Take your dog on holiday – top tips for choosing pet friendly accommodation

Are you planning your summer holiday? The increasing acceptance of dogs as companions rather than just objects of human ownership means that an increasing amount of holiday rental properties are recognising their place in families and allowing dogs to stay over too.

Although there are a number of web sites around for pet-friendly accommodation, the one I use most regularly is http://www.stayz.com.au as it’s very flexible – you can add a filter of ‘pets allowed’ for the specific regions, towns or properties you are searching for. In the last few years I have noticed a definite increase in the amount of properties that are allowing dogs as guests.

The vast majority of these are really lovely places to stay at and not run-down do-me-uppers that people have, to use a clichéd saying, ‘let go to the dogs’.

So how do you choose a property that will suit both your and your dog’s needs? Some handy tips include:

  • Choose a place for you firstly – one that you like the look of and will be happy spending your hard-earned money on as a holiday rental. Do you want to be near the beach or stay on a farm? Do you like modern or quaint? What other non-negotiables are on your list, such as having a barbeque area, open fire or spa bath?
  • Think about the needs of your dog. If they are likely to want to chase every kangaroo they see or be frightened of cows and other animals, then perhaps a farm stay in the country isn’t the right choice.
  • Are dogs allowed inside? Some places (usually in the minority) don’t allow dogs inside but it’s worth checking. Your dog is going to be in a new environment and forcing them to stay outside may cause them stress if they are used to being with you.
  • Fencing around the property is important, even if you are going to be keeping your dog inside with you. It’s handy for those night time toilet breaks to let them out for a sniff or just to let them explore new smells while you unpack the car or are relaxing with your book.
  • Check what facilities are provided for dogs. Some places are very well stocked and provide dog bowls, beds and toys. A lot of places don’t allow dogs on furniture or beds, so make sure you know what to bring to make them comfortable during their stay.

While going away with your dog is a great way to spend quality time with them, remember that going into a new environment can be a bit stressful for them. Over the years I have learned to help Zac adjust by:

  • Letting him have a good sniff and wee outside before coming into the house the first time.
  • Putting his bed and blanket in a protected corner of the lounge that is not in the middle of the pathway and showing him where to lie down with a treat.
  • Taking him for an accompanied walk through the place to familiarise him with the layout. I notice he’ll follow me around for the first little while then eventually settle down. Sometimes a game of fetch or something energetic will help him divest the little bit of tension into a positive activity.

Respect the rules of the property such as not allowing dogs on furniture or cleaning up the brown piles on the grass so others can benefit from bringing their dogs there in future. Happy holidaying with your dog!

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