Thursday, June 11, 2009

What to Pack for a Road Trip with Your Dog

By Anna Lee

You made your reservations at a pet friendly lodging. You feel confident that the room you reserved will be comfortable and safe for you and your pet. Before you close the trunk and hit the road, you should make sure you have everything you need for yourself and your dog. I won’t be so bold as to tell you what you need for yourself, but I do have some suggestions for things to pack for your dog!

* Food - This would include dry or canned dog food, whatever you normally use. If you plan to be gone a week, make sure to take a week’s worth of food. You do not want to run out of your favorite brand like CANIDAE®, and not be able to locate it in a strange town.

* Treats – If your dog is accustomed to getting treats at certain times of the day or for certain actions, make sure you continue that practice on vacation. Dogs are creatures of habit.

* Leash – Most places have leash laws. Don’t let your dog out of the vehicle until the leash is firmly attached. A few seconds of safety can save your dog’s life.

* Medications – Again, whatever meds your dog is taking, make sure to pack a sufficient supply for the trip. I purchased one of those 7 day pill containers for myself and realized that it would be perfect for the dog’s pills. For her pills I bought the large size container. Make sure to buy a different color container so you don’t get the two mixed up!

* Water and bowl – I always have a bowl and a container of water in the car. Having those with me means I don’t have to hunt around for a water supply at a rest area or gas station.

* Bedding – Take your dog’s bed, blanket or whatever it is he normally sleeps on. It will give him a secure feeling while in the vehicle as well as at your destination. If your dog rides on the backseat, then put the bedding there. If your pooch travels behind the back seat in an SUV, put it here for him. My dog always rides behind the back seat in our SUV where she is safe.

* If your dog normally sleeps in a crate and you have a portable one, be sure to take it.

* Proof of Rabies vaccination – This is the one most important document to have in case something untoward happens. Also make sure your dog’s rabies tag is attached to his collar.

* Micro Chip – If your dog has a micro chip make sure he is wearing the tag. I had Abby micro chipped several years ago since we travel a lot.

* Flea and Tick protection – I recommend putting flea and tick protection on prior to leaving for a trip. I usually apply it two days before the trip.

Note: If I plan to be gone for 7 days I usually take enough food and medications for two extra days. You never know when an emergency weather situation may extend a trip, or I may decide to stay another day or two.

Taking your dog on a road trip or vacation can be a rewarding experience for all involved. Dogs are creatures of habit and routine, so make sure to keep the feeding times the same. Try to take the dog for a walk as close as you can to its normal time. Feel free to use this list as a guide and modify it to your dog’s particular needs. Save and happy travels!

Read more articles by Anna Lee


  1. ah, look at her, all ready to go for a ride! I was trying to think of what else needs to be taken on a trip, but I think you've covered it all! Great write up.

  2. Great suggestions! Don't forget to buckle them up when you head out.


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