Ready, Set, Pack: Your Ultimate Dog Vacation Checklist

Dog on vacation

Written by Andrea Gatley

Friday, June 16, 2023

Hey there, dog-loving adventurers! It’s Andrea, back on the DogDogDog blog and ready to dive into more doggy travel tips. Did you catch Luna’s awesome post yesterday, “On the Move: Traveling with Your Dog“? She dished out some super helpful advice on making trips with your furry pals smooth sailing.

Now, I’m here to take you even deeper into the world of traveling with your pup. We’re going to conquer one of the biggest challenges of any adventure – packing! And we’re not just talking about any old packing; we’re gearing up for a journey with your four-legged best friend.

I’ve put together a mega checklist of everything you might need when you’re vacationing with your dog. We’re covering all the bases, from the must-haves to the better-safe-than-sorry items. So, let’s dive in and turn this packing challenge into a fun-filled frolic in the park!

Travel Essentials:

  1. Travel Crate or Carrier: Depending on your dog’s size and the mode of transportation, a secure and comfortable crate or carrier is essential.
  2. Seat Belt or Car Harness: If you’re traveling by car and your dog isn’t in a crate, a seat belt or car harness can keep them safe.
  3. Leash and Collar: Don’t forget the basics! Include an extra leash and collar, just in case.
  4. Identification Tags: Ensure your dog’s ID tags are up-to-date and securely attached to their collar.
  5. Health Records and Documentation: If you’re traveling across state or country lines, you may need proof of vaccinations. It’s also handy to have your vet’s contact information.

Food and Water Supplies:

  1. Dog Food: Pack enough food for the duration of your trip, plus a little extra. Changing food in the middle of your trip can be a recipe for a doggy digestion disaster.
  2. Water: Bring plenty of water for rest stops and emergencies.
  3. Bowls: Collapsible bowls are great for travel as they take up less space.
  4. Treats: Useful for rewarding good behavior and keeping your dog occupied during travel.

Comfort Items:

  1. Bedding: Bring your dog’s bed or a familiar blanket to help them feel at home.
  2. Toys: Favorite toys can provide comfort and entertainment.
  3. Chew Items: These can help keep your dog occupied during travel.

Health and Hygiene Items:

  1. Medications: If your dog takes any regular medications, be sure to pack enough for the duration of your trip.
  2. First-Aid Kit: Include bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, a tick remover, and any other dog-specific first-aid items.
  3. Poop Bags: Essential for clean-up during travel and at your destination.
  4. Flea and Tick Prevention: If you’re traveling to an area where these pests are common, make sure your dog is protected.
  5. Towels: Useful for cleaning up messes, drying off after a swim, or providing extra warmth.


  1. Portable Dog Pen or Baby Gates: If you’re staying somewhere without a secure area for your dog, these can be useful.
  2. Dog-Friendly Sunscreen: If you’re vacationing somewhere sunny, protect your dog’s skin with a pet-safe sunscreen.
  3. Cooling Mat: If you’re traveling in hot weather, a cooling mat can help keep your dog comfortable.

Remember, every pup is as unique as a snowflake, and that means their travel needs are going to be unique, too! What you’ll need to pack can change based on your dog’s own quirks, how long you’ll be adventuring, and where you’re headed.

My advice? Make a personalized checklist and start packing a bit early. That way, you can be sure you’ve got everything your furry sidekick needs for the best vacation or road trip ever.

And hey, if it’s their favorite squeaky toy or that blanket they just can’t sleep without, and it’s going to make them feel more at home while you’re on the road, it’s totally worth tossing in the suitcase.

Safe travels, and happy packing, my fellow dog lovers!

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