Traveling With A Dog: What To Pack in A Dog Travel Bag

Things to Pack In Your Dog Travel Bag and Tips For Traveling With Your Dog

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I saw a saying once that read: “If my dog isn’t happy, neither am I.” I didn’t know how true that statement was until we started taking our dog Bentley with us on our trips. 

When we first got Bentley we knew nothing about how to travel with a pet, what to put in a dog travel bag, or that pet-friendly hotels were an option. After moving many times and traveling to a variety of places with Bentley we have learned that traveling with a dog can be difficult without proper planning and having the correct accessories.

Here are some tips we have found useful when traveling with our dog, Bentley, and items to pack in a dog travel bag.

1. Make Sure Your Pet Has the Correct Identification

One of the most important things to do when traveling with your pet is to make sure your pet has proper identification. It is important that your pet is wearing their ID tag at all times in case they happen to get out of the car, hotel, etc. Information on their tag should include your pet’s name, a phone number (or two), and your first name if it can fit.

If you want to go a step further you should make sure your dog is microchipped and that the information on their microchip is up to date. We typically keep an extra ID tag and collar in our dog travel bag to make sure we have one in case something happens to Bentley’s collar or ID tag.

2. Invest in A High-Quality Harness

Dog in ezydog harness.
We have two of these Ezydog harnesses that are easy to put on and comfortable for Bentley to wear.

We have two EzyDog harnesses and really like that they are, in fact, easy to put on. The EzyDog harness slips over your dog’s head and clips around the belly, rather than having to wrestle with your pup’s legs. They are also very compact.

We keep one on Bentley while traveling, and have a spare in our dog travel bag. One thing to note, Bentley is an escape artist and even has been able to get out of this one from time to time when he is in the car… he really hates it when we buckle him in because he can’t stick his head outside so make sure your pet is properly secured in the car or leashed somewhere outside.

3. Never Question the Power of A Good Grooming Wipe

As all dogs do, Bentley loves to roll, prance, and play in just about anything that’s dirty. Grooming wipes have been amazing for a quick and easy clean-up after running through dirt and mud. It’s also nice for wiping his paws off after he goes on a walk. We usually pick up unscented wipes so that they don’t irritate his skin. Wipes are easy to keep in your dog travel bag while hitting the road.

4. A Back Seat Hammock is A Must For Car Rides

Dog in the backseat with a hammock.
Bentley loves his backseat hammock!

In order to keep your vehicle clean, dog hair from finding its way into every inch of your vehicle, or to just simply keep your leather/cloth seats scratch-free, this useful hammock will be a perfect addition to your pet travel checklist. Not to mention, Bentley loves lounging on it!

Swapping vehicles? No problem, the hammock folds up into a pouch and can be carried individually or placed inside your dog travel bag.

5. Collapsible Travel Bowls or Convertible Containers Will Save You Space

Collapsible dog bowl
These collapsible bowls are perfect for a long hike or while road tripping.

Remember your pet needs to stay hydrated too! Having collapsible bowls is a huge space saver and can be clipped onto a carabiner and/or leash for ease of access. We always take at least one of these with us while traveling and we also attach one to our leash while hiking so we can pour some of our water into it for him.

6. Keep Your Pet Safe By Properly Securing Them While Traveling in a Vehicle

Dog sitting in the backseat of the car.
Bentley safely secured in the backseat.

We’ll be honest, we don’t use our safety restraint for every car trip nearby, but we do use it when traveling long distances in order to keep Bentley safe in emergency situations. The Ezydog seatbelt restraint is the one we have been using but have also heard really great reviews about the Ezydog seatbelt harness too. You can also consider looking into a crate that has been crash-tested for even more secure travel.

7. Make Sure Your Pet Has an Appropriate Air Travel Carrier

Bentley is just over the weight limit for under-the-seat air travel but we did find an inexpensive carrier with great reviews. Make sure you provide your pet with enough water while traveling at the airport.

The majority of airports offer relief stations for your dog to relieve themselves prior to getting on the flight! Travel tip: all airlines require proof of vaccinations and health certifications. Make copies of these before you leave!

8. A Collapsible Crate Would Be A Worthy Investment

This crate easily folds down and fits in our trunk with all of our luggage. You could even go a step further by purchasing a crate mat that could double as a travel bed so your dog has extra comfort while sitting in the back of your vehicle.

9. You May Need to Purchase A Remedy to Help Your Dog Feel Calmer

Bentley is pretty used to us being on the go so we don’t have much experience in this category but he does have horrible separation anxiety when we go somewhere without him.

Here are a few options you could look into if your dog is struggling to survive your trip that would be easy to fit in your dog travel bag.

  • Anti-Anxiety Jacket
  • Calming Treats: we have tried a variety of treats that have lavender in them.
  • CBD: We bought some dog CBD before we moved to Florida because we knew it was going to be a long car ride from Arkansas. I felt that it significantly helped Bentley feel more calm for the duration of our trip.

10. Ask For Updated Records From Your Vet

Dog sitting in front of a barn.
Bentley loves going on walks with us when we travel with him.

Most importantly, before leaving for any vacation or trip, make sure your pet’s vaccinations, identification, and records are up to date and that you have a copy with you.

Are there any other suggestions you would add to your dog travel bag in order to make traveling with your pet more comfortable and easy?

Thinking about taking your dog with you on your next vacation or trip? These tips will help ease your mind and make your dog feel comfortable when traveling!


  • Reply
    Sarah Ricks
    October 11, 2016 at 8:58 PM

    Fun to hear about ways you’ve found to bring your dog pal along with you. We have never traveled with a pet. But if we try to do that, this has really helpful advice.

    • Reply
      October 11, 2016 at 9:46 PM

      Sarah, thanks so much! We hope that if you ever do this will be useful for you. Ben loves taking long car rides, camping trips, and hikes with us but we often let his grandparents babysit when we are overseas! 😉

  • Reply
    October 11, 2016 at 10:02 PM

    Not a dog lover. Would never travel with a pet. However, I loved the post and smiled at the pictures of your lovely dog. Nice post and very useful advice 🙂

    • Reply
      October 11, 2016 at 10:35 PM

      That’s okay ckaway! It definitely isn’t for everyone. We’re quite fond of our little rascal so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed his “photoshoot” 😉 Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    October 11, 2016 at 10:58 PM

    Love your post on traveling with pets. Very informative and eye-opening. I shall take some of your advice.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2016 at 11:39 AM

    Very essential and thoughtful tips to all the people who plan to travel with their pets. Loved how your dog modeled for your post haha, seems like a expert in posing ;). Thanks for the share.

    • Reply
      October 12, 2016 at 10:34 PM

      Thanks so much! He’s quite a diva and has definitely lost his camera shyness 😉

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 3:36 AM

    Oh how I would love to travel with our lab Jay. She’s such a good girl and is so well behaved. But it is such an epic event to take her overseas. First the cost – $15k AUD to get her to Europe (where we spend a lot of our time) and quarantine rules on the way home require her to be isolated for up to 30 days with no visitation from us. I just can’t do it. 🙁 Very envious of you being able to travel like this. Good on you.

    • Reply
      October 19, 2016 at 6:04 PM

      Kerri, I can’t imagine that fiasco that was for Jay and for you! We haven’t ever tried to take Bentley overseas and it’s for reason such as those you said. He is much happier with our parents as he is very spoiled! We are quite lucky to be able to take him on many of our U.S. trips and camping trips though. It isn’t always easy, but he greatly enjoys being outdoors with us. I hope you are able to take Jay with you on trips within Australia in the future!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 5:19 PM

    Awwwe! Another dog liver here but I havent brought my dog on my travel escapades for the main reason that it may not be convinient for my pet and mine too. Thanks for giving a list of the things that we need to secure before bringing a pet with us. I totally agree with the first list, identification is a must!

    • Reply
      October 19, 2016 at 5:59 PM

      Thank you Kris! I hope that you’re able to take your dog with you someday, even on a small trip. 🙂

  • Reply
    October 18, 2016 at 11:32 PM

    i dont have pets but i can imagine it’d be difficult traveling with them! especially on flights and long distances. great post – loved your tips


    • Reply
      October 19, 2016 at 5:50 PM

      Thanks so much Sher! It can definitely be challenging but it’s worth it to us. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 3, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    Thank you! We are quite biased but we think he’s pretty cute too. 😉 You got it! He loves snuggling!

  • Reply
    Lena Ameri
    November 16, 2016 at 9:20 PM

    Love this post! We love traveling with our dog and he loves coming along! The car hammock is such a great idea!

    • Reply
      November 16, 2016 at 10:11 PM

      It’s so fun to take them on trips to allow them to have new experiences too! We can always tell that it makes Ben so happy when we jump in the car.

      We couldn’t survive without the car hammock, definitely look into it… the hair, accidental scratching, dirt… we learned the hard way without it at first! 😉

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