Packing For the Traveling Dog!

When Gigi and Luna (from The Ramble) asked me to participate in a “Social Media Blitz” on the subject of packing for a travelling dog, I was thrilled to be included. I was also surprised to see that I had not written about this subject before.

I’ve written about carriers, pop-up-playpens, indoor potty training, eating on the go, clothing options depending on weather, what to consider when going on a road trip and so much more. But a post solely on the subject of what/how to pack for a traveling dog? Somehow that had not yet made the cut! Shameful, I know.

So, to be sure I did a thorough job and wrote a post worth being in the good company of Gigi and Luna, and Dog Jaunts, Mary-Alice and Chloe, I started by going into my archives to see what I had already touched upon; determine what, if anything, had changed; and make a list of what I hadn’t yet covered on the topic. To add to that research, I reviewed what the bipeds had packed for me on more recent trips.

I was surprised by how much I had to think about all of this. Packing isn’t as simple as it might seem on the surface. Things such as climate and activities impact what you bring. The bipeds worry about which shoes and shirts; I have to worry about which toys and leashes. In fact, I’m thinking that “taking half of what you think you need and twice as much money” is an art form!

The Constants: These are the items I always have with me. I first mentioned my constants in my post, “9 Things to Consider for Canine Traveling Companions.” Since then, I’ve done a bit more travelling and so have more experience to draw on. My list has not changed much except to grow by one item into a top 10 list of travelling basics for anything from a weekend getaway to a longer vacation.

The Basics:

  1. Harness/collar and leash

    Can you name the 10 basics featured here?

  2. Collapsible/light weight bowls (water and food)
  3. Usual treats (and dog food, if necessary) to avoid digestive issues
  4. Favorite toy – just one is enough (Moby!)
  5. Wipes for quick cleaning of paws and bums on the go
  6. Brush/comb, shampoo and conditioner (transfer to travel size bottles)
  7. Poop bags and pee pads/indoor potty solution (in our case the Pup-head)
  8. Small spray bottle of cleaning product/enzyme neutralizer
  9. Sling bag
  10. Local vet contact info with emergency kit!

Itinerary Specific Items:

Certain plans or activities add to this list. For example, if I am flying and/or crossing borders, I will need to add:

  • Documents (updated shots, tickets)
  • Document holder
  • Airline Approved Carrier (for flying)

My travel toiletry bag, document holder, bowls and flask!

If staying in a hotel rather than in a rented apartment or a friend’s home, I will also need:

  • Pop-up playpen
  • Blanket/towel (to cover furniture or clean up unexpected messes)

Extended Stays:

If I am going to be away for more than 2 weeks, these items will be added:

  • Extra harness and leash (Dirty ones take time to dry.)
  • Nail trimmer
  • Furminator (keeps my shedding under control)


If the weather is going to be hot and/or I will be sailing or going to the beach, I’ll need:

  • Cooling pad
  • UV-protective rash guard (a special t-shirt to protect dog’s skin)
  • Beach tent
  • Doggles to protect my eyes
  • Cooling vest
  • Life vest (sailing)
  • Dog safe sunscreen
  • Tick and flea collar
  • Dog water bottle
  • Tick remover (You can get these for just a few dollars at your vet’s or a good pet store.)

Summer versus Winter!

If the weather will be very cold, I’ll need:

  • Snowsuit
  • Sweaters (more than one so one is always dry)
  • Boots/protective paw wear
  • Warmer carrier/sling
  • Heating pad/hand warmers

Special Events:

This may surprise you, but dogs also attend special events. I certainly do! If I am going to a fashion show, a costume party, an interview, a wedding, or a special dinner, I may need to add a little extra panache. This could mean packing:

  • Fancy harness
  • Fancy leash
  • Shirt collar and bow-tie/tie
  • Special fancy carrier or sling

But I can’t carry all of that on my back!

Now that we have gone over the What To Include, how about considering how to carry everything!

The bipeds have found that most of my things are best packed in the carry-on bags. (Often, this is all we have unless the trip is for diving; then we have the big dive bags as well.) The parental units like to spilt my items between their two bags. That way, if something happens to one bag, not everything is lost.

We have also found that most of my items are very small. So when packing, my things are placed inside shoes and used to fill up lost space between their clothing. But, a word of advice:

Do not place small items along the edges of your suitcase. Your carry on could be checked at security and when opening the case, small items along the edges can fall out. This isn’t so bad if you are vigilant and you have a nice security inspector, but with larger bags going through cargo, an agent might open your bag without you present. An agent may not pay nearly as close attention as you would. Items do get lost. In addition, a small harness (or sweater) packed too close to the zipper can get caught in the metal teeth, stopping the suitcase zipper from closing. If that happens, you will certainly delay things and annoy fellow travellers. You may also, sadly, damage your own item.

So, there you have it: my packing list. I honestly can’t think of anything else. Print up my handy packing list to help you if this is your first time or if you are forgetful. (It’s OK; your secret is safe with me.) You can also use it as a check list to make sure you haven’t forgotten something essential or are leaving something behind in the hotel room before heading home.

Speaking of forgetting, did I forget anything? If so, please share in the comments below.

20 Comments on “Packing For the Traveling Dog!

  1. Gigi Griffis is posting about packing for dog travel on her blog, The Ramble, she a PRO since she has been travelling with Luna across Europe…Couch Surfing no less (can you say jealous?)… Mary-Alice from Dog Jaunt (we are so humbled by her blog) also wrote an amazing post; very detailed and precise as she is known to be (The only person I know to include actual measurements for under the seat space for your carrier). All of us posting simultaneously at 6:30 a.m. November 8, 2012. (hyperlinks in 3rd paragraph of this post!)

  2. Pingback: How to Pack Your Pooch for a Round the World Adventure | the ramble

  3. Thanks again for writing this, Monte! It’s really excellent (and just made me go edit my list, as I forgot to mention Luna’s life vest and paperwork – shame on me!).

  4. I love this post, and especially the pics of the gear you’re talking about — I also love (and envy) the idea of rolling up and tucking the small bits into shoes and other packing cavities. And what a clever idea to use those hand warmers as mini-heaters for a small pup!!!

    • That, Mary-Alice is huge praise coming from the blogger WE look to for advice (your post on Washington Airport was priceless for us on our last trip)! This has been a great experience. And yes there is a camera ham in the house!

      We’ve all learned from each other I think and that means so will our readers. Win Win. I also loved seeing how different we all were in our approach to this topic.

      As for the hand warmer idea actually came from “Grandma” on her last winter visit. She had some and dropped one in the sling bag when she needed one herself. It was a light bulb moment.

  5. Good information as always. Mad props going out to Moby on getting some face time in this article. I wish more bipeds took the time to consider their four-legged family members when planning a trip. Hopefully, this will give them a frame of reference.

    • Moby … I know right? People say I am a camera hog but really … he is SO out of control! It isn’t Moby’s Travels is it? ahmmmmm.
      If we help just one person consider their canine when planning a trip … then we have done a good thing.

  6. I dont think you left anything out!! A superb list of items all caring owners should keep in mind when packing for a trip!!

  7. Well done, Monte, nothing have been missed, but, you know what, I have noticed, that my dogs are sensitive to the change of water, so I take some water for them, which they drink at home, just for the trip itself,by car usually, and of course flea and tick collar and tick remover is a must for Crimea!

  8. Very well written and comprehensive! I certainly can’t think of anything else. I really like the idea of having two bags in case one gets lost, oh, and “Moby”!

    • It is better … we speak from experience! With a tiny frame like mine finding a harness that fits is difficult. On one trip my harness went missing (or broke – can’t recall) but we had only the one. It was terrible. We spent an entire vacation day (wasted) looking for a harness. Lesson learned!

      And yes … Moby!

    • Travel items are often the same regardless of the method of transport. Other than some paperwork (having more to do with borders) and an airline approved carrier really the list would change very little.

    • Thank you Samuel! It turns heads that’s for sure! but the best part is how much it makes us blend in as locals. No one treats us as a tourist or even traveler … the assumption is we live there. As such we get a very different experience. Thanks for dropping by!

  9. Pingback: Tips For Traveling With Your Dog Over The Holidays! (or anytime really!) | Montecristo Travels

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