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10 Essentials for Road Tripping With a Dog (2024 Update)

Cassandra Kyser

By Cassandra Kyser

dog inside the car

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Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

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Are you ready to hit the road with your furry BFF? Having the right travel gear will make your time more enjoyable. Before you and your pup hop in the car, check out our list of 10 essentials for road-tripping with your dog.

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Food and Water Accessories

1. Food Bowl

Frisco Travel Collapsible Silicone Dog Bowls

We start our list with the most important road trip accessories—food and water bowls. There are a lot of collapsible food bowls on the market, but we love that this all-in-one set has an attached zippered case. Keeping your dog’s bowls completely clean on a road trip is hard. You risk getting your other gear wet or covered in kibble dust, but not with this case/bowl combo. It comes in two sizes: 1.5 cups and 3 cups. These bowls aren’t large enough to stand up to the giant breeds but should work for most small to medium-sized dogs.

2. Water Dish

Alfie Pet Collapsible Fabric Travel Dog Bowl

This collapsible fabric dog bowl is our choice for large breeds. The 6.25-cup volume is large enough to quench even the biggest dogs’ thirst. These bowls are fabric, so they need a little extra care. Make sure these are completely clean and dry before you store them between road trips.

3. Food Storage Unit

Gamma2 Vittles Vault Junior Pet Food Storage, 4–6 lb

Traveling with a bag of dog food is cumbersome and potentially messy. One rip or tear, and your furry friend will have to eat lunch off the car floor. You need a sturdy, food-safe container to store your dog food in. We like that this food storage container has a secure screw top. It’s BPA-free and will keep your dog’s food clean and dry, no matter how far off the beaten path your travels take you. Two indents on the side of the container act as built-in handles, making this container easy to grab from your trunk or backpack.

4. Travel Bag

Mobile Dog Gear Week Away Tote Pet Travel Bag

Consider this all-in-one travel tote if your dog is your constant travel companion. For one price, you get two zippered storage cubes, travel food and water bowls plus a mat, and a larger bag to store it all in. This bag has two sets of carrying handles. It comes in several colors and prints for those who appreciate a little style on their adventures.

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Leashes and Waste Bags

5. Leash

PetSafe Nylon Hands-Free Running Dog Leash

You definitely want to bring more than one leash on your road trip. Accidents happen—leashes get lost and break. We suggest tossing this hands-free leash in your glove box as a back-up. You’ll love the hands-free feature if you need to keep your dog close to you while loading and unloading your vehicle. It also makes it possible to sip your morning coffee while walking your dog spill-free.

6. Waste Bags

Greenbone Tie Handle Dog Waste Bags

Being a mindful traveler means making sure your dog doesn’t leave any “souvenirs” behind. A lot of dog waste bags are small and difficult to open, making them a pain to use on a road trip. We like these bags because they are some of the largest poop bags on the market. In a pinch, you can use them to clean up your own trash after a roadside picnic.

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Travel Crate

7. Collapsible Crate

MidWest iCrate Fold & Carry Single Door Collapsible Wire Crate + Quiet Time Ombre Swirl Dog Crate Mat

A crate or kennel is a must but can take up a lot of precious cargo room. Consider a collapsible wire crate if you don’t need to crate your dog while you’re on the road. It’s easy to assemble when you get to your destination. This single-door crate comes in 7 sizes. When choosing the right size for your dog, remember that they should be able to stand and turn around in their crate. You can easily hose down this metal crate if your dog gets car sick. The crate comes with a machine-washable mat.

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Accessories to Make the Ride Go Smoothly

8. Calming Treats

Zesty Paws Calming Bites Peanut Butter Flavored Soft Chews Calming Supplement

Some dogs will hop in the car every chance they get while others are more hesitant travelers. If your dog is less than eager to go on a road trip, ask your vet about an over-the-counter calming chew. These Calming Bites are a tempting peanut butter flavor and could help your dog enjoy the ride.

9. Seat Covers

Our Pick: Frisco Premium Quilted Water Resistant Hammock Car Seat Cover

Frisco Premium Quilted Water Resistant Hammock Car Seat Cover

A water-resistant car seat cover gives your dog free reign of the back seat while keeping your car clean. You can store this cover in its own bag when you’re not using it. The zippered compartments give you a little extra storage. This hammock-style car seat cover comes with a seatbelt tether, which you can attach to a compatible harness. (Never attach a seatbelt tether to your dog’s neck collar. Ask your vet for advice on the safest way to travel with your pet.)

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Easy to Read ID Tag

10. Identification Tags

ROAD iD The Rock Solid Personalized ID Tag Dog Collar

Dogs who are ordinarily calm can become spooked in unfamiliar surroundings. You can help your dog stay safe with a collar that has a built-in metal ID tag. We like this particular collar because you can customize up to five lines of text. You can include your vet’s name and address if you don’t want to include your home address. And a friendly reminder, a road trip is the perfect time to double-check that your dog’s microchip information is up to date.

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Final Thoughts

Having a good road trip with your dog all comes down to planning. Space-saving collapsible food and water bowls are easy to pack in your car. Larger dog waste bags can do double-duty as trash bags when you’re on the go. Talk to your vet about seat belt tethers and calming treats. Lastly, do not forget to have fun! Your dog loves spending time with you no matter where your travels take you.

Featured Photo Credit: Christine Bird, Shutterstock

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