Taking Pets on Holiday

Dec 2, 2021

Image Source: VetsChoice

So, you’ve considered boarding, thought about asking a friend for a favour and checked out a couple of potential house sitters… but you just can’t bear to leave Fido behind?  Are you sure Fido really wants to come on holiday and is relaxed enough to handle the journey?  If so, here are some tips that may help you navigate a successful holiday away together.

Note.  This blog is written with dogs and cats in mind.  Exotics such as birds and rabbits will have specific travel requirements.  Please check with our staff for advice on travelling with exotics.  

First Things First… Are they invited?

There’s nothing quite like an unwanted guest, especially one that makes itself at home the second they walk through your front door!  When taking your pet on holiday, check that they will be welcome and have a suitable space allocated to them.  Whether it’s a hotel, motel, campground, rental or a friend’s house… never assume they are wanted as this could lead to a very short stay for all.

When you arrive take the time to settle your pet into their temporary home.  Make sure they know where their food and water will be kept and where they can safely and appropriately toilet themselves.  Place their bed where somewhere you can see them and they can feel safe knowing you are close by.

If you are staying with a family with different age dynamics to your own, take time to introduce your pet to their family and make sure everyone knows how to play safe and understand when to give each other space.  Some pets can initially find the unpredictable movement of small children or louder speech by an elderly person unsettling until they understand there is nothing to fear.  

Pets generally enjoy and rely on having a “usual” routine so where possible, stick with their normal meal times and walk schedule during your time away.  This will help them settle better for the remainder of the day.

Local Dangers & Local Vets

A Suitable Environment

A scared animal will often run away from their new environment so make sure your holiday stay is well fenced or if necessary, keep them inside or on lead while you are there. 

Make sure their name tags are clear, keep their collars on at all times and check their microchip is suitable for the state you are travelling to.  There are national and state-based microchip requirements so ensure you have the right one for your holiday.  If your pet becomes lost a microchip is the best way to identify who they belong to, how to find the owner and what medical needs they may have in the meantime.  

Does your pet need a hair clip before you travel somewhere hot?  This also helps with identifying ticks if any are picked up along the way.

Local Pests and Parasites

Ticks, ticks, ticks… we cannot say it enough.  Ensure your pet has year-round, up-to-date tick and flea prevention administered.  This becomes critically important around coastal and northern areas but ticks can be found all across Australia.

Snakes, insects, plants, allergens, stingers, jellyfish and other local flora and fauna may be a common pet issue depending on where you are travelling to.  Do your homework and call a local vet to ask what is relevant to the area you are visiting.  Ensure you keep a local vet’s details to hand in case you need it while on holiday.

Take a photo of your vet’s vaccination record in case you need this while you are away.  

You may need to pack some pet-friendly sunscreen depending on your pet.  Call us on 9499 4010 if you need advice on what product to use.

What to Pack

  • Water
  • Normal food – try not to change their diet while away.  Kibble is convenient as it will not require refrigeration.  
  • Poo bags and any relevant equipment.
  • Medications – sufficient for your whole trip.
  • Favourite toys.
  • Favourite bed / blanket.  Keeping their smells the same at bedtime will help them settle.
  • First aid kit for dogs. 
  • Grooming equipment.
  • Towel for drying off if necessary.

Travelling by Car

Never leave your pet in an unattended car.  Animals dehydrate quicker than humans and temperatures inside a vehicle can rise quickly causing death by heat stress even in milder conditions.

Make sure your pet is used to travelling in a car before your holiday.  They can get motion/anxiety sick if they are not used to the sensation. If they do get sick during practice sessions, please ask us for recommendations. 

Give your pet lots of breaks to walk, stretch, toilet and have a good drink.  Keep your dogs on a lead when you stop at all times so they do not run into any traffic while you are having a break.

Keep your animal off the sunny side of the car.  If necessary, pull over and change sides of where they are strapped in.  Ensure they have adequate ventilation in the place they are strapped.  

Crate your cats for travelling and ensure the crate is secured.

Crate or tether your dogs appropriately.  Rules per state may vary so ensure you have the relevant information you need for your area of travel.  Dogs travelling on the back of a ute should have sufficient tether so they can lie down, stand up, stretch and move about but not so long that they can put their paws up on the sides or reach the top of the cab.

Travelling by Plane

Airlines will often require your pet to have vet clearance for travelling by plane.  Ensure you get your paperwork done in sufficient time before you travel.  Most pets will travel in a crate placed in the cargo section of the plane.  Ensure your crate is sufficiently large enough for your animal to stand, stretch and lie down comfortably.  Sedation is not usually recommended for these journeys and check with the Pymble Vet if you need advice 9499 4010.  

Travelling by Boat

Dogs are often welcomed on boats but often with a muzzle or crate.  However, regulations vary greatly so check with your operator first to see if they would be welcome and what their specific company’s requirements are. 


  • Vetschoice
  • VetWest

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