It’s summertime! The kids are on vacation, you’ve got a trip planned, and your whole family is working their way through their checklist to make sure they’ve got everything they need. That’s right: Dad, Mom, kids, Grandpa, and...the dog!
It’s a little too easy to leave things behind if you don’t have a list of what’s needed, so it’s just as important to have a checklist for your dog’s needs as it is for every other member of the family.
What your dog needs for a summer trip will depend on where you’re going, of course. He may not need the same things for a weekend camping trip as he would for a two-week stay in an Airbnb, for example. And if you’re heading to one of the few dog-friendly amusement parks out there, he’ll need to pack differently than he would if you were just going out for a long day picnic at the local park.
Keeping your destination in mind, though, here are the essentials to make sure Rover has everything he needs for your summer outing.
Collar and ID tags. First thing’s first: when taking your dog to a new environment, make sure that you can get him back if he bolts! Hopefully his training will kick in and he’ll stay right with his family, but if he does happen to get loose and wander off, the collar and tags will let whoever finds him know where he belongs.
Leash or halter. Of course, a leash or halter should prevent any escapes from happening.
Water dish and water bottle. It’s hot out there — make sure your dog stays hydrated by keeping fresh water available at all times. It’s a good idea to invest in an insulated water bottle for your pup so you’re not giving him hot water, as he may be less likely to drink it.
Food bowl. Whether you’re going for a day trip or for several days, make sure that your dog is able to eat the same food that he would at home. This is important to prevent stomach upsets, which is a surefire way to ruin a good vacation!
Extra food. Make sure you don’t run out! Plan the food out according to how long you’ll be gone, but we recommend bringing extra just in case.
Treats. As humans, we definitely view vacation as “treat” time — your dog is likely no different! Treats will keep him reassured that he’s loved even as he gets used to new surroundings, and will help keep him attentive if you’re still in the training process.
Toys. Don’t let your dog get bored when he’s in the car, or you’ll probably end up with shredded upholstery! Provide plenty of chew toys, and we also recommend puzzle toys for longer trips. Many dogs are also attached to certain toys and like to sleep with them, so bringing those along will help him to feel at home no matter where he is.
Poop scoop and plastic bags. No matter where you’re going, be prepared to be a responsible pet owner and clean up after your dog!
Paperwork. Your need for this may vary, but it’s a good idea to have proof of licensure — if this is required where you’re going — and even rabies shots. If you’re traveling out of the country, by car or by plane, you may need additional papers. Check with your veterinarian regarding the requirements.
First aid kit. Is your dog rambunctious? Or are you going hiking in the wilderness? For these and a hundred other summer travel scenarios, it’s a good idea to have a pet-friendly first aid kit handy, just in case of a misadventure
Towel, blanket, or travel bed. Since you’re traveling in the summertime, when it’s hotter, you may not want to bring a full-sized dog bed along with you. But make sure that your pup has something soft and comfy to nap on, or you’ll probably find him curled up on your sleeping bag. Of course, that might happen anyhow!
Doggy travel backpack. With all the things you need to bring for your dog, wouldn’t it be nice if he could carry some of his own luggage? With a doggy backpack, he can! This depends on the size and age of your dog, of course, but dog backpacks come in a variety of sizes and load capacities. They’re ideal for hiking and wilderness trips.
Click here for our Essential Dog Gear List for 2021. Everything you'll need to be prepared for an outdoor adventure.
Are you getting ready to take your dog with you on a trip this summer? Where are you going and what are your doggy travel essentials?