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I got my first dog as an adult in part because I was traveling a lot on weekend getaways, and I wanted to bring along a canine companion. Years later, I still enjoy taking the dogs out, even just a trip to the park, almost as much as they love going. But I’m up to a pack of three, which can be a lot of paws!
One thing I’ve learned that makes life easier is keeping a travel bag for the dogs ready to go next to their larger travel items. I’ve added and subtracted a few items as I’ve gone, but here is my current list of must-haves for taking my dogs on a day trip.
Even when I used a large travel bag for the dogs, I still preferred the silicone collapsible bowls over any others I’ve tried. I often leave the bag in the car and just take a few items with me, in which case, the collapsible bowls are much more convenient. If you hike, you can easily attach the collapsed bowls to your backpack with the provided carabiner, as well, to save space.
These are the bowls I currently use:
They come in a great assortment of colors, and they have held up after many adventures with the pack.
Sometimes, outside is the only or best place to work on certain behaviors, so it’s always handy to have some training treats with you. The ideal training treat will have fewer calories than a normal treat, which allows you to give multiple to your dog to continually reinforce good behavior.
These get my dogs’ attention:
Food and Treat Storage
If your treat bag doesn’t seal well or if you want to bring along a little kibble to hold your dog over, then these reusable plastic storage bags can provide an easy solution. I use these in my kitchen at home for food storage, both dry and in the freezer, and I have found them to be durable and convenient.
It goes without saying your dog will need water while out on their adventures. Personally, I just bring along water for them in a gallon jug and fill their collapsible bowl as needed. If that works for you, then check out this highly-rated bottle on Amazon with the chug lid option.
Alternatively, this style with a built-in dog bowl is blowing up on Amazon. I haven’t tried it yet, and given the amount of water it holds, it would be better suited for shorter trips in cooler weather.
Dirty paws and dusty coats are inevitable, but most of that can be easily resolved with pet wipes. I keep a pack in the bag for quick cleanup.
A groomer recommended TropiClean shampoo for my dogs, and I’ve had good luck with their products so far. Luckily, they even make wipes.
No discussion about dog travel adventures is complete with discussing cleaning up after your pooch. Even though no one enjoys this chore, it’s an important part of being a responsible pet owner. The next few entries will make this as seamless and convenient as possible.
Just because they have an unsavory purpose doesn’t mean the bags can’t have fun colors. I purchased a big set of ones decorated with donuts from Petsmart, but when they run out, I may go with something like these, which are eco friendly as well.
Poop Bag Dispenser
Those little rolls can be a pain to manage, so don’t forget the little dispenser to put them in. Some brands of bags come with a dispenser, but if not, they’re easy to find. Check out this one from Earth Rated:
Most dispensers fit most poop bags.
If you’re visiting the dog park, then there are probably already trash cans everywhere for you to dispose of the waste. But if you’re on a longer trip, such conveniences might not be available for a while. A used poop bag, no matter the cute motif on the outside, can be an unpleasant companion.
You can make it a little less gross by using a lined bag specifically meant to conceal the poop bag. These often have measures to help reduce the smell, as well, such as this one from Tuff Mutt. The bag has a built-in dispenser, as well, and they’re kind enough to measure how much the bag can carry before it will need to be emptied.
I appreciate people whose jobs it is to figure out these things!
Good feet protection isn’t just for humans! Whether from snow and ice, or dry and pokey things, dog feet can get hurt too. It’s worth taking the time to find the right shoes for your furry companion and teach them how to walk in them.
Please note that while Ruffwear comes highly rated, they sell their shoes in sets of two, not four. Some reviewers report issues with their dog’s dew claw, so as with any pet product, always watch your pet closely to keep them safe.
Depending on your dog, you may want a long lead such as this 50 feet one.
Before using, keep in mind whether or not your dog will chew at the lead, lunge and pull hard enough to break the clasp, get injured out of your view, or slip their harness. I was going to add this to our bag but ultimately decided against it as the ones who would use it aren’t safe doing so, and the one who would be, never wants to be far from me anyway.
Such a simple addition to the travel bag and yet how many times did I overlook bringing along a towel? More than once!
If you plan to bring your dog around water to play or if they like to splash in their water dish, a towel (or two) is a great thing to have.
Check out this set of two towels from Amazon:
Adding a laundry bag is nice to have but not a necessity. It will however give you a convenient place to store wet towels and anything else that might have gotten dirty on your adventures. This one has some of the best overall reviews for durability.
Or, depending on your needs, a much smaller wet bag might be a better fit. These, however, will not fit full size towels.
We know to put on sunscreen before we go out, but did you know your dog may need sunscreen too? As always, we strongly recommend discussing any questions and concerns about new products with your vet, but here are two highly rated dog sunscreens available on Amazon.
Please note, it is not safe to use human sunscreen on dogs. Human sunscreen can be toxic to dogs, so it’s safer to use a product designed for their needs.
Please also note, dog sunscreen is not regulated and therefore, cannot claim an SPF rating.
I like to keep the car travel gear loaded in the car or with their go-bag, so my list also includes a good seat cover. I used to have one from Kurgo, but when it became damaged, I replaced it with this one:
Don’t forget to buckle in your dog for the trip! Some dogs may prefer boosters, but mine do better with seatbelt tethers. I use the one from Kurgo, and it has worked with three different harness styles and with dogs ranging from five to twenty pounds, and it would likely work for much larger dogs as well.
Depending on the size of your dog, a dog stroller may be the accessory you didn’t know you needed. When I take one of the dogs out alone, the stroller can be a lifesaver for multitasking, especially concerning behavioral or health challenges.
Many of these items can be kept together in a bag. There are several options, such as kits designed specifically for traveling with dogs. These didn’t fit my needs though, as I wanted the ability to bring other items with me.
I used to use a Betsey Johnson quilted “weekender” bag I found at Ross, since it remains in the car when we’re out. If we’re hiking away from the car, I place the items we will need on the trail into my backpack and leave everything else for when we return.
The bag eventually proved to be a little too large for my needs, so I replaced it with a simple zippered tote bag.
First Aid Kit
Finally, please be sure to bring a dog first aid kit with you on your adventures. You never know when something unexpected might happen, so it’s a good idea to be prepared. Amazon offers some pre-filled dog first aid kits, such as this.