Walk your dog daily
Walking, playing and recreating with your dog not only provides you with some vital exercise, it reduces your stress, increases your social interaction with others, and is good for your heart and general health.
A well-exercised dog is happier, more relaxed, better socialised and less likely to bark or cause a disturbance to your neighbourhood due to boredom or lack of stimulation. As well, your garden is less likely to get demolished!
Where can I take my dog?
You can take your dog to a variety of areas other than national parks and similar reserves. These include:
Your dog must be under control (will return immediately to you when called if off-lead) at all times and should not disturb wildlife or annoy other people.
Note: Bona fide guide dogs accompanying blind people can be taken into all national parks and similar conservation reserves and state forests. For more information about this please contact the Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963.Dogs are permitted in cars travelling on bitumen roads which pass through national parks.
Out and about with your pooch
For information on dog friendly parks please see Parks Victoria Dogs in Park
webpage. Individual councils make rules regarding where dogs can go and where they can be off-lead. Visit your local council’s offices or website for specifics on your area.
Use Parkweb to plan your park visit
Just click www.parkweb.vic.gov.au
to access and download information about Victoria's parks, rivers and bays - print parknotes, discover who the local tour guides are, find out more about where you can enjoy park outings with your pooch.
Travelling with your dog
Taking your dog on a holiday can be fun and rewarding. To have a safe and comfortable trip, take the following items with you:
A strong lead and collar for your dog to wear. Attach suitable identification to the collar, including the dog’s name, address, and council registration. You should also ensure your dog is microchipped.
Some recent photographs of your dog. These will be helpful in finding your dog if you are accidentally separated.
The telephone number of your veterinarian and any special medication your dog needs.
Pack your dog’s regular food, bowls, and even water, as some dogs find it difficult to adjust to abrupt changes in diet.
A crate and a favourite toy from home will help your dog feel more secure in a strange place.
To ensure the safety of your dog when travelling, use a crate or an animal safety belt, available in pet supply stores.
Airlines, trains, buses, boats, hotels, and motels have their own regulations about dogs. Make sure that you speak to your travel agent or directly to the people concerned well in advance of your trip.
National Parks & Conservation Reserves
National parks and other conservation reserves are there to protect Australia's native wildlife. They are vitally important for the many species whose survival is in danger. Many people travel long distances (even from overseas) to these places to see and enjoy Australian animals and birds in their native habitat.
As a result dogs, cats and other introduced animals are not allowed in national parks and other conservation reserves. Understandably this disappoints some dog owners but the good news is that there are a number of other parks, reserves and forests that allow people to enjoy the great outdoors with their dogs.
In case you think Victoria is tough on dog owners, remember that the same rules apply in every state in Australia and in most national parks around the world.
Important reasons why dogs are not allowed in national parks and other conservation reserves are:
Except possibly for dingoes, dogs are not indigenous to Australia, so our wildlife is not adapted to living with them. Smaller animals can be killed by dogs and larger ones disturbed and frightened away.
Even if your dog is on a lead, or is very obedient, its behaviour such as barking or its scents are enough to scare away native wildlife and spread disease.
If pets escape into the bush they can become 'feral' and become a threat to native birds and animals in parks, not to mention domestic livestock.
Along the coast, on beaches and dunes
Coastal parks and surrounding beaches are popular places for people to enjoy time with their dogs. However, most coastal parks are incredibly sensitive areas. Strict guidelines have been implemented to allow dogs and their owners to enjoy these places whilst protecting the fragile ecosystems that thrive there.
Many coastal parks only allow dogs to visit between sunrise and 9 am, within specific boundaries. Some areas require dogs to be on a leash at all times where others have been allocated as leash free zones. Any breach of the regulations will result in on the spot fines.
Boarding your dog
If it's not possible to bring your dog along on your holiday, you'll have to arrange for his care while you're away. One alternative is to have a reliable friend, family member, or neighbour come to your home several times a day to feed, water, exercise, and spend time with your dog. You could also hire a professional pet-sitter to perform these duties.
Another solution is to board your dog at a reputable kennel. Prices and services for kennels vary, but whether you choose your vet's office or a lavish "bed-and-biscuit" resort with complimentary grooming and aromatherapy, keep these considerations in mind.
Trust your senses (as well as your common sense) when visiting a kennel as a possible "holiday" spot for your dog.
Make sure that the whole kennel, outdoor and indoor runs included, is clean and orderly.
Make sure there are no offensive odours. There should be adequate ventilation. A well-run kennel should not stink of doggy odours.
Make sure the temperature is adequate, not too warm and not too cold.
Ask to see the outdoor running area. It should be close to spotless and made of gravel or concrete.
DOGS Victoria also released an article on Dogs and Health (.pdf) written based on research of the many health benefits appreciated by dog owners.