Bella and I are pretty frequent travelers, we used to travel even more before the pandemic. We can pretty much both leave the house for a weekend trip with an hours notice. Ask me how I know that…. We’ve done it! And it was really fun! I had a friend call me once on a saturday morning and ask if we wanted to go out of town for the weekend, I told her I get off work at 3 (this is when I left the house for work), I’ll be home by 3:30 and to meet us at the house at 4:30 and we would be on our way. I got home packed out stuff, thankfully I had just done laundry the day before! Where's our favorite place to go? The beach! But I take these items everywhere no matter where we are traveling.
A lot of the things I listed I keep in a bag just for when we travel, doing that keeps it easy too. If you’ve never traveled with your dogs I recommend starting with day trips and then one and two night trips to get them used to the idea of traveling.
Food - I always bring enough for the trip plus a few more days just incase we decide to stay longer.
Medications and supplements - I always bring Bella’s usual supplements when we go out of town plus I always bring some calming supplements incase theres unexpected things that happen that might be upsetting for her. For Bella I always useLICK’S Zen Calming Aid For Dogs if you have a little dog you can use Little Licks Zen Calming for Dogs. Having Benadryl can also be helpful, Bella got an allergic reaction to something while we were in Big Bear once and got a weird rash on her face. After the benedryl started working it went away. Always talk to your vet first about using Benadryl for your dog.
Water - I always keep plenty of water in the car for us while we are traveling. You may want to bring water from home or buy bottled water since unfamiliar water can sometimes cause an upset tummy and no one wants that!
Treats - Don’t forget the treats! I always bring a variety of treats from low value to hight value.
Toys - Dogs love routines and having structure so I always bring some of Bella’s toys and a food puzzle to have so she can be entertained when I need her to be plus she has her things that are familiar. Easy ones I bring are the Kong Wobbler and a snuffle ball.
Bedding - Bella always sleeps with me in my bed so I always bring extra sheets to cover the bed or sofas that are in the room. I like to leave the room in as good of a condition as possible, doing things like this help keep the room nicer, and hopefully help keep the hotel pet friendly and affordable. I would bring your dogs bed if that’s what they were used to sleeping in.
Towels - If we are going to the beach or the lake I always pack towels and leave them in the car so we have them to dry off before getting in the car.
Scissors - you never know when you need them. I keep some in the car all the time, I have used them so many times!
Paper Towels - always good for cleaning up any number of things in the car or hotel room. Because we are frequent day trippers I usually leave a roll in my trunk so we can have them anytime we need them.
Flashlight with batteries - This comes in handy for night time potty trips.
Extra rolls of poop bags - this one is self explanatory.
Food and water bowls - I have a set we use for traveling because I can’t tell you how many times I would forget them! After about the third time of forgetting them I bought her new bowls for home and used her old bowls for travel.
Basic First Aid Kit - I have this one and have never used it but I am glad I have it if I needed it. It’s pretty basic but that’s all I would need till we got to a vet if needed. If I was going backpacking for an extended period of time and wasn’t around civilization I would get one with more stuff I might need in that kind of situation. I also keep Vetericyn in mine. This is a great thing to have around all the time for minor cuts or scrapes. You can talk to your vet about anything specific your pet may need to be included in their kit.
Natures Miracle - If your dog does have an accident in the hotel room it is great to have this on hand be able to clean it up properly and leave the room as nice as you found it. Natures Miracle comes in a 32oz Spray that fits easily in Bella’s Bag and works great when needed. Usually I don’t need it but sometimes being in a strange place with strange smells can cause dogs to want to mark, or they can feel stressed and don’t use their usual cues to tell you it’s time to go out and potty.
For Trips That Involve Being In The Water -
I always bring a life jacket. I use this life jacket by Outward Hound for Bella. Kayaking, paddle boarding, or boat rides she’s wearing it.
A leash and collar that are easy to wash and any of my nylon and trim collars are great for this.
Other Things I Bring
Toilet Seat Covers - These are great to have on hand all the time in the car or what every bag you carry with you. I have them in my car at all times. When traveling bathroom accommodations are not always ideal and these really elevate the public bathroom experience. You will thank me
Travel Size Toilet Paper - I leave a roll or two in my center console at all times. These are small travel rolls and come in their own packaging that keeps the toilet paper clean.
Keeping your dog safe
Tags, Microchip and Immunization Records - Always make sure your dog is wearing a flat collar with tags that are readable and have current cell phone information on them. It does your dog no good to have tags if the numbers are out of date or they can’t be read. Also make sure your microchip is up to date with current information. It’s a good idea to have your vet scan your dogs chip at their annual visits to make sure the chip is still working. Keep a photo of your dogs vaccination records in your phone incase you need it.
Emergency Vet - It’s always good to know where a vet and an emergency vet can be found in the area you are visiting. I will look this up prior to leaving and make a note in my phone with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of vets and emergency vets. When I make the note in my phone I use the name of the city we are visiting as a part of header top keep it easy to find. EX : San Luis Obispo Vets. Make it something easy and memorable for you so incase of an emergency you will be able to quickly find it. Another good idea would be to print out a copy and leave it in the car so you have a back up.
Car Safety - Always make sure your dog is restrained in the car in a crate or in a car harness. This is really important for everyones safety. I have a blog about how I set up my backseat for Bella and you can read it HERE.
Plan Before You Go
~ Confirm with the hotel you are staying and make sure it is friendly for your dog. Some hotels can say they are pet friendly but don’t always make it clear that they might have breed or weight restrictions.
~ Check the route map before leaving and make sure there are areas you can stop for potty breaks and leg stretching. I don’t usually drive for more than 2 hours at a time. People can usually handle longer car trips but it’s harder for the pups.
~ Look for local pet friendly restaurants and activities so you have an idea of what you can do and where you can go while you are vacationing. This really helps take the stress off and lets you focus on the fun! Go Pet Friendly is a great resource for this.
Is there anything you would add to this list that makes traveling with your dog easier? Let me know!
***This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through my links I may earn a small commission. I only share products I love and use myself!! It costs you nothing, but it makes a big difference to me and helps keep the treats flowing for Bella!