Dog Travel Checklist: What To Pack When Traveling With Your Dog

Going on a trip with your dog? You deserve it! But before you embark on your travels, learn exactly what to pack with this dog travel checklist.

Taylor Walsh

Updated November 04, 2022 • Published March 19, 2021

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Dog Travel Checklist: What To Pack When Traveling With Your Dog

Whether you're traveling for the holidays or just planning your next adventure, this packing list for traveling with your dog will ensure you're prepared anytime you leave home with your pooch in tow—whether by land, sea, or sky. Packing can be stressful and it can be easy to forget to bring everything for yourself, let alone your dog, when you go on vacation.

Traveling can be especially tough on our furry friends because we can’t explain to them what's going on. Being prepared with all of the items on your dog travel checklist will help both you and your pup stay calm during your journey and once you get to your destination.

Dog travel checklist

1. Leash, collar & tags

This might seem like kind of a "duh," but be sure to bring your dog's leash, collar, harness, and tags with you when you travel. It's wise to bring a few different types of leashes and harnesses for different purposes, and in case you lose one, you'll have extra. In addition, make sure you have up-to-date tags with correct contact information in case your dog gets separated from you.

2. Water & food bowls

It goes without saying, but having a water and food bowl on your packing list when you travel with your dog is essential! This helps ensure that your pup stays well hydrated and has a clean, safe bowl to eat from.

3. Food

Make sure you bring plenty of your pet’s food when you travel. If you run out of food and are forced to switch quickly, your pet might get an upset stomach, which is not fun for any party involved. Bring more than you think you need—a few extra days worth is ideal.

4. ThunderShirt

While not every pup will benefit from this, ThunderShirts are great for keeping your pet calm when you're traveling. They have many different models to suit your pet’s active (or not-so-active) lifestyle.

If your pet is anxious, be sure to consult one of our online Vet Pros for other suggestions for how to keep them calm. ThunderShirts, toys, and treats are a great place to start.

5. Weather-appropriate attire

Be sure to consider the weather at your destination and include a wide range of options from your dog's wardrobe for the possible conditions. There's nothing worse than getting to your campsite and realizing you forgot your dog's floaty. In all seriousness, consider if your dog will need coats, sweaters, booties, or even goggles.

6. Crate

Depending on your mode of travel, you may or may not need a dog travel carrier. Be sure to bring whatever you need to keep your pup safe and secure while you're traveling. It's also important to plan for where your pet will sleep when you arrive at your destination. If your pet feels comfortable in a crate, we recommend a pop-up folding crate since they're portable and cozy.

7. Medications

Before you embark, double check your calendar to see if your pet's flea & tick or heartworm meds are due while you're traveling. If so, be sure to add one or two to your list!

If your pet needs any other medications, be sure to bring those as well—in a quantity that is slightly more than the number of days they'll need them should you run into travel hiccups. In addition, having a small first aid kit is also a great idea to handle unexpected situations.

8. Poop bags

You can never have too many poop bags on your dog packing list. Ever. And then when you think you’ve packed enough, pack some more.

9. Rabies tag/vaccination records

Depending on where you're going and your method of travel, you'll need to ensure you have the proper documentation. You should always have your pet’s rabies tags on hand, as well as your pet’s vaccination records. Be sure to check with your destination as well as mode of transport to make sure you have everything you need.

10. Brush

If your dog has a thick coat and you'll be gone for more than a couple days, it might be a good idea to add your dog's brush or comb to your packing list. Staying ahead on grooming your dog is important, as having to catch up can be an uncomfortable and timely ordeal for the both of you.

11. Treats & toys

Be sure to add lots of items to your dog packing list that let your pooch know that he or she is a very good boy/girl. Some dogs love the car, but for others, traveling is stressful and they'll need plenty of distractions and even more rewards for behaving. Plus, once you reach your destination, your pet will appreciate having a piece (and taste) of home to help them settle in. Read more about quality dog food nutrition and treats here.

Have questions about traveling with your dog?

Pawp's Vet Pros are here to chat 24/7. Whether you have questions about travel, behavior, health, or nutrition, we can help point you and your pup in the right direction.

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