It’s summertime! And that means….ROAD TRIP!!

Dog with her owner looking over a map outside Loveless Cafe on their road trip.

If your dog loves road tripping as much as Chloe does, I’ll bet you’ve already got a packing list ready. But if this is your first time traveling with your pup – even if it’s just a long day-trip – we’ve created a list of our 21 essentials for road tripping with your dog. We never leave home without them.

Dog and her owner stopping for a bite to eat at Loveless Cafe on their road trip.

Some of them might surprise you.

Well, actually we HAVE left home without a couple of these things and learned fairly quickly we desperately wished we had brought them! So you get to benefit from our mistake.

Dog stopping at Leiper's Fork, TN during a road trip.

Amazon Affliliate links ahead…

The Basics

I probably don’t even have to list these, but just so we keep a complete list, here we go….

  • Water – especially in hot weather, bring more than you think you’ll need. Some dogs will drink any water with no problem. But some have tummy issues drinking water from different locales. Make sure you bring what your dog is used to drinking.
  • Food – even if you’re not planning an overnight trip, bringing food will be a plus for your dog in case of emergency stops or if you decide to stay longer than dinnertime.
  • Treats
  • Collapsible water/food bowls
  • Pet waste bags – and for peace of mind, a few extra thick ziplocs in case there is no place to dispose of the poop bags during a potty stop. Trust me.
  • Car blanket – essential for keeping your vehicle clean from muddy paws. Plus doubles as extra warmth if needed.
  • Vaccine records/medications/medical info – if you’re out of town, especially traveling through other states, it’s important to have this info on hand. Also bring your veterinarian’s phone number AND phone numbers of emergency vets along the route you are traveling.
  • ID tag and/or microchip – if your dog should decide to take his own road trip while at a pit stop, you’ll be glad his contact info will be with him. I’m not a big fan of tags that hang from collars due to how easily they can be lost/torn off. There are some very cool flat metal ID tags that attach directly to your dog’s collar. Love the slide-on from ROADid
ROADid pet tag that slides over collar
Image courtesy of ROADid

Easy Organization

  • Dog travel bag – helps to keep everything together in the car and easy to carry into your hotel room. Lots of different designs. We use the Overland Travel Dog Tote Bag.
  • First aid kit – see our post on assembling your own kit.
  • Wet wipes – so many uses and if you need some, you’ll be so glad they are available.
  • Dog towel – a towel or a shammy work wonders for wet dogs getting back in the car after a splash in a creek or simply getting caught in the rain.
  • Tick spray/calming spray – the last thing you want to deal with on a road trip is a dog bringing some ticks along for the ride. Our all natural diy tick spray is easy to carry. And if sleeping in a hotel room is a bit stressful for your pup, our diy calming spray will work wonders. (Keep an eye open for instructions in our Fourth of July post coming soon…)
  • Toys from home – dogs are a lot like kids. They like to have their own familiar toys with them. Bring a few of your dog’s favorites.
  • Extra collar/leash/harness – yes, it can happen. Collars can break, leashes can be lost and you’ll be glad there are extras in your bag.

Extras to Make Things Even Better

  • Travel crate – so many uses! If your dog is used to sleeping in a crate, this will make him feel at home in a new location. You may need a secure place to put your dog in emergencies. A soft-sided, foldable model is a good choice. We love our Petnation Port-A-Crate.
  • Travel bed – it’s nice for your dog to have a dedicated “space” that belongs to her while traveling. We love the Kurgo Loft Wander Dog bed. Waterproof and non-slip.
  • Brush/nail trimmer – it’s always nice to spruce up your dog for photo ops. Plus nails can need attention while you’re away. Better to bring your clippers with you.
  • Nature’s Miracle – Even the best trained dogs can have accidents. Or stomach upsets. Having a bottle of this in the car can make clean-ups easier and keep your car smelling fresh. Imagine the alternative…
  • Car fan/indoor fan – If your dog rides crated, a cooling fan will help him stay much more comfortable. Bonus points if you can find a model that is portable to use in your Airbnb or hotel room. Generating a steady sound to block out strange noises at night can be very beneficial. Also consider a cooling mat or the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler.
  • Food puzzle games – long trips mean our dogs might not get as much exercise as they need. Enter dog puzzles! Fill them with treats and let your dog use her brain power to solve the puzzle. Fifteen minutes of mental stimulation can burn as much energy as a thirty minute walk for dogs! Check out some on our Training List.
Van all packed with some of the essentials for road tripping with your dog.

***Traveling with your dog in hot weather CAN be problematic. Especially if you’re traveling solo, there may be an instance where you’ll need to leave your dog in the car for a brief moment. I highly recommend this post How to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Car During the Summer! by my friend Kayla Fratt, dog behavior consultant and freelance writer.***

We’ve put together a quick Cheat Sheet for you to download and keep on hand for any last-minute packing.

Pin to your favorite Pinterest Board to keep these 21 essentials for road tripping with your dog and the link to the Cheat Sheet – and share with others who are hitting the roads with their pups this summer.

Pinterest 21 Road Trip Essentials for Your Dog

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