It’s fun to take the pup along on a vacation, but planning ahead is necessary and having the right supplies is important.

  • Be sure your dog is up-to-date with vaccines and their flea treatment. Most states require proof of the rabies vaccine, and the paper certification provided by your vet as well as the rabies tag for your dog’s collar should be with you on the trip.
  • Make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag with your cell phone number and phone number of where you will be staying. A well-fitted collar (one your dog can’t slip out of) is important, too. Dogs that have a tendency to escape traditional collars might benefit from trying a martingale (or combo) collar.
  • You should have a current photo of your pet in case your dog gets lost.
  • Have your vet’s phone number, as well as the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number (888-426-4435) and the phone number and address of an emergency vet clinic where you’ll be staying.
  • When riding in the car, your dog should be in a crate, carrier or restrained in a safety harness attached to the seat belt. If you use a barrier in the back seat or back of an SUV, be sure it is secure. Never let your dog ride in the front seat. The deployment of an airbag could be fatal. Dogs should not ride in the back of a pick-up truck, and never (ever!) on the roof.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in the car, even with the windows cracked, even for a few minutes. On a 78 degree day, a car parked in the shade can reach 90 degrees in minutes. A car parked in the sun can quickly reach 160 degrees!

Items you’ll want to have with you are:

  • Food and treats – a sudden change in diet can easily cause digestive problems (eek!)
  • Medications
  • Crate or a familiar bed
  • Water and food bowls
  • Favorite toys and something to chew on
  • Poop pick-up bags
  • First Aid kit – Alcott First Aid Kit gets high ratings
  • Benedryl – which might be needed in the event of bee stings or bug bites. Get a dosage from your vet prior to the trip.
  • Roll of paper towels and plastic disposal bags in case of car sickness (ick)
  • Extra leash
  • If your dog is nervous, anti-anxiety products may help. A Thundershirt is known to help dogs nervous while traveling in the car. Comfort Zone, a pheromone product is available as a spray, which is great for the car, and as a plug-in diffuser which can be used where you will be staying. More good choices include the Sentry Calming Collar, a pheromone infused collar, Rescue Remedy, which uses flower essences for calming, Pet Naturals Calming Chews or NaturVet Quiet Moments Tablets which use natural ingredients that help in calming your dog.

If going to the beach you should add:

  • Portable water dish and bring plenty of drinking water
  • A shady place where he/she can escape from the sun
  • A dog-safe sunscreen – dogs with thin coats can sunburn easily
  • Towels
  • Shampoo
  • Ear cleaner and thick cotton balls
  • Water toy
  • Long leash

If out on a boat you should add

  • Generous supply of drinking water
  • A shady place where your dog can escape from the sun
  • A dog-safe sunscreen
  • A well-fitted, brightly colored canine personal floatation device. (Most have a handle to help pull the dog out of the water. Make sure the straps are comfortable and will not cut into his/her skin. Take him/her out for a trial swim to be sure it provides proper buoyancy.)
  • Not all dogs can swim. Some will tire quickly. All dogs should wear a life preserver.
  • A short test-run on a boat in advance. If your dog is distressed or gets seasick, you might want to make other arrangements for him/her while you’re on the boat.