These days many holiday venues will happily allow you to bring your pet along - a move that has been welcomed by many loving pet owners and their four-legged charges. In Australia these venues tend to be Bed and Breakfasts, self-contained cottages or apartments, Farm Stays and are likely to be located outside of the capital cities and ideal for a driving holiday. In other countries such as the USA and much of Europe they can also include many motels and hotels, often located in major cities and towns.
In fact, pet friendly holidaying is becoming a very popular travel alternative. You'll save on boarding costs and enjoy a holiday with all members of your family. Many even allow you to have your pet inside with you, if this is the arrangement that you have at home.
There are some wonderful resources that make the task of finding a pet friendly holiday venue as easy as possible, and these days the Internet means that you can even picture the venue before you get there. Select a few venues that appeal then contact each one to see what they mean by pet friendly. Once you have found a suitable holiday venue try to book ahead - quality venues often find themselves booked up weeks, even months in advance.
If you plan to hire a car for the journey, many rental car companies will allow you to take your pet. You can protect the seats with a blanket or purpose built commercial product. The general rule is that you must return the car in the condition you found it, or cover the costs of cleaning or even dry cleaning.
Because you're taking your pet with you there are a few extra considerations:
- Most venues will require you to bring your pets food and water bowls, and bedding
- Make sure that your pet is restrained in a crate or quality car harness. This is for the safety of your pet, your passengers and yourself. Protection for your upholstery is a wise move
- Pack plenty of food for your pet, especially if your chosen holiday venue is in a remote location - a supermarket can be quite a drive away
- Make sure your pet is collared, with current registration and contact information. If you have a mobile telephone it can be very useful to have this on the tag itself. I mean, what's the point of having only your home number listed if you won't be there?
- There will usually be plenty of opportunity to have your dog off-leash, however do not take this as a rule. Make sure you have your leash with you at all times. You may not need it, but it's better to be safe than sorry!
- Just like us, some pets simply do not travel well. They can become car sick, or even distressed. If this may be the case, speak to your vet about car sickness medications
- Most venues will provide you with a brochure and map, so make sure this is kept within easy reach
- It is wise, and often required to have your pet wormed and flea-treated. If there are likely to be ticks in the area, make sure to take preventative measures and have a tick removal tool handy at all times.
- Finally, if your dog likes a swim, throw a few doggy towels in the back of the car.
Hooray, it's time to go! The car is packed and it's time to hit the open road. You're taking your pet, so there are a few things to think about. Most are simply common sense:
- Pets and hot cars don't mix! Too many pets die each year because they are locked in hot cars, even in winter! The solution is so simple: try not to ever leave your pet in the car by itself, but if you have to, make sure to park in the shade, leave the windows open a little for fresh air, and keep it brief
- Remember - being able to bring your pet along is a privilege, not a right! If you wish to be welcomed back a second time, and encourage the venue to remain pet-friendly, make sure to follow the rules. They're usually pretty simple: if you are able to have your pet inside, this usually means keeping your pets off the furnishings (including beds). Many venues will also require that you collect and dispose of droppings prior to departure.
- Finally, if there are other animals on the property, such as horses, sheep or cattle, your dog will need to be under strict voice control, possibly leashed in certain areas.
Planning for a Pet Friendly Holiday
by Gerry Neustatl
Gerry Neustatl is the co-founder of Pets Playground, a comprehensive internet resource for Australian pet owners looking for pet friendly holiday venues and other holiday options, service providers and retailers.