Taking your dog along is fun….. usually right? Road trips with dogs can be a blast, seeing your pup enjoy everything new, just like you is a real joy to experience. Being prepared for that fun is what will bring a relaxing travel trip.
Each of our dogs is different, so remember always, what’s good for one dog, is not always best for another. The decision to take your dog on a road trip should not be taken lightly. Your dog should be comfortable in your car or RV first before you venture out on a longer trip.
So what should your bring?
Let’s talk equipment that might be needed:
- Collar with tags. Tags that have your current phone number. This collar should remain on your dog 24/7 when traveling. This way, if they accidently do get away from you for any reason, they have ID on them.
- Extra tags, at least 2 in your car. Tags fall off sometimes, so have extra just in case. Many Ace Hardware stores can make these in house as well as chain pet supply stores.
- Microchip your dog. You just never know and this is a way to identify your dog or having your dog returned to you in unusual circumstances. A microchip can be inserted at a Vet Clinic or Humane Society.
- Harness – Get a harness for your dog that fits well. Why? Safety for your dog. Harnesses are safer than collars; most dogs can wiggle out of a collar. Then there is the issue of a collar on the neck and trachea causing damage there, yes it’s proven it does serious damage. There are hundreds of harnesses out there, and they all fit differently, just like shoes for us. So find one that will not chaff behind the dogs front legs, will not impede their gait and if needed will help you with pulling (front clip recommended for this).
- 4-6 foot leash. Always use a regular leash in busy areas. I have different leashes for different kinds of walks. I like shorter leashes for shopping/busy areas. A bit longer leash for a walk around an RV Park or a quiet place. Please do not use retractable leashes in busy areas; they are not safe for anyone. Have extra leashes in your car!
- Longer leash 10-20 feet. A good long line is great for a more open area like a beach or field. If you find a quiet area but cannot have your dog off leash, this is a great option to give your dog some freedom.
- A tie out cable or leash. At camp, a tie out can work for many dogs when you are sitting outside. It’s important to attach this to your dogs harness and then something substantial, not a camp chair. Dogs will get tangled up, so this option must be monitored closely.
- Outdoor beds. Bring something for your dog to lie on outside. Could be an outdoor bed or a blanket, a kennel with the door open or a chair. This way your dog can be comfortable and have their own spot outdoors. Also will keep your dog cleaner in a camping environment.
- Indoor beds or places to be. It’s important to have a place that your dog knows where he can rest in your RV. Also handy for you when you want to say “go to bed and settle”. You might have more than 1 place for your dog; decide where it’s right for your dog to be. For example, my dogs are allowed on my bed where their beds and blankets are and also in the passenger seat where they also have a bed. They do not get in my dinette which is my work area. There is also 1 more bed on the floor that they use, and the foot area of the driver side seat. So you choose what is best and safest for you and your dogs.
- X-Pens – These are officially called Exercise Pens. They are the metal folding fences that are used by many RVers and travelers. They fold up flat and come in different heights. Several might be needed to make an adequate area for you and your dogs. They can be really great for those whose dog will respect the fence and not knock it down and also for those with RVs who can fit them in their outdoor storage.
- Jackets! If you are anticipating any chilly weather or cold nights, a jacket for dogs who have less hair is essential. I love the Gold Paw Fleece sweaters for my dogs for around the camp or in the car. A more serious jacket for winter could come from Kurgo, Ruffwear or Hurtta.
- Lights! If you will have your dog outside in the dark or will walk your dog in the dark, getting illumination is important. I like the NiteIz collars or other collars that are lit. The little lit balls just don’t show up well. Also if you walk in a busy area, a lighted leash is great. My dogs have reflective harnesses which lights up very well when a light is shined on them. Of course, a flashlight or head lamp are necessary also.
- The obvious things you will need for a road trip are food, bowls, water dishes. Food – where will you store it? If in the car, then a container is advised. Your dog could get into a bag of food but also, critters could get into your car when the doors are open for unpacking and packing. In your RV, store your dry food in BPA free containers that close tightly. If on a trip, bring enough food for 2 days extra, just in case. I feed my dogs raw and whole food, so my dogs take up some freezer & fridge space and also some cabinet space with some freeze dried Sojos food. Yes, it’s doable to feed your dog raw on the road!
- Have an old collar (extra) in your RV or car just in case. I just put two old harnesses in my car, because sometimes I get distracted by a phone call, then jump in the car and have forgotten to put a harness on one of the dogs.
- Medications – if on a trip, bring an extra weeks’ worth, just in case.
- Medical Records – Make a few copies of your dog’s shot records. Have the tags for rabies and shot papers on hand in your RV or car.
Here’s a short list of other things to consider
a. Treats – make a bag of trail mix of different kinds of treats.
b. Portable water dishes
c. Your dog pouch filled with treats, pick up bags & your ID.
d. Water container for you and your dog to take walking
e. Rescue Remedy – good for humans and animals if anxiety or stress comes into the picture.
f. First Aid Kit – for you and the dogs. Vet Wrap is great for all. Tweezers are a must. A Leatherman tool would be a great addition.
g. Several rolls of pick up bags!
h. Dog shampoo – you never know when Fido will find a fabulous stinky mess to roll in!
i. Flea & Tick spray like Wondercide, a natural repellent. We don’t recommend chemicals or pesticides.
j. A muzzle. Soft or basket. Just in case you need to perform a procedure like remove cactus spines from your dog, or a tick.
k. Thunder Shirt or Anxiety Wrap – for dogs who are scared of storms or loud noises.
l. Orange Vests for hunting season. Very important when hiking in areas where hunters are. In a pinch, you can tie fluorescent tape/ribbon to their collars/harness. Find at a hardware store.
m. Paw boots. If you could be in an area of high heat, rough terrain or very cold weather, booties are a good idea. An easy on hand item to have is PawZ natural rubber waterproof dog boots. These little rubber booties come in packages of 12. So you can stick a couple of them in your hiking bag in case of a hurt paw.
n. Brushes for your dog.
o. Dog towels
I’m sure there are even more things that some need. So add to the list, what did we miss?
As always thanks for stopping by and take your dog along (when appropriate!).