Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Packing an Overnight Bag for Your Dog

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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 need few necessities – the things they absolutely can’t live without.
The Expert's Guide to Packing an Overnight Bag for Your Pet

If you find the right bag everything you’ll need for a quick trip will fit inside, which is great because it leaves your hands free for dog wrangling! Here’s what we take along for the dogs when heading out for a quick getaway:

The Right Bag – Finding a bag that meets all your needs can make a huge difference when packing for your pet, and Sleepypod’s new Go Bag checks all our boxes. Built for pet travel, this versatile bag is so beautiful and convenient you may reach for it when packing for yourself!

Comfortable for cross-body carrying, the stream-lined style includes gusseted side pockets for water bottles or a cell phone, a padded main compartment with a pocket for separating documents or cradling a tablet/computer and an interior lanyard for attaching keys, a convenient exterior utility ring for hanging a leash, waste bag dispenser, or a flashlight, an exterior zippered pocket for easy access, two mini packing cubes to keep small items organized, and an insulated food pouch.

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

Walking Harnesses and Leashes – The boys are always buckled into their car harnesses while we’re driving, but once we’ve arrived at our destination we prefer walking harnesses for any exploring we do.

The walking harnesses we use are Freedom No-Pull Harnesses from 2 Hounds Design and allow us to attach the boys’ leashes either on the back or at the chest, which discourages them from pulling. Our favorite leashes are Alcott’s Weekender, which can be adjusted from 3 to 5 feet in length, and 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, so we pack our waste bags and grab an extra roll – just in case.

Treat Pouches and Extra Treats – Taking the dogs to a new environment is always a good training opportunity! Whether we’re walking on an off-leash trail with the chance to work on Buster’s recall or strolling a dog friendly mall where Ty can practice being around new people, we always wear our treat pouches and keep their favorite rewards handy.

Rather than loading up on unhealthy treats, we prefer a high-quality kibble. It’s better for the dogs, much less expensive than buying treats, the boys don’t fill up too quickly and lose interest in working for their snacks.

Happy Ty

Medical Records – In case of an emergency, it’s always a good idea to have your pet’s medical records with you. However, toting that 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 one document we do take with us in paper form is their proof of vaccinations.

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 – which makes them perfect when we’re staying with friends or in a hotel.

For something that will hold their attention if we step out, we pack Ty and Buster’s Toppl toys and bully sticks. Running the bully stick through the holes in the Toppl makes it extra challenging for the boys.

Hear Doggy - Toys for Traveling Pets Toppl from West Paw

Medications and Supplements – Ty and Buster are both on daily medications, and we always pack enough for our trip, plus a day or two. Crazy things have happened more than once, causing 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 easy to pack. We scoop Ty and Buster’s servings into individual plastic storage bags to make meal time easier and just mix their food with 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, so 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.

Bedding – 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 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.

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
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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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