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Best pet-friendly holidays and what you need to consider

When planning a holiday, it can be heart-breaking to think about leaving our beloved pets behind. But did you know it is possible to travel with your pet? Australia has beautiful beaches, as well as stunning mountains, fun-filled cities and friendly country towns. What better way to see them all than with your furry companion at your side?

This holiday planning guide for pet parents makes it easy to prepare for the trip of a lifetime – including if you’re travelling together!

Things to consider before taking your pet on holiday

Before you pack your bags and set off on holiday with your four-legged friend, make an appointment for a vet check-up to ensure your pet is healthy and their vaccinations and parasite control are up-to-date. You will also need to organise a vaccination certificate before booking your pet-friendly holiday accommodation.

Travelling on long road trips with an animal who hates car trips or suffers nausea can be unpleasant for everyone. Your vet may be able to prescribe medication, if appropriate for your pet. If your pet is on any medication, you will need to make sure you have an adequate supply so you don’t run out while you are away.

When it comes to keeping your pet safe, microchipping pets as well as a collar with an ID tag and your phone number are essential in case your pet becomes lost.

Pack your bags

Consider packing a separate suitcase just for your pet. Take familiar bedding, toys, and food and water bowls with you, and pack plenty of your pet’s usual food to prevent an upset tummy by a sudden diet change. A no-spill water bowl is an excellent idea whilst on a road trip.

You should include your pet’s shampoo, towels and grooming equipment, as well as a tick remover and flea/tick and intestinal worm/heartworm prevention, as advised by your vet.

Make sure your pet is safely restrained on the journey with a travel harness or in a travel crate. Plan for on-leash toilet breaks at regular intervals, and always keep your pet on a lead during rest breaks as they may run off. Some ferries and boat trips require dogs to wear a muzzle.

For trips on a plane, be sure to check airline requirements for paperwork and travel crates and check in with plenty of time to spare. Be aware that there are significant health risks for brachycephalic breeds travelling by air. Overseas trips are an option for some families and their pets, however quarantine requirements need to be adhered to for the country you are travelling to and on your return to Australia.

Avoid feeding your pet a big meal before setting off.

When on holiday follow the rules

Check ahead to see if the accommodation is pet friendly and adhere to their rules so they continue to welcome other pets. Generally, keeping pets on a leash, cleaning up after them and making sure they don’t disturb other holiday makers is basic pet etiquette. Beach trips can be fun, but call ahead to ensure any beaches you plan on visiting are pet-friendly.

Will your pet be happier staying home?

Some pets may be happier staying at home. Cats in particular may not adapt well to a long road trip, so consider a pet-sitter in your home or check them in to a boarding facility.

Pets are also not allowed in certain areas such as National Parks so plan ahead if any of these areas are on your itinerary.

Holidays designed for pet parents

Holidays can be fun for the whole family, and with a bit of planning, your pet can often come along with you. There are a range of amazing holiday options for pet parents, including canine cruises, puppy beach shacks and cosy kitten getaways. Some hotels even offer pet friendly holiday packages!

Consider how pet insurance could help ease your mind knowing that you have financial protection should your pet become ill or have an accident whilst you are away. RSPCA Pet Insurance has 4 levels of cover to choose from and a portion of first-year premiums goes towards supporting the valuable work of the RSPCA.

Dr Catherine Tiplady bio image

Dr Catherine Tiplady

Dr Catherine Tiplady studied veterinary science at the University of Queensland. After graduation, Dr Catherine worked in veterinary practice whilst undertaking postgraduate research in Animal Welfare, gaining additional degrees in Bachelor of Applied Science (Animal Studies) (Hons 1) and a PhD. Dr Catherine has published widely in peer reviewed scientific journals and has also authored a book, ‘Animal Abuse: Helping Animals and People’. Currently working in small animal practice, Dr Catherine also has her own business performing gentle in-home pet euthanasia and provides veterinary care and desexing services for animal welfare charities. Dr Catherine brings her passion for animal welfare, love of writing and scientific training together to contribute quality content to RSPCA Pet Insurance’s Pet Care blog.