Sometimes, the thing you need the most is the one thing nobody can help you with. Like finding a dog-friendly area to give the hound a bit of car-free time in the middle of an all-day driving adventure. Or needing a toilet stop for both you and the pet when all you can see is freeway and apartment blocks.

Our first tip in this inevitable crisis is to figure out exactly where you are. Let’s pretend this is the olden days and you don’t have GPS built into your fingertips… even if it means stopping and asking somebody where you are; swallow your pride, forget the macho and just do it. From there, finding a strip of grass or a lonely patch of beach is a whole lot easier.

Of course, using an app for your mobile phone, or even a cheeky internet search before you leave the house, can have you looking for nearby dog friendly areas before you even have a chance to really need one.

The best spots to look for when you need a dog-friendly area are:

–        Fenced-off areas, like sporting ovals, away from traffic;

–        Dog-friendly parks, beaches, or reserves;

–        Public picnic areas or walking tracks;

–        Swimming holes that aren’t part of a national park;

–        Council ‘green zones’ that are not currently part of a feral animal baiting program (don’t worry, this is one thing you’ll definitely see signage for…),

–        Veterinarians (they usually have an area that’s safe and secure for pets in a pinch), and

–        Ideally, somewhere close that you can take your pet to without a lot of additional trouble… with ample car parking facilities if you’re feeling very lucky.

It’s often also helpful to search for dog friendly areas by a more specific category name — such as dog parks, pet friendly hotels, pet stores, dog beaches, or veterinarians. Using a local area search term is also a good idea if you need to narrow your results.

On the road, calling a local pet shop or veterinarian’s office is also a fast way to find a dog-friendly area without signage. You’re sure to find someone on the other end of the phone who has a list of solid locations in the town you’re in, and will be able to guide you to where you need to go.

And, keeping an eye out for the occasional article in traditional media about the best dog friendly areas to take your pet can be a good way to get the inside scoop on little-known areas where fur friends can hang out.

Let us know how you find a suitable play stop for your pet… and happy hunting!

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