Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Packing an Overnight Bag for Your Dog

For an overnight or weekend trip, you want to pack your dog’s essentials without lugging along more than you’ll need. It’s a delicate balance, but we’ve discovered that Ty and Buster really only require a few necessities. Let’s look at the things they absolutely can’t live without.
The Expert's Guide to Packing an Overnight Bag for Your Pet

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Packing for Your Dog

The Right Bag

Starting with the right bag makes every trip easier. Look for something that is big enough to organize everything you need for a quick trip, so your hands are free for dog wrangling!

Sleepypod’s Go Bag checks all our boxes. Built for pet travel, this versatile bag is so beautiful and convenient you’ll want to use it when packing for yourself! The strap is comfortable for over-the-shoulder or cross-body carrying, and the stream-lined style includes gusseted side pockets for water bottles or a cell phone. There’s a padded main compartment with a pocket for separating documents or cradling a tablet/computer.

An interior lanyard makes it easy to keep track of your keys, and a convenient exterior utility ring is perfect for hanging a leash, waste bag dispenser, or a flashlight. There’s an exterior zippered pocket for easy access, two mini packing cubes to keep small items organized, and an insulated food pouch, so cold items don’t sweat on everything else.

Expert's Guide to Packing an Overnight Bag for Your Pet |

Walking Harnesses and Leashes

Our dogs are always buckled into their car harnesses while we’re driving, but once we’ve arrived at our destination, they wear walking harnesses for exploring.

When we’re out and about, we love the Freedom No-Pull Harnesses from 2 Hounds Design. These harnesses give us the option to attach Ty and Buster’s leashes on the back or at the chest, which discourages the boys from pulling.

Our favorite leashes are Alcott’s Weekender, which can be adjusted from 3 to 5 feet in length. They also have a buckle in the handle that makes it easy to attach the dogs to our chairs at an outdoor café or our bench in the park.

California's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Carmel Beach |


Waste Bags

Picking up after our dogs is the duty of all responsible dog owners.

We pack plenty of waste bags, and then grab an extra roll – just in case.

Treat Pouches and Extra Treats

Visiting a new environment with your pets is always a good training opportunity!

Whether we’re walking on a trail where we can work on Buster’s recall, or strolling a pet friendly mall where Ty can practice being around new people, we always wear our treat pouches and keep the boys’ favorite rewards handy.

We keep our treat bags filled with healthy treats, like Freeze Dried Salmon from Ageless Paws. Ty and Buster love them, and we don’t have to worry about them eating a bunch of “junk food.”

Happy Ty

Medical Records

In case of an emergency, it’s a good idea to have your pet’s medical records with you.

But toting an entire file around is a pain. Instead, we’ve scanned Ty and Buster’s important medical documents to a USB drive that’s easy to pack. The only paper documents we pack for the dogs are the rabies vaccination certificates.


Entertaining Toys

Once we’re back to the hotel room, it’s nice to have some quiet toys to keep Ty and Buster entertained.

For that, there’s nothing better than Hear Doggy! These plush toys have squeakers that dogs can hear, but people can’t They’re perfect for staying with friends or in a hotel.

We also pack Ty and Buster’s Toppl toys and bully sticks to will hold their attention if we step out. Running the bully stick through the holes in the Toppl makes them extra challenging for the boys!

Hear Doggy - Toys for Traveling Pets Toppl from West Paw

Medications and Supplements

Always pack enough of your dogs medication and supplements for the length of your trip, plus a day or two.

More than once, something crazy has happened to us that caused a trip to be unexpectedly extended. We’ve learned to avoid panicking over the dogs’ meds by being prepared.

Food and Bowls

Traveling is especially easy when your furry family members eat The Honest Kitchen pet food

This natural, human-grade diet is gently dehydrated, so it’s light and doesn’t take up much space. We pack Ty and Buster’s servings in individual plastic storage bags, then pour it in the bowl and add hot water when it’s time for breakfast or dinner.

Ty and Buster Eating The Honest Kitchen Dog Food |

Gear for Grooming

Grooming your pup will help keep your accommodations neat and clean.

Be sure to pack your dog’s brush and any other items you regularly use for grooming.

Cleaning Supplies

Dogs are messy – there is no getting around it – so it’s best to be prepared to clean up after them.

We always pack a roll of paper towels, wet wipes, a lint roller, and a small spray bottle of carpet cleaner when traveling with our dogs.


It’s important to make sure your pet has a comfortable place to sleep when you’re away from home.

Some dogs (like Ty) want to sleep in their own bed. And making Ty comfortable is our job, so his bed goes where we go!

Other dogs (like Buster) prefer the sofa, so we pack a sheet and blanket to cover any furniture he might use to make himself at home.

Dogs - Ty and Buster at Hotel Salomar - San Diego, CA

We hope these tips make packing for your next pet friendly getaway a little easier! If you’re packing for a longer trip for your dog and you’d like a more extensive list of things to take for your dog, check out these pet travel tips.


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  • Great article! Always love reading your tips.

  • That’s a great addition, Jenny – thanks for your note!

  • Super idea, Melissa! Thanks for sharing, and waggin’ trails to you.

  • Wonderful tips! I also travel with my dog. I sleep with a small blanket or t-shirt for a few nights before I leave home and then give the item to my dog to sleep with while on our trip. She snuggles with it and it smells like me and her home. It also comforts her when I have to leave her in the hotel room for a bit :)

  • I’ve not heard of the “Gulpy” before, Nancy. We’ll check it out – thanks so much for your note!

  • We use a “Gulpy” for Phoenix’s water when we travel. It is a bottle with a screw on top that feeds into a trough from which he can drink.

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