We know you’re excited to hit the road and go on amazing adventures but before you do, stop, take a breath, and think carefully about the packing list because going on your holiday prepared can make all the difference to ensuring happy travels… for you and your best furry friend!
Here are our 16 absolute packing essentials for travelling with your dog:
1. Food & treats
This might seem obvious, but it is important to make sure you have enough dog food for your entire trip. If you need to restock on the road, changing food can cause tummy upsets… and a rather unhappy pooch! Keep their tails wagging with regular meals and the occasional treat, because let’s face it, you know they’re good doggos and they deserve it!
2. Travel Water bowl
Stopping regularly to give your dog water is important and if you bring a travel bowl, you’ll thank yourself later. It can be a lifesaver if you are doing trail walks as well. Stop for potty breaks about every 2 – 4 hours and always offer them water on the break.
Pictured above is the Ruffwear Trail Runner Bowl
3. Collar & ID tag
Make sure they have a comfy and secure collar with an up-to-date ID tag… I doubt you need an explanation for this one, but you need to be prepared in case your dog goes wandering. Having a back-up collar and tag is also a good precaution.
4. A photo of your dog
Again, in case of worst-case scenario but it pays to be prepared. If you get separated from your four-legged friend you will be grateful to have a photo of them to help reunite you.
You probably have thousands of photos of your dog on your phone but one more wouldn’t hurt and having a physical printed copy (yes, like the good ol’ days) is helpful in case of technical issues or if you need to leave a copy with the local shire or your caravan park.
We recommend taking a short non-retractable leash for walks to keep them close to you and a long leash to allow them to explore safely when you’re set up in more open clearings.
Make sure you keep them on a leash for roadside breaks and when you first arrive in a new environment – there’s a good chance there will so many new smells to explore and you don’t want them wandering off alone.
6. Safety Restraints
For safety we recommend either using a seatbelt harness or using a carry crate. For smaller dogs there is even the option of a dog car seat so they can enjoy the view out the window while keeping safe. Please do not allow your pets to travel on the front passenger seat if your car is fitted with airbags as this could be fatal for your pet in an accident.
7. Seat Covers
Whether it’s shedding season or any season, hours in the back of your car will mean a lot of fur on the seats… it won’t bother them but if it bothers you then invest in a heavy duty car seat cover – and pop one of their blankets in the back too for comfort and a sense of familiarity to keep them comfortable on the road.
8. Dog towel
Believe us when we say your dog will get dirty and most likely wet! They’ll be having a jolly ol’ time but your car seats and tent/caravan/camper trailer will pay the price if you don’t have something to clean them off with.
9. Jumper / Waterproof Coat
If you are travelling somewhere with colder climates – even warm places can be cold overnight – remember a jacket or some rain protection for your dog. Basically, if you’re packing one for yourself, pack one for the dog too!
10. All-weather tarp
This is a handy material to pack for any road trip but putting it under your dog’s bed will also stop moisture creeping up and prevent heat loss – we want them to be cosy!
11. Dog Bed and Blanket
Ah the doggy BnB, bed and blanket. Always have a comfy bed for them, and a blanket for extra warmth as it can get very cold overnight – even in warmer climates.
12. First Aid Kit
We always pack a first aid kit for ourselves so include a few things for your dog too! Some great vet recommended inclusions are tweezers (for ticks and splinters), gauze bandages, butterfly closures or self-cohesive bandage, gauze swabs, scissors, hydrogen peroxide or antiseptic wipes. It can also be worth packing some eye wash, and styptic powder to stop toenail bleeding.
You may also want to brief yourself on some handy Pet First Aid Tips.
Pictured above is the St John Pet First Aid Kit
Easy to toss into your bag and great to remover burrs, leaves and other types of campsite “décor” that will inevitably end up in your dog’s fur.
14. Poop Bags
Easy to remember but sometimes even easier to forget in the mad rush of packing. You don’t want to be caught out without poop bags so buy in bulk and bring a decent supply for your trip.
15. Life Jacket
If you plan to be out on the water with your dog this is an important essential.
Pictured above is the Ruffwear Float Coat
16. The Pet Friendly Accommodation Guide
This free guide from Caravan & Camping WA can be found online and free copies are stocked at some caravan parks and visitors centres so pick one up. It gives you all the information you need to find accommodation around WA for your whole family, including your dog!
o TOYS! Don’t forget toys to keep your dog entertained on long trips!! Bring their favourites and anything else from a trusty tennis ball to chew toys and puzzle treat toys.
o You can even pack a frisbee which doubles as a fun toy or a shallow water bowl if you are out and about.
o Sunscreen is also a great addition to your packing list – yes, dogs can get sunburnt too – so hit the road prepared!
o Have a chat to your local vet about remedies for anxiety or car sickness.
o It also can’t hurt to bring along a copy of your dog’s vaccination records, copies of insurance details, Shire registration number and microchip registration number in case of emergency.
o Remember to be patient with your best furry friend because it is likely your dog has no idea what is going on and this might be a very new experience. Be patient with your pup, patient with yourself and patient with the process of bringing your dog along for the ride. With toys, treats, and safety measures in place it will be a great adventure for you and your dog!