When we decided that a life of adventure was for us, there was no doubt in our mind that we would need to do so with our beloved Barkley in mind. Barkley is a Cocker Spaniel x King Charles Cavalier, as ‘Spanalier’, with the most amazingly gentle and placid nature that you could ever hope for in a dog. He’s quiet, loves kids, loves a day spent at the beach, but particularly likes to spend the most part of his days sleeping by the fire.
Like all families completing the “big lap”, so much research has been put into this new lifestyle. That research also extends to travelling with pets!
To begin with, I was quite nervous considering the implications of travelling full time with a pet. There was probably more to organise for Barkley than there was to organise for the three kids! We have taken some time to compile a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding travelling with a pet, in hope that it will help others out there make the right decisions regarding their four legged friends. We look forward to providing an update on our travelling pooch experiences a year into our travels!
Our biggest worry?
That he will be eaten by a croc! No joke. Barkley is adventurous (he’s a farm dog) and can be a little stubborn at times. We’re working hard to train him to ‘come’ as soon as we call in hope that it will make our experience of life on the road with a pooch a little less worrisome. Liver treats are our best friend right now.
Where will he sleep?
If you ask our eldest child, Grace, the dog will be sleeping on the bottom bunk with her. If you ask us, Barkley will sleep at the end of our bed on his dog bed. We will bring his bed in and out each morning/night. We will see who wins this battle as time goes on!
We may need to invest in a Cooling Mat as we get further north.
Are you planning to visit many National Parks?
Most definitely! We are planning to utilise pet stays throughout our travels, and also have the option of flying Barkley back to SA to stay with my sister and her pooch, Barkley’s best mate, Charlie. We will need to be quite calculated with our routes and itineraries, and have already contacted many visitor information centres around the country to form a list of recommended pet stays in more remote areas. Stay tuned for the full list!
Where will he stay when you need to get groceries or go on a day trip that doesn’t permit dogs?
Barkley will come along on most of our smaller outings to the grocery store, post office etc. However, for day trips that simply do not accommodate dogs, we hope to either utilise pet stays as mentioned above, or get friendly with other nomadic families/couples and cut a friendly deal or trade. Barkley loves a good play date, and we’d love to sit for others in exchange for Barkley being watched from time to time. We hear pet sitting is quite common amongst travellers and are banking on this being the case!
What food are you taking for Barkley?
Barkley is mostly fed a raw diet which we realise will be quite tricky whilst travelling. We will be purchasing raw meat products for Barkley whilst on the road, but also feeding him VIP Nature’s Goodness, a grain-free kibble that is sold in Woolworths making it easily accessible. I may even have a go at making up some complete raw meals to pop in the freezer for Barks if we are parked up for a while…stay tuned!
What if Barkley gets sick or injured while you’re on the road?
We have taken out Pet Insurance while we travel, it works out to around $15 per week. We compared a whole host of Pet Insurance Policies and Australia Post Pet Insurance seemed the best value for money for our needs. The only major concerns that we wanted covered included:
- Snake/spider bite
- Accident (vehicle etc.)
- Grass seeds
We also looked into purchasing a dog specific first aid kit but found that the contents were the same as we already had in our family first aid kit.
What other useful accessories are you taking for Barks?
We are taking the following for Barkley:
- Collapsible water bowl
- Food dish
- Hi-vis lead and colour
- Extra strong 6m cable lead (for tethering when necessary)
- Natural shampoo/flea wash
- All natural, grain-free dog treats
- Biodegradable doggy poop bags
Does he need any special vaccinations before you go?
We will need to get Barkley vaccinated for hydatid Tapeworm (Echinococcus granulosus) within 14 days of travel to Tasmania. Luckily we are heading to Tassie first so we can have our vet do a check up and administer the vaccine while there.
We will also need to be quite mindful of ticks when travelling in certain parts of Australia. I’ve saved “How To Safely Remove A Tick” by The Travelling Naturopath here in case needed.