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Traveling with Dogs: A Practical Guide To Packing For a Dog

Setting off on an adventure with your dog opens up a world of fun experiences filled with new sights and sounds for both of you. The secret to a smooth and memorable trip? Good planning and packing. Let our Practical Guide to Packing for Your Dog help you get ready for your next trip.

This guide is designed to walk you through the essentials and provide tailored packing lists for different types of trips.

We’ll cover the basics for a comfortable short stay in a hotel, the must-haves for extended stays in vacation rentals, and helpful tips for flying with your dog.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that each dog has its own set of needs, preferences, and habits. What comforts one dog—a favorite toy, a specific diet, or a customary routine—might not necessarily apply to another.

Therefore, while this guide provides a solid foundation for packing, it’s equally important to customize your checklist to cater to your dog’s requirements.

Traveling with Dogs: A Practical Guide To Packing For a Dog - title picture with cute small dog in suitcase with hat on and colorful towel and bag nearby.

Packing For your Dog – Three Day Weekend at a Hotel

In this section we cover the essentials you need for a stress-free three-day hotel stay with your furry friend. Plus extras to help make your trip a breeze.


  • Food and Water Bowls: Collapsible bowls are perfect for travel and save space.
  • Dog Food: Pack enough for the duration of the trip, plus some extra just in case.
  • Water Bottle: For keeping your dog hydrated during the journey and walks.
  • Leash and Collar: Don’t forget your dog’s tags. This should include:
    • An ID tag with your current contact information
    • Dog license
    • Rabies Tag
  • Dog Harness: If you use one
  • Waste Bags: To clean up after your dog.
  • Bedding: A familiar blanket or travel bed to help your dog feel at home in the new environment. A bed cover if they sleep in bed with you. We use a thick beach towel since it is easier to pack.
  • Toys and Chews: A couple of their favorite toys or chews to keep them entertained.

Health and Safety

  • Medications: Any regular medications your dog requires, plus flea and tick prevention if necessary.
  • First Aid Kit: Basic pet first aid supplies for minor injuries or ailments.
  • Vaccination Records: Some hotels or activities may require proof of vaccination.
  • Health Certificate: If you are leaving the country or if required for where you are going.
  • Doggy Seatbelt: To secure your dog if they are not in a crate on car rides

Grooming and Cleaning Supplies

  • Towels: For drying off after walks in the rain or cleaning dirty paws. Towels can also do double duty as a feeding floor mat to protect hotel carpeting from messy eaters or spills.
  • Grooming Supplies: A brush and any other grooming tools your dog regularly uses.
  • Pet-Safe Cleaning Wipes: For quick clean-ups.

Comfort and Convenience

  • Crate or Carrier: If your dog is crate-trained, bringing it along can provide a safe and familiar space for them in the hotel room. Just remember many hotels do not allow dogs to stay alone in the room.
  • Pee Pads: Especially useful for puppies, senior dogs, or emergency situations.
  • Treats: To reward good behavior or help with training in a new environment.

Additional Tips

  • Check Hotel Policies: Before you travel, confirm that your hotel is pet-friendly and understand their specific pet policies and fees.
  • Dog Picture: Take a picture of your dog on the day you leave in case they get loose and you need help finding them.
  • Plan for Emergencies: Know the location of the nearest 24-hour veterinary clinic to your hotel.
  • Microchip: If your dog is microchipped, have the chip number handy and phone number to the chip company to notify them if your dog is lost.
  • Exercise: Plan for regular walks and exercise to help your dog burn off energy and reduce anxiety.
Wet, white dog on lake dock with ball

Packing For your Dog – Week Long Vacation at a Vacation Rental

This packing guide is for when you’re driving to your vacation rental. From must-haves to extra comforts, we try to make sure your furry friend has a great vacation too

On the Road Kit

  • Seat Cover or Hammock: Protects your car seats and keeps your dog safe.
  • Harness and Car Restraint: Ensures your dog’s safety during the drive.
  • Refillable Water Bottle and Collapsible Bowl: Hydration is key, especially on longer trips.
  • Food and Treats: Pack enough for the journey and a little extra.
  • Leash, Collar and Harness with ID Tags: For stops along the way.
  • Waste Bags: For clean-up during bathroom breaks.
  • Favorite Toys: To keep your dog entertained and calm.
  • Comfortable Bedding or Blanket: For your dog to rest on.


  • Food and Water Bowls: Opt for durable, non-slip bowls for stability.
  • Dog Food: Enough for the week, plus a couple of days extra. Consider portioning meals into individual bags for convenience. We use one large resealable storage bag for easy packing.
  • Dog Tags: Including up-to-date ID tag, dog license and rabies tag.
  • More Waste Bags: Bring plenty for outings.
  • Sleeping Gear: Bring their bed if possible, or a blanket that smells like home to help them settle in. Bring something to cover the bed if your dog sleeps with you.
  • Toys and Chew Items: Enough to keep them entertained throughout the stay.

Health and Safety

  • Medications and Supplements: Pack all necessary medications and any dietary supplements.
  • Pet First Aid Kit: Include bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and emergency contact numbers.
  • Vaccination Records and Health Documentation: Some rentals may require proof of vaccinations.
  • Health Certificate: Maybe required if you are leaving the country
  • Recent Photo: In case you get separated
  • Microchip: Chip number and phone number to the chip company to notify them if your dog is lost.

Grooming and Cleaning Supplies

  • Grooming Tools: Brushes, combs, and any other regular grooming tools.
  • Pet-Safe Shampoo: In case of muddy adventures that require a bath.
  • Towels: Dedicated towels for drying your dog or cleaning up messes.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Enzyme cleaner for accidents, lint rollers for fur, and disinfectant wipes.

Comfort and Convenience

  • Crate or Carrier: Provides a safe space in a new environment and aids in safe travel.
  • Portable Dog Pen or Baby Gates: Useful for creating a safe, contained area inside the rental.
  • Pee Pads or Portable Potty System: Essential for young puppies, senior dogs, or as a backup.
  • Treats: For training reinforcement and as comforting snacks.
  • Doggy Jackets, Clothing or Boots: Depending on the weather and location, to keep them comfortable during outings.

Additional Considerations

  • Exercise Needs: Bring a long line for secure outdoor play in unfenced areas and consider portable exercise equipment like a flirt pole.
  • Safety Gear: Reflective vests, LED collars, or tags for visibility during nighttime walks, and life jackets if the trip involves your dog being near or in the water.
  • Cooling or Heating Aids: Cooling mats for hot climates or extra blankets for colder locations.

Preparation Tips

  • Research Local Amenities: Know where the nearest pet stores, veterinary clinics, and dog-friendly attractions are located.
  • Rental Rules: Double-check pet policies, including any restrictions or fees, and plan to adhere strictly to them.
  • Emergency Plan: Have a plan in case of medical emergencies, including the location of the nearest 24-hour veterinary service.
Small dog in pet carrier on ariplane

Packing For your Dog – Week Long Trip With Air Travel

Traveling by air with your dog requires careful preparation to ensure their comfort and safety throughout the journey. Here’s a packing list tailored for a week away that includes air travel with your dog. For your convenience it is divided between your carry-on and checked luggage.

Carry-On Luggage

  • Health and Vaccination Records: Carry up-to-date health and vaccination records, as airlines and destinations may require them.
  • Health Certificate: Some airlines require a veterinary health certificate to be issued within a specific number of days before travel. This may also be required if you are leaving the country
  • ID Tags and Microchip Information: Ensure your dog’s collar has ID tags with current contact information, and that their microchip details are up to date.
  • Leash and Harness: Keep these accessible for quick bathroom breaks and security checks.
  • Food and Water: Small amounts for layovers; follow airline guidelines for what is permissible.
  • Treats and Chew Toys: To keep your dog occupied and calm during the flight.
  • Collapsible Water Bowl: To hydrate your dog during layovers or waiting periods.
  • Medications: Any medications your dog will need within 24 hours of your flight.
  • Comfort Items: A small blanket or toy to keep your dog calm during the flight.
  • Waste Bags and Portable Waste Dispenser: In case of pre-flight and immediate post-flight needs.
  • Small First Aid Kit: Basic supplies for minor emergencies.

Carrier with Cleanup Kit for In-Flight Accidents

  • Airline-Approved Carrier: Make sure the carrier is approved by the airline and comfortable for your dog. Familiarize your dog with the carrier well before your trip.
  • Absorbent Pads: Place these in the bottom of the carrier in case of accidents.
  • Extra Absorbent Pads or Towels: To replace the used ones and keep the area dry.
  • Pet Wipes: For cleaning your dog or any accidental messes.
  • Disposable Gloves: For handling the cleanup.
  • Resealable Plastic Bags: To contain soiled pads or towels until they can be properly disposed of.
  • Small Bottle of Disinfectant Spray: Ensure it’s airline-approved and safe for pets, to sanitize the carrier if necessary.
  • Paper Towels: For cleaning.
  • Small Fan: In case your dog gets hot.

Checked Luggage

  • Dog Food: Enough for the week, plus a little extra, packaged securely to avoid spills.
  • Collapsible Food Bowl
  • Treats and Chew Toys: To keep your dog occupied at the destination.
  • Additional Leash and Collar: As backups.
  • More Waste Bags
  • Larger Supply of Medications: Pack the rest of the medications your dog will need for the trip with clear labels and dosing instructions.
  • Grooming Supplies: Brushes, pet-safe shampoo, and other grooming tools for the duration of your stay.
  • Protective Clothing: Depending on your destination, such as a sweater or raincoat.
  • Sleeping Gear: A portable bed or a travel-sized blanket to make them feel at home.
  • Extra Toys and Chew Items: To keep your dog entertained at the destination.
  • Cooling or Heating Pads: If traveling to a destination with extreme temperatures, these can help keep your dog comfortable.

Tips for Air Travel

  • Familiarization: Spend time getting your dog accustomed to the carrier and being in confined spaces.
  • Exercise: Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercises before heading to the airport to help them relax during the flight.
  • Pet Relief Stations: Locate the Pet Relief Stations at the airport before you go.
  • Feeding Schedule: Feed your dog a light meal a few hours before the flight to minimize discomfort and avoid feeding during the flight if possible.
  • Check Airline Policies: Each airline has its specific requirements for traveling with pets, including carrier dimensions, health documentation, what you can bring, and check-in procedures. Confirm these details well in advance of your flight.

Wrapping up our Guide to Packing for your Dog, remember, taking a trip with your dog is all about planning and packing right.

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