From hotels serving “dogustation” menus of quarter-hounders and puppycinos to houseboats that welcome pooches, there’s a vast range of stays that will get those tails wagging.
Hate leaving your pooch behind as you scoot off for a long weekend or week away? Do you dread those sad, sad doggie eyes as you do the kennel run?
Worse still, when you pull out your suitcase does your dog start barking and then hide under the bed? If you’d rather stay home than worry about your faithful pet, you are not alone. About 40 per cent of Australian households own a dog, and in a TrustedHousesitters survey of 1000 pet owners, 69 per cent said they felt guilty leaving their furry friend behind.
But there are thousands of dog-friendly stays available, so pack your doggy’s lead, gather some canine treats and throw in their favourite toys.
General manager of Holidaying With Dogs Sarah Hemingway said she has more than 3000 places listed on her pet-friendly accommodation website. She and sister Penny Darbyshire established the site five years ago because they couldn’t bear to leave their dogs at home and wanted detailed information on dog-friendly stays.
Holidaying with Dogs has seen enormous growth in its website since the outbreak of COVID-19 with enquiries hiking 23 per cent and bookings up nearly 90 per cent, after lockdowns were lifted.
“People want to take their dogs with them when they go away but they also want the reassurance of how well places cater for their pets – and that’s what we provide,” she said.
“Places may say they are dog-friendly but when you get there they may not let dogs inside or have areas fenced off, but we provide all that information.”
So before you book, here are three things to check. If your pooch is likely to roam, ask if the property has a secure backyard – no one wants to spend their holiday searching for their dog. Your dog won’t take kindly to being left outside in the elements so check your choice welcomes indoor dogs. And also map out dog-friendly parks and beaches along the drive and at your destination.
You don’t have to restrict yourself to self-contained stays. Many top-end hotels are now offering pet-friendly packages, so you can enjoy a little pampering while keeping your dog in their happy space. Goodie packs of toys, bowls, doggy door and bedding are often included.
The Langham in Melbourne or Sydney offers a Pampered Pet Staycation with a private Dining Pet Menu of Lassie’s Favourite (beef with chunky vegetables) and Rawesome (Angus beef tartare). Pet-sitting and dog walking are available.
Ovolo Hotels has a V.I.Pooch package with a bed and furry buddy, doggy treats and dog-friendly staff.
Adina Apartment Hotels St Kilda has pet-friendly rooms, maps showing dog-friendly parks, plus bowls, treats and chewable toys. Its onsite restaurant, Fitzrovia, has a pet menu with liver treats, pork ribs and scotch fillet.
Element Melbourne Richmond has pet-friendly rooms, dog beds and a minibar of doggie snacks. The pet degustation menu includes the Good Dog (fish with steamed carrot) and the Quarter Hounder (a pan-fried steak).
Chill out at Pier One Sydney has 10 dog-friendly rooms with luxe Dogue amenities and a minibar with gourmet doggie treats.
Vibe Rushcutters Bay welcomes furry family members with a VIP arrival letter, bones and biscuits. Storehouse on the Park has a Dogustation menu with pawtein balls, sesame pup wafers and watermelon chews.
Lilianfels in the Blue Mountains has a dog-friendly package with room service breakfast, dog bed and bowl, plus a free dog treat from Love-em.
Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm: Enjoy scones for morning tea while you and your pooch enjoy fragrant scents.
Daylesford Cider Co: Enjoy apple ciders and lawn games in the gardens with your four-legged mate.
Harts Lane Haus: Style-savvy dogs will love this Welsh cottage’s gourmet kitchen and luxe design. Humans are welcome too.
Farmer’s Arms Daylesford: Pets can join you in the beer garden for lunch and dinner.
Cosmopolitan Hotel: Sit under the old elms and order an ale and the finest house water for the dog.
Hogget Kitchen: Pull up a pew on the deck and take a culinary tour of the region from your table.
Loch Brewery and Distillery: Schooner, high ball, low ball or dog bowl – take pet selfies in front of the historic building.
Avon Ridge Vineyard: Dine and taste cool-climate wines and ciders, while enjoying amazing views.
Best Friend Holiday Retreat: Book a cabin or pitch a tent, then book into the day kennel and hydro bath.
Toms Cap Vineyard Retreat: Enjoy this pet-friendly accommodation, surrounded by the Strzelecki ranges and vineyards.
Tathra Farm Stays: Furry friends are welcome at this tranquil mudbrick cottage in Flowerdale. Let the dogs roam free or head out on walks along the river.
Bright Brewery: Post pet selfies to the brewery’s dog-dedicated Instagram while you taste their great brews.
The Delatite Hotel: Furry mates are welcome at this Mansfield pub, which is known for good food and local wines.
Belmont at Beechworth: Put your paws up at this cycle- and pet-friendly cottage accommodation.
Buller Wines: Ripe at Buller Wines restaurant makes doggy treats from by-products of its wine-making.
Mildura Houseboats: Everyone’s tail will be wagging as you board your very own houseboat on the Murray River.
Spoons Riverside: A cafe great for coffee, meals and bonding with your dog among the magical River Red Gums.
Pfeiffer Wines: Furry friends are welcome at the Rutherglen winery, where you may spy a platypus.
Cofield Wines: Your best pal can stretch four legs on the shady lawn at this pet-loving winery.
Morrisons Riverview Restaurant & Brewery: Lap up craft ales and cider as you dine in the beer garden. Grains and apples are sourced locally.
Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges
Wiggley Bottom Farm: Have a luxury self-contained cottage stay with the pup while exploring nearby Healesville Sanctuary.
De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate: Taste cool-climate wines matched with cheese and enjoy the estate’s dog-friendly picnic space.
Leddicott Cottage: Dogs are welcomed with open arms and given complimentary dog treats.
Scenic flights from Lilydale Airport: Who says dogs can’t fly? They can here – get a sky-high view over the Yarra Valley.
Pooches And Pinot: Enjoy wine-tastings with your pooch pal in tow on these dog-friendly, private winery tours.
Tips from the RSPCA
• Keep to your dog’s routine with same walk and feeding times.
• Stick to their same diet as at home to avoid stomach upsets.
• Place a familiar smelling item in your dog’s bed so they feel secure.
• Don’t leave your pet alone for too long.
• Ensure regular rest times.
• Note details of a local vet, just in case.