The Ultimate Packing List for a Road Trip With Your Dog

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One of the best things about a road trip, if your destination is pet friendly, is that your favorite fur baby has a chance to come along.  With everything else to pack, it can be easy to fur-get some of your dog’s essentials, which means a trip to the store once you arrive.  Use this packing list for your dog to make sure you capture all the must-haves before em-bark-ing on your next family adventure.

Important Things to Plan Before You Go

  • Write down contact information for the local vet and emergency vet at your destination:  Anything can happen when you’re in unfamiliar territory, so it’s best to know who to call if it does.  The last thing you’ll want to be doing when Fido slips in a stream and breaks their leg is trying to figure out where you are and where you need to take him.  Make sure to get working phone numbers for a daytime and after-hours emergency vet.
  • Plan for introductions to other animals where you’re going:  If you’re staying with friends or family with pets, make a plan for the introduction upon arrival.  Some dogs can be territorial, especially if they’re not used to company, so it’s best to set these meet and greets outside the home on common ground before bringing your pooch into the house.

The Ultimate Packing List For Your Dog

Rangeley scoping out the items to pack to be certain we have everything she’ll need.

Bowls

Unless you’re going to stay with someone who already has dog bowls, it’s best to be prepared and bring your pup’s bowls along.  Be sure to bring some for your final destination and also keep one in the car for water when you stop—our pup drinks from this water boy drinking container while we drive and loves it.

Treats

If your dog is anything like ours, treats might as well be the first and only thing we pack.  Be sure to bring smaller training treats for the road (we don’t go anywhere without Hip Hoppin’ Hearties or Super Smarty Hearties training treats from I and Love and You) but also bring a larger bone or treat as a reward once you reach your destination.  Rewarding your dog once you arrive can help put them at ease in a strange environment.

Dog with bags of treats
“Is this all the treats we’re going to take?”

Toys

Choose your dog’s two to three favorite toys and leave the rest at home. Not only will this be easier to pack for travel, but it will also be easier to keep track of when you arrive. The toy we can’t leave home without is this ultimate ring by Tuffy. It’s been time-tested and still holding up strong after several years.

Food

Make sure to pack enough food for the amount of time you’ll be away plus a few extra days in case of travel delays. We scoop out food into a Tupperware container, but if you have a large bag that won’t spill, it can be easier to take that along instead.

Medication

If your dog is on any regular medication, you’ll want to be sure to bring it along.  You should also check if any monthly medication, like heartworm, flea, and tick, is supposed to be given during the time you’re away. I add a reminder to my phone for our dog’s monthly Sentinel pill.

Paper towels, cleaner and trash bag

Unless you know how your pup’s stomach will react on a road trip, it’s best to bring along cleaning supplies. Even if you’ve done this before, you never know if/when something might upset your dog’s stomach. This is a situation where it’s better to be safe than sorry and sitting in a stinky mess of a car for hours on end.

A bed or blanket to lay on

Our dog is a diva.  As such, she needs a bed in the backseat for maximum comfort.  If you have the space, I highly recommend squeezing your dog’s favorite bed in the backseat. A blanket works just as well and provide more comfort on long rides.

Cozied up in the back seat and ready to ride. Just before this photo she asked “Are we there yet?”

An extra collar and leash

You never know if your dog might snag their collar while exploring unfamiliar woods or if your husband will leave a leash on the roof of the car at a rest stop.  It’s best to bring a backup leash and collar if you have them. These nylon dog leashes are a great option and get the job done in a bind.

Extra poop bags

Once you leave the zone of known poop bag dispensers, it’s a free for all.  Who knows how many miles it might take before you have an opportunity to re-up on bags.  Order a roll online or snag some extras from the neighborhood supply before you head out.

Water

Be sure to bring an extra bottle or container of water at home for your pup. Not all rest areas will have clean water available, and you want to be sure your dog is well-hydrated!

I hope this comprehensive packing list for your dog helps you be sure you’ve gathered everything for travel success with your pooch! Is there anything you pack for a pet-friendly road trip that I missed? Let me know in the comments.

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