Our furry (and some not so furry), friends are like family, and holidays just aren’t the same if you’ve had to leave them behind!  More and more accommodation providers and caravan parks across Australia, are understanding of this, and are starting to accept dogs.

Before you head off on your next trip, there are some measures that can be taken to help ensure the safety and enjoyment of your 4-legged friend, as well as other holiday makers in the area.

Be Prepared!

Taking the time to prepare for your next road trip with your pet will help towards a safe and relaxing holiday for everyone involved!

Microchipping

If your dog is microchipped & registered in one state, and is lost in a different state, his microchip details may not be automatically available for a vet to look up.

Currently, there are eight microchip databases in Australia. If you’re not sure where your pet is registered, you can check here: http://www.petaddress.com.au/ . If you don’t know your pet’s microchip number, you can contact your local vet, local council or animal welfare shelter, who can scan your pet and supply you with his microchip number.

Ensure your pet’s microchip details are also up to date, so that if separated, you and your pet can be reunited again as quickly as possible.

Something else to consider, is that whilst a microchip provider may be Australia wide, it doesn’t necessarily mean that its registered with the Australian Vet Association. This means that if your dog is found and taken to a local vet, its microchip details can’t be looked up. Some older microchips used may also not register on the newer scanners, so its always a great idea to get your microchip checked.

ID Tag

Always have an ID tag of some sort on your pet. Whilst Microchipping is great, depending on where you are travelling, it can take days for someone to get to a vet within opening hours to scan your pet. A tag on your pet’s collar with your up-to-date phone number is a more immediate way of being reunited with your beloved pet.

Legalities

RSPCA figures show that every year around 5000 dogs are injured or killed in Australia, as a result of falling from a moving vehicle. Restraining your dog will help keep him, and your family safe in the vehicle.

Demerit points and fines vary across Australian states and territories, so a quick check of the laws that apply to transporting dogs by road in the relevant states, can help save you from an unwelcome fine!

Vaccinations, Treatments & Potential Health Risks

Its always advisable to ensure that your pet is fully vaccinated before leaving on your holiday, as there is always a risk that they come across unvaccinated animals on their travels. Keep records of your pet’s vaccinations and treatments as some accommodation providers will request it.

All tick and worming treatments should also be up to date. Ask your vet if there are any potential health risks for your pet that you may not be used to, such as Paralysis Ticks, Cane Toads, Snakes etc, that may be relevant to the areas you’re planning on visiting. A vet check-up will help ensure that your pets’ health and fitness is in good condition before you leave and gives you a chance to stock up on any necessary medications to last your pet through his holiday!

Make a list of vets located on the way to, and at your destination, in case of an emergency.

Online Communities & Facebook Groups

Joining relevant groups and communities can become invaluable sources of information and support, prior to and during your travels. “Australian Caravanning / Camping Travelling with Dogs” is one such Facebook Group where members offer their experiences as well as recommendations for pet sitters, pet-friendly accommodation providers, and more, for the areas you are thinking of visiting!

Plan for toilet breaks

Allow for plenty of toilet breaks during your road trip, to avoid any accidents inside the vehicle. Keeping your pet on a lead in new environments, will help keep them safe if they become frightened or panicked at any unfamiliar sights or sounds.

Motion sickness

If your pet isn’t used to road trips, avoid feeding him in the hour or two before you set off to help keep motion sickness at bay. Protect your car seats from accidents with MSA 4X4’s Premium Canvas Seat Covers! These seat covers are 100% water, dirt, mud, kid & pet proof, certified ADR compliant, include reinforced high wear areas for longevity and polycotton lined for maximum protection of your car seats, providing a complete barrier between the canvas and your soft factory seat.

Pack everything!

Familiarity and routine are important to your dog, therefore taking his bed, some if his favourite toys, usual food and water bowls, as well as his usual dog food and favourite treats will help provide familiarity in new surroundings.

Other items include leashes & harnesses, poop bags, crates / barriers or temporary fencing options, a towel to dry him off after swimming or baths, something to provide shade and a dog-friendly First Aid Kit. Always keep a supply of bottles of fresh water, in case you don’t have access to a tap.

Practical external storage solutions

Light, bulky items such as dog beds, blankets, swags etc can be packed easily in MSA 4X4's Half Pack Rooftop Bag! Manufactured from 15oz canvas, our Half Pack is the perfect size (50cm W x 140cm L x 30cm H) to fit on your roof rack whilst still allowing plenty of room for your tent and other items to be secured next to it! The MSA 4X4 Half Pack is easy to use with a fully attached seat belt harness system and YKK chunky zip with double metal sliders on 3 sides. Simply open the back of the pack to put your light, bulky items in, push them forward, zip it up and you're off!

Wet or dirty items can be securely stored outside of the vehicle in MSA 4X4’s 55ltr Rear Wheel Bag! Perfect for trips where you don’t want muddy or wet gear inside your vehicle. Its unique “Anti-Drop” harness system keeps your gear and bag from drooping behind the vehicle; extra zippered and reinforced pockets on each side offer more storage and its drainage hole releases any fluid. The Rear Wheel Bag can also be padlocked on to the well with a lock strap for added security!

Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle

Too many dogs are still left to die painfully every year from being left in a hot car. They can die very quickly from heat stress. Do not leave your animals or children in the car – especially not in summer.

Racy Face

As much as our furry friends look cute wearing their “racy face” out the window, the rush of air is apparently harmful, along with the risk of objects flying up and injuring them.

When you get there

When you arrive at your destination, help alleviate any anxiety for your pet, by allowing him to familiarise himself with his new surrounds.  Try and keep to usual routines around meals and walks, to help him adjust.

Keep your dog on a lead to help ensure the safety and general well-being of other families, pets and wildlife, but also for his own safety, as someone else’s dog can still be a threat to yours, even if you’re confident that your dog will respond to training cues like “come” and “stay”.

Be prepared for anything to happen and remain vigilant of other animals in the area, young children and other potential risks that may cause harm to your dog. Livestock and kangaroos can injure or kill your pet when kicking in self-defence. Many accommodation providers will stipulate that pets are not left unattended at any time; if you are planning on visiting a national park or somewhere not pet-friendly, a local pet-sitter, doggy-daycare, or even certain vets may be able to look after your pet, so that you can enjoy your day with the peace of mind that your furry companion is safe and secure.

Not everyone is a dog person and ensuring that your dog isn’t annoying others in the area is a great step towards more and more accommodation providers becoming pet-friendly. Be aware if your pet is making unreasonable noise and address it immediately – especially at night! Always pick up and dispose of droppings, not only at your pet-friendly accommodation, but also when you’re out and about. We don’t want a few irresponsible pet owners to spoil things for the majority.

Keeping a watchful eye on your pet ensuring that he’s safe and happy, will help towards a happy holiday for everyone!