Mama Holiday: Where to take your pets on holiday

They say you should never work with children or animals. (Who are “they” anyway?)

But what about holidaying with them?

In the words of media vet Dr Katrina Warren, “They’re more than just pets these days. They’re part of the family.”

Sure, it’s an added layer of complication to pop pooch or moggy on the plane or train. (And don’t even get me started on snakes.) And some don’t travel too well in cars.

But, in recent years, there’s been a huge increase in accommodation options. Gone are the days of stinky carpets inside and broken fences outside. Top-end hotels are giving Fido five stars.

Take The Langham in Sydney, for example. Pampered pets are given a turndown service on their pink velvet bed, accompanied by gourmet treats.

There’s even a pet room service menu, with “Lassie’s Favourite: beef steak with chunky vegetables” and “Meow Meow: grilled salmon with green beans, quail egg, tuna, potatoes and olives” for your feline friend.

It seems pets really are the new children.

If you need to leave the room, the hotel arranges a pet-minder through a nanny agency.

Many of the properties in the 8Hotels group are pet-friendly, including the funky Diamant in Kings Cross, just behind the Coke sign, and the boutique Albany Motel in South Yarra.

Even Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast has opened two rooms with Posh Pets beds conveniently located next to your own.

Check out petfriendly holidayhouses.com.au for some glorious holiday homes on the Sunshine Coast, just two minutes’ walk to a dog-friendly surf beach.

Meanwhile, lovemelove mydog.com.au features hotels, cottages, campsites and B&Bs all over Australia.

Set on 10 hectares of farmland, Mavis’s Kitchen and Cabins at Mount Warning, an hour from Byron Bay, is perfect for a working dog.

Dr Warren recommends Culburra Beach on the NSW South Coast, and the Great Ocean Road or Daylesford in Victoria.

Believe it or not, there are even pet-friendly glamping sites, such as the North Coast Holiday Park at Jimmy’s Beach.

For more camp sites that accept animals, log on to petfriendlyaccommodation.com.au. It also lists dog beaches at your destination.

However, as they say, it’s all about the journey. And that can be difficult. In a car, pets have to be properly harnessed in the back seat, or you risk a fine, and the loss of insurance coverage, in the event of an accident.

In Victoria, V/Line allow cats and dogs but, in NSW, TrainLink doesn’t.

Planes are OK, as long as you book well in advance.

Sure, it’s an extra expense, but, as Hannah Statham writes on her Queensland Tourism blog, “Take it from me, leaving a pet behind when you holiday can be traumatic.

“I have spent an entire holiday haunted by the memory of my dog’s sad brown eyes, quivery legs and dry nose as I left him behind.”

Maybe next time I’ll take the dog and leave the kids …?