Australia is one of the world’s foremost countries when it comes to loving pets. (And for many other reasons, too.) There are about 2 million more pets than people in this country – dogs and cats and other animals enjoying the good life Down Under with their humans. You and your pet will fit right in, whether you’re in Australia for a vacation or you’re the country’s newest permanent resident.
You won’t be strangers for long, and you’ll make friends even faster if you’re on your best behavior. So it’s time to bone up on petiquette Aussie style.
Where will you be?
Every state in Australia has its own set of pet laws that govern dog and cat ownership. So the first thing you’ll want to do is check the local regulations. You can do that here – just click on the appropriate state.
Aside from learning the details of state government pet laws, petiquette mostly comes down to common sense.
Lessons from the dog park
Given the preponderance of pets in Australia, it comes as no surprise that there are also lots and lots of dog parks, officially designated as well as generally nice places to romp with your pup. If you and your dog can master the simple but important rules of a leash-free dog park, you will be able to exhibit impressive petiquette no matter where you go, in public or on your own. Here they are:
- Never leave the gate open, or someone’s dog (maybe even yours) could escape.
- Generally speaking, dogs should play with similar-size dogs. Some dog parks have physically separated spaces for little guys and heftier canines. If not, try to steer your dog toward appropriate playmates.
- Pick up poop. Increasingly, dog parks provide bags and wastes cans for this, so there is no excuse for failure. To further encourage compliance, some Australian dog parks have rangers who patrol, and the fine for not scooping poop can be significant.
- If your dog dumps over the water dish or slurps it dry, refill it.
- Endless yapping or barking is not appreciated.
- You’re the pet parent, so ultimately control and proper behavior are up to you.
Places to go and things to do
If your dog is not a social butterfly, skip the dog park for everyone’s benefit. It’s not like there is nothing else to do with your dog. Australia is enormous, and pet-friendliness dictates that urban areas are as exciting for dogs as the outback. If you’re in Brisbane, for example, you’ll never get bored whether your idea of fun is brisk exercise, a swim, or a snack and a snooze.
Joining other dog owners for explorative adventures is always recommended. It’s a great way to learn the finer points of petiquette and practice your skills while meeting new friends, both human and canine. There are social dog walking groups virtually everywhere, similar to these in Melbourne.
What if your pet is a cat?
Although we’ve all heard of the random feline that loves to go for a walk on a leash, most cats decline this sort of social interaction. Independent attitude, and all that. As a cat-owner yourself, you’ll understand when we tell you that, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, a whopping 92% of Australians cat owners keep their cats inside.On the other hand, you may be one of the 8% who recognizes your kitty’s instinctive need to get out there and hunt. Or at least fake it while enjoying some restful repose in a sunny spot in the yard. For cats, petiquette is all about being a good neighbor. Nonetheless, it’s still important to check state and local pet laws, to be sure you and your feline are tending to business the Aussie way