It can be a terrible dilemma. The kids are all fully independent, you feel financially secure, you have got the caravan all ready to go and you're itching to take off.
So, what's the dilemma? It's the faithful family dog with their big brown eyes and soppy expression. They're part of the family and need you.
It is uncanny how your dog knows when you are packing to leave on holiday and nothing beats the pure joy expressed as they realise they are going too, and bound into the back/seat of the car.
If you're tucked away in the bush somewhere it's comforting to know that you've got a very effective intruder alarm sleeping nearby. Then, of course, there is the companionship.
VACCINATIONS AND RECORD KEEPING
Is your dog registered and vaccinated. If so, do you have the registration papers and vaccination card with you on your trip?
Perhaps take a printout of your pet’s medical history in case a visit to the local vet arises when you are away on your holiday.
Also with their food supply stock up, in big towns where it is cheaper, if you buy the Pedigree single serve, it is a bit more expensive but it is easier and lighter to carry than tins or stuff you have to put in the fridge.
Use a stainless steel bowl for water as it stays cooler longer than a plastic one. It is a good idea to use an old saucepan with the handle removed inside for travelling and a bucket for the outside that is always full of water.
Your pet needs to be micro chipped, for safe return if lost.
It is a good idea, to also get clear identification tag attached to the collar as well. Editable tags can be purchased at your local veterinary clinic and all good pet shops, to enable you to record the address of your holiday accommodation so your pet is returned to you quickly, and not the local RSPCA.
You need a very good tick wash, and should use it every week.
Animals and particularly dogs should also have either the yearly anti tick shot or get one each month. There are tablets available, but seem to work well for fleas but not all that well for ticks.
Any kind of pulling with tweezers often leaves the head, complete with fangs still attached to the victim injecting venom, so try a couple of the following full proof hints.
Where the tick is sometimes difficult to get to, for example in between toes or in the middle of a head full of dark hair...
Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for approx 15-20 seconds, the tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away. This technique has worked every time I've used it, and it's much less traumatic for the patient and easier for me. Unless someone is allergic to soap, I can't see that this would be damaging in any way.
I have also heard of using a cigarette to burn the end of the tick or smother the tick with Vicks or Vaseline, and they simply just pop straight out, as it smothers them. They breathe through their head part and simply can’t stand it.
Find out from your vet before you leave which are the bad areas for heart worm.
You should stock up from the vet for your dogs tick treatments and worm treatment as some places do not have vets.
LEAVING YOUR DOG IN THE CAR
Dogs are particularly susceptible to heat stroke. Cars can become like ovens in a matter of minutes. Leaving the windows open or a bowl of water will make no difference. Dogs can die from heatstroke in less than 20 minutes.
If you have to, tie the dog to the outside of the car. This way, they can lie down under the car for shade (just don't forget the water).
PUTTING YOUR DOG ON A LEASH
If in a public place all dogs should be on a leash unless of course it is an off leash park or beach etc. Ensure that your dog has been socialised with other dogs, by giving them some training. Training is a great part of the fun of owning and sharing your life with a dog and is the best way to build a strong bond with your tail wagging mate.
If you want to be invited back to your favourite campground with your companion, do not allow the dog to interfere with local wildlife. Keep the dog restrained when taking them for a walk. They may take no notice of the birds and lizards in your garden at home, but once they lays eyes on their first wallaby, rabbit or emu, they could be off after them, if only for curiosity.
This will definitely not get you in the property owner’s favour. Expect the unexpected in non familiar places with your pet.
CARAVAN PARK ACCOMMODATION
For the few caravan parks that allow dogs, most only decide that small dogs are only welcome because they are less of a problem and do not scare the children as much as the size of a big dog.
We have seen some very yappy, viscous small dogs and some great warm and friendly big dogs, so the valid reason for this is unknown.
Some campgrounds for example only allow pets in off-peak times.
Most caravan parks charge a bond, for having your dog in the caravan park with you and these vary depending on where you are staying and whether they are affiliated with a group eg. Top Tourist.
You will need to really research where you can stay with a dog, especially in places like Broom, as we have heard the only accommodation that allows dogs in this area, is the Pistol Club on Port Road, down near the Golf Club. It is hard to find a camp ground or caravan park in these places at the best of times.
NATIONAL PARKS, CONSERVATION PARKS AND NATURE RESERVES
National Parks, Conservation Parks and Nature Reserves, do not allow dogs, and there are a lot of really good National Parks around Australia which you should not miss. Some of these areas do not have Kennels nearby. So, try and hook up with some people with a dog also and perhaps meet them at a future destination and share looking after the dogs, so you both can explore. You will be surprised how many people travel with dogs and how many like minded people you will actually meet up with.
The reasons why dogs are not welcome at National Parks are:-
- Native animals see dogs as predators. The lasting scent left by dogs can easily scare small animals and birds away from their homes, often causing them to leave their young
- Dog faeces carry diseases, which can be harmful to wildlife and people, and also add nutrients to the soil, increasing the spread of weeds.
- If dogs and other domestic pets have frightened native animals away from popular visitor areas, there will be no wildlife for other visitors to
- Dogs can interfere with the enjoyment of other park visitors
Pretty much ALL the attractions in the centre of Australia and across the North West, lie within some sort of protected area.
KENNEL STAYSFor kennels, leave a favourite toy and pillow or towel with them so they don't fret. The more you put them in a kennel, the more they will know that you will come back for them.
Don't let it your dog, go swimming to cool off in any Creeks, Rivers, Water Holes or Oceans up north, unless you are going in after them. Crocodiles will go for a dog. They're like lollies to them.
CLEANING UP AFTER YOUR PET
I guess there are a minority who do not pick up their dogs crap. I have seen this many times and it is usually my kids that end up with the crap all over their feet, yuck!
It can be very offensive to do the trick of letting your dog out pre dawn to poop on someone else’s site/lawn.
The law in some States is that you have to carry poo bags with you whilst with your pet.
The Holidaying with Dogs book is available from most book stores, and has a list of pet friendly accommodation and pet sitters for each state, which most people have found helpful.
The Camps Australia Wide series of books are really good for rest areas and cheaper campgrounds that allow dogs. Also some State Forests allow dogs and you will find this information in the book.
The RSPCA also have a website which offers useful information on travelling with your pet – you can visit -www.rspca.org.au.
In the car/motorhome, there are a number of things to keep in mind when you travel with your dog in a vehicle. These will ensure not only your safety, but the safety of your pet.
Dogs can become car sick just as humans can. Make sure you have adequate ventilation for them. If possible have a window down to allow air to flow through.
It is not a good idea to allow them to poke their head out the window. Although the dog may enjoy this, the rush of air can be harmful and the dog could be in danger of being hit by objects. Ask yourself - would you allow your child to travel in your car with their head out the window?
If you allow them to sit on the back seat whilst travelling, buy the dog a harness for their safety. Many animals die each year in minor car accidents through not being harnessed correctly. Harnesses simply loop through or click into your existing seatbelts and prevent your dog from being thrown all around the car.
If your dog is constantly looking for food, it would be a good idea to put a muzzle on your dog when out of your van/tent as they can pick up thrown away chop or chicken bones plus poison baits. Vets are few and far apart out there so be careful and vigilant with your best friend.