What to Pack for a Road Trip With a Dog

February 24, 2023
What to Pack for a Road Trip With a Dog - Dog in the car

Road-tripping to dog-friendly destinations can be stress-free if you know what to pack for a road trip with a dog. The dog-friendly essentials included in this guide will keep them happy and comfortable. Knowing what pet items are important will streamline your packing, and the trip will go better for everyone with a schedule set for potty breaks and exercise.

Following these guidelines from expert pet parents, enjoy peaceful journeys near or far!

Pre-Trip Dog Health Check-Up and Training

Vet Visit

Dog in the vet

Before embarking on any road trip with your dog, make an appointment with your veterinarian to ensure your pet is up-to-date on shots and is in good physical condition.

Many vacation destinations insist on proof of vaccinations for pets, so always carry a copy on your trip.

If your pet is an anxious traveler, have your vet prescribe a calming medication to make the ride easier. Lastly, update your dog's ID tags and microchip with your latest information.

Trip Training

If your dog isn't used to long car rides, train them to behave and relax while traveling. Start taking them on rides an hour or so from home. Make sure you place them in the travel crate, dog harness, or bed you plan to use for your trip so they can get accustomed to it.

Create an area inside the vehicle to suit your pet. For example, attention-seeking dogs will want their travel crates or harness in the middle of the rear car seat to see passengers and out the windows. On the other hand, if your pet is skittish, placing them in a crate on the floor may be more soothing.

What to Pack for a Road Trip With a Dog

There are three essential areas for you to consider when packing for a road trip with a dog:

  1. Food, Water, and Treats
  2. Grooming and Hygiene
  3. Travel Safety, Comfort, and Entertainment

Food, Water, and Treat Packing List

Here are the must-have items to keep your pet fed and hydrated during your trip:

  1. Dog food to last the entire trip, plus a few days extra
  2. Can opener, if necessary
  3. Dog treats
  4. Water - plan for one gallon per day per dog
  5. Collapsible bowl or bring bowls from home
  6. Plastic placemat

If you plan on driving in extremely hot weather, having extra water should be a top priority for humans and dogs. Breakdowns can happen and leave you stranded. Additional water is also good for washing dirty paws before returning to your vehicle after rest breaks.

Regarding pet food and treats, stick with what your pet knows and loves. Refrain from switching their diet on a road trip to avoid the unpleasant task of cleaning up after a sick dog.

Grooming and Hygiene

When you bring your dog on road trips, you need to stay on top of their grooming and hygiene needs by packing the following items:

  1. Poop Bags and Trash Bags
  2. Disinfecting Wipes
  3. Paper Towels
  4. 2-4 Cotton Towels
  5. Pet First Aid Kit (see below)
  6. Doggy Diapers (if potty breaks are impossible)
  7. Dog Soap or Shampoo
  8. Dog Brush
  9. Flea and Tick Repellent
  10. Dog Toothbrushes or Teeth-cleaning Sticks

A pet first aid kit should include tweezers, scissors, gauze bandages, medical tape, styptic powder, antibacterial wipes or gel, and pet-safe eye and wound wash.

Travel Safety, Comfort, and Entertainment

Here are the items that will keep your dog safe and comfortable during road trips:

Car Seat Covers

Dog in a car cover

Keeping your dog comfortable while protecting your vehicle's interior is easy if you invest in a quality car seat cover. If you don't crate your pet and let them move about or keep them in a harness seat belt, a waterproof seat cover can create a barrier to block stains and smells.

You can find seat covers through Amazon Services LLC that will fit the make and model of your vehicle. In addition, pet seat covers are easy to remove if you want to wash them during your trip to keep them fresh.

Favorite Blanket, Pad, and Toys

Adding your dog's favorite blanket or pad over the car seat cover or in their travel crate provides an extra layer of comfort. Bringing along several toys with familiar smells will also help calm nerves.


Remember that car rides can be scary for some pets, and a thunder shirt may be just the ticket to keep them feeling secure. Thundershirts are snugly fitting garments that cover the torso and help reduce anxiety in nervous pets.

Dog Crate

Pet-friendly travel will include a dog crate. You want a large crate so your dog can stand and turn around. Many hotels require you to crate your dog when you leave the room, to allow maintenance staff safe entry.

Some dogs prefer the cozy feeling of traveling inside a crate, so ensure adequate ventilation and padding. Also, ensure you tether the crate down so it doesn't become airborne in a car accident.

Dog Harness

Many dogs travel well with a harness that attaches to your vehicle's seat belt or built-in restraint hooks. A harness should fit so your pet can't wiggle free while driving, but it should also allow them some freedom of movement to sit or lay down.

Collar and Leash

Dog with a collar and leash

Always bring a quality collar and leash on your trip. Also, take the time to leash your dog inside the vehicle so you never have to worry about them dashing off once the car door opens.

Travel-friendly Activities

What dog doesn't love to fetch? Pack tennis balls, a frisbee, or a throwing toy to get them running and stretching during rest breaks.

Interactive dog toys work wonders to distract dogs inside the car or a hotel room. Treat dispensing toys require some thought and can keep your dog focused, so it isn't barking or running around. The Wickedbone is another top choice. This app-run digital interactive toy gets excellent reviews and runs for hours.

Enjoy Safe Travels With Your Dog

Having a crash-tested travel crate or doggie seat belt is just as critical as packing enough dog food and poop bags. Dog-safe car rides start long before you hit the road, so knowing what to pack for a road trip with a dog is essential for everyone's enjoyment.

Traveling to Hollywood, CA, with Your Dog

Hollywood, CA, is a mecca for dog lovers and furry friends. With so many things to do and see, choosing where to bring your pup can take some research. In the meantime, we’ve compiled a list of the best dog parks near Hollywood, CA. These parks offer ample space for your pup to run around and play, and some have great city views. So, the next time you’re in Hollywood with your four-legged friend, check out one of these fantastic parks!