What To Pack For Your Dog When Traveling?
Most people I know overpack and bring half their closet on trips, but I definitely have the opposite problem. I have been known to pack so little, I forget my toothbrush and shoes and end up having to buy an outfit or two while I’m traveling. But I truly prefer it that way. I don’t like the added weight and mess, plus I like to shop and bring home all the good finds.
It’s the same way when traveling with dogs. I bring just the essentials and try to pack as light as possible, especially if it’s just a weekend trip with dogs. Who wants to carry around heavy luggage and bags, including their dog?
For example, I don’t bring food/water bowls (just a collapsible dog water bowl) because you can always find bowls wherever you are staying. In a pinch, you can even ask for a takeout container from a restaurant.
Traveling light is the answer to how to travel better with a dog, in my opinion.
Here’s how to travel better with a dog, plus tips on what to put in a dog travel bag.
Choosing the right dog carrier is important.
So, the dogs in their carrier become your carry-on bag and the rest of your luggage gets checked in. Weston, 23 pounds, fits inside a Sherpa (sz large) bag comfortably and Fira, 14 pounds, is in a slightly smaller dog carrier. Here’s my list of favorite airline carriers for dogs. They sleep right through the flight! Most people don’t notice the dogs when we settle into our seats but when we land, I can’t count how many times people have said, “OMG there was a dog on here??”
Make sure to utilize the pockets when you’re traveling with your dog! It’s easy to forget about those but it’s a good idea to put your stuff in there so it’s right there at your feet when you’re in your seat. No need to get up and down if you need your AirPods or lip balm.
I always put one of my worn t-shirts in their dog carrier. It keeps them feeling super safe and cozy cuddling into your scent. Another key tip on how to travel better with a dog! Plus, it’s super adorable.
As for what to pack in a dog travel bag…
So, I always have a neck pillow with me when I travel with my dogs. I only started using one the past year and I honestly don’t know what took me so long. Sleeping on my fist and waking up numb was the norm. Smart. This not only keeps me comfortable, but it can also be handy in case the dogs need a pillow some time throughout our travels. Especially if you’re in for a car or train ride after your flight, this can be an essential piece of comfort not just for you but for your pup, too.
What about compression bags? They definitely come in handy and save space when traveling with dogs! I love these clear plastic zip bags for organizing my clothes and the dogs’ clothes. These bigger ones are great for sweaters and bulkier clothes. I honestly love these — they’re cheap, clear and make organization so much easier. It’s a great way to make your items fit in a small suitcase, especially if you’re like most of us and tight on space when traveling with dogs.
I love planning a few outfits I know I’m definitely going to wear (whether we’re going out, more formal wear or outdoor activities) and then I pack around those outfits. I wear mostly neutrals so that makes it easy knowing everything almost always will match. I also roll up most of my clothes for maximum space when I travel.
Black leggings, frayed denim jeans, an oversized white v-neck tee, a neutral camisole, a breezy linen dress and Birkenstocks are my staples! I always recommend packing a bikini, even if your destination isn’t always warm, for spontaneous spa days or a random hot spring that could be nearby?! Who doesn’t love a pool or beach day with the pup in a new place, am I right? One of the best parts of traveling with dogs!
As for what to put in a dog travel bag, here’s a few more tips. It’s always a good idea to pack a small pouch with dog treats, extra poo bags, wet wipes and a lint roller (Frenchies are shedders, lets be honest). I pack their food in a resealable bag and forgo the bowls. Every dog-friendly hotel these days offers bowls or you can always call for an extra bowl or cup.
The best organizer for makeup and skincare
I recently just got this travel bag for all my toiletries and it is just perfect! It has so many handy compartments, folds open and closed and has a hanger hook to easily hang up.
It also comes with a separate clear zip bag – perfect for adding your liquid containers for the security check.
What dog food to pack?
Weston + Fira eat fresh, human-grade foods, which can get messy (and heavy) to pack inside your luggage when traveling with dogs. At times, I’ve actually ordered their dog food to be delivered to the location we’re traveling to (Just Food For Dogs and Pure Dog Food ship nationwide). Other times, I take freeze-dried dog food patties which the pups seem to enjoy. They are super lightweight — just add water and voila!
Just Food For Dogs is the first fresh dog food company that I tried, which was almost a decade ago! They specialize in providing high-quality, human-grade food for dogs. Their meals are prepared in their own kitchens, following strict food safety standards, and are tested for nutritional content by accredited vets. There’s a decent variety of flavors like beef + potato, lamb + rice, white fish + sweet potato and turkey + macaroni.
With over 200 locations nationwide, including all Petco stores, I find myself easily picking up Just Food For Dogs when I’m running low on dog food and need to get it fast!
The Farmer’s Dog is also one of the more popular dog food brands out there! The meals are pre-portioned and personalized for your dogs’ specific needs based on a profile you create when signing up. The food is gently cooked to maintain whole food integrity and natural nutrients, then frozen and shipped directly to your door. Sign up and get 50% off your first order!
Make sure to get a health certificate from your vet before you travel on a plane, if your airline requires it (most domestic flights don’t), and withhold your pup’s water intake so they can fly with an empty, comfy bladder.
I hope these tips help you travel better with a dog! Interested in more? Read more on my next post: Step by Step Guide to Flying With Your Dog.
Here’s the lowdown on all the must-have products
you NEED to pack in your dog travel bag:
- Samsonite Freeform Hardside Spinner. Perfect carry-on suitcase that’s scratch-resistant and uber chic.
- Stella & Chewy’s Dinner Patties. Freeze-dried dog food in convenient patty form for on-the-go that your pup will love!
- Kitsch Refillable Flat Travel Bottles. I just love these. Easy to fill up and they flatten as you use up product which is a space-saver, and of course, it’s TSA-approved.
- Saint Rue Stop Rose Scrunchie. A hair tie is a must! This one is high-quality, really durable and stylish.
- Marble Toiletry Bags. Handy bags for organizing.
- Zogics Pet Waterless Shampoo. Organic formula cleans quickly for on-the-go. (PS: 20% off with code: WTF20)
Where's The Frenchie is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and incorporates affiliate links.