To travel Australia with a dog OR NOT?
Ask a dog owner who their ideal travelling companion is and you’re very likely to hear their dog’s name in response. Our furry friends are often also our best friends, and who’d want to embark on an adventure of a lifetime without their best mate? Living the van life with a dog in Australia is, luckily, very do-able. From dog friendly parks and cafes to plenty of the great outdoors for walkies and more, Australia is one of the easiest countries to pack your pooch along for the ride. Here are our 10 useful tips for a successful van life with a dog in Australia!
Consider the amount of space you have
Obviously, the more you pack into your van, including people and dogs, the less space you’ll ultimately have, so think wisely about your van choice. Dogs themselves don’t need much – a bed, food, a few toys, but they do need some space to feel happy and comfortable. Being squeezed into a corner is no fun for anyone. The bigger the dog, the more space they’ll need so factor that in to any van purchase before you travel Australia with a dog.
Try not to leave your dog unattended in the van
Sometimes it’s inevitable and you have to leave your dog in the van while you run an errand (they won’t be allowed into a grocery shop for example). Obviously if there’s more than one human on board, the dog can be cared for while you’re gone. But if not, and especially during the summer months and soaring temperatures, it can be dangerous to leave them behind. Bring your dog with you wherever you go, and are allowed to take them. Not only is it pretty miserable for a dog to be left behind, it can also be potentially dangerous.
Travel Australia with a dog can be hairy
Hairy sleeping bag, anyone? Waking up in the middle of the night sneezing? Not the best. Invest in some small, cheap cleaning tools like a handheld vacuum or just a simple dustpan and brush to keep those pesky dog hairs at bay. Having a dedicated “doggie towel” used to wipe down their paws before they enter the van is also a good idea.
Get some reflective window coverings
Van life in Australia with a dog, or without a dog for that matter, often means travelling through hot sunny weather. One very effective way of staying comfortable on those days is to install reflective window coverings to keep the heat out and the cool in. This is especially important for dogs as they have an inbuilt fur coat which is not ideal for Australia’s hot climate.
Teach your dog simple commands before hitting the road
When you’re stopping next to busy roads or other potentially dangerous places it’s important to have proper control of your dog, so they don’t go racing into the road, or off a cliff. Take the time to teach your dog how to stay, sit and enter or exit the van on your command.
Make daily exercise a non-negotiable
Fancy being cooped up in a small space with an overly excitable dog bursting with energy? Well that’s what will happen if you don’t get your furry mate out for a good run or walk on the daily. Ideally a few times a day. This should be pretty easy if your van life with a dog in Australia involves lots of outdoor activities. But it’s worth remembering on those inevitable long travel days.
Be aware of rules around dogs in National Parks
There are often strict restrictions around dogs while travelling through national parks so make yourself aware of the rules before you enter. It’s normally totally fine to have them with you, as long as they don’t exit the vehicle.
Invest in a collar light and bell
Those night time call of nature walks in remote, unfamiliar areas can potentially lead to lost dogs. Invest in a simple collar light and bell so you can always keep track of your dog and keep them safe.
Always keep fresh water available
This one is a bit of a no-brainer but all dogs need access to fresh clean water at all times. Ensure they have a fresh supply both inside the van and out and replace it regularly to keep things clean. Remember though, drinking all that water has consequences so factor in some rest stops too!
Don’t be afraid to bring your dog with you
And last but not least, don’t be afraid to take your dog on your adventure. Dogs just want to be with their favourite people (you!). Any practical issues like space and keeping them comfortable can be dealt with with a little forward thinking and planning. Thousands of travellers live the van life with a dog in Australia and have never looked back – you could be one of them!