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.
- Harness/collar and leash
- Collapsible/light weight bowls (water and food)
- Usual treats (and dog food, if necessary) to avoid digestive issues
- Favorite toy – just one is enough (Moby!)
- Wipes for quick cleaning of paws and bums on the go
- Brush/comb, shampoo and conditioner (transfer to travel size bottles)
- Poop bags and pee pads/indoor potty solution (in our case the Pup-head)
- Small spray bottle of cleaning product/enzyme neutralizer
- Sling bag
- 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)
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)
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.)
If the weather will be very cold, I’ll need:
- Sweaters (more than one so one is always dry)
- Boots/protective paw wear
- Warmer carrier/sling
- Heating pad/hand warmers
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.