Planning a Dog-Friendly Vacation

Taking a vacation is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and it becomes even more rewarding when you can share the experience with your beloved dog. With a little extra planning and consideration, a holiday with your dog in New South Wales can be a delightful adventure. However, there are a number of preparations that you’ll have to make to ensure that you both enjoy your downtime together.

Pre-Trip Preparations

Before you embark on your journey, there are a few key preparations to ensure a stress-free vacation with your dog:

  • Check-Up & Vaccinations: Visit your vet for a routine check-up to ensure your dog is healthy enough to travel. Make sure your pet is up to date with vaccinations, and if you’re travelling internationally, inquire about any additional vaccinations required.
  • Pet Identification: Ensure your dog’s identification is current. This includes tags with your contact information and, ideally, a microchip. If travelling internationally, a pet passport might be necessary.
  • Pack Essentials: Pack all the essentials your dog will need. This includes food, water, dishes, leash, waste bags, bed, toys, and any medication your dog may need. Consider also bringing a pet first aid kit.
  • Research Pet Policies: Research pet policies and regulations of the places you’re visiting. This includes public transportation rules, park regulations, and potential breed-specific legislations.

Choosing Accommodations

Finding the right place to stay is crucial to ensure a comfortable trip for both you and your dog:

  • Pet-Friendly Stays: Look for hotels, guest houses, or vacation rentals that are explicitly pet-friendly. Be sure to understand their pet policies, including any extra fees, restrictions on size or breed, and the number of pets allowed.
  • Consider Space & Amenities: Choose a place that offers enough space and a safe environment for your dog. If your dog enjoys being outdoors, try to find accommodations with a garden or easy access to a park.
  • Location: Choose a location that is near dog-friendly amenities, such as parks, trails, or dog-friendly beaches.

Travelling with a Dog

Whether you’re travelling by car, plane, train, or boat, here are some considerations to ensure a smooth journey:

  • Car Travel: Ensure your dog is secure in a well-ventilated crate or harness. Take regular breaks for bathroom and exercise stops. Never leave your dog alone in a closed car, especially in warm weather.
  • Plane Travel: Check the airline’s pet policies ahead of time. Some allow small dogs in the cabin, while others may require pets to be transported in the cargo hold. Make sure your pet’s crate is airline approved.
  • Train or Boat Travel: Many train and ferry companies have specific pet policies. Always check in advance. Some may require a crate or carrier, while others might only allow pets in specific areas.

Keeping Your Pooch Safe While on Vacation

Despite all our best efforts, emergencies can still happen, and it’s vital to be prepared.

  • Locate Nearby Veterinary Services: Before you set off on your trip, research and note down the contact details and locations of veterinary clinics near your accommodation. If your destination is remote, ensure you know the location of the nearest vet, even if it’s a considerable distance away. Having this information readily available can save crucial time in case of an emergency.
  • Pet Insurance: Consider getting pet insurance if you don’t already have it. Make sure the policy covers any potential health issues while you’re on vacation, especially if you’re travelling internationally. Understand what the policy covers and any steps you may need to take to validate a claim, such as keeping medical records or receipts.
  • Emergency First Aid Kit: Carry a first aid kit for your dog. This should include items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers (for tick removal), a digital thermometer, a muzzle (dogs may bite when in pain), and a blanket. It’s also recommended to bring any medications your dog regularly takes or might need, including antihistamines for allergic reactions, and anti-nausea medications for travel sickness.
  • Recognize Signs of Distress: Be aware of your dog’s normal behaviour and be alert for signs of distress or illness. Rapid breathing, excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, loss of appetite, or changes in behaviour may indicate something is wrong. If you notice these or any other concerning symptoms, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Activities with Your Dog

Planning activities that your dog can participate in will make your vacation more enjoyable for both of you:

  • Outdoor Activities: Choose activities that allow dogs, such as hiking, visiting dog-friendly beaches, or exploring parks. Ensure your dog is leashed or under control at all times, especially in unfamiliar environments.
  • Dog-Friendly Attractions: Some cities offer dog-friendly attractions like canine cruises, pet-friendly cafes, or even doggie spas.
  • Local Events: Look out for local dog events happening at your destination, such as dog fairs, meetups, or dog-friendly festivals.
  • Take it Easy: Remember that dogs, like people, need downtime. Make sure to schedule in some rest time between activities.


Vacationing with your dog can be a wonderful and enriching experience. After all, the joy of exploring new places and making memories is even better when shared with our furry friends. We hope that you learned a little something about how to set your trip up for success. 

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