We've travelled extensively with our dogs for nearly 13 years. I'm one of those dog moms that feels a family vacation isn't much of a vacation without our precious furry family members! We've learned a lot and made more than a few mistakes along the way trying to create a fabulous holiday with the dogs.  At this point we have planning a great vacation with the dog, and the dog travel essentials that go with it down pat! We know exactly how to plan and prepare for a fabulous Vacation that's dog friendly. 

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Dog Travel Essentials for a Vacation With Dogs

In this post, I share all my dog travel essentials. I'll talk about my dog travel kit, including all the essential dog travel accessories and dog travel gear you need to pack for a fabulous vacation with dogs.

Essential Items To Pack For a Dog Friendly Vacation

Food and Water bowls

The most essential items you'll need for a vacation with your dog is Food and Water, and the bowls to serve them in. This should be the easy part, just throw some dog food in a bag and get water from the hotel sink, right?  Not exactly. There are a few considerations for feeding your dog while on vacation versus feeding her at home.

Whatever you feed your dog, think about both convenience and temperature control. Does the dog food need to be kept refrigerated? Will you need to heat it up? Do you mix ingredients together for your dog's meals?  Make sure you'll have everything you need for the dog's meal prep while you're travelling, and at your dog friendly vacation destination. 

Most hotels have mini refrigerators and microwaves in the rooms, but not all hotels have them. If you're unfamiliar with the hotel you'll be staying at with your dog make sure they have everything you'll need to prepare meals for your dog.

Same thing with a private vacation rental. Find out all the amenities and implements that will be available to you to ensure you'll have everything needed for dog food prep.

In terms of water, make sure you have plenty of fresh clean water for your dog during the drive, flight, or boat ride to your destination.  I bring bottled water along for my dogs if I'm unsure of the quality of water we'll have. I also bring water everywhere I take my dogs while we're out and about on vacation.

I feed my dogs twice a day, a mixture of dry dog food and dog food rolls, wet or canned dog food. At home I often add ingredients I cook for them myself; eggs, chicken or salmon.  But when we travel, I scale it back and simplify their meals. I measure out and pack up their dry food for the entire time we'll be travelling. I bring a measuring cup to keep the amount of food consistent.  I also bring along small, individual packets of wet food to mix with the dry food. These two ingredients keep the dog's meal prep really simple!

I bring collapsible food and water bowls when travelling with the dogs. They fold up flat and travel well, taking up very little room in my dog's travel bag. 

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Collapsible food & water bowls, dry and packaged dog food

Dog Veterinary Records

The most important item in this category is a copy of your dog's updated Rabies Vaccination Certificate. I keep a paper copy of my dogs' Rabies certificates in the car, as well as legible photos of their rabies certificates on my phone so I can access and present them anywhere they may be requested.

If your dog has any current health issues bring documentation of that with you. Have your dog's Veterinarian information handy, in case of injury or illness. Know where you can get emergency Vet care at your travel destination in the event you need it.  

While on a long road trip with our dogs once, we needed Vet care right away due to throat irritation caused by cleaning products used in a hotel room we stayed in. We were fortunate enough to locate a wonderful Veterinarian in the middle of Ohio! We were so grateful to have found him.

Dog Medications

Stay focused on dog health while preparing for your dog friendly vacation. Forgetting their medication, whether it be for a medical condition or for heartworm, flea and tick preventative, can leave them unprotected! Even a short lapse in protection can cause your dog to be infected with fleas, ticks, or heartworms! 

If you forget your dog's medication at home, you may not be able to find a veterinarian willing to fill your dog's prescription. Be sure to pack all medications your dog will need. Oddly enough, we are always travelling when it's time to give the dogs their monthly heartworm/flea/tick preventative! I pack a single dose so my dogs never have a lapse in protection.

Dog Supplements and Vitamins

We are big fans of Probiotics and Joint Health supplements for dogs. My Husky, Icy really needs these. She's 13 now and has developed a sensitive stomach and some arthritis, so dog probiotics and joint supplements for dogs are very important for her comfort and health. I always remember to pack them for her.

Dog Treats

Don't forget to pack dog treats and Chew Sticks for your dog.  Depending on how good a traveler your dog is, you may want to bring some dog calming treats, or maybe even calming clothing like a Thundershirt if she gets very anxious in unfamiliar places.  Icy and Phoebe were very experienced travelers so they didn't need calming products, but I always have treats and plenty of chew sticks to keep them busy and content in the room, and when we stop in at local coffee shops. It's their vacation too, so spoil them a little with some great treats!

Oral care for dogs

Do you brush your dog's teeth, or use brushless oral care for dogs? Consider bringing those along, as well as Dental chew sticks for dogs. I pack my dog's dental chews, one for each day of travel. I like to keep up with my dogs dental care even when on vacation.

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WHIMZEES dental chews and Zymox Oratene brushless dental products for Dog oral care 

Dog Grooming supplies

Dogs fur can get dirty and matted while travelling. Keep them clean and looking their best by bringing their comb or brush, dog shampoo & conditioner, and other essential dog grooming supplies your dog uses.


Disclaimer: These products were gifted to me by Zymox, one of my favorite brands, and I decided to run a giveaway and share them with you!


Dog Travel Gear 

What activities will you be doing with your dog? Will you just be going for dog walks or will you be hiking, camping, boating, swimming, running, dock diving, or sight seeing with your dog?  Whatever you do with your dog on vacation, make sure you have all the right gear and supplies.  

You might need a life jacket for dogs if you plan to be in or near water with the dog.  A life jacket can keep your dog safe around Pools, lakes, the ocean, even streams you may cross on hiking trails.

If your dog is a senior pup or has any kind of mobility issues, you may want to consider a dog stroller, backpack dog carrier or dog front carrier.

If you'll be walking on very hot sand or hiking across unknown or potentially uncomfortable terrain you may want to consider shoes or booties for dogs to protect their paws.

Whatever you do with your dog on vacation, make sure you bring along plenty of water! You'd be surprised how much water your dog needs just for an afternoon outing, and you do not want to run out of water. Don't count on water fountains or bathrooms to have clean, potable water available for your dog. Always bring some with you.

Pet First Aid Kit

We Never travel with the dogs without our Pet First Aid Kit. Icy is a rugged Husky. She plays hard and loves to explore every nook and cranny. Her curiosity and rugged play has caused her a few injuries over the years. We go through a lot of hydrogen peroxide, adhesive pet bandages, antibacterial ointment and wound care cream. Dogs can get into all sorts of things they shouldn't, so be prepared.

Dog Cleaning Supplies

Pack some cleaning supplies, as I guarantee there will be messes! Muddy paws, potty accidents, dog vomit, skunk encounter (don't laugh! It happens), and dogs just getting into things they shouldn't. The messy possibilities are endless!  Here are a few supplies you may want to pack in your dog's travel bag or have in the car:

* Paper towels and a towel for clean up
* Pet safe cleaning products such as Nature's Miracle, Fresh Pet, Only Natural Pet, etc.
* Dog grooming wipes
* Puppy pads, if needed
* Plenty of Dog Poop bags
* Flashlight for night time potty walks
* A Dog Car seat cover - We have a 4Knines car seat cover for our SUV. It's a must have for us when travelling with the dogs, it's saved us many times!

Blankets and Dog Beds

It's a good idea to bring along your dog's blanket or dog bed so your dog has some of the comforts of home. I suggest not washing them right before you leave, let their scent and the scent of home remain on the items. Familiar scents will make them feel more comfortable.  A favorite toy, or interactive games for dogs are a good idea to ease boredom or anxiety while in the hotel room, unfamiliar campground, or rental home. Treat balls and puzzle games are great for this.

Dog Collar, Dog Harness, and Dog Leash

Be sure to have an extra collar or harness and an extra leash for each dog. It's amazing how often dog leashes break and dog collars or harnesses either break or somehow come off the dog and get lost. A six foot leash is usually best.  

Dog Crate or Dog Carrier 

It's a good idea to bring along a dog carrier or a dog crate for the car or the place you'll be staying in. If your dog doesn't do well in the car, it will help them stay safe while you're driving.  Some hotels require that you crate your dog when you're not in the room with them, such as if you leave to go get breakfast. 

If your dog isn't used to travel and lodging, a crate may help him feel safer. Likewise if your dog tends to be destructive or anxious a crate may calm him down so he doesn't damage the hotel room or vacation home. Most will charge you for any damage done by your dog.  

Dog Safety While Traveling

If you're taking your dog on a road trip, you should have either a dog travel harness for the car, a dog car seat, a crate, or some kind of barrier that keeps your dog secure while you're driving. You don't want your dog roaming freely around the car when you're barreling down the interstate! I've heard some awful stories of dogs getting frightened during minor accidents and bounding out of the car, only to be hit by speeding cars along the highway. It can be tragic. Take precautions to keep your dog secured in the car. This video shows you how a dog travel harness works:

If your dog isn't microchipped, a good time to microchip is before you go on vacation with the dog. I'm like a broken record when I say that microchipping dogs and cats can get them back home safely if lost or stolen. It saves lives because it can get your pet back to you! I saw this firsthand while volunteering at an animal shelter for 8 years. 

Please, if your dog isn't microchipped, get it done now. Nearly every county and many animal shelters offer low cost microchipping. In West Palm Beach, Florida for example, one shelter offers microchipping for just $25. Do you love your dog $25 worth??

Remember, the best dog friendly vacations are the ones you plan and prepare for with your dog's safety, health, and enjoyment in mind!  Happy Tails!


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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the opportunity to win such a great prize pack!! Paws crossed!!

Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

WOWZA!! This is an AMAZING GIVEAWAY!!! Thanks so much for the oppawtunity!!! xoxo

Kimberly said...

Bringing a copy of your pet’s rabies certificate is a good idea (especially if they don’t wear a tag). ☺️

Anonymous said...

The most critical thing? Get your pet chipped. This is beyond important! We don’t have rabies but I would never consider leaving home without it.

I am sharing your giveaway a lot!

Marjorie and Toulouse

Tail Wag Wisdom said...

This is terrific information about how to prepare for a trip with your dog. Your giveaway is great! WOW!!! I especially love the video and seeing sweet Phoebe. I'm sharing this with all my dog parents as travel season will start soon - I hope at least this snow will melt some day.

Britt said...

There are some great options here! We always make a point of keeping a collapsible dish in the vehicle, even if the dogs aren't there. That way, we can rest assured that we have it available if the situation arises.

LaylasWoof said...

Fantastic post and I so agree with you they are family and should come with you. I think I would have more for Layla than for me LOL, thanks for the giveaway

Kamira G said...

What a great comprehensive list of doggie travel essentials. I love that you also mentioned supplies to have in the car for clean up accidents and also a first aid kit. I used to travel with my cats and having their blankets with their scent from home helped them travel a bit easier. Good luck to the participants!

FiveSibesMom said...

Always great travel info! (That's why I list you as one of my recommendations in articles!) I especially like the idea of packing a dog's life jacket as you never know what/where there could be a swimming spot! Wonderful tip amongst many. Sharing! And what a great giveaway! Congrats to the winner!

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