On breezy trips to far-flung cities and hard-hitting hiking trails alike, it’s crucial to load up with the proper dog travel accessories to keep man’s best friend happy. Whether your idea of a good time is lounging in the sun at a hip Airbnb or taking your pupper camping, dogs get cold, need water, and have first aid emergencies just like the rest of us.
We asked a handful of travel pros what they never leave home without when satisfying their wanderlust alongside a furry pal. Here’s what they recommend keeping in a backpack or carry-on to make traveling with a dog easier and safer.
A multi-purpose leash
Fable Pets Magic Link
Sometimes, you don’t even know that you have a problem until a brilliant piece of gear comes along and solves it in one fell swoop. The Magic Link is that piece of gear. “It’s my favorite leash for travel, since it can be worn in various ways and allows for hands-free walking,” says Nöel Russell, co-founder and CXO at Whimstay. This no-hands approach—pet owners can wear it around their wrist or waist—is ideal when carrying luggage or trying to use a smartphone while out and about, explains Russell.
A harness that offers ultimate control on walks
PetSafe Deluxe Easy Walk Dog harness
“The Easy Walk harness has been a godsend for hiking,” says Jake Case, editor at Territory Supply. “The front-anchor point gives me more leverage when my dog pulls, making it less obnoxious and easier to control.” Subtle features like this are key when romping around a new city with your furry companion–distractions are high, smells are captivating, plus there are loads of new people. Keeping your dog in check with a sturdy harness will help make both urban and trail adventures more fun and less of a headache.
A car safety harness
Kurgo Enhanced Strength Tru-Fit Dog car harness
Traveling at highway speeds on weekend getaways to Joshua Tree and Jackson Hole might feel like a breeze for humans in ergonomic seat belts, but Fido’s often left to fend for himself in the backseat without much recourse in case an accident happens. Kurgo’s Tru-Fit dog car harness slips on and fastens easily, clipping into any ordinary car seat belt. Plus, it’s crash-tested for dogs up to 75 pounds so that even your favorite chonk can stay safe on the road.
A pack for pups
Kurgo Baxter Dog backpack
Whether it be in the rust-tinted sandstone of Zion or the rolling green hills of the Great Smoky Mountains, if you’re planning to tackle some trails with your pup, it’s a good idea to get them a doggy backpack so they can help schlep any necessary pet gear, like treats and travel bowls. The Baxter dog backpack by Kurgo is a machine-washable rucksack with two saddlebags and eight adjustment points to give a near-custom fit when your pup’s out in the wilderness. Pet owners can choose between “Baxter” and “Big Baxter” sizes to accommodate dogs from 30 to 110 pounds. Heading on a multi-night adventure? Check out the larger Ruffwear Palisades dog backpack, which Kelly Sosa, founder of The Service Dog Connection, says is “ideal for packing in extra dog food, water, and supplies.”
A doggy backpack for human hikers
K9 Sport sack
Travel journalist and Traveler contributor Stephanie Vermillion loves toting around her nine-year-old Bichon mix in a K9 Sport Sack when she wants to put in the big miles. “As he gets older, he’s not able to go as long as he used to,” she says. “The Sport Sack makes sure he can still be part of the fun, no matter his age.” The brand makes a variety of colorful backpacks for on-the-go humans to bring their dog along in, with features like side ventilation, internal frames, and hip belts for extra support.
A travel food carrier
Wilderdog Doggie bag
On both long-haul road trips to fanciful getaways and quick drives to visit family for the holidays, it’s key to carry and store your dog’s kibble in a safe container. Wilderdog makes it simple to skip the wasteful (and easy-to-rip) plastic bags with their waterproof doggie bag. These whimsical, boho roll-top sacks store up to five pounds of food and come with an adorable, 1.25-cup steel mug to measure out meals.
A collapsible travel bowl
Ruffwear Trail Runner bowl
The Ruffwear trail runner bowl is an ideal companion for sunshine-spattered hikes and warm, poolside vacations alike. Since dogs stay cool by panting, which can dehydrate them over time, it’s imperative to have a portable way to give them water on the go, and this durable nylon bowl packs up small enough to fit in your pocket. “Keeping water bowls on hand and easily accessible is key to keeping my dogs comfy while we’re out adventuring,” Russell says.
A doggie first aid kit
Trail Dog Medical kit
None of us want to think about worst-case scenarios when we’re trying to escape our city woes, but savvy dog owners know how important it is to travel with a pet-centric first aid kit and the name of the nearest vet on hand. The Trail Dog medical kit is designed to be a lightweight, easy-to-stow wellspring of dressings and bandages to soothe injured paws. It even comes with a sterile pair of tweezers to help remove ticks and splinters.
A balm for sore paws
Musher’s Secret Dog paw wax
Let’s face it—dogs’ paws are wont to get rough and cracked, especially if you traipse around on rough pavement, salted roads, or snowy areas. Musher’s Secret is a time-tested remedy of Canadian sled dog drivers, made to act like an invisible boot and protect pups’ feet. This fast-drying, hypoallergenic concoction is composed of food-grade ingredients like beeswax and vegetable oils so that even if your furry mate tries to lick it off, it’s safe.
A low-profile travel bed
Ruffwear Highlands Dog pad
At outdoor restaurants and backcountry camps alike, it’s nice to give your pup a dedicated space to lay down that’s insulated from the cold, hard ground. The Highlands dog pad by Ruffwear is a lightweight solution that helps you do just that. City kids can use the pad to help their dog settle quickly, no matter the noise level, while campers will appreciate the extra protection between their dog’s nails and the delicate fabric of their tent. Rachel Popp, co-founder of Big Fish Collective, recommends pet owners pair it with a Kelty Bestie blanket for a complete sleep system that’s “cuddle-worthy for you and your pup, too.”
A packable winter coat
Ruffwear Quinzee Dog jacket
If you’re the type of traveler that likes to breeze through the airport with only a carry-on or an outdoor adventurer with a few winter hikes on the brain, Ruffwear’s Quinzee jacket is an ultra-packable, uber-warm solution that’ll keep your furry friend toasty without hogging all your luggage space. Made with high-loft polyester insulation that’s designed to mimic the packability of down, this weather-resistant coat features easy-release side buckles to ensure the perfect fit.
A cozy fleece pullover
Wilderdog fleece jacket
Sometimes it’s cold but not too cold, and you might find yourself looking for a stylish pullover to keep your doggo comfy when the sun starts to set. Wilderdog’s funky, southwest-inspired fleece jacket comes in fun colors like olive and berry, is made of quick-drying midweight fabric, and features a neoprene neck gaiter for extra warmth. Add in the brand’s lifetime guarantee, and it’s a no-brainer when winter rolls around.
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