember reading the travel blogs of other people before we hit the road. I could see they were travelling with dogs, but they didn’t give specifics of HOW they were making it work. I wondered about the ins and outs of having a dog with you every day.
Where do we leave the dog while we do short activities?
We are really lucky that Yoshi is a very well behaved boy who listens to instructions and is quite happy to sit and wait for us wherever it is he needs to be. When we do small trips, to the shops or into attractions that don’t take long to see, then we generally put him on a lead and leave him tied somewhere safe with a bowl of water and dog food. Sometimes that means tying him to the car, sometimes that means a nice shady spot out the front of side of the venue. It’s always somewhere safe and he knows when we tell him to “be a good boy we’ll be back” that his time siting there waiting for us will be short lived.
TIP: Now we’re on the road full time, we rarely go into big shopping centres or other retail centres, purely because we have little need for what they offer and such limited space, that retail therapy isn’t an option. We also shop once a week for supplies, so generally we’ll visit the grocery store and that will be it. I find that before we were on the road, we were a lot more busy with things like shopping and it would have been hard to always have a dog with us, now, our lifestyle looks much different, and we’re generally out exploring nature, and he’s right along beside us.
Where do we leave the dog for longer activities?
Sometimes there are activities we want to do that require us to be out and about for the entire day. Obviously for extended periods of time, it’s not suitable to leave him tied up for long periods. There are a few options we’ve used when wanting to explore which include the following:
Kennels: While we don’t like kenneling Yoshi, because we know he misses us, but sometimes there’s just no other option, and at least we have peace of mind knowing he’s safe. We’ve written before about how to find a good kennel for your dog, and luckily we’ve had a couple of options to choose from when we’ve needed to leave him overnight and we’ve always gone with our instinct on good places to leave him. If you free camp a lot like us, then kenneling can be more expensive than your own accommodation, in fact, in our 3 months in Tasmania, we spent more on boarding for Yoshi than we did on our own accommodation. Be flexible, be sensible and know that it’s going to be part of your travel expenses. We see it as a small price to pay for having him with us to share the journey.
Exchange Pet Sitting: When we were camped near Freycinet National Park in Tasmania, we were so close and yet so far. We knew we couldn’t go into the National Park with Yoshi, and yet, we knew that it was probably the only chance we’d get to see Wineglass Bay during our Tassie trip. Luckily for us, a lovely couple offered to watch Yoshi for a few hours so we could do the trek to the Wineglass Bay lookout. In return for their kindness, Matt gave them both a haircut, so it was a lovely way to say thanks for their kindness. We’ve had other offers too, to watch him for us, and would do the same for other travellers if the need arises. We’ve also stayed at private low-cost camps, where there weren’t many people around and they’ve let us leave him at the van for a few hours so we could explore. Old Mac’s Farm near Launceston in Tassie was a great example of this.
Other Options For People Travelling With Dogs
Vets: Quite often you’ll be able to get in touch with vets in the area who often allow you to leave your pet for a short term boarding visit if there’s no other options in the area. We haven’t done this with Yoshi, but we know of other travellers who have done so, it’s definitely worth making a phone call if there’s vets in the area and you have no other options available for pet sitting.
Gumtree: Use Gumtree to do a search for people who offer pet sitting in the region you’re visiting. In some areas you’ll find pet sitters that will take care of your animals in their own home, just like a private boarding kennel option. As always, go with your gut feelings on this, but it’s worth a try.
Some other Things To Be Mindful Of
You’ll need to make sure you’re dog’s vaccinations are up to date in order to kennel them, and you also will need to be aware of any quarantine requirements (I think this really only applies to Tasmania which requires they have their Hydatid Tapeworm tablets within 14 days of visiting. Also, we advise keeping a collar and tag on your dog that has your mobile phone number on it. Microchip details are only valid in the state of registration for your animal as far as we’re aware, which means if you lose your dog, when it’s found, it might not be as easy to reunite them with you as it would be at home.
The Truth About Travelling Australia With A Dog
The real truth is, that while we wouldn’t change travelling with our dog at all, it does mean we need to be flexible and mindful of our choices. The honesty of the situation is that we do sometimes have to miss out on some National Parks or Conservation areas that don’t allow dogs, and while there’s an ever growing number of caravan parks and free camp sites that allow dogs to stay, it does sometimes limit our options. If you decide to travel with your pet, you need to be OK with the fact that you might need to re-arrange entire sections of your travels in order to accommodate them. We are on an open ended trip, so we have time and no real schedule. If you’re on a shorter trip, with limited time, it might be much harder to work around having your dog with you.
When we decided to do a cruise on the Arthur River for example, we left Yoshi in a kennel that meant we travelled an extra 80km’s or so to come back and get him. But the cruise was definitely worth it, and was something we didn’t want to miss out on. We wouldn’t change having our boy with us, he’s a part of our family and he’s relatively easy to travel with, he loves exploring, and he’s a really big fetch addict who makes us lots of new friends no matter where we are, with his big, brown puppy dog eyes sooking at everyone within reach to ppplllleeeeaasssseeeee throw his stick.
If you have ANY questions about travelling with your dog, then please drop us a line, or ask in the comments below……
Travelling Australia is fun for all the family, and by that, we me ALL the family, pets included.
Wondering if you can drag your dog, cat, bird or even other pets along on the journey? Why, yes! We believe you can, and here’s our quick guide to how.
Is it Safe to Take Pets Travelling?
We have experience with many kinds of pets. From snakes and lizards, to dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, birds and even a pig! Would we take any of these travelling Australia with kids? Not all pets, but yes, for sure, some of them. After all, pets are part of the family aren’t they? Our dog goes almost everywhere with us, from short drives to the shops, to long, long road trips.
How hard/easy or safe it is to take your pet travelling will depend greatly on the type of transport and accommodation you’ll be depending on. Travelling in a car and staying in hotels is going to be highly restrictive. Those travelling in buses, motor homes or caravans, and those self sufficient campers will have an easier time accommodating their pets.
Travelling with Dogs: Easy to travel with compared to some other animals. Be sure to know your pets limits, carry water, food and allow toilet stops. Travelling safely inside the car with pet designed safety harnesses is also recommended
Travelling with Birds: Can be caged. Very tame birds could travel well, but for most birds, the journey may be too stressful. Travelling with birds will mostly require independent travel using a motorhome or van as most accommodation venues will not allow them.
Travelling with Cats: Yes, we do know people who travel with cats. Mostly in buses, as it could be difficult any other way. If your cat is well travelled and you’re self sufficient and camping etc then you could definitely manage a feline friend on the road. Please keep in mind the safety of wildlife and don’t let cats roam free, or without bells on their collars!
Travelling with Reptiles: Reptiles require special heating and this makes it difficult to have them as mobile pets. Not only this, licenses are required in most states, and their are strict rules on taking reptiles across state borders. These types of pets are best left at home.
Travelling with other pets: It is possible to travel with other pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs etc. Keep in mind their individual requirements and if it may be stressful for the animals when being trasported.
Where Can You Take Your Pets on Holiday In Australia?
If you’re planning on heading to hotels, motels and caravan parks, then your options may just be a little limited when it comes to travelling with animals on board. If you’re looking to stay in these types of accommodation, the best option is to thoroughly pre-plan your trip and ring ahead in advance to ask individual managers/owners their pet policies. Don’t be surprised if it’s difficult.
The great news is, the more self sufficient you are, the more pet friendly accommodation options you have. Hotels and motels generally don’t allow pets to stay, although there may be some exceptions to this rule. Much of it comes down to being a health and safety issue. If you’re travelling in a camper trailer, tent or caravan and planning on a camping holiday, then you may just be in luck.
One of the most vital pieces of information is actually where you can’t take your pets when travelling. National parks and many reserves, sanctuaries or similar, do not allow domesticated animals. This is to protect native animals from disease, and from becoming too familiar with dogs etc which may put them at risk. Beaches, shops and restaurants will also have restrictions in place, and while this shouldn’t stop you taking pets, it’s definitely worth some careful planning to make sure that your pet friendly holiday is enjoyable for all the family.
Finding Pet Sitters While Travelling.
There may be times when travelling with your pet, you will need a short term carer. This is not as difficult as it seems. Most larger towns have pet boarding kennels, see our guide to choosing a good pet boarding kennel while on holidays. If that option isn’t available, then local vet clinics will often pet-sit for a small fee. If that’s sill not an option, then check with the tourist information centre for pet sitters, or ask around with other travellers, it’s not uncommon to find another travellers who is happy to pet sit for a few hours.
No matter where you travel with your pet, as with any holiday, enjoy!
All your plans are in place for your next family adventure to explore Australia, the kids are excited, travel dates secured and a rough itinerary to lead the way, all the family members are excited, except perhaps the family dog.
While there are many Australian travel experiences that allow you to take dogs on holiday, there are times when you’ll need to leave your much loved canine companion in the care of someone else. Where you leave them is a decision that many pet owners struggle with.
There are some pro’s to having pet carers look after your dog, and a range of options that allow your animals to stay at your own home or at the home of a carer. This option may suit some, but there’s definitely a worry when it comes to leaving animals at home alone even if they have visits daily. Leaving them at the home of someone else, also brings worry about security and dangers you may be unaware of.
For many pet owners, this means that the best care option for your dog is a good Dog Boarding Kennel while you travel.
If you don’t have a regular boarding kennel that you use for your pets, or if you’re travelling with your pets and need to leave them somewhere safe in a new town, then here are some things to look for and some questions to ask to help find the safest kennel for your dog.
How to Find a Good Dog Boarding Kennel:
1. Ask friends, family members, clients, workmates anyone you know who may have some experience with pets and kennels in the local area. If someone has had a bad experience with a kennel, or knows someone who has, they are very likely to tell you if asked. Keep an open mind with any feedback that you hear, and be sure to note the type of dog or pet they have. Another good place to ask for recommendations is your vet, or a local vet. They tend to know a little about what goes on at local area kennels and can probably offer some advice.
2. Research Available Options: Hit the internet or the phone book and make a list of available kennels in the region. There may be some you’ve not heard of from people you’ve asked, and they may be just what you’re looking for. Note down all the kennels and their contact numbers, this will help with the next step.
3. Using your previous research and contact list, contact each of the kennels and ask about their suitability and availability for looking after your dog. Do they cater for large/small/medium breeds, what exercise programs do they have as well as any dietary requirements your dog may have. If they have availability for your requested time period and seem suitable over the phone, the next step is to schedule a visit to check out the facilities. Ask if this is a possibility, and if so, make an appointment to visit. If a kennel won’t allow you access to take a look at their facilities, this may be a warning sign of problems.
4. What to Look For When Visiting a Kennel for Suitability:
- Does the Kennel appear clean and healthy?
- Is there heating and/or cooling for animals?
- Do the staff seem caring and interested in the animals?
- Is vaccination a requirement of the pets staying there? (This helps to protect your dog)
- Are dogs housed in their own indoor/outdoor run or if only an indoor run are they exercised daily?
- Is there adequate lighting and ventilation?
- Are beds provided for dogs to keep them up off the concrete?
- Are cats housed away from dogs?
- How often are dogs fed?
- Can special food be supplied to meet dietary requirements?
- What veterinary services are available?
- Are other services on offer such as grooming, training, bathing?
- How are rates calculated and are discounts available?
5. After talking to and visiting available kennels it’s time to make your choice, knowing that your pet will be kept in a safe, healthy environment. Sure they may miss you while you’re gone, but you’re doing them a favour keeping them in a suitable, safe environment where they’ll be looked after.