Are You Going On A Road Trip With Your Dog? [Dog Travel Checklist]

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Guess what?

Stetson and I are on the verge of an exciting adventure.  Our first big trip together since his guide dog days.

Tomorrow we’re heading into the desert heat to meet up with our pet blogging friends at the 8th annual BlogPaws conference!

So, to answer your question: Are you going on a road trip with your dog? 

Are you going on a road trip with your dog?
Are you going on a road trip with your dog?

Yes! And today we’re going to discuss our dog travel checklist to ensure Stetson has everything he needs in the Valley of the Sun.

Oh, and did I mention?

Stetson gets to see his baby brother, Dublin who’s working as a guide dog in the Phoenix area!

Dog Travel Checklist

I travel with my dogs in the car nearly every day. So goes the life of a service dog puppy raiser.

It’s our job to expose our puppies to different people, places, and things including restaurants, movie theaters, shopping malls, grocery stores (the market), and pretty much any place the general public goes.

Traveling in my car with my dog on a day-to-day basis is much different than a 6-8 hour journey across multiple (California and Arizona.  Does 2 count as multiple?) states!

So what’s a dog traveler to do when someone yells: “Road Trip!”

Let’s start with our dog travel checklist.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE (6)

  • Pet-Friendly Hotel – Ensure pets are welcome at your hotel. We’re staying at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horses Pass for a pet blogging conference.  Pets will be allowed nearly everywhere in the hotel!  We’re so excited 🙂
  • Microchip – Stetson has a microchip. You probably won’t lose your dog, but just in case you want to have him microchipped.
  • Vaccination Records – Stetson went to the vet a few weeks back to get blood work done as well as his vaccinations. We also picked up copies of his medical records to take on our trip.
  • Medications/Supplements – Stetson doesn’t take regular medication, but he does take supplements including fish oil and glucosamine to help his joints. Make sure you get all meds and supplements filled before your trip.
  • Local Vet Information – A quick Google search found several Chandler vet offices including this one which is 24 hours: BluePearl Veterinary Partners, 86 W. Juniper Ave, Gilbert AZ 480-497-0222
  • Your Vet Information – In case we need some additional information from our vet’s office: Hamilton Animal Hospital, 21552 Brookhurst St, Huntington Beach, CA 714-964-4744

ESSENTIAL ITEMS (16)

  • Collar – Stetson doesn’t wear the same martingale collar Archer wears during training. Instead, he has a standard flat collar.
  • Leash – We’re bringing Stetson’s leather training leash we’ve used with him since his guide dog training days.
  • Tags – Stetson has his personal tag with my information, his county tag, and his microchip tag (actually I’m missing his microchip tag).
  • Poop Bags – we have our poop bag holder permanently attached to our leash, but we will be bringing extra poop bags on our trip.
  • Food – Stetson eats Wellness Core Grain Free dog food one cup twice a day.
  • Water – It’s going to be hot this week. I’m bringing plenty of water for Stetson and for me!
  • Food Bowl – We’ll be bringing one of Stetson’s special slow feeder dog bowls.
  • Water Bowl – We’re bringing our Tazlab travel water bowl.
  • Travel Water Bowl/Bottle – We’ll have Archer’s travel water bottle during the trip. Sorry Archer…
  • Travel Crate – One of our latest purchases. We could have used our MidWest Life Stages Double Door Crate w/ Divider, but they are a bit on the heavy side so we opted for a cloth travel crate instead. You’ll probably see a review in the weeks following the BlogPaws conference.
  • Dog Toys – Stetson is not big on toys, but he will play with them from time to time. There will be no shortage of toys given away at BlogPaws, but we’ll bring a couple of Stetson’s favorites on the trip.
  • Dog Chews – I’ll grab a couple of bully sticks for Stetson which will keep him occupied for hours.
  • Doggy Backpack – When we’re out with our pups we put some of the most important things in our doggy travel backpack like water, blankets, paper towels, and other cleanup supplies.
  • Blankets – For the car, the crate, and to lay across the hotel sheets.
  • First Aid Kit – I don’t have a pet first aid kit!? I’ll put together a quick DIY doggy first aid kit for Stetson.
  • Recent Photo – I’m sure we all have millions of pics of our dogs on our phones, but just in case snap a quick shot of your dog because there’s always a chance he’ll get lost.
Stetson, career change guide dog
Stetson, career change guide dog – If you see me at BlogPaws say “HELLO!”

CLEANING SUPPLIES (3)

  • Paper Towels – Standard sheets in case there are any accidents or messes.
  • Baby Wipes – Great for quick and easy cleanups.
  • Nature’s Miracle – He’s been potty trained since his puppy days, but you never know. New place, new schedule, new everything.  An accident could be waiting to happen.  Better safe than sorry…

TRAINING (3)

  • Clicker – We’ve gotten in the habit of bringing our clicker everywhere with us. Stetson is not clicker trained, but he does have a marker word.  I’m sure we’ll have a clicker in our pocket out of habit.
  • Treat Pouch – Nowadays I’m almost never without my treat pouch. Stetson doesn’t need it, but I’m sure he’ll appreciate the extra treats on this trip.
  • Treats – We usually use kibble for treats, but I’m going to bring some Wellness Core Air Dried food for Stetson’s special treats.

OPTIONAL (14)

  • Training Harness – We’re bringing Stetson’s Easy Walk No Pull Harness.
  • Dog Safety Harness – Since his day’s training as a guide dog Stetson has always ridden on the passenger floorboards. So we won’t be bringing a safety harness, but we recommend a safety harness for your dog when traveling. Linus and Adelle both wear them when in the car.
  • Travel Bed – We’re bringing one of the smaller doggy beds to pad the bottom of our travel kennel.
  • Dog Booties – We’ll be in the scorching heat so booties are not optional, but necessary. We picked up a set at our local PetSmart.
  • Lint Roller – Especially since I may be attending a red carpet event.  I will have a lint roller, but I prefer to match my clothes to my dog. Stetson is black so you might see me in mostly black clothing this weekend.
  • Air freshener – It’s always nice to keep your hotel room smelling good.
  • Brush – Stetson is shedding like a maniac right now. I’ll probably get him out either early morning or late at night to remove some of that excess fur.
  • Shampoo – Stetson is getting a bath as we speak. I don’t plan on giving him another on this trip, but you never know…he may find a nice bit of mud to roll around in outside.
  • Tooth Brush and Tooth Paste – Stetson practices good hygiene, especially when meeting new people.
  • Bitter Apple Spray – Stetson is long past his days as a puppy biting and nipping everything in sight, but you never know what your dog might decide to chew on in your hotel room.
  • Flashlight – A flashlight will be helpful if we take a few night strolls since it’s so hot during the day.
  • Ziplock bags – I was thinking of the scenario of when I had to bring the dog poop into the car because there wasn’t a trash can nearby. Double or triple zip locking that poop might keep the smell out of the car…maybe not…it’ll probably still smell like a permanent fart in your (Ali’s) car 🙁
  • A Calming Aid – If we were bringing Linus we’d pack his Thundershirt. There are other products you can bring to keep your dog calm if he’s not used to traveling.
  • Camera – We all have our little cameras on our phones, but when traveling with your dog you might want to snap off some better pics with your DSLR. Don’t forget to charge the battery and make sure your memory card isn’t full.

That’s 42 items on our checklist!

Do you need everything on this dog travel checklist? Probably not.

Something that is very important to one person does not matter to another. Like I’ve always said every dog is different.  It’s up to you to decide what you need on your checklist and what you do not.

That’s longer than my travel checklist!

Do you have anything you’d add to this list?

Please tell us what we’re missing in the comment section below.

By the way, the good news is if we forget anything on our list we can visit our local PetSmart to get most of the above items.

That’s it!

Next time you hear from me I’ll be baking in the desert heat sitting in a comfy, air-conditioned room listening to some of the top pet bloggers in the world.

Dog Travel Checklist
Dog Travel Checklist

Top Picks For Our Puppies

  1. BEST PUPPY TOY
    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
  2. BEST DOG CHEW
    We Like: Natural Farm Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
  3. BEST DOG TREATS
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
  4. BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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13 Comments

  1. I found this list so helpful! Thank you! We’re preparing for the arrival of a male Cavapoo in the coming months and for the first few months we’ll need to leave him with a doggie sitter while we’re at work during the day. I’ve been making a list of what to include in our “doggie diaper bag” and this list fits the bill perfectly! I’m also planning on including a small three-ringed binder with the paper items like vaccination records, emergency information, and training words that we’re using (some people say “go potty”, others say “get busy” and we want our dog sitter to keep consistent with the cues). Some may roll their eyes at this idea, but I’d rather be over-prepared! Anyways, thanks again for this list. I plan on keeping some of these things in the “doggie diaper bag” at all times since our pup will be going back and for between homes for the first few months.

  2. That’s certainly a very thorough list. It’s fun that you got to drive to BlogPaws this year. I drove from Seattle to Las Vegas a few years ago. It was hot there too but it wasn’t an issue since we were mostly inside the hotel. Great to see you guys at BlogPaws!

    1. The heat wasn’t a big deal once we were at the hotel. My biggest fear was if we were to break down while on the road especially with those long stretches of desert. It was great seeing you too!

  3. One thing my husband didn’t think about till last minute when he went on a solo trip with our dog was where he could take restroom breaks. Since our dog is not a service dog or service dog in training, he can’t just stop anywhere to take a potty break because he would have to leave the dog in the hot, hot car. So we made sure there were rest stops along the route that were pet friendly that he could stop at.

    Great list!! I’ll definitely use this the next time I go on a trip with my dog! 🙂

    1. Our plan was to stop at the “pet friendly” rest stops, but when we got to the rest stops they had a sign indicating “no pets allowed”. When I saw that sign I immediately flashed back to the cartoon Snoopy, Come Home…”NO DOGS ALLOWED!” Anyhow, there was no one around, it was scorching hot, and I was not leaving Stetson in the car in that heat. I’d take a fine over Stetson getting heat exhaustion any day of the week.

    1. Thanks! Stetson did great on the 7 hour drive! My only worry for Stetson on this trip is the extreme heat, but I’ll probably keep him indoors most of the trip (besides potty breaks).

  4. That is one hell of a list. I looked at Scout this morning and thought of asking if I could take him to work one day. I know I couldn’t travel with my dogs, because of the vaccination laws, but I could take one to work (I think).

    Looking forward to seeing you at BlogPaws.

    1. Yep! I was writing down all of the things I needed to bring for traveling with Stetson. I figured may as well turn it into a blog post. Plus I left some information I can quickly look up if I need to like the vet office information and Stetson’s picture. I’ll see you in a couple days!

  5. Sounds fun! One odd thing I always have to bring when I travel with my dad and his dog is a box of unsalted chicken broth. My dad’s dog refuses to drink water on road trips, sometimes for nearly 24 hours! Thank goodness my dogs don’t have that problem.
    I hope you have a good time!

    1. Unsalted chicken broth. That’s interesting and good to know in case I’m ever having problems with my dogs not drinking water. Since we’re heading into the desert heat I have to keep a close eye on Stetson to make sure he’s drinking water regularly. Thanks for sharing your advice!

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