21 Must-Haves And Tips For Traveling With Dogs In Cars-With Checklist

Posted by Carrie Bannigan on

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Must-Have Travel Items For Your Dog

  1. Food and Treats: Make sure you pack not only enough food but some extra. Also, this is not a time to try a new food or "hope" a store along the way will have what your pooch normally eats. Keep them on their consistent diet to help keep their tummy settled.
  2. Water Bowl: Times 2 or 3. It's good to have multiples, one to keep in the hotel, a collapsible one for out and about and even one to keep in the car.
  3. Collar with ID Tags: Make sure your dog's collar has their vet provided ID tags on it. It is a great quick identifier that they are updated on their vaccinations. 
  4. Sturdy Leash: If your leash is on its last leg, pick on up prior to travel. While your pooch may be calm in their normal environment, adding new smells and new places may make them pull a bit more. Don't risk it.
  5. Poop Bags: You can never have too many of these! Pack more than you expect because if your fur baby gets an upset stomach, they may go more than they normally do at home.
  6. Medicine: Make sure you pack all of their medicines. Also, check your calendar. Is it getting close to any "once-a-month/quarter" medicines? Pack those just in case too.
  7. Comfy Bed: Packing their bed will help them feel a bit more at peace. This keeps some familiarity along on the trip.
  8. Vaccination Paperwork: While you may have their vet provided ID tag on, it's always a good idea to have their paperwork readily available as well. 
  9. Clean Blanket: Use a clean blanket to place over any furniture in the room that your fur baby may lay on. Placing it on the couch or the bed will help keep the furniture somewhat pet hair free and housekeeping will love you for it.
  10. Stain Remover: It's good to be prepared for accidents. This may come in handy not only in the hotel room but in your car as well.
  11. Clothing: Does your fur baby enjoy the clothing they normally wear at home? Check the weather ahead of time and pack those clothes for them so they are comfortable out and about.
  12. Toys: After a long day's drive, your pooch may need to burn off some energy. Bring their toys along so they can play and unwind.
  13. Old Towels: These will come in handy in case it rains or an accident happens and you need to clean it up.
  14. First-Aid Kit: Not only is it wise to keep one for you in the car but definitely, don't forget one for your pooch. There are some medicines of ours that they cannot have so pick one up specifically for them.


Click here to download the printable checklist

 Dog Travel Checklist

Planning ahead

Here are a couple of bonus tips that will help you prior to heading out on your trip:

1. Book Pet-Friendly Hotels

Nothing is worse than arriving at a hotel and they do not accept dogs. That will make for a last minute scramble. 

Also, it's not wise to try to trick the hotel. They have your card on file and if there is evidence of damage or a dog present, there could be additional charges applied.

Some pet-friendly hotels include Courtyard by Marriott, Best Western and Motel 6. Just call ahead to the area you're staying to confirm. Another option is a pet-friendly Air BnB.

2. Map Out Pet Emergency Areas

While we never want or expect our dogs to get hurt, things happen. 

Knowing where the emergency centers are in the areas you're staying at will make the situation less stressful if it occurs.


Tips For Traveling With Dogs In Cars

As excited as we are to get on the road, there are a few things we, and you, need to keep in mind before jumping in the car and driving away:

1. Take Your Dog For A Walk

Taking your dog for a walk before loading into the car will help with a couple of things. 

It will let them relieve themselves and it will get them tired working out the extra energy. 

2. Feed Prior To Leaving...But!

You never want to feed your dog right before the trip. Instead, feed them the night before (if you're leaving early), or, feed them a light meal approximately 2 hours prior to leaving. 

This will keep them from getting an upset stomach and we all know what upset stomaches lead to.

3. Bring Their Favorite Bed

This can make a world of difference to some dogs. Ours, for example, gets really anxious before trips as he isn't sure what's going on. 

Packing their favorite bed will help keep some familiarity around them and make them feel safe.

4. Buckle Them UP!

Dog safety is so important! While you may a good driver, we all know there are other crazies out on the road that aren't.

You can pick up a great buckle harness here or, consider a dog crate to keep your dog extra safe.

5. Visit The Vet

You may need to pick up some medicine for the trip so you don't run out or they may need to get updated vaccinations.

If your dog is super anxious, your vet can recommend some calming medicine that can be used short term.

Make sure your dog ID tags are updated and if you lost them, ask your vet for an extra copy. 

Tips For Traveling With Your Dog


Now we'd love to know, what tips and tricks do you have while traveling with your dog? Share them below!



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