This article was updated for accuracy and relevance on December 24th, 2021.
Planning a trip with your pet means packing their must-haves to keep them as comfortable as possible during the journey. Whether you’re traveling by train, plane, or automobile, there are several dog travel accessories that should be added to your packing list as a pet parent. Just keep in mind, different transportation methods will have different protocols and conveniences, which is why we’ve put together a list of dog travel must haves for each.
What to Give Pets When Traveling by Air
Traveling by air takes pre-planning to make sure everything is ready to go before you reach the airport with your pup. Nothing like getting stuck in the TSA line only to be told that your dog can’t fly. With that being said, if you’re planning to fly with your fully grown dog or puppy, here are some essential pet travel accessories and gear any pet parent can benefit from.
Airline-Approved Dog Carrier
Flying allows you to explore some of the best places to travel with dogs. But, to take your furry friend with you into the airplane cabin, you’ll need an airline-approved pet travel carrier. The pet carrier must be small enough to fit underneath the seat in front of you. Some airlines allow for pets to ride in the cargo area, which often allows for larger options. However, it’s likely you’ll want to keep your pet close by for comfort when possible.
In addition to meeting the flight requirements, make sure the dog crate or pet bag is big enough for your pet to turn around in. We all know how confining airplane cabins are on their own. Though your small dog takes up less space, you’ll still want to provide them with as much room as possible. Part of learning how to travel with pets is about finding the right size carrier that balances having enough room and not being so big that it’s hard to manage.
While it’s not advised to feed your pet dog food or give them treats hours leading up to or during the flight, giving them a chew toy can keep them entertained. Pack a favorite from home that’ll feel familiar as they trek with you through unfamiliar crowds and places. Word to the wise, though: leave the squeakers at home.
No one wants to be that person making noise throughout the entire flight, especially those early mornings or late night travel times when people are sleeping. However, a chew toy can be the equivalent of a child’s safety blanket, a cuddly item that eases their stress and gives them a taste of home while you’re away.
Dog Collar with Identification
It’s likely you already have a dog collar for your pet, but don’t forget to pack this necessary travel accessory when you’re headed on your next trip. You’ll want it to have at least two methods of contact, in case anything happens where you become separated. For dogs flying with the cargo, this is especially important so you can claim them at arrival.
It’s also crucial to have a dog collar with identification if there are any flight delays during your trip. There could be times when your pet arrives before or after you do. Having an easy way for airline representatives to contact you will help them locate your dog once you’re both back on the ground.
What to Bring When Traveling with Dogs by Train
Traveling by train can be a fun trip for your pet. They have more room than on a plane and possibly a few chances to get some fresh air when there are extended stops. Amtrak currently allows dogs (and cats) up to 20 pounds, including the weight of the carrier, for a $26 fee.
Though much less than what’s required on a plane, you’ll also need to make a specific pet reservation. Here are must-have dog travel essentials to take with you when traveling on the train.
Check to see if you’ll want to pack an approved dog carrier, functional leash, or both. There are certain train operators that may let you hold your dog in your lap, though they’ll still be required to be on a leash. It’s a good idea to have one they’ll wear when traveling and an extra one stowed away in your luggage as a backup.
Also, some train operators may also require your pet to be muzzled for the duration. When making ticket reservations, confirm what’s required for your particular trip.
Since there’s more room to spread out on a train, especially if you score two seats together for yourself, there may be room for your pet to lay beneath your feet or even tucked in beside you for part of the trip. Bring along their favorite blanket that has the familiar scent they know and love.
It’ll make them feel like they’re more at home if they have something they recognize to keep them cozy. This will also help to prevent too much shedding if they do end up any place besides your lap. Plus, a blanket can easily fold up and fits into a weekend travel bag so it won’t take up too much extra room when you’re packing.
What Items to Bring When Traveling with Dogs by Car
Wondering how to road trip with a dog? Compared to traveling by air or train, traveling with your dog by car offers the most flexibility. You get to decide the stops and have the option of mapping out dog-friendly areas along the way. Though taking a road trip with your pet is much different than driving around town, they’ll get used to extended time on the road if they have a few things to make the ride more enjoyable.
Dog Barrier and/or Back Seat Cover
Most dogs want a chance to roam free and may end up roaming right into the front seat. To prevent problems while driving, a dog barrier is one of the dog travel supplies you’ll want to pack to keep them in the back seat. There are a variety of styles and materials to choose from, but select one with a mesh shield to allow for airflow from the front to the back of the vehicle.
Also, there are certain types of covers that have scratch-resistant materials so your dog doesn’t inadvertently tear it up while they’re circling the back and getting excited looking out the window. Additionally, a back seat cover keeps the hair and dirt from their paws from destroying your car’s interior. They may be fresh and clean when they get in the car, but it’s not likely they’ll stay that way for the whole road trip.
Water Bowls, Food, and Snacks
One of the biggest differences when traveling with your dog by car versus on a plane or train is the ability to stop as frequently as you need. When on a plane, it’s ill-advised to feed your pet for hours prior to the flight to avoid an in-flight accident from happening. However, when road tripping with your dog, meals and water schedules can be similar to how it is at home.
You’ll also want a water bowl, food, and snacks for whenever you get to your final destination. Just like humans, dogs may get hangry and start to become restless when they don’t have something to eat every few hours. Avoid the chances of this happening by packing plenty of water and easy-to-eat treats to enjoy on the way.
Tennis Ball or Frisbee
Most road stops are becoming dog-friendly with many designating a specific area for pets to roam around. Bring along a tennis ball or frisbee to give your pet some much needed exercise and let them stretch their legs. This will help tire them out if you’re planning for an extra-long stretch of highway.
After a good outdoor workout, they’ll be more inclined to rest peacefully rather than being all over the backseat, barking, or whining for snacks. Traveling is as tough on pets as it is for humans and they need breaks, too. Make the trip a fun one by packing things that’ll make them feel like they’re part of the journey, not just along for the ride.
How Should I Pack When Traveling with a Dog?
Packing pet travel accessories help ease travel for everyone. When packing for a trip with your dog, many of the items will easily fit in a designated travel pet carrier, suitcase or weekender bag. Choose a place where you’ll keep all dog travel gear together so you won’t lose anything, as well as help avoid any chance of overpacking. However, packing up a blanket, leash, chew toys, and food and snacks doesn’t take up much space at all.
To avoid having to repurchase items when you arrive at your destination or being denied access due to not meeting the travel requirements of your chosen transportation, make sure to keep all travel restrictions in mind. For example, make sure to pack anything metal into your checked bag or pull it out when going through TSA screening before boarding a plane.
Make sure your dog is on its leash before boarding a train. And set up an area for your pet in the back seat before heading out of town in your car. Packing the necessary travel accessories will help maintain your pet’s comfort level and make it more enjoyable to get from point A to point B. Whatever the trip looks like, you’ll both be stylishly set with BÉIS.
- Amtrak. All aboard, pets. https://www.amtrak.com/pets
- American Kennel Club. Top 9 Travel Products for Dogs. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/top-9-travel-products-dogs/