10 Dog Travel Necessities for a Safe and Happy Road Trip

The warm weather of summer usually renews a sense of wanderlust. Hitting the road with the windows rolled down, the wind in your hair, your favorite music blasting from your speakers, and a hint of mystery as to what you will discover is amazing.  Looking over to see your pup's smiling face looking back at you brings a higher level of awesome.

Road trips are literally a choose your own adventure. Road trips can be done in one long day or, if you are lucky, you can take weeks to do it. You and your furry friend can venture out to see new areas or landmarks around your state, visit other parts of the country for hiking and exploring, or turn a trip to see family or friends into an adventure.

To make sure you and your pup have a good time when you hit the road to travel with your dog, be sure to bring these dog travel essentials:

1. Car Seat Cover

You can buy a commercial car seat cover, or at least lay a blanket over the seat, to protect your car from dirt and muddy paws.

Dog Travel Road Trip

2. Safety Restraint

Whether you choose a crate, barrier, tether, or harness, restricting your dog from moving freely around the car will reduce the potential for distractions and, in the case of crash-tested restraints, help keep them safe if an accident occurs.

3. Pet First Aid Kit

On the road, you may not be near a veterinary office, so it's good to have some supplies on hand to take care of minor issues yourself. You can buy a first aid kit made for dogs or add extra supplies and dog-specific items to your own kit. To be better prepared, take a pet first aid class so you know how to properly handle any illnesses or injuries (you can Google classes in your area).

4. Water Bowl & Bottled Water

The heat or air conditioning in the car can make your dog thirsty. Pack a water bowl and bottled water so you're ready for easy water drinking on the go. Be sure to offer your furry friend water at least every couple of hours on your trip to prevent dehydration.

Dog Travel Road Trip

5. Food, Treats & Medication/Supplements

You may be on the road, camping, or staying at a hotel when it's Fido's meal time. Be sure to bring your dog's regular food and treats so that new foods don't cause upset stomach or allergies while you are on your adventure. Also bring their medication and supplements to keep up the same heath routine as at home.

6. Leash & Collar or Harness

If your dog walks out to the car by themselves, a leash and collar or harness could be easy to forget. Be sure to throw them in your gear bag so your dog doesn't get stuck waiting in the car while you are out having fun.

7. Poop Bags

You don't need to leave a trail of dog poop to find your way home, so bring bags to pick it up.

8. Current Identification Tags

A pet ID tag is a must. A simple engraved tag will do, but consider a digital ID tag that you can update on the fly. Digital pet ID tags contain a QR code or website that points finders to a website where you can provide alternate ways to contact you on the road, like the number for the hotel or campground you will be staying at. Some tags also have the number of a 24-hour lost pet hotline.

Dog Travel Road Trip

9. Proof of Vaccinations

Proof of vaccination will be required if you need to drop Fido off at a daycare or a kennel while you go explore where dogs aren't allowed, like trails in most national parks. Even if you plan to only go places your dog is welcome, vaccination records are good to have if there is a natural disaster or your dog gets in a fight with another dog.

10. Your Camera!

Road trips are a blast. You'll want to document your adventures to share with friends and family and share on social media. You'll also want to take photos so you can look back on your memories for years to come.

Dog Travel Road Trip

*Photos within blog post courtesy Jessica Rhae Williams.

Team Sierra blogger

Have you ever taken a road trip with your dog? Where did you go?
posted by
Jessica Rhae Williams
As a member of #TeamSierra, Jessica Rhae Williams receives promotional consideration from Sierra Trading Post. Jessica lives in Seattle with her husband and two miniature Dachshunds, Chester and Gretel, and loves hiking, traveling, and adventuring. Through her blog, You Did What With Your Weiner, she shares stories of climbing mountains, breaking stereotypes and living the good life with her dogs. She is founder of #AdventureDogChat and regularly tweets about hiking, fitness, and pets.
Join the Conversation