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Top 10 Must-Haves for Travelling with Dogs

by Anne-Marie Mayes

When we travel as a family, we bring the dogs with us as much as possible. I want to share my top ten recommendations for what to bring when you are camping or travelling with your dog(s):

  1. A 6 foot leash. This is a must as no matter the size of your dog, it gives the dog some room to move but also keeps them close enough in public when you are walking together.

  2. A long line (10-20 foot leash) is excellent for dogs who are still learning recall training, or places where dogs should be on leash but are allowed a little more freedom like a beach or park. With a long line, you can exercise your dog more (giving them more room to run back and forth) with the safety of having them on leash.

  3. A dog bed or mat that your dog is comfortable resting on. For hanging out at the campsite or giving them a place to stay when dining on a patio, a travel bed is another must-have.  If you are wondering what mat your dog enjoys then take them shopping (let them test a few) to find out what style or textures they like.

  4. Travel bag/container for their food. Even on the road, maintaining your dog's well-balanced diet is important. Keeping their regular feeding schedule to 2-4 times a day can help keep their potty habits regular and possibly alert you to health issues if they lose their appetite, their coat looks dull, their bowel movements change, etc. We all like to indulge in some extra snacks on vacation but be cautious how much and what your dog is eating as changes in their diet can upset things.

  5. Treats:  a small variety of medium to high value treats that are healthy, your dog enjoys eating and that do not cause digestive upset.  It is also helpful to have different sized for different uses example treating or putting in food toys

  6. Travel bowls for water/food. Some dogs can get a rash from plastic bowls or chew/ingest them, but there are other portable options. such as lined fabric collapsible bowls or stackable metal bowls. If you use ceramic or glass make sure your dog is not the type to carry them around or paw at them as they could break.

  7. A stuffable Kong toy. This company has different shapes of toys for you to stuff with treats or food. They come in different colours for different strength levels. For example pink or blue for puppies or seniors, red for the average chewer, or black for strong chewers. This is one of the only products that I recommend leaving with your dogs during alone time.

  8. Interactive toys. When your dog is busy playing, it can keep them from getting bored or worrying about sounds in hotel rooms or other campsites. Try different puzzle toys where they solve the puzzle to find treats. You can also use lick mats as licking can be calming for dogs. For non-food toys, there are options including small stuffed animals that you put in a larger one for your dog to find.

  9. Kennel, pen or baby gate. Have a place that your dog is safe and feels comfortable spending time when you are busy or have to leave them alone. If your dog isn't comfortable being confined in a traditional dog crate, try a larger area with an exercise pen or a safe, dog-proofed room with a baby gate.

  10. Appropriate tool(s) for walking collar, harness or gentle leader (refer to my previous articles or podcasts for an in depth discussion on how to choose the best tool for your dog). If your trip includes swimming, biothane collars and leashes are a good option as they are easy to clean and don't hold on to the wet dog smell.

These 10 things can make your trip more enjoyable for you and your dog.

article about travelling with dogs

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