While most of our trips lately have meant Ella was left at Marcus’ parent’s house, we have taken her to a few destinations in the past few years. We hope to be able to travel with her more regularly as she becomes more familiar and accepting of new people and places. I have also travelled with other people’s pets when I participate in grooming competitions. Bringing along your pet requires some extra planning, starting with their own special packing list.
It’s pretty obvious that food, water and a leash are things you will need to pack, but often, I had found myself wishing we had brought toys, treats, or paper towels to make our trip more comfortable. It is important to keep your pet’s routine as closely as you can, so if you normally have play time at 7PM or dinner at 5, try and mimic their schedule to avoid anxiety that some pets get when forced off their normal routine.
- Food for the time you will be gone, plus extra just in case
- Bottled water for gas station stops, two bottles is best. We also have a handy bottle with a water tray we bring along for outdoor activities
- Bowls for food and water
- Treats- Just because you aren’t home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still reward for good behavior.
- Paper Towel- Accidents happen. Nothing is worse than trying to clean up a pee mess with kleenex.
- Carpet Cleaner- I have travelled with a nervous pee-er before, so having carpet cleaner on hand was a blessing to make sure we didn’t get charged for damage to our hotel room.
- Kennel or crate- If your dog typically gets kenneled for bedtime like Ella does, bring their kennel along. Ours folds down and has a handle for easy carrying.
- Toys- Bring along a sort-of favorite toy so Fido has something of comfort on the trip. A lot of the dogs I have travelled with actually loved to play with their toys in the hotel room, just keep in mind that it may get lost or accidentally left behind so don’t pack the most super special toy you have.
- Lots of poop bags- Always remember to pick up after your pet; not only is it common courtesy, but some towns have fines for not picking up the poop.
- Veterinary documents- Carry your pet’s vaccination records whenever you are travelling. This will help is the event your pet is lost or you have some trouble. Also include a recent photo of your pet.
- Chew toys or Puzzles- Give your pet something to do if you plan on leaving them in your room while you visit a museum or head to dinner. Kong makes great time-killer toys.
- An Extra Leash- If you normally use a retractable leash, bring a non-retractable one as well. It’s never good to have a leash break, and some stores specify that pets must be kept on a short leash to go shopping with you.
- Medications and First Aid- If your pet takes medication or supplements at home, don’t forget to pack these. I always bring a few extra in case we are delayed getting home or we lose one somehow. Keeping a small first aid kit in your car is a great idea as well. Some vet wrap, ointment and gauze should be able to help most situations until you can get to a vet.
- A few towels- I’ve found many uses for a towel while on the road. Dog jumps in mud, dog needs an emergency bath, dog pees in the car…the need for a towel usually involves some comedy.
- Pet specific items: If you normally use things at home, bring them with on your trip. Bark collars, Jackets, Potty pads, etc.
- Travel Specific Items- Will you be hiking or boating? Bring along a dog backpack or a life jacket. Stores like REI sell a lot of pet items for outdoor adventures.
If you plan on trekking outdoors with your pet, remember to have your pet’s flea and tick preventative, Lyme vaccine and Rabies vaccine current. In heavily mosquito-infested areas, Heartworm preventative can be another thing to consider.
Now that you have your items, what’s the best way to transport them? For things like towels, carpet cleaner, and extra toys, I like to keep them in a small laundry basket in the trunk of the car. They don’t need to come into the hotel, but they will be easy enough to get if they do become necessary. For the essentials you will be taking into your hotel, I found that an old plastic-lined diaper bag is well suited. The lining helps prevent a huge mess in the case of a water spill and diaper bags usually have a few internal pockets so you can pack an efficient and easy-to-access bag.
Is there something your pet just couldn’t travel without? Let us know!