With summer holidays fast approaching, deciding whether to include your dog in trip planning can be tricky — especially if Rover is a furry family member rather than backyard accessory.
The only major no-no is national parks. Under government control there are seven camping grounds in the South West open to pets (see parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/know/ pets-parks).
But there are plenty of dog-friendly camping options — the trick is to plan ahead and do some research.
Contact camp sites in advance to confirm their pet policy to ensure your fur-kid is as welcome as the rest of your family. Station holidays are often a great option.
In addition to your favourite search engine, the Australia- wide directory Bush Camping with Dogs is a handy resource available from many camping stores or online from chartandmapshop.com.au.
Before tackling a week away, have a trial overnighter close to Perth to make sure your dog is comfortable travelling in the car and copes with sleeping in the camper or tent.
It’s also the ideal way to work out all the extra bits you’ll need to pack. (Not quite as much as for a baby, but it can come close!)
In addition to the standard collar and lead, don’t forget to pack water and feed bowls, food and treats, medication and first-aid kit, toys and towels, bed and blanket.
It’s critical your pup has up-to-date ID tags.
Grab a spare keyring tag you can write your campsite number on and add to their collar — just in case they visit the neighbour’s barbecue.
Micro-chipping is additional protection to help a lost pet that has slipped a collar to be quickly reunited with their owner.
To avoid them slipping off for sausages, opt for a comfortable harness they can wear for an extended period and pack a stake you can twist into the ground with a swivel-mount leash (pet stores sell these).
This allows some freedom to move around the camp site and avoiding clipping to the collar reduces the chances of choking.
To ensure your pet is welcome in future — and to avoid dog camping privileges being withdrawn for others — be courteous to other site users.
Clean up all faeces, don’t let your pet pee on tent poles as you pass other camp sites, respect on-lead requirements, don’t leave food out to attract vermin or wildlife and never leave your pup unattended while you go exploring.
If your dog is an incessant barker, it’s probably not a good travel companion.
One of the greatest hazards for pets is being left in cars where dehydration and death can occur with frightening speed.
In cooler weather, you may be able to park in the shade and leave the windows open with accessible water but it’s far safer to keep your pet with you.
Many cafes and pubs will permit dogs at outside tables — ask politely and take your business elsewhere if the owner does not want to risk upsetting other guests.