woman and dog on beach with car

Before you hit the road, make sure you’ve packed for your pup. (Photo: Getty Images)

Pet Travel

From Beach Vacays to Road Trips: What to Pack for Your Pup on Any Kind of Getaway

Dogs. They can’t make dinner reservations and don’t have credit cards with travel rewards. But the most awesome thing about these furry trip companions: They don’t care where the journey leads. They can be happy just being with you.

The planning and packing, however, will be your job. No matter what type of trip you’re planning, getting organized early can help make the adventure enjoyable for you and your pup.

Here’s what to prepare and pack for any kind of journey.

Before You Go

Before booking any kind of trip, review trip plans with your dog’s veterinarian. Be sure to discuss heartworm medicine, general flea and tick protection, and precautionary measures for the local wildlife and parasites.

Then, no matter where you plan to go, be sure to pack the basic items: veterinary records, collapsible dog travel bowls for water and food, dog ID tags, a travel crate or carrier with your contact information, treats, toys, poop bags and familiar foods — even getting a smaller size bag of their favorite for easier packing.

Don’t forget an extra collar and leash and bring a current picture of your dog in case you get separated during your travels. You might even consider purchasing a harness, for easier handling in unfamiliar environments.

Long-Haul Flights

Contact the airline as early as possible about a separate reservation for your dog. Get information on passenger policies and regulations that might apply to your trip.

Be sure that your pet carrier is TSA compliant and pack some potty training pads to line the crate. Carriers with a top and side loading door can make it easier to feed or comfort small dogs that ride in the cabin with their owners during the flight. Think about packing some natural calming treats, too.

Road Trips

dog in car with seatbelt
Keep your pet safe on road trips. (Photo: Getty Images)

Riding for miles with your best friend can be fun, but be sure to keep your pet in the back seat of the car while you’re driving. It is strongly recommended that dogs ride in carriers while in moving vehicles. For larger or carrier-adverse dogs, consider using a pet safety belt along with a water-resistant car seat cover.

Make rest stops frequently so your pup can stretch, go to the bathroom and have a drink. If your dog is disabled or senior, bring a lift harness to make getting in and out of the car less of a hassle for you both.

Keep in mind that just as some people get queasy or anxious during long car drives, some dogs can feel this way, too. Have something on hand in your doggie first-aid kit to soothe an upset tummy or nerves (talk with your vet first).

Beach Vacations

Dogs absolutely enjoy fun in the sun with their humans, but they can get sunburns and skin cancers from long exposure to the sun’s rays. A sunscreen spray can be a fast, easy way to protect them. You can also use a lightweight SPF vest or shirt with UV protection, such as a U.S. Army Dog Cooling Vest that can also help keep your pup cool.

Remember that not all dogs are built for swimming, and even the best swimmers can get tired, scared or pulled under by strong currents. There may also be dangers in the water that you can’t see. Consider packing a life vest. If you’re on a boat and your dog slips overboard, a doggie life jacket with handles can make it easier for you to grab and lift your buddy back aboard.

City Escapes

dog on leash
Stroll city streets with your pooch. (Photo: Getty Images)

Cities can offer great adventures, especially when your hotel welcomes dogs. Verify the dog friendliness of any sights or places you plan to visit, as well as local transportation you might use so that “someone” doesn’t always have to stay behind in the hotel.

For times when you have to step out for a couple of hours without your travel buddy, a calming vest may come in handy. The comforts of home may soothe nerves, too. Bring a favorite toy and pack a lightweight travel bed that your dog has already become accustomed to using.

Keep in mind that even if your pet is acclimated to the urban lifestyle, a new city can come with its unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells that may be overwhelming at first. Doggy booties can help protect puppy’s paws from the elements, salt, hot sidewalks, glass, thorns and other hazards while you enjoy your outdoor time.

Smaller dogs may prefer to be in a backpack carrier when you stroll through streets and public transit areas that are more crowded than what they are used to experiencing. Consider getting one that is light and has convenient features such as a detachable storage bag for your gear and goodies.

Outdoor Excursions

woman taking selfie with dog
Bring your furry friend into the great outdoors. (Photo: Getty Images)

Fresh air and hikes under the big sky can be healthy and enjoyable for humans and pets. Determine whether the terrain and weather will be a likely fit for your dog’s physical abilities and personality.

Always bring a little extra food and water. An adjustable kibble bag can carry up to several pounds of food. Dogs can get into mud (and whatever) in the blink of an eye. A small, practical silicon device that converts a water bottle into a portable dog shower and a light, quick-drying towel can get your furry friend clean enough again for the car.