Ultimate Dog Packing List — What to Pack for Your Pet

Dog Packing Checklist

Packing for any trip involves planning for the adventures you expect to have. That can be challenging enough when it’s just you, but if you decide to bring your dog, it becomes even more complicated. Dogs need more than just food, water, and treats to have a fun and safe trip. Here’s what to pack for your dog on vacation, no matter the adventures you have planned.


Packing List For Your Dog

Whether you plan to overnight out of town or explore a national park over a week, some items are essential regardless of your destination. You’ll need things like food, bowls, and an extra leash on your dog packing list. Before you leave on a trip with your pet, make sure you have the following items stored in a large bag: 

  • Bowls for food and water
  • Food (a roll-top shoe bag make an excellent storage container)
  • Any medications your dog takes
  • Treats, kept in a small bag or tote
  • Toys to keep your dog occupied
  • An extra collar and leash
  • Brush or comb
  • A recent photo of your dog, in case you get separated
  • Blankets or old towels for your dog to lie on
  • Dog waste pickup bags
  • Grooming wipes to keep your dog clean
  • Your dog's microchip number and the phone number of the monitoring company
  • Travel bed
  • A foldable travel crate, if your dog uses one
  • Seatbelt harness


What To Pack In a Doggie First Aid Kit

You should have a first aid kit for your dog whenever you travel with them. Start with a human first aid kit and add essentials for your dog, or you can purchase a pet-specific kit. Either way, the American Kennel Club recommends your kit should include the following:

  • Canine first aid manual you can reference
  • Gauze
  • Non-stick bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • Cotton balls
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Antibiotic spray or ointment
  • Milk of magnesia (consult with a veterinarian for proper dosage first)
  • Digital thermometer
  • Scissors
  • Tweezer for removing splinters and ticks
  • Magnifying glass

Place these first aid essentials into a sturdy bag along with your pets’ medications. The bag should also include soap and a bottle of water to disinfect wounds, a soft muzzle (even the sweetest dog can bite you when wounded), old blankets or towels, and your veterinarian’s phone number (in case you lose your phone or its battery dies). Always make sure your dog’s regular treatments such as flea or worming is up to date before you leave on a trip.


Packing For Camping and Outdoor Adventures

What to pack for your dog when camping isn’t that much different than what you should pack for a hotel-based vacation. However, since you’ll be outdoors, you’ll want to bring along a few extra items:

  • Dog bed (or old towels) so they doesn’t have to sleep on the ground
  • Lightweight sleeping bag to keep them warm if you’re camping where temperatures are likely to drop significantly at night
  • Dog boots, especially if you intend to do a dog-friendly hike
  • Rain jacket for short-haired breeds
  • LED light for your dog’s collar for better visibility at night
  • Dog life jacket if boating, kayaking, or swimming
  • Backpack to store collapsible dog dishes, first aid supplies, and essentials while hiking


What To Pack For Air Travel With Your Dog

If your travel plans include a flight, you have additional considerations over a standard road trip. Small dogs that can fit under the seat in front of you can travel with you in the cabin. Generally, a soft-sided crate works best for in-cabin flights. Larger dogs will be required to fly in durable crates in cargo. Check with your airline before travel to make sure your crate complies with cargo requirements. Whether your pet travels in the cabin or cargo, make sure you have the following:

  • Bowls (attached to the crate if in cargo)
  • Blanket or old towels your dog can lie down on
  • Something that smells like you
  • A favorite toy (if allowed by your airline)
  • Absorbent mats to draw moisture away on long flights

Traveling with your dog can make your vacation all the more fun and memorable. But, just like any trip, the secret to success is preparation and planning. Our handy guide to road trip tips with your dog has even more advice to make it even easier to head out on the open road with your furry friend.


AuthorTeresa Bitler 

Author Bio: Teresa Bitler is an award-winning travel writer specializing in adventure, culture, and history. Her work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, American Way, Sherman’s Travel, and many other high-profile outlets. To learn more, visit teresatravelstheworld.com.


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Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

The Ultimate Guide to Vacationing with Pets: Essential Packing List and Travel Tips

Essential Tips for Road Tripping with a Dog

5 Great Dog-Friendly National Parks

Top 5 Dog-Friendly Hikes on the East Coast