Travelling with dogs is highly rewarding for both yourself and your pooch. Your dog will love exploring new places (and new smells) while being by your side, and you’ll love seeing how happy they are to be with you, be able to relax better knowing they’re well looked after and it’ll give you one less thing to think about in terms of finding a dog sitter or dog boarding service.
So if you’ve decided it’s time to travel with your dog for the first time, then here are a list of pet travel essentials you’ll need to take with you.
Pet Travel Essentials: Your Free Dog Travel Packing List
1. Bedding & blankets
Taking your dog’s bedding and blankets with you not only ensures your dog will have something comfortable to sleep on during your trip, but will also help to get them used to their new home from home as they’ve got their smell on it. Blankets are also a great option for road trips and travelling in the car as they help to persuade nervous or excitable dogs to lie down and get some sleep.
2. Harness or collar with ID tag
Dogs should have an ID tag on at all times — it’s the law within many countries, and also helps to ensure that you’ll be able to find your dog more easily if he does run off. Whether you attach it to a collar or harness is completely up to you and your dog’s preference.
3. Leash & muzzle
In some countries, larger dogs are required to wear muzzles, such as when travelling on the train in France. You should get your dog used to wearing one before travelling overseas — just in case it’s requested. As for leashes, you should always have one of those when travelling with your dog. I’d recommend using a short leash to get your dog to and from the car, when wandering around the hotel or B&B, and when visiting busy places such as restaurants, cafes and shops. While a longer lead can be used for walks and when heading to the beach.
4. Dog seat belt, harness or car hammock
Safety first! There are a number of products out there that are perfect for dogs and their car safety. For short car trips, dog seat belts are easy (and quick) to put on and take off, while longer trips call for a full harness or a car hammock (the latter being the safest and most comfortable option for your dog).
5. Poop bags
As can be expected, you’re going to want lots of poop bags with you. I’d suggest taking a full roll with you as they’re light and don’t take up much space in your luggage or backpack.
Food & Drink
6. Kibble or wet food
Dogs thrive on routine, so when travelling with them, you should keep their routine as close to what they’d have at home. This includes what they eat as well as when their meal times are. Unless your dog’s current food is a well known brand and you’ll definitely be able to buy some where you’re travelling to, it’s best to take their food with you. For shorter trips, we divide up Kai’s kibble into portions so we don’t have to take our weighing scales with us, remembering to take some extra portions in case we’re delayed on the way back, or need some extra treats.
7. Tasty treats
8. Fresh water
No matter how long you think you might be in a car for, on a plane, or any other form of transport, always take fresh water with you. This includes getting to and from the destination or airport. We usually take a full 2 litre bottle of water with us, as well as some extra in a travel water bottle (you never know when traffic might hit causing you to be stuck on the road longer than anticipated).
9. Food & water bowls
Some dog friendly hotels will provide food and water bowls, but if you’re not 100% sure they will do that, it’s best to take your own. If you can get your hands on some collapsible bowls, it’ll be a big space saver in your luggage.
10. Travel water bottle
For days out during your trip, you should invest in a travel water bottle. Some have food and drink compartments in the bottle, while others have been specially designed to make it easy for your dog to drink from a bowl compartment that is attached to the bottle (mainly so you don’t have to carry around a bowl with you as well).
Health & Wellbeing
11. Flea & worm treatment
Depending on how long you’re travelling for, and the dates of the last treatment, you may need to pack your dog’s flea and worm treatment to ensure he’s always protected (especially in unknown places).
12. Prescribed medication
Just like humans, dogs require their prescribed medication at all times. Enough said!
13. Brush & nail clippers
To keep your pooch sitting pretty and date-night ready, remember to take some of their grooming supplies with them. This should consist of their brush and nail clippers (depending on how long you’re travelling for). For dogs with double coats, we love this brush as it helps their undercoat as well.
Many hotels (even dog friendly ones) only seem to supply white or cream towels. So unless you want to annoy the hotel staff by getting your dogs muddy or sandy paws all over their clean towels, I’d highly recommend taking your own. You could take your dog’s usual towel or buy a quick drying one.
15. Favourite toys
As with their bedding and blanket, packing your dog’s favourite toys ensures they have something with them that has their smell on and that they recognise. It works wonders for getting a dog used to a hotel room or new digs.
16. Kongs & kong fillings
Kongs are great for getting dogs to settle down in cars and when out and about, so it’s worth taking a couple of them with you on your travels, alongside some tasty kong fillings that won’t spoil.
17. Antler bone
For puppies and dogs who still love a good chew, we couldn’t recommend an Antler bone enough. It keeps our dog busy for hours! Unlike bones you can get from the butcher’s, antler bones don’t splinter, and they’re definitely a godsend if your dog loves a good chew of a table leg!
18. Dog carrier (for small dogs)
For taking small dogs on the plane or train, you’ll need a suitably sized dog carrier. They’re also useful for days out in busy places if you’ve got a dog that is so easily stepped on.
19. Doggie backpack or luggage
As you can see from this list so far, there is quite a bit you need to pack to ensure your dog’s trip is a comfortable and fun one. To make it easy to grab whatever you need for your pooch, we’d recommend that you take a backpack or other luggage just for your dog’s stuff. We’ve found the Cabin Zero backpacks to be the perfect size for a dog friendly trip away!
When travelling overseas with your dog, there are a number of documents and paperwork you’ll need to have with you such as:
- Pet passport
- Veterinary health certificate
- Vaccination records
- Insurance certificate & policy documents
Different countries will have different requirements when travelling with dogs, so you’ll need to make sure you’re aware of what’s needed in advance. Here are some great resources I’ve found that should help:
- For European travel: Taking Your Dog to Europe: A Guide to Vaccines & Paperwork
- For US travel: Bringing a Dog into the United States
- For travel to Australia: Australia Pet Passport & Import Regulations
If you’re staying within the UK, then it’s still recommended you take your dog’s vaccination records, insurance certificate and insurance policy documents in case your dog needs medical attention while you’re away. Although this isn’t required, I find it beneficial to keep a note of my dog’s microchip number with me at all times as well (just in case).
I hope this dog travel packing list proves useful! I’d love to know where you’re travelling to with your dog — let me know in the comments!
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