I absolutely love hitting the road on a road-trip holiday with my gorgeous golden retriever, Riley.
Riley is my family and, like more and more Aussies, I just can't bear to leave him behind. Thankfully, there are now lots of pet-friendly options popping up across Australia (Airbnb, Stayz and tons of camping and caravanning parks) so doggy lovers like me don't have to.
It's important to remember that preparation is key to ensure a smooth, fun trip.
Here's my (and Riley's) top guide on how to have a paw-some holiday...
Sit. Stay. Play!
Firstly, I can't stress strongly enough how important it is you don't take a dog out with you on a road trip if they don't have some basic obedience training. You want to know that your dog will be safe if you have to stop by the side of the road, if you're in unusual circumstances for the dog or if you're going to some lovely accommodation where you need your dog to behave appropriately.
Don't leave without...
For a smooth and trouble-free trip, there are a few things I would not go without for my pup. Starting with dog food; I never assume I'll be able to buy my brand of dog food at my destination, so I always pack my own for Riley.
Next, the all-important poo bag, don't leave home without them -- and lots of them.
Your dog's favourite toys are a must, plus shampoo and grooming equipment, especially if you're going beachside or to a farm destination, as no doubt if your dog is anything like mine, you'll be washing your dog A LOT.
Lost and found.
A lot of dogs get lost when they go on holidays because they're in unknown territory and so they often run. This is when it's important to make sure your microchip details are up to date. Make sure your dog has an ID tag with a phone number on it that's going to work wherever you are. That is really important as it is the quickest way to get your pet back should someone find them wandering.
A home away from home.
I always pack some home comforts to make sure I have things with me that Riley comfortable with, i.e. Riley's own bedding and toys. A portable water bowl is also fantastic -- I have a material one, which I can fold up and stuff in a pocket or bag. It's just great to have in the car so you always know you have a water bowl available.
You need to think about your dog's safety in the car. So for larger dogs, a harness is great and you can secure this through the seatbelt. For smaller dogs, it's a good idea to put them in a crate -- it feels safe and is a perfect way to travel.
Right as rain.
One of the biggest mistakes pet owners make is not checking if their holiday destination is a paralysis tick area. This often happens when people live in an area that is paralysis tick free and they travel to a coastal destination for their holiday.
I would therefore definitely recommend that you phone the local veterinarian in the area that you're going to and ask them about paralysis ticks.
If the area has ticks, you need to start a tick paralysis prevention program at least two weeks prior to departing for you holiday. Your vet can work with you on the best program and type of product to use -- you should discuss the kind of activities that your dog might be involved in as this will help create the best plan for your circumstances.
Now, let's go!
Dr Katrina Warren will be at this year's Melbourne Leisurefest at Sandown Racecourse (October 5 - 8). Accompanied by two loveable Australian Shepherds, Pippin and Galaxy, Katrina will share her top tips and advice on travelling with dogs.