The world is better when traveled with a dog. No matter where the road takes you, traveling with your four-legged friend is so much more fun.
We are currently traveling through Europe in our self built camper van. Our dogs Mojo and Venus join us every step of the way. Though your way of traveling with a dog might be different, there are some things everybody should take along.
Here, we share our list of things you must take along when traveling with your dog.
1. Identification and information
Let’s start off with the most important category. We can’t travel anywhere without our passport, and neither can our pets.
A pet pass that contains information on your dog’s chip registration and about the vaccination history has to be in your backpack every step of the way. Your dog will need it to cross the border. It will also come in handy whenever you visit a veterinary office in a foreign country.
Aside from the regular pet pass, there are a few other things you might want to take along.
You have to be prepared in case your dog ever decides to go on an adventure without you. Select an item of gear that your dog will wear every time you’re out and about. This could be a sturdy collar or harness of any kind. Add an engraved ID tag with your dog’s name and your contact information, so that whomever finds Fido will be able to bring him home.
To this same collar, be sure to add a rabies vaccination tag. You can get one at your vet’s office after the booster has been administered. The color of this tag indicates the year in which your dog was last vaccinated and prevents land owners from hurting your dog when trespassing.
Some breeds of dogs are perceived as dangerous based on their looks, like our Staffordshire Bull Terriers. It can be clever to take your dog’s pedigree along on your journey. Certain states and countries have breed specific legislations that prevent (mixed breeds of) dogs with a certain appearance from entering the area.
Don’t forget to write down a few addresses of veterinary offices if you’re heading to a set location. And if you’re traveling around, learn relevant terms in the local language. The sentence ‘Where’s the nearest vet’s office, please?’ and ‘Do you have an extra poop-bag?’ might just come in handy.
2. Sturdy leash and harness
Our dogs both have a harness and a collar. The rabies tags are connected to their collar, and their leash is connected to a harness. Whichever gear you choose to take along, make sure it is lightweight, and comfortable when worn for extended periods of time.
During hikes or other forms of exercise, a harness would be the best choice to allow freedom of movement. Hurtta has a variety of comfortable Y-shaped harnesses that are suitable for dogs of all shapes and sizes. We own their Trail Pack, which comes with a backpack. Incredibly convenient for day hikes – it allows your dog to help you carry a bottle of water and some snacks!
If you like to hold a leash by hand, we recommend choosing natural hemp leads. Cranbery offers gorgeous hemp leads in two lengths in various colors. Prefer to keep your hands free? Ezydog has comfortable belt-leads that can be clipped around your hips.
3. Ticks, fleas, and hygiene
Though ticks and fleas might not be the first things you consider when planning a trip with your dog, they should never be forgotten. In the Netherlands, we rarely saw ticks. Now we’re traveling through Sweden however, we see them just about everywhere. Crawling on both us and our dogs.
We’d recommend taking a natural tick and flea remedy along, wherever you plan on staying. Wondercide offers sprays in a bottle that keep these buggers at bay. If you prefer to use a shampoo bar that helps protect your dog without creating any plastic waste, the Zero Waste Path Shop has a natural dog shampoo bar that helps fight them off.
Despite your efforts using products similar to the ones recommended above, ticks sometimes still find their way to your dog’s skin. We always carry a tick removal tool in our backpack whenever we go hiking. You never know when a little creature decides to join either you or your furry buddy for a hike in the forest!
If you’re planning on a longer trip – say, longer than a week – you might want to find room for the following items.
Depending on your dog’s breed, a brush can be necessary (even on a daily basis in some cases). For dogs that have a tendency to roll in dirt (or smelly substances), the shampoo bar we mentioned above will come in handy as well. The lack of plastic packaging makes that it’s great for the environment, too!
If long hikes are on your list of things to do, pack a tin of paw balm. The Natural Dog Company offers two natural and vegan products that protect your dog’s paws during a hike (Paw Tection), and soothes them afterwards (Paw Soother).
To complete the pawdicure, bring a pair of nail clippers or a file. Those claws are best kept short – and you can read how to go about that here.
4. Food- and water bowls
This next item is quite an obvious one; a food bowl. But we have forgotten ours so often, that we thought we’d include it!
Stainless steel bowls are our go-to type. They’re lightweight, which is perfect for traveling!
The most important fact however, is that they are non-porous. Stainless steel can’t soak up any molecules, be it food or bacteria. That’s perfect because 1) you can’t wash a water bowl on a hike, and 2) you don’t have to worry about buildup of harmful bacteria whatever food you choose to feed. So long as you thoroughly wash the bowls after dinner, that is.
Make sure to wash the water bowl on a daily basis, too. The biofilm that builds up on still water is very harmful, and a quick rinse doesn’t get rid of it!
Those bowls have to be filled, of course. Whilst traveling, your dog gets to explore and move around a lot – at least we sure hope (s)he does! Balanced nutrition is hence of utmost importance. Thinking about what you’ll feed during your time away is definitely something you should be doing well in advance.
We have always fed our dogs a raw diet. Traveling the world in a small camper van doesn’t particularly make things easier for us. Though we still manage to feed our dogs raw. It just takes some planning.
No matter if you feed a fresh food diet or choose to go with kibble, make sure to find a brand that is widely available in the area you’re visiting. We used to prepare a balanced diet by hand, but now rely on pre-packaged balanced grinds of raw meat, bone, and organ. Sweden offers a few brands that we can easily get our hands on. We simply google for the nearest pet store and visit them to see what they have in stock.
We make sure to have a small bag of freeze-dried raw or kibble with high meat-content in our camper van at all times. You never know what trouble you might run into! Some brands you could look for are Ziwi, Orijen and K9Naturals.
Another item that falls in the same category is treats. We always have a variety of meat-based treats in our camper van.
Before we go on a walk, no matter where and for how long, we fill a small treat bag with pieces of duck and take it along wherever we go. At times, we run into distractions and can use a small treat to keep Venus’ focus on us. People that make kissy noises for example are a tempting distraction for both of our dogs 😉 Or when your dog decides to go on a solo adventure.
You can even prepare some treats at home before your journey begins! All you need is some fresh ingredients cut to your desired size, and an oven or dehydrator. You can find our recipe for dehydrated single ingredients here.
Other treats that we keep in stock are rabbit ears, pieces of dried tripe, and similar products. When leave for a long hike, we make sure to pack some with us so the dogs can have a snack too when we take our lunch break. Besides, they are the perfect tool to clean your dog’s teeth and keep them occupied for a while.
Whether you need the following items totally depends on the climate of your destination, the time of year you head in the direction, and the breed of dog you own. Aside from collars, harnesses and leads, we currently don’t have any other items that our dogs can wear. In the future though – again, depending on where we’re headed – we might invest in a cooling vests, rain coats, boots, and winter coats.
We definitely recommend you take a look at all items that Hurtta has to offer. Just like harnesses, they have an array of clothing items for all weather conditions, no matter the size of your dog.
Taking toys along on your trip is not necessary, but definitely offers a fun way to exercises your dog in between hikes in the forest and rumbles on the beach.
We have a huge variety of toys by West Paw. We love them, because every single one of them can float. In a country like Sweden that seems to have a lake around every corner, this proves to be a valuable feature.
Whichever toy you decide to take, just make sure your dog loves it!
There’s nothing more precious than a great night’s sleep. After a day of exploring the city, it feels amazing to spread out on the king-size hotel bed.
Your dog deserves a comfortable bed as well.
If you travel with your own vehicle, take along your dog’s bed. A memory foam mattress is great for active dogs that need to rest after long hikes, but it also suits younger and older dogs that need some extra support for their growing/aching joints.
If you’re on a backpacking trip, the Hurtta Outback Dreamer might be a perfect solution. It’ll keep your dog nice and warm, even during chilly nights in a tent! We know this brand keeps coming up, but they simply offer many products for adventurous dogs.
Poop bags. I guess they speak for themselves, don’t they? We’ll share a little story to convince you to NEVER leave your hotel/tent/motorhome without them.
Two weeks ago, we took a four hour ferry trip from Denmark to Sweden. Four hours on a boat with a four month old puppy. Can you imagine how tense we were knowing that we couldn’t find grass for four whole hours? The trip went well, no accidents. Until we got up to walk back to our camper van. Then it happened: In front of a staircase, Venus abruptly squatted down and placed a brown sausage on the freshly mopped floor. We had one poop bag left. One!
We never leave our van without an extra set since that day.
Things extra in our van
In our little home on wheels, we’ve managed to pack all this. We actually have some more items that aren’t necessary or suitable for all ways of traveling. They definitely come in handy for us, though!
We’ve got a lovely teal colored Impact Dog Crate built in under our convertible sofa bed. It protects our dog during a potential accident (fingers crossed we’ll never have to find out just how sturdy this crate is). During the night, Mojo and Venus sleep on their thick mattress. It also functions as their personal cave to relax, if they’re tired of cuddling up to us on the sofa or begging for food whilst we’re preparing dinner.
Some other things we take along are:
- back-up leash and collar;
- GoPro Fetch harness;
- MiniFinder Atto;
- fridge with freezer compartment for their raw food;
- way too many dog toys.
Pack your bags!
Hopefully, this long list of things to bring when traveling with your dog has reminded you of an item to pack in your suitcase! Enjoy your travels 🙂
Where have you traveled with your dog? What’s your favorite way of transportation? Have you ever arrived at the destination and realized you forgot an important item (poop bags, for example)? Share your experiences and any tips you may have in the comment section!