How To Have Family Holidays with Your Pet Dog
Like most families, we love taking holidays together and one of the first questions we ask ourselves is what will we do with our dog while we're away?
It can be quite a challenge to find really nice accommodation that allows you to bring your beloved pooch but it is possible with a bit of research. We've taken Honey on lots of different weekends away around South East Queensland and even as far afield as down to Tasmania.
When we're going on a trip where we have chosen to bring her with us, the first places I check are Airbnb and Stayz.com.au and just make sure to have the filter set to search for pet-friendly places. I always make sure to read the guidelines for each listing and also let the owner know we are bringing our dog as sometimes they may have specific restrictions such as a small dog or outdoor dog only. Make sure you check that the place is well fenced if you plan to leave your dog at the property at any time.
I also check the map of the area and try to choose a listing that is within walking distance of dog-friendly locations like parks, beaches and outdoor eating options. Which of course, are the places we prefer to hang out anyway and it makes for a really enjoyable holiday all round.
Keep in mind that it's likely you'll be charged a slight premium for a nice place but that may be countered by not having to pay kennel fees, which we choose not to use. Mind you, homes listed on these sites can also be a really convenient option when you have kids as you can bring food supplies to cook at home or pack a picnic for day trips and avoid the cost of eating out for every meal. So it all evens out I think.
When we aren't able to bring our dog with us, in the case of an overseas trip or fly-in destination, for example, we have a few options too.
For shorter trips
If you're in Brisbane then I highly recommend the services of Houndog Doggy Daycare. Angela and Leah offer really cool day trips for dogs and they also have a doggy resort which is their home! Your dog can go and live with them while you're away and be just as comfortable as they would be at home. They go on daily busy walks and regular trips to the bay for a swim and just like regular daycare, you'll get daily update photos by text message. I'm sure there will be a similar service where you are.
For longer trips
As I mentioned, we've made the choice not to put Honey in a kennel so instead we use services like Aussie House Sitters where you can list your house for the period of time you're away and the jobs you require the house sitter to do eg walk and feed dog, mow lawn, put bins out, check the mail etc, and the website acts like a match making service. This is a really great option as it's free but mutually beneficial for you and the person house sitting for you. I recommend this option for times when you'll be away for more than a week.
We also sometimes take Honey down to Roly's mums place if we have a really long trip or can't find a house sitter and she really gets the royal treatment. Granny's place also has a 2-bedroomed cottage which is doggy paradise if you're ever visiting or passing through the Port Macquarie region you can stay here with your pooch!
Some final tips
Taking your dog on holiday can be either be limiting or rewarding, depending on how you view it. We have a toddler so our holidays these days revolve around slow activities like walking to the park and having snacks. So for us, it's perfect. And kids love coming over to pat Honey so it's a nice way for Max to make friends to play with.
It's important to be a mindful dog owner, to be respectful of the rules in the places you stay like not letting your dog on the bed or couch if the owner asks you not to and to clean up after dog, both at the property and while you are out and about.
Also check in advance that certain parks, public facilities and attractions allow dogs. The rules in each state and region are different for national parks - some allow dogs on leash and others are not allowed at all.
I hope this post was of use! Have I missed any tips?