If you have followed our blog, you may have seen my blog post about how I took a 4,000 mile road trip with a four month old puppy. And between conformation shows, vacations, and sleddog races I am travelling with my dogs often. If you are like me, I worry about bringing all the right things. This often results in packing lists being made and bags being stuffed too full. While I do sometimes bring non-essentials, like too many cute plush squeaky toys, there are certain items I cannot imagine traveling without! Let's see what they are and how I use them to make traveling easier! ONE - TOPPLS
Food puzzles are a great item to bring along when you travel. But the Toppl from West Paw is a particular favorite. The open top on this Toppl make it safer to leave with the dog if they take a nap at the hotel or rental home as the dog's face won't get stuck. The inside nubs allow you to easily spread a semi-solid like peanut butter into it and across several surface areas making for more interesting licking. Its larger so it could be used as a meal or snack with kibble or raw grind and can be easily capped and frozen for a longer lasting treat.
The behavior of licking releases endorphins that can help calm dogs down. So both fresh and frozen this toy can help your dog decompress if they are stressed or struggling with some over-arousal. We use Toppls in the car for dogs who need a little entertainment, in the evenings when we are trying to relax, and if something stressful occurs like a storm rolling through. A little mental enrichment can help make travel easier for your dog. TWO - STUFFABLE SUPPLIES Our Toppls are easy to fill fresh and provide more fun frozen. But for that fun, we need a semi-solid to fill it with. When traveling the last thing I want to do on the road is open a can of dog food or deal with peanut butter on spoons or knives. So, we found some convenient travel-friendly options. Wet food stored in individual packets work great to quickly open, drop in, and throw away. The wet food is easy when fresh to get out and freezes well for amore of a challenge. Squeeze tube peanut butter can easily be stuffed inside the Toppl as well. Not having to use utensils at the car makes using these toys and satisfying your dog easy. THREE - PROBIOTICS GI distress is something we never want for our dogs, especially when travelling. And yet added stress of new locations and activities, plus the environmental exposure from that concerning gas station potty break can make it likely. I never leave the home without some additional digestive support. One option is Vetoquinol Pro Pectalin Paste, which is a fast acting paste that helps soothe the intestine, restore normal balance of bacteria, and firm loose stool. I generally keep this on hand and reserve it for more severe bouts of diarrhea. For general support, a daily probiotic can be helpful. While I provide this daily, you can sprinkle it on food prior to your departure and while away to help reduce potential problems. One probiotic commonly recommended by veterinarians is FortiFlora, which comes in packets that are easy for travel. And if your dog is susceptible to stress you can consider the Calming Care, which will aid in digestion and mood. FOUR - SLIP LEAD
While we don't often use or recommend slip leads to clients, they can make excellent travel leashes. Slip leads easily slip around the dog's neck and tighten when the dog pulls, which makes them hard for a dog to "escape" from. Due to the lack of clips/fasteners on them, they are very convenient for quick potty breaks. While we often use these leads at dogs shows for conformation, barn hunt, coursing, and fast cat - they can also be used at a rest stop or hotel for bathroom break. FIVE - HARNESS AND LONG LINE While slip leads are convenient for those fast potty breaks, travel also requires a little more freedom for exploration and enrichment! A good body harness and a 15 foot long line are ideal for you have some safe space to walk. Parks, open spaces by hotels, and rental homes that do not have fenced yards are all opportunities to leash your pup and give them a little more space to sniff and play. This equipment will keep them safe on these choice walks, which can ultimately improve their arousal and help meet their needs for better relaxation.
SIX - CHEWS
Its no surprise that travel comes with some down time. Whether that is hanging out in the car or crate for a while during transit or even at the hotel while you try and watch some television and chill. But, for our dogs, spending time in the car all day is like a giant nap for most! And by the time we have arrived at our destination they are ready to go. Having lots of chews can not only keep you dog busy while you take a shower and watch tv but they can also help dogs calm down. Chewing is a great activity to reduce stress! We often provide bully sticks, no hide chews, cow ears, and tracheas. Its always important to test a chew out at home for the first time so you can ensure it doesn't cause any GI distress. Then, once you have found a few you like, pack a variety for your trip to keep your dog busy. SEVEN - CLEANING SUPPLIES In the car and in the hotel messes can be stressful. But having cleaning supplies is key to avoid having to travel with a stinky dog or getting that dreaded pet cleaning fee pulled from a deposit. Natures Miracle is a safe and effective enzymatic cleaner that is easy to spray and use on a variety or surfaces like in your car and in a hotel. If the mess in on your dog, that's a different story. Earthbath Grooming Wipes are easy to pack along in the dog bag for the small messes. And when your dog finds the only muddy hole in the yard - lets face it we all know that dog - then some waterless shampoo can help you tackle the dirt. I generally like to have a small roll of paper towels in the car for those gross messes we want to just get rid of and some reusable hand cloths for smaller messes. EIGHT - ENGAGEMENT TOY
While we certainly want to bring a long a toy that interests your dog, I specifically look for ones that are high-value and offer opportunities for me and the dog to engage together like a Rabbit Fur Tug from Busy Bees Tugs. I love stuffed toys and ones that crinkle and so do my dogs! But when my dog has some steam to burn on our travels, a toy that we can engage with together like a ball or a great tug toy make tiring them out much easier.
NINE- YOUR -IN CASE OF EMERGENCY" PACKET When traveling with our dogs, it is always important to have safety measures in place. Just like when you go for a walk, a collar with tags goes on, when we travel we have documents prepared with pertinent information. We have a homemade "in case of emergency" (ICE) kit for each dog. It is labeled and easily seen, attached to each dog's car crate. Inside we have specific details about the dogs like their names, birthdays, any behavior or health concerns, veterinary contact information, medications they may be on and more. I provide emergency contact information for us and some family in case we cannot be reached and some details about payments for any emergency healthcare. While we haven't needed this yet- I have peace of mind knowing that in the worst nightmare of my life my dogs would be cared for. Check out how we organize to travel, including the ICE packet, in this video here!
TEN - CANINE AND HUMAN FRIENDLY FIRST AID KIT First aid kits are often stored under the seat and rarely taken out. But when you need them you are so grateful to have them. I purchased an empty first aid kit bag, some reusable waterproof bags, and all of the necessary supplies. From wound care, to OTC meds, prescription meds, and more - we are prepared for all of the what ifs. You can learn a little more about canine first aid here.
Do you travel with your dog? What are some of your MUST HAVE items? Did you find this helpful? Be sure to pass it along to one of your dog-loving friends! DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission but the price of the product does not change for you at all. This helps support the channel and allows us to continue to make videos like this. Thank you for your support!