Dog Road Trip Essentials

Road tripping or overlanding with dogs is a common practice. You want to take a break, perhaps explore a new national park, beach or spot, and you want to take your best friend. Yet, you need to consider the safety, well-being and comfort of your dog.

dog road trip essentials

This short guide will go over some of the essentials you truly need for both your dog and yourself to make sure that any overlanding or road trip goes well. It’s not that long of a list, by now you should know your dog quite well and what they like and how they feel. The important thing is to be prepared for the unexpected, which on a longer trip can be something new.

If you plan to camp with your dog in a roof top tent, you might want to read this other article on "How To Get Your Dog In A Roof Top Tent".


Dog Travel Pack 

Imagine you’re literally preparing a travel pack for your dog. Making sure it contains food, water, medicines, toys, and all the other things it needs. Let’s call it the dog travel pack. Now let’s go through the essentials in it.


Dog First Aid Kit 

The most important thing in the list: a dog first aid kit. It doesn’t need to be a big one, you’re not planning on a tragedy, but rather a small accident, and as such you need the essentials to contain any minor injuries, or buy you time to get to a vet. 

You want gauze, non adhesive bandages to avoid sticking to your dog’s fur, some adhesive tape in case you need a fixed bandage, cotton balls, as well as hydrogen peroxide and antibiotic spray or ointment that you can put directly on any scratch or cut or on the cotton ball to gently massage your dog’s cut. 

Add a digital thermometer to monitor the temperature, a box or compartment to put all the pills your dog may need (and bring them!) in an organized manner, tweezers, scissors, a pocket knife, and syringes if that’s the medicine your dog might need.

Finally, make sure you know ahead where the emergency clinics are on your trip, as well as taking your vet records with you and the microchip if your dog has one.

With all these things, you’re good to go!


Other Essentials For Dog Road Trips

The first one is quite obvious, a leash and a collar. You never know if you end up going to a specific place where there are other dogs, or people who prefer you to keep your dog on a leash. Bring one, for your safety, your dog’s safety and other people’s peace of mind! Oh, and add a back-up leash and collar just in case.

The second one is a soft muzzle, which is just another safety accessory for everyone involved. Your dog might be the calmest and best dog in the world, but always remember that people in open spaces or national parks might not feel safe. It’s for them, not for you or your dog.

A towel, or more than one! Towels are going to be your best friend in many situations, from your doggo getting wet after jumping into water, to having to clean it if it got dirty, or to cover him in case you’re missing blankets or it’s cold. 

Then, two bowls, which are better if collapsible as they’re much easier to carry around and consider carrying twice the amount of water that your dog usually drinks. This is for safety. 

Of course, you want the car sling and seatbelt harness, to always keep your dog safe inside your vehicle. You might think they don’t need one, they do. They’re not human, there are accidents on the roads all the time, especially if you wander off-road. So please, seatbelt harness.

Finally, make sure to bring cleaning supplies, a comb, and a portable travel bed or even crate so if you need to spend the night somewhere, the dog has a comfy place to rest and sleep. Oh, and a blanket for the night!


Dog Toys For Road Trips

Generally, it’s ideal to just take your dog’s favorite toys so it’s entertained, or even just to play when you get to your destination or during stops.

However, most dogs, if they have the right harness, tend to sleep during the road trip.

If not, a good idea is to bring a frozen kong with peanut butter, they love it! Make sure not to put too much, because dogs can get motion sickness.


How To Pack Dog Food For Travel? 

doog food for road trips

If you’re going to be on a very long road trip, and you feed your dog meat, then the best thing to do is simply to take either a portable electric a car fridge, or at least a cooler with ice to keep the meat fresh.

We already mentioned above that a good thing is a frozen kong with peanut butter in it, they love it. Otherwise, a bag of their favorite treats is also a must. 

The other important thing is to pack any food in air-tight containers or plastic bags, hopefully labelled so you know what it is. 

It’s also important to pack double the amount of water they normally would drink and buy more just in case.

Finally, don’t over feed your dog right after driving, as they can get sick in the car just like any person.

Have some bags for throwaway, and poop bags too.


Car Seat Covers

car seat covers for dogs

This one is mostly for you and your vehicle. Get good quality car seat covers for road trips, avoid messes. You never know what can happen with a dog in a road trip, from spilling water or food, lots of fur, the dog throwing up, food everywhere, you name it.

For your sake and that of your vehicle, and frankly even of your dog, a good set of car seat covers, or even covers for the trunk, are a fantastic idea.

We highly recommend the car seat covers from Canvas Back, which are the best in the industry, are great for dogs and any other pets, are easy to install, remove and clean, making them perfect for road trips.

They also have these car hammocks which smaller dogs love!


How Often To Stop With A Dog In A Car?

You know your dog and you should know its habits. However, the rule of thumb is to stop every 2 or 3 hours so it can drink, pee, or poo, and most importantly catch a breath of fresh air and stretch its legs. You’d be amazed, even with smaller dogs, that they just need to walk around a bit, get some stability after traveling for a few hours. It’s important.